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  • This was Levittown, Pennsylvania, shortly after World War II.

  • In a suburb that explicitly promised a white-only neighborhood.

  • And it wasn't some outlier.

  • It was the prototypical suburb,

  • built by the father of suburbiaBill Levittwho created several suburbs around

  • the US, all named Levittown.

  • But one reason Levitt wanted a white-only community was because the US government was

  • subsidizing itand that's what they wanted.

  • They said they didn't want "racially inharmonious groups" lowering property values.

  • That's why Levitt didn't just sell cookie-cutter houses.

  • He sold a meticulously crafted, affordable, utopian lifestyle.

  • So as the courts integrated public spaces, like schools, more and more white people fled

  • to these suburbs.

  • And these patterns are still the defining characteristic of America's racial geography.

  • But we now spend most of our time at work.

  • It gets a lot more complicated.

  • "More than a million persons each year have pulled up stakes in the city and turned commuter…"

  • Shortly after the first Levittown broke ground in 1947 in Long Island, New York, about 80 percent

  • of men still commuted the hour to Manhattan.

  • And while neighborhoods were getting deeply segregated, these workplaces were getting

  • more diverse.

  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 banned employment discrimination.

  • More companies explicitly said they were "equal opportunity employers."

  • And segregation within our workplaces declined.

  • This meant the workplace was a crucial environment for us to interact with people of other races.

  • Except that's not exactly how it turned out.

  • A few months ago, researchers at Cornell and Penn State shared a dataset with meand

  • when I mapped it, it kind of blew my mind.

  • This is a map of where people work in modern-day Chicago.

  • The taller an area, the more people there are.

  • But now, let's color in each neighborhood by the percentage of white people.

  • You can see the city centers are pretty diverse.

  • But, now, here's what happens when they go home.

  • What's even more astounding is what happens when we map people of color.

  • Here's where black people work in Chicago.

  • Again, they're concentrated in diverse city centers.

  • But when black workers go home, they go to very segregated neighborhoods, clustered in

  • the poorer areas.

  • And we can see the same patterns in DC.

  • Detroit.

  • Philadelphia.

  • Pretty much everywhere in the US.

  • These maps shows just how stubborn residential segregation is.

  • But they also show what looks like a glimmer of hope for integration:

  • cities are remarkably

  • diverse during the work day.

  • This got researchers interested in looking closer at what's at work.

  • Let's look at how segregation has changed in recent year.

  • From 2000 to 2010, residential segregation between black and white people got slightly better.

  • For the most part, segregation just mostly plateaued for all racial groups.

  • But when researchers looked at how segregation changed during the day, when we're at work,

  • they found that segregation increased slightly across all racial groups.

  • When we zoom in some more to the company level,

  • we can see a bit more of what's actually happening.

  • Researchers at Stanford and Harvard found, within a company, segregation levels have

  • gone down very little.

  • In other words, we're exposed to about as much diversity now... as we were a generation ago.

  • But there are a lot more people of color now than there were in 1980.

  • So what's going on?

  • Well, they aren't being more represented at these white-majority companies, which would

  • look like this.

  • Rather, they are getting opportunities at companies that are mostly

  • non-white, over here.

  • So this means that, when we look at this from a company level, segregation has actually

  • gotten worse than a generation ago.

  • Of course, some places are pretty diverse.

  • So researchers looked at what kinds of places actually have less segregation during the day.

  • But they found that, if a place is diverse during the daytime, it's likely not because

  • people of all races are working alongside each other.

  • Rather, it's likely because most of the higher status workers, like managers, are white.

  • and the lower-status workers, like janitors, are people of color.

  • American policies engineered our segregated homes.

  • But workwhere we spend most of our time?

  • Many thought that could be a space where we form meaningful relationships with people

  • of other racial backgrounds.

  • That hasn't quite happened.

  • And we can see it in the most personal parts of our lives.

  • In 2014, the Public Religion Research Institute asked Americans to list the people with whom

  • they "discussed important matters" in the past six months.

  • In other words, our friends.

  • Most Hispanic people had friends of other races.

  • About one in three black people did, too.

  • But 75 percent of white people only had white friends.

  • In short, we may be exposed to diverse spaces,

  • but we still live very segregated lives.

  • "The whole trouble with this integration business is that in the end it probably will end up with mixing, socially."

This was Levittown, Pennsylvania, shortly after World War II.

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B1 US Vox segregation diverse segregated people white people

American segregation, mapped at day and night

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    joey joey posted on 2021/05/18
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