January 1, 2009
In this report, Patricia Gándara and Gary Orfield argue that the basic mechanism of U.S. racial subordination today is neither violence and subjugation nor state-imposed racial controls; it is a system of residential separation linked to highly segregated and unequal schooling that is seen by most Americans as a system of private choices about housing through market mechanisms but which looks very different to many families of color. It embodies systems of discrimination that function to connect whites to networks of social capital and economic and educational opportunities while seriously disconnecting blacks and Latinos. This system is the product of both government policy and practice and of a variety of private forms of discrimination, differential knowledge and contacts, fears, and constrained choices growing out of the earlier history of discrimination. It can perpetuate residential isolation now even without active discrimination. Segregation, once established, is a durable and expansive system that tends to last, to spread and to be built into a variety of practices and norms.
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