Why Does Segregation Linger As America and Metro Detroit Grow More Diverse?

“Those legacies are still, in many ways, tearing us apart.”

Detroit Future City

Since 1990, Southeast Michigan has remained the most segregated metropolitan area in the nation.

While these racial dividing lines between the places we choose to live are not unique to Metro Detroit, it is certainly most stark here.

Our struggles with housing segregation and attempts at integration are borne through a long history marked by riots, rebellions, redlining, and the construction of freeways that quite literally demolished minority neighborhoods and put a physical barrier between the neighborhoods that remained.

Today, our region — like the rest of the country — is also becoming more diverse. What could this mean for segregation and integration of the places we live? Has it had any effect? Will it have any effect moving forward? Or will the dividing lines drawn out decades ago remain in perpetuity?

The Washington Post recently published a report titled “America is more diverse than ever — but still segregated.” It examines many of these questions on a national level.

Michael Bader — assistant professor of sociology at American University — is quoted a number of times in the article. Bader studies how cities and neighborhoods have evolved since the height of the Civil Rights Movement. He links long-term patterns of neighborhood racial change to the ways that race and class influence the housing search process.

Bader joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to talk about these trends.

“The unfortunate reality is…kind of a survival mentality that the costs of racism and the history of racism in the United States has basically meant that those legacies are still, in many ways, tearing us apart,” says Bader.

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.


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    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.