The Civic and Social Paradoxes of Neighborhood Racial Integration

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:
The Civic and Social Paradoxes of Neighborhood Racial Integration

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Integration is an appealing yet complex concept. People who live around other races show more tolerance and are more likely to establish interracial friendships and social contacts, and would seem to have no problem living in a larger, multicultural society. Considering that whites remain the largest minority group in the United States, however, predominantly white areas will inevitably be penetrated by other groups. Under such circumstances, integration will have different meaning for whites, Asian Americans, African Americans, and Latinos. This chapter, which explores how people's racial environments influence their involvement in community life, shows that feelings of community and civic engagement are linked to a person's racial surroundings. Compared with their counterparts in segregated places, whites residing in integrated neighborhoods are less civically active, are less trusting of their neighbors, and feel a weaker sense of community. Compared with African Americans, civic participation by Asian Americans and Latinos is shaped less by their social surroundings than by their levels of integration into American society.

Keywords: integration; whites; Asian Americans; African Americans; Latinos; racial environments; community life; civic engagement; integrated neighborhoods; social surroundings

Chapter.  6773 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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