“Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”

Following his election to the Alabama Governor’s Office in 1963, George Wallace proclaimed in his inauguration speech delivered on January 14, 1964: “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

Governor Wallace, it seems, was something of a prophet. Recent analysis done on the American Community Survey (ACS), which is an ongoing data gathering effort of the U.S. Census Bureau, shows that little has changed in the United States in terms of “racial” segregation in the past forty years. ACS data covering the period 2005 – 2009 include these key findings:

  • In a country that is only 12.1 percent African-American, 30 percent of African-Americans live in Census Block Groups that are 75 percent African-American or more.
  • 75 percent of African-Americans in the country live in only 16 percent of the Census Block Groups in the United States.
  • 50 percent of African-Americans live in Census Block Groups that have a combined African-American and Latino population of 66.85 percent or more (nationally, the Latino population is approximately 15.8 percent, so the combined African-American and Latino population is just shy of only 28 percent).

The concentration of blacks and Latinos in certain residential areas, which is a result of poverty and long-term and seemingly intractable problems of housing discrimination, negatively impacts access to employment, education, and finance. It also produces the conditions for over-policing and the ghetto to prison pipeline that feeds black and Latinos directly into the Prison Industrial Complex.

The Remapping Debate website, which is sponsored by the Anti-Discrimination Center (ADC), contains an article from which the above findings were drawn and mapping tools that enable users to examine in remarkable detail patterns of segregation nationwide. Click the following link to access the article and related materials: “Mapping and analysis of new data documents still-segregated America.”

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