White Racial Self-Segregation

Last summer, the Michigan town of Grosse Pointe Park erected a farmer’s market in the middle of one of the few remaining streets that allowed cars to pass between the tony suburb and the urban Detroit neighborhoods at its border. It was the latest of many attempts by Grosse Pointe Park residents to close off roads and block traffic between what has become a predominantly white, affluent suburb, and its poorer, urban neighbor.

There were protests about the border, and Grosse Pointe Park later said it would tear down the farmer’s market and re-open the road, but the incident speaks volumes to the segregation that exists in Detroit, and the tensions that can grow as a result.

The barrier erected in Grosse Pointe (Alana Semuels)
The fact that these two areas are so close is unique—the border between Grosse Pointe Park and the city of Detroit is the only place in any of America’s biggest cities where a very wealthy, predominantly-white area abuts a very poor, black one, according to research from a new working paper from the University of Minnesota. But the existence of self-segregated wealthy white areas close by low-income minority ones isn’t unique, according to the Minnesota researchers. They have sorted census tracts in 15 of America’s 20 biggest cities into “racially concentrated areas of affluence” and “racially concentrated areas of poverty,” and find that many cities have more areas of segregated affluence than they do poverty.



How can political science increase its diversity?

The overwhelming whiteness and maleness of many academic disciplines is an on-going concern.  Here’s an excerpt of a piece by Colleen Flaherty in Insidehighered.com on the struggle for diversity in political science:

Imagine there’s one political science faculty slot to fill, and two equally qualified candidates emerge from the pack. One applicant is a woman, and there are few women serving in the department. Her area of expertise, however — Europe — is already well-represented among current professors, and they’re hoping to “fill out the map.” The other candidate is a white male – a demographic well-represented in the department — but his area of expertise, Africa, is something the department is hungry for.
What does the search committee do?
“The answer is that you go to your dean and ask for two slots,” said Jennifer Hochschild, Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government at Harvard University and professor of African and African American studies at Harvard University — acknowledging that the response in most cases will be “No.”
Beyond that, she said, there are no easy answers: Hochschild walked the room here through a variety of what she called “problematic” solutions to the faculty question; hiring the woman in the hope that she’ll mentor female undergraduates, or represent “family” concerns at faculty meetings, puts unfair expectations on her. But not hiring her could be worse — even if the department ends up with a more global orientation.
Hochshild posed her not-so-hypothetical dilemma (she said her department has faced such choices) to a group of political scientists here Thursday during a session on “Equality in the Academy,” at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association. While speakers in the discussion all agreed that the discipline needs to become more diverse, they noted challenges — such as the one in Hothschild’s dilemma — to getting there.

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Class differences in learning

A new study shows clear cultural differences between middle class and working class students in how actively they participate in their own learning.

In a paper that will be published in the October edition of the American Sociological Review, Indiana University sociologist Jessica McCrory Calarco writes about what she saw when she observed a bunch of third-through-fifth-graders in a public school. Crucially, she only studied white kids — she wanted to isolate the effects of socioeconomic class. What she found, as McCrory put it in the study’s press release, is that “Middle-class parents tell their children to reach out to the teacher and ask questions. Working-class parents see asking for help as disrespectful to teachers, so they teach their children to work out problems themselves.”


Read more about this at NY Mag.

This provides further evidence for these cultural differences discussed in Irv Peckham’s excellent and informative Going North Thinking West: The Intersections of Social Class, Critical Thinking, and Politicized Writing Instruction.

New organization for combatting rape on campus

Faculty Against Rape is a new organization with the following mission:

The mission of Faculty Against Rape (FAR) is to get more faculty involved in sexual assault issues on campus, and to protect faculty members who experience retaliation for doing so. Our name is a nod to the Feminist Alliance Against Rape (FAAR), the first national anti-rape organization established in 1974. To fulfill our mission, we provide

resources for faculty to best support survivors inside and outside the classroom
tools, guidance, and support for faculty who want to get more involved in reform efforts on their campus
tools, guidance, and support for faculty who are facing retaliation for fighting sexual violence on their campus.

Check it out.

NYT’s charts the depressing lack of racial progress of the past fifty years

America’s racial divide is older than the republic itself, a central fault line that has shaped the nation’s history. This month it has manifested itself in sometimes violent protests in Ferguson, Mo., after a police killing of an unarmed young black man. The resonance of that event is related to deeper racial fissures between blacks and whites; that divide is the reason that the events in Ferguson amount to something bigger than a local crime story.

What is the state of that larger divide? In what areas has there been meaningful progress toward shared prosperity over the last generation, and in what areas is America as polarized by race as ever — or even more so?

Across a broad range of economic and demographic indicators, the data paint a largely depressing picture. Five decades past the era of legal segregation, a chasm remains between black and white Americans – and in some important respects it’s as wide as ever.

From:  America’s Racial Divide, Charted