When you hear the word segregation, what comes to mind? Many of usually recall the Civil Rights Movement. Yet, many American cities and counties remain segregated today. North Carolina and the surrounding areas are no different. Over the past several years, schools and neighborhoods have become more segregated due to the increasing wealth gap and more people moving away from minority neighborhoods.
In an article that appears in The Economist, Segregation in America
, the author reveals that we are still a divided nation and the argument can be made that the divide is growing wider. Although landmark legislation passed in the 1960s – including the Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act and Fair Housing Act – in the U.S. glaring disparities for Blacks remain in education, housing and wealth. According to David Cutler, Professor of Economics at Harvard University, young Blacks in highly segregated cities have dropout rates that were 19% higher and wages that were 16% lower than those in more integrated cities. In addition, Black people living in marginalized communities suffer unusually high rates of unemployment, mortality and single-parenting.
Present-day racism was built on a long history of racially distributed resources and ideas that shape our view of others and ourselves. It is a hierarchical system that comes with a broad range of policies and institutions that perpetuate it.
Policies shaped by institutional racism that enforce segregation include redlining, predatory lending, the exclusion of Black veterans from the GI Bill and the forced segregation of neighborhoods by the Federal Housing Authority. Because of these institutional inequities persist in employment, housing, education, health care, government and other sectors.