The Waning of American Apartheid, Essay Example

1.The article entitled “The Waning of American Apartheid?” by Reynolds Farley addresses some of the most important and integral components of segregation in the United States and how it has shaped outcomes for many people in different ways. Douglas Massey and Nancy Denton demonstrated that although the United States had taken many steps to reduce segregation and to integrate people from different races and ethnicities into the same areas, many communities remain racially divided and segregated, thereby driving racial injustice in different forms (Farley, 2011). In essence, many African Americans have been afforded opportunities to pursue the American dream, just like their White counterparts; however, they have faced considerable challenges and difficulties in their efforts to achieve equality, and in many cases, this desire for equality is never fully realized (Farley, 2011). From the perspective of the African American seeking to purchase a home or rent an apartment, for example, there are often many steps that are required and loopholes that must be jumped through in order to achieve this outcome (Farley, 2011). These expectations are not only unrealistic, but they are also unethical on the basis of discrimination (Farley, 2011). Nonetheless, they continue to exist and to thrive in many communities, particularly in large metropolitan areas (Farley, 2011). Furthermore, in spite of the changes in attitudes towards African Americans throughout the United States, many Whites continue to discriminate in different ways, whether it is through surveys or other perspectives that indicate their preference for environments that are more “vanilla” rather than “vanilla and chocolate” (Farley, 2011). These differences are important because they convey the relevant nature of persistent attitudes and beliefs regarding African Americans as they are expressed by many Whites and those of other ethnicities (Farley, 2011).

2.The Fair Housing Act of 1968 was established as a means of reducing discrimination across communities and neighborhoods by allowing African Americans to reside in neighborhoods that perhaps were primarily White in the past (Farley, 2011). This Act was an attempt to convey the importance of eliminating discrimination from communities because this practice was ethically inappropriate and unacceptable on all levels. This Act sought to convey the importance of integrating people from different races and cultures into the same neighborhoods and to allow those with the means to do so to reside in the same communities (Farley, 2011). These efforts were important because they demonstrated the necessity to reduce discrimination and to allow all persons to be treated as equals across communities and neighborhoods (Farley, 2011). Although the intent of this Act was positive, in the 21st Century, discrimination across communities and neighborhoods remains a significant problem, particularly in many urban areas (Farley, 2011). It is important to recognize that these limitations for African Americans are not only discouraging, but that they are ethically inappropriate and disconcerting to this population because they allow poor attitudes and beliefs to overtake equality and the rights and freedoms of all persons, regardless of their race (Farley, 2011).

According to Massey and Denton, “Residential segregation has become the forgotten factor of American race relations. Until policymakers, social scientists, and private citizens recognize the crucial role of America’s own apartheid in perpetuating urban poverty and racial injustice, the United States will remain a deeply divided and very troubled society” (Farley, 2011, p. 37). Within this context, it is observed that members of many communities continue to discriminate on the basis of color and do not permit people of different races to reside in these communities, and they will even go so far as to create outrageous rules and expectations so that these people will not attempt to move into these communities (Farley, 2011). These circumstances fuel an already discriminatory society and drive the wedge between Whites and African Americans even further (Farley, 2011). Since residential segregation remains a significant problem in many of these communities, it is expected that these conditions will create many obstacles in the achievement of racial equality, because if community residents reject and discriminate against people with a different skin color, it is clear that they are not interested in supporting racial equality within their communities or in general (Farley, 2011). These perspectives are somewhat disheartening, yet the reality and severity of this situation stands true to the key principles of discrimination in many different communities (Farley, 2011).

3.Hypersegregation is a complex phenomenon that is best represented by the segregation of persons within groups across many different dimensions, rather than a single dimension such as housing or income. Within this framework, it is strongly evident that many communities are hypersegregated because they are separated from other neighborhoods not only on the basis of skin color, but also housing, culture, artistic expression, behaviors, food choices, schools, social events, and many other factors. Therefore, they hypersegregation of many communities is strongly evident, particularly in urban areas. However, this phenomenon is not exclusive to African Americans, as Whites, Latinos, and Asians also share these experiences. It is important to recognize the limitations set forth by hypersegregation, as this experience does not provide any real integration of one type of culture into another because they are kept separate. This is a difficult circumstance to consider because it reflects upon the challenges associated with segregation in specific neighborhoods that does not allow individuals from different groups to associate with each other on a regular basis, and appears to remove the potential for integration from the equation.

The efforts that are made by many community members to remain united on the basis of their cultural and racial identity is important to their wellbeing in different ways. However, this same practice also leads to significant self-segregation, particularly when members of these communities do not wish to associate with members of other races or ethnicities. This is a highly problematic circumstance because it limits the potential of individuals to learn about other cultures and to be recognized outside of their neighborhoods for their contributions to society. In a complex global environment, it becomes necessary to integrate different cultures and races so that the world is a more unique and satisfying place. However, for hypersegregated communities, there appears to be no motivation or drive towards this type of arrangement, and rather, a greater unification within one’s community that leads to sheltering and a lack of exposure to other communities and cultures. This type of behavior is not appropriate in a society where there is a continuous focus on equality and integration so that people from all races and cultures receive the same treatment and are provided with the tools that are necessary to favorably influence outcomes for these groups.

For individuals living in hypersegregated communities, there is often little knowledge of other groups and the knowledge that is known may be distorted and limited by false perceptions and misunderstandings. As a result, it is necessary to develop an approach that will enable people in these communities to work with others and to recognize the differences that exist in other cultures and how these differences lead to a variety of important outcomes. These efforts reflect a means of expanding knowledge and attitudes towards other groups in a favorable and appropriate manner.

Works Cited

Farley, Reynolds. “The Waning of American Apartheid?” Contexts 10.3(2011): 36-43.