Geographic Geographic Self-Sorting and Racial Attitudes

in The Paradoxes of Integration

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780226626628
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226626642 | DOI:
Geographic Geographic Self-Sorting and Racial Attitudes

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Racial attitudes vary across different social environments, with racial diversity at the metropolitan level often causing racial tension. In particular, whites, African Americans, and Latinos residing in more racially diverse metropolitan areas exhibit higher levels of interracial competition and resentment. The opposite is true at the neighborhood level: people who live in racially diverse neighborhoods show higher levels of racial tolerance, while those found in homogeneous neighborhoods show higher levels of racial mistrust and resentment. One self-evident and plausible explanation is geographic self-selection, which attributes the tendency of people in integrated neighborhoods to be more racially tolerant to their greater willingness to live in racially diverse settings. In contrast, racially intolerant people prefer to live in more segregated places. Therefore, the pronounced differences across neighborhoods indicate geographic sorting based on the degree of racial animosity. This chapter examines how people's neighborhood racial preferences influence the relationship between racial attitudes and social environments. Blacks, Latinos, and Asian Americans may show preferences for same-race neighborhoods, but this is unrelated to their animosities toward other races.

Keywords: racial attitudes; social environments; whites; African Americans; Latinos; Asian Americans; racial animosity; geographic self-selection; racial preferences; diversity

Chapter.  5190 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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