The first part of this book presents a fresh and encouraging report on the state of racial integration in America's neighborhoods. It shows that while the majority are indeed racially segregated, a substantial and growing number are integrated, and remain so for years.
Still, many integrated neighborhoods do unravel quickly, and the second part of the book explores the root causes. Instead of panic and "white flight" causing the rapid breakdown of racially integrated neighborhoods, the author argues, contemporary racial change is driven primarily by the decision of white households not to move into integrated neighborhoods when they are moving for reasons unrelated to race. Such "white avoidance" is largely based on the assumptions that integrated neighborhoods quickly become all black and that the quality of life in them declines as a result.
The author concludes that while this explanation may be less troubling than the more common focus on racial hatred and white flight, there is still a good case for modest government intervention to promote the stability of racially integrated neighborhoods. The final chapter offers some guidelines for policymakers to follow in crafting effective policies.
Sharing America's Neighborhoods represents the most thorough, sophisticated, and comprehensive statistical analysis of neighborhood racial stability and transition that has ever been produced. Ellen challenges the conventional wisdom about 'white flight' and presents a fundamentally optimistic message about integration. It is a message that needs to be heard now.
Sharing America's Neighborhoods will become the definitive work on neighborhood racial change. Ellen's approach to the mechanisms by which integration is achieved is far beyond what other scholars are doing, nor has any other scholar working on this problem brought together such a wealth of materials.
Ellen provides a new take on an old debate and...a fine example of what it means to do one's homework--and field work, too...In Sharing America's Neighborhoods, Ellen suggests that the still relatively low extent of true integration may have less to do with 'white flight,' (the abandonment by whites of neighborhoods that are 'tipped' by African-American newcomers) than with 'white avoidance,' (the reluctance of whites to move into areas of heavy black concentration). She suggests this is due both to the prevalence of negative stereotypes about the financial stability of such places and to the assumed poor quality of life to be found in them.
- 240 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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