The Brief

Over centuries, we have become increasingly aware of the role race plays in America. 

Even still, where we live has been a factor of inequity often neglected. 

Racial residential segregation rates are growing higher, surpassing the prevalence of economic segregation and gentrification. Although the Biden administration has issued a plan to establish racial equity, the economic conditions of segregated neighborhoods need to be addressed, as well as the promotion of racial integration. 

What has partially led to the growth of residential segregation is a failure to understand its gravity. Researchers at UC Berkeley discovered major metropolitan areas of the U.S. were 80% more segregated in 2019 than in 1990. 

Suburbanization created a system that inherently segregated the nation’s neighborhoods by income.The divide had a snowball effect on race, putting predominantly Black neighborhoods’ housing values at a much lower average. 

A 2017 report from the Urban Institute and Chicago’s Metropolitan Planning Council found racial segregation levels linked to lower educational attainment for both white and Black people, as well as lessened public safety levels for all residents of an area. 

Examining these trends is crucial because public policy has failed us and caused “multigenerational negative impacts on health, social mobility and wealth for people of color,” while also adding to the contention of society as a whole.

The Biden administration devised a number of initiatives to promote racial equity, some aimed at fair housing rates and eliminating racial bias at a community level. But what steps has he taken thus far to ensure these ambitions? 

The promises themselves do little to combat racial disparities and to consider the deep-rooted problem at hand. Not only should Americans have access to affordable housing, but these advances should pinpoint integration. 

Local and state governments have made progress in diminishing exclusionary zoning, but they must be pushed to continue this agenda. From having such an ingrained system of segregation, the hope to combat it remains slim. The uproar displayed during last year’s racial justice protests needs to carry on if substantial progress is to be made.

Racial inequities must be addressed, and a racially segregated society is something that inherently prevents the nation from moving forward.

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