The Public Interest

Black and white after thirty years

Nathan Glazer

Fall 1995

THERE is nothing that concentrates the mind on an issue more sharply than discovering one has been wrong about it. Twenty years ago, in an article in The Public Interest, I dealt with the subject of the continuing concentration of blacks in American cities and their separation in residence from whites.* The article was occasioned by Anthony Downs’s 1973 book, Opening Up the Suburbs: An Urban Strategy for America. (This article, in expanded form, became part of my 1975 book, Affirmative Discrimination: Ethnic Inequality and Public Policy.) This apparently historically unique degree of concentration—one could call it “segregation,” but I would prefer to reserve that term for state-imposed separation—had been well documented in research of the 1950s and 1960s, and was already under attack in the 1960s and 1970s by a variety of new federal policies, legislative, administrative, and judicial. Anthony Downs had even more extensive policies to propose.

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