Residential Segregation and Social Justice Essays

1910 Words 8 Pages
Despite increased diversity across the country, America’s neighborhoods remain highly segregated along racial and ethnic lines. Residential segregation, particularly between African-Americans and whites, persists in metropolitan areas where minorities make up a large share of the population. This paper will examine residential segregation imposed upon African-Americans and the enormous costs it bears. Furthermore, the role of government will be discussed as having an important role in carrying out efforts towards residential desegregation. By developing an understanding of residential segregation and its destructive effects, parallels may be drawn between efforts aimed at combating …show more content…
“With the advent of industrialization and the corresponding migration of blacks from rural to urban areas (especially to northern urban areas), urban whites witnessed an influx of poor and uneducated blacks who had ventured out of the rural South in search of better opportunities. Whites, threatened by this ‘invasion,’ and convinced by Social Darwinism that blacks were inherently inferior, insisted upon a system of residential segregation” (Swain 210).

Beginning after World War II, another major force – the mechanization of agriculture – also contributed to the northward migration.

“Racial tension became paramount as city officials promoted and perpetuated racial division by supporting segregation and discrimination in housing, employment, and social services” (Massey & Denton 39). Various types of residential controls contributed to the problem of residential segregation. One such tool for segregation was the establishment of zoning. Zoning was introduced in New York City in 1916 and encouraged by the U.S. Department of Commerce through the publication of the Standard State Zoning Enabling Act in 1922. Zoning proponents argued:

“Zoning was necessary to avoid the fate that had befallen urban ethnic neighborhoods inhabited by the new arrivals, who have crowded the city’s hospitals, have taxed its juvenile courts,
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