Thursday, December 9, 2010

Residential Segregation Today

An interesting issue I find in today's society is the obvious segregation in the areas where we choose to live. In the beginning of the semester I remember it was said that 95% of whites in America today live in communities with a minority population of less than 3%. In a time where many of us consider racism to be “over” for the most part, this struck me as extremely hypocritical and counter-productive for improving 21st century race relations.

This issue relates very much to the town and community where I grew up because of how predominately white it is. I never really thought about or noticed the lack of people of other races in my neighborhood and town until middle school. As I got older, the more apparent it became that my town was almost completely monochrome. My friends and I, finding that it was ridiculous, started joking about how white we were. Recently, out of curiosity, I looked up my town's demographics (partly because I was taking this class); it said that Sandwich, Massachusetts was roughly 98% white. I was both surprised and not surprised. I know that I had not seen a lot of racial diversity growing up but I was still shocked at how high the statistic was.

I see residential segregation as a huge issue in developing positive race relations now and in the future. If kids of different races don't live in the same areas, they will most likely not go to school together, play on sports teams, or do other extra curricular activities that would involve them working together. I realize that the cause of much of this is the “white flight” of the 1960s and 70s, where masses of whites left the cities and moved to the suburbs, setting up their own communities completely different from the inner city dwellings of many African Americans living in urban centers. I don't think that as a society we can be anywhere near to claiming that racism has been conquered if our neighborhoods and schools are not more integrated. Evidence of racism is apparent in predominately black area schools, where education is very underfunded. To me, this resonates with an era where segregation was legal and blacks were forced to go to run-down schools and live in poor neighborhoods, allowing a cycle of poverty to continue within these African American communities. The difference today of course, is that separation between the races isn't enforced, it is simply still the status quo.


  1. I don't think that this segregation has to do with racism, but the immense differences in the social and economics class differences of the races. I truly believe that poverty has so much to do with this type of segregation,because when blacks have the means for mobility then they will take the opportunity. But a trend that I do see in Memphis is that when blacks do move into white communities, the communities become devalued and degraded and whites end up moving into the newer developing communities such as the trend continues.

  2. I completely agree that residential segregation is an issue if as a society we are trying to end racism. And while it is a result of economics it is a problem that needs fixing. The only problem I come across when thinking about this is what can we do as a democratic capitalist society to stop it from happening. The only solution I see is to keep providing more educational opportunities for those living in these depressed neighborhoods and it will happen slowly, maybe not until we are all old but I do believe it will happen if we stay down the right path.

  3. Although I agree with the idea that children should be exposed to other races/ethnicity at a young age to promote ideas of equality, I think there are ways of doing that besides them living in combined neighborhoods. I also lived in a community that was predominantly white, and it has always been difficult for me to identify with my Arabian culture while surrounded by people who do not understand it. It was especially difficult when I was living with stricter rules than the rest of my friends, which stemmed from my father's conservative values. I think that many people desire to live in communities surrounded by people with the same values, which typically happen to people people of the same race. Places like school, church, and other places could be used for children to interact with people of other nationalities.