Too many people think today’s “de facto” segregation in metro areas is the result of personal preferences expressed by individuals, when the fact is that public policy has created the conditions we live with today. In fact, I see the demise of Jim Crow through the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act corresponding with the immediate rise of an insidious, “non-racist” racism that shapes our metros today. Our metro areas have never dealt with this.
In the aftermath of the Donald Sterling controversy, the Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates posted an on-spot critique of how racism is viewed and how racism is really working in today’s society. Coates describes how “elegant racism”, that insidious force, shapes where we live, what jobs are available to us, how we’re educated, and who is incarcerated and who isn’t.
This position is further buffeted by research done by Nancy DiTomaso, a business professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey. In her book, The American Non-Dilemma: Racial Inequality Without Racism, she says this:
“Because whites disproportionately hold jobs with more authority, higher pay, more opportunities for skill development and training, and more links to other jobs, they can benefit from racial inequality without being racists and without discriminating against blacks and other nonwhites. In fact, I argue that the ultimate white privilege is the privilege not to be racist and still benefit from racial inequality.”
There are other strong claims made by DiTomaso in that interview; it (and the book, which I loved) is worth your attention.