Shady past

Kevin Lewis

August 21, 2014

The Old Jim Crow: Racial Residential Segregation and Neighborhood Imprisonment

Traci Burch
Law & Policy, July 2014, Pages 223–255

This article examines the impact of racial residential segregation on imprisonment rates at the neighborhood level. Key to the strength of this enterprise is block-group level data on imprisonment, crime, and other demographic factors for about 5,000 neighborhoods in North Carolina. These data also include information on county racial residential segregation from the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan. Hierarchical linear models that control for neighborhood characteristics, such as racial diversity, crime, poverty, unemployment, median income, homeownership, and other factors, show that neighborhoods in more segregated counties have higher imprisonment rates than neighborhoods in less segregated counties. On average, neighborhoods in counties with segregation levels at the minimum of 41.4 are expected to have imprisonment rates of 0.186 percent, while neighborhoods in counties with segregation levels at the maximum of 95.6 are expected to have imprisonment rates more than twice as high, or about 0.494 percent.


The Decline of Whiteness and the Rise of the Tea Party

Robb Willer
Stanford Working Paper, March 2014

The Tea Party is the most electorally influential social movement in recent American history. What factors led the movement to emerge when it did? And what role might racial prejudice play in Tea Party support? Here I test the claim that recent political, demographic, and economic events have threatened the status of white Americans, leading them to increased racial prejudice and support for the Tea Party. Five studies support this reasoning, demonstrating that various threats to the status of whites lead white Americans to express both greater prejudice and greater support for the movement. A final study finds that threatened whites reported greater support for the Tea Party when racialized aspects of its platform (e.g., opposition to immigration) were highlighted, not when libertarian positions (e.g., opposition to environmental regulation) were. These findings support a view of the Tea Party as, in part, a response to a perceived decline in the status of whiteness in America. I conclude by discussing prospects for a general theory of the role of group status in the mobilization of large scale collective actions.


A Theory of African American Offending: A Test of Core Propositions

James Unnever
Race and Justice, April 2014, Pages 98-123

Analyzing the National Survey of American Life, which includes 3,570 Blacks, this research is the first to test core hypotheses of Unnever and Gabbidon’s Theory of African American Offending. A core assertion of Unnever and Gabbidon’s theory, which specifically and only focuses on Blacks, is that their offending is associated with the degree to which they encounter racial injustices. This article focuses on two forms of racial injustice that are prominently highlighted by Unnever and Gabbidon — racial discrimination and racist stereotypes. The results reveal that Blacks who experience racial discrimination and “buy into” the pejorative stereotype that they are violent are more likely to offend, as they experience heightened states of low self-control, anger, and depression. The data also show that experiences with racial injustices increase the likelihood that Blacks will become dependent on substances/alcohol. These findings were generated while including other correlates of arrests, including demographic characteristics, whether Blacks identify with other Blacks, the number of relatives in jail or prison, and strength of family bonds. The theoretical importance of these findings is discussed.


Differences in Subprime Loan Pricing Across Races and Neighborhoods

Andra Ghent, Rubén Hernández-Murillo & Michael Owyang
Regional Science and Urban Economics, forthcoming

We investigate whether race and ethnicity influenced subprime loan pricing during 2005, the peak of the subprime mortgage expansion. We combine loan-level data on the performance of non-prime securitized mortgages with individual- and neighborhood-level data on racial and ethnic characteristics for metropolitan areas in California and Florida. Using a model of rate determination that accounts for predicted loan performance, we evaluate the differences in subprime mortgage rates in terms of racial and ethnic groups and neighborhood characteristics. We find evidence of adverse pricing for blacks and Hispanics. The evidence of adverse pricing is strongest for purchase mortgages and mortgages originated by non-depository institutions.


Emerging Forms of Racial Inequality in Homeownership Exit, 1968–2009

Gregory Sharp & Matthew Hall
Social Problems, August 2014, Pages 427-447

Because homeownership continues to be a key mechanism underlying racial inequality in America, recent developments that led to the foreclosure crisis bring to the forefront issues concerning minority homeowners' ability to sustain ownership. This article uses longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to examine racial differences in the likelihood of homeownership exit over the last four decades. We find that black homeowners are at a significantly higher risk of transitioning to renter status than are white homeowners, even after accounting for life-course, socioeconomic, and housing characteristics, and the selection into homeownership. Most importantly, we show that the racial gap in ownership exit has widened substantially over time, especially among owners who purchased their homes in the 1990s or later. These findings are consistent with arguments that the nature of racial stratification in U.S. housing markets has shifted over time from overt market exclusion to market exploitation.


Ethnic Diversity and Its Effects on Social Cohesion

Tom van der Meer & Jochem Tolsma
Annual Review of Sociology, 2014, Pages 459-478

Recent years have seen a sharp increase in empirical studies on the constrict claim: the hypothesized detrimental effect of ethnic diversity on most if not all aspects of social cohesion. Studies have scrutinized effects of different measures of ethnic heterogeneity in different geographical areas on different forms of social cohesion. The result has been a cacophony of empirical findings. We explicate mechanisms likely to underlie the negative relationship between ethnic heterogeneity and social cohesion: the homophily principle, feelings of anomie, group threat, and social disorganization. Guided by a clear conceptual framework, we structure the empirical results of 90 recent studies and observe three patterns. We find that (a) there is consistent support for the constrict claim for aspects of social cohesion that are spatially bounded to neighborhoods, (b) support for the constrict claim is more common in the United States than in other countries, and (c) ethnic diversity is not related to less interethnic social cohesion. We discuss the implications of these patterns.


Trends In The Black-White Life Expectancy Gap Among US States, 1990–2009

Sam Harper, Richard MacLehose & Jay Kaufman
Health Affairs, August 2014, Pages 1375-1382

Nationwide differences in US life expectancy trends for blacks and whites may mask considerable differences by state that are relevant to policies aimed at reducing health inequalities. We calculated annual state-specific life expectancies for blacks and whites from 1990 to 2009 using age-specific mortality counts and census-based denominators. Nationally, the black-white difference in life expectancy at birth shrank during the period by 2.7 years for males (from 8.1 to 5.4 years) and by 1.7 years for females (from 5.5 to 3.8 years). We found considerable variation across states in both the magnitude of the life expectancy gap (approximately fifteen years) and the change during the past two decades (about six years). Decomposition analysis showed that New York made the most profound contribution to reducing the gap, but less favorable trends in a number of states, notably California and Texas, kept the gap from shrinking further. Large state variations in the pace of change in the racial gap in life expectancy suggest that state-specific determinants merit further investigation.


Neighborhoods and Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Adolescent Sexual Risk Behavior

Daniel Carlson et al.
Journal of Youth and Adolescence, September 2014, Pages 1536-1549

Understanding the determinants of racial/ethnic disparities in adolescent sexual risk behavior is important given its links to the differential risk of teen pregnancy, childbearing, and sexually transmitted infections. This article tests a contextual model that emphasizes the concentration of neighborhood disadvantage in shaping racial/ethnic disparities in sexual risk behavior. We focus on two risk behaviors that are prevalent among Black and Hispanic youth: the initiation of sexual activity in adolescence and the number of sex partners. Using data from the 1997 National Longitudinal Study of Youth (N = 6,985; 48 % female; 57 % non-Hispanic White) evidence indicates that neighborhood disadvantage — measured by concentrated poverty, unemployment rates, and the proportion of female-headed households — partially explains Black and Hispanic disparities from Whites in the odds of adolescent sexual debut, although the prevalence of female-headed households in neighborhoods appears to be the main driver in this domain. Likewise, accounting for neighborhood disadvantage reduces the Black-White and Hispanic-White disparity in the number of sexual partners, although less so relative to sexual debut. We discuss theoretical and practical implications of these findings.


Diversity and the Civic Spirit in British Neighbourhoods: An Investigation with MCDS and EMBES 2010 Data

Neli Demireva & Anthony Heath
Sociology, August 2014, Pages 643-662

Recently, there has been a proliferation of studies investigating the relationship between diversity and outcomes such as social cohesion and civic mindedness. This article addresses several common problems in this field and, using data for British neighbourhoods, elaborates on the experiences of both white British and ethnic minority respondents. We conclude that, if anything, diversity should be encouraged to cement the integration progress of migrants and foster stronger identification with Britain in the second generation. Deprivation at the neighbourhood level along with individual factors such as fear of crime is a much stronger predictor of deterioration of the civic spirit than diversity. Bridging contacts have the expected strong positive association with cohesion outcomes; and contrary to policy concerns no strong negative impact is observed for associational bonding among minority ingroupers.


“The Whole North Is Not Abolitionized”: Slavery’s Slow Death in New Jersey, 1830–1860

James Gigantino
Journal of the Early Republic, Fall 2014, Pages 411-437

This article explores how white and black New Jerseyans understood slavery and abolition in their state in the 1830s and 1840s. It examines how the emergence of an active abolition society, fervor over the presence of fugitive slaves, and the increasingly degraded relationship between the North and the South over slavery spurred a localized debate in New Jersey over slavery’s continuation. However, even with active abolitionist pressure and a population that increasingly eyed slavery and the South with suspicion, abolitionists never convinced the general population to support immediate black freedom. When New Jersey legislators finally abolished slavery in 1846, they did so grudgingly and under yet another graduated system. Instead of freeing all bound blacks, the legislature abolished the legal term “slave” and reclassified all former slaves as “apprentices for life.” New Jerseyans therefore displayed a remarkable ability to resist immediate abolition, which illustrates that slavery survived far longer and more powerfully in the North than previously imagined. More importantly, New Jerseyans did not disown their past relationships with slavery, but instead used them to inform their dealings with the institution in the 1840s and their relationship with the South in an increasingly divided nation. These past relationships then had a tangible impact on the sectional crisis as New Jersey and southern politicians shared an understanding of slavery and an astute knowledge of the various forms of unfreedom associated with it.


Please pass me the skin coloured crayon! Semantics, socialisation, and folk models of race in contemporary Europe

Martina Zimmermann et al.
Language Sciences, forthcoming

This study explores the cultural semantics of colour words in the four urban, European communities of Munich, Berne, Aarhus, and Reykjavik, focussing on hautfarben (German), hutfarb (Bernese Swiss German), hudfarvet (Danish), and húðlitur (Icelandic), all of which can be translated as ‘skin coloured’. Unlike in English, where skin coloured has fallen out of use due to its racist semantic profile, these words are still widely present within the four communities. Using evidence from a referential colour naming task and semi-structured interviews, our study seeks to reveal the linguistic worldviews and idealised cognitive models embedded in skin-based colour concepts in contemporary German and Scandinavian languages. Arguing that colour concepts are linguistic constructs through which speakers have learned to pay attention to their visual worlds, we trace the origin of the skin-based colour concept to language socialisation. Our study suggests that children's use of crayons in pre-schools, homes, and kindergartens have a formative impact on the acquisition of colour concepts in general, and in particular, in acquiring a skin-based colour concept. Apart from ‘crayon socialisation’ and children's drawing practices, our study points to one other salient aspect of meaning associated with the skin-based colour concept, namely socio-political discourses of multiculturalism, political correctness and racism. Some speakers find it ‘natural’ to use a skin-based colour concept while others find it ‘racist’. Yet regardless of an individual speaker's views on the matter, they all appear to recognise the specific folk model of race, encoded in hautfarben, hutfarb, hudfarvet and húðlitur. In addition, based on the disagreement among speakers, we do find some evidence that discursive changes in German and Scandinavian languages could lead to similar changes as the ones which have taken place in English (i.e. the replacement of skin coloured with peach or a similar construct). Skin-based colours in Germanic languages also offer new perspectives on visual semantics, the social origins of colour, and on the interface of language, sociality and colour.


Does School Policy Affect Housing Choices? Evidence From the End of Desegregation in Charlotte–Mecklenburg

David Liebowitz & Lindsay Page
American Educational Research Journal, August 2014, Pages 671-703

We examine whether the legal decision to grant unitary status to the Charlotte–Mecklenburg school district, which led to the end of race-conscious student assignment policies, increased the probability that families with children enrolled in the district would move to neighborhoods with a greater proportion of student residents of the same race as their own children. Motivated by the rich but inconclusive literature on the consequences of educational and residential segregation, we make use of a natural policy experiment — a judicial decision to end court-ordered busing — to estimate the causal impacts of this policy shift on household residential decisions. We find that, for those who moved, the legal decision made White families with children in the Charlotte–Mecklenburg Schools substantially more likely than they were during desegregation to move to a neighborhood with a greater proportion of White residents than their own neighborhood.


Dangerous Climates: Factors Associated With Variation in Racist Hate Crimes on College Campuses

Nella Van Dyke & Griff Tester
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, August 2014, Pages 290-309

Although hundreds of American college students are the victims of bias-motivated verbal and physical assaults every year, little research explores whether there is a systematic pattern to the hate crimes that occur on college campuses. In this article, we study why some campuses experience more racist hate crimes than do others. We explore how campus demographics, tuition increases, and the presence of fraternities influence reported hate crime incidence. Through a statistical analysis of the hate crimes reported to the FBI by 349 colleges, we find that ethnic-/racial-bias hate crimes are more likely to be reported on predominantly White college campuses and those that have a large Greek population. We contribute to theory on hate crime by illustrating some of the social characteristics that make hate crime more likely in certain geographic areas than others.


“Without Regard to Race”: Critical Ideational Development in Modern American Politics

Desmond King & Rogers Smith
Journal of Politics, forthcoming

Many scholars note that racial policy issues now focus on color-blind versus race-conscious approaches to racial inequalities, but they have not adequately explained how this development occurred or its consequences. Using work theorizing the role of ideas in politics, this article argues that these changes represent a “critical ideational development.” Diverse strains in earlier racial policy positions were reformulated to advance not just old racial goals but new ones. This critical ideational development produced advantages for conservative coalition building and Republican electoral campaigns, thereby contributing to the Reagan Revolution and later polarization and gridlock, and it helped drive racial issues out of campaigns and into other venues, especially legislative, administrative, and judicial hearings. It has not been associated with great progress in reducing racial inequalities or promoting racial harmony.


Self-Rated Health and Residential Segregation: How Does Race/Ethnicity Matter?

Joseph Gibbons & Tse-Chuan Yang
Journal of Urban Health, August 2014, Pages 648-660

Despite recent declines, racial segregation remains a detriment to minority neighborhoods. However, existing research is inconclusive as to the effects racial segregation has on health. Some argue that racial segregation is related to poor health outcomes, whereas others suspect that racial segregation may actually lead to improved health for some minority communities. Even less is known about whether minority access to white neighborhoods improves health. We address these gaps with individual data from the 2010 Public Health Management Corporation’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey and census tract data from the 2010 Decennial Census and the 2006–2010 American Community Survey. We implement logistic multilevel models to determine whether and how a resident’s self-rated health is affected by the racial/ethnic segregation of their neighborhoods. Our key finding suggests that the effects of segregation on self-rated health depend on an individual’s race/ethnicity, with blacks and Latino residents most likely to experience adverse effects. Particularly, minorities living in predominantly white communities have a significantly higher likelihood to report poor/fair health than they would in segregated minority neighborhoods. These findings make clear that access to white neighborhoods is not sufficient to improve minority health; fuller neighborhood integration is necessary to ensure all have health equity.


Workplace Discrimination Predicting Racial/Ethnic Socialization Across African American, Latino, and Chinese Families

Carolin Hagelskamp & Diane Hughes
Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, forthcoming

Informed by Kohn and Schooler’s (1969) occupational socialization framework, this study examined linkages between racial/ethnic minority mothers’ perceptions of racial/ethnic discrimination in the workplace and adolescents’ accounts of racial/ethnic socialization in the home. Data were collected from 100 mother–early adolescent dyads who participated in a longitudinal study of urban adolescents’ development in the Northeastern United States, including African American, Latino, and Chinese families. Mothers and adolescents completed surveys separately. We found that when mothers reported more frequent institutional discrimination at work, adolescents reported more frequent preparation for bias messages at home, across racial/ethnic groups. Mothers’ experiences of interpersonal prejudice at work were associated with more frequent cultural socialization messages among African American and Latino families. Chinese youth reported fewer cultural socialization messages when mothers perceived more frequent interpersonal prejudice at work. Findings are discussed in the context of minority groups’ distinct social histories and economic status in the United States.


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