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American Apartheid-bookreview - Book Report/Review Example

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Massey and Nancy A. Denton is an eye-opening book that throws light on the issues of poverty and seclusion among African Americans. Contrary to many illusions and simplistic assumptions about the economic backwardness of blacks in…
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American Apartheid-bookreview
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Download file to see previous pages The fact that the Civil War of the nineteenth century and the Civil Rights movement of the subsequent century have won minorities in America many fundamental rights has not greatly contributed to their prosperity and wellbeing.
Even the Fair Housing Act of 1968 has played no effective role in desegregating urban society. The authors suggest that segregation occurs in urban spaces through an interlocking mix of actions by individuals, policies adopted by institutions and practices followed by government agencies. In some cities, the extent of black segregation is so pronounced and affects many aspects of the community’s experience that it is aptly termed as ‘hyper-segregation’.
Massey and Denton point out that during periods of economic slowdown or recession, the segregation process gets accelerated. During such conditions, the acuteness of poverty pushes most black Americans into cheaper real-estate locales, thereby contributing to ghetto-formation. Within the ghetto, the social and economic conditions are markedly inferior compared to suburban locales. The black community, thus marginalized, tries to adapt to the harsh realities by way of evolving attitudes, behaviors, beliefs and customs that further alienate them from mainstream American culture and society. For example, as the wealthier (usually white) residents migrate towards suburbia, they inadvertently also reduce the tax base which directly affects funding for educational institutions in the area. It then becomes a cyclical process, whereby those families that can afford to leave to upscale areas do so further decreasing the tax base and education. Ethnic enclaves are thus created, which disincentives businesses interests due to the economic profile of residents as well as law and order problems in such neighborhoods. Even whites who are interested to buy housing in the neighborhood are put-off for ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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