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Research Paper - Daniel Dunlap Poli-Sci 4771 Intergroup...

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Daniel Dunlap Poli-Sci 4771 12/13/2001 Intergroup Conflict and its Effect on Mass Transit and Housing Policy in the Twin Cities Mass transit has played an integral part in the development, segregation, and inequality of American cities. Policy in favor of public transportation segregation can be dated as far back as the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Plessy v. Ferguson , a Jim Crow law which allowed for “equal but separate accommodations for whites and colored races,” on railroad cars. i It would be almost sixty years before state sanctioned public transit segregation would be overturned with the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Brown V. Board of Education , which would end the legal precept of segregation. ii However, during the harrowing civil rights era, while the government was receiving international recognition for overturning the “separate but equal” ideology, other branches of the government were busy building subsidized highways into the newly built and resegregated suburbs of the American Dream, where preferential access was given to the white, middle class. In the present day, public transportation isn’t segregated, and the suburbs aren’t accessible to only the white middle and upper classes. However, equitable access to modes of transport may become a 21 st century problem as we see gas prices continue to rise, and similarly, housing markets in gentrified neighborhoods, near public transport hubs and stops, begin to rise. This paper will focus on the effects mass transit and housing policy has had on the continuation of the racial divide in American and Twin Cities’ history, and how the development of these systems of transit and housing policies, have allowed for the white majority to maintain a desired positive distinctiveness, over those of color, through implicit measures, in the Twin Cities area over the past fifty years. Furthermore, this analysis will allow us to address how the new Twin Cities light rail could have plausible consequences that result in renewed segregation
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within the area. As carbon based resources become more limited, it is likely that those who can afford the suburban lifestyle and the large amounts of fossil fuels required to live this lifestyle will begin to move towards city centers. This may create extensive gentrification in urban centers, which will induce rapid increases in housing market prices throughout lower income neighborhoods, creating a new social stratification based on access to transportation. For these reasons, I pose that the greatest fear for marginalized populations living within the Twin Cities during the 21 st century, concerning mass transit, is the plausibility that these populations, will be required to move farther and farther away from the city center where access to affordable public transportation will be limited compared to that of the city. To examine this thesis we will examine two major questions? 1) How can/has mass transit been used as a tool by the state to create intergroup competition and displace communities of color? 2) Is it possible that a renewed
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Research Paper - Daniel Dunlap Poli-Sci 4771 Intergroup...

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