farley 10-14

farley 10-14 - feature article john e. farley and gregory...

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winter 2005 contexts 33 Contexts, Vol. 4, Issue 1, pp. 33-39, ISSN 1536-5042, electronic ISSN 1537-6052. © 2005 by the American Sociological Association. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press's Rights and Permissions website, at www.ucpress.edu/journals/rights.htm. fences and neighbors: segregation in 21st-century america feature article john e. farley and gregory d. squires After more than three decades of fair housing laws, residential segregation is declining, but it remains pervasive. It undermines minority families’ search for good jobs, quality schools, health care, and financial success. However, new organizing efforts, tools, and tactics offer hope for greater progress. “Do the kids in the neighborhood play hockey or basketball?” —anonymous home insurance agent, 2000 America became less racially segregated during the last three decades of the 20th century, according to the 2000 cen- sus. Yet, despite this progress, despite the Fair Housing Act, signed 35 years ago, and despite popular impressions to the contrary, racial minorities still routinely encounter discrimina- tion in their efforts to rent, buy, finance, or insure a home. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that more than 2 million incidents of unlawful dis- crimination occur each year. Research indicates that blacks and Hispanics encounter discrimination in one out of every five contacts with a real estate or rental agent. African Americans, in particular, continue to live in segregated neighborhoods in exceptionally high numbers. What is new is that fair-housing and community- development groups are successfully using antidiscrimination laws to mount a movement for fair and equal access to hous- ing. Discrimination is less common than just ten years ago; minorities are moving into the suburbs, and overall levels of segregation have gone down. Yet resistance to fair housing and racial integration persists and occurs today in forms that are more subtle and harder to detect. Still, emerging coalitions using new tools are shattering many traditional barriers to equal opportunity in urban housing markets. Los Angeles, 1951 Photo courtesy of the L.A. Public Library
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contexts winter 2005 34 segregation: declining but not disappearing Although segregation has declined in recent years, it per- sists at high levels, and for some minority groups it has actual- ly increased. Social scientists use a variety of measures to indicate how segregated two groups are from each other. The most widely used measure is the index of dissimilarity (labeled D in figure 1 on page 35) which varies from 0 for a perfectly integrated city to 100 for total segregation. (See sidebar for a definition of segregation and more detail about the index of dissimilarity.) Values of D in the 60s or higher generally repre- sent high levels of segregation. Although African Americans have long been and continue
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farley 10-14 - feature article john e. farley and gregory...

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