Segregation: how it Still Exists Today

The idea of segregation has existed in many distinct forms, racial segregation being the most familiar one to the general public. There is segregation by age, sex, religion, income, and color. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 intended to be a form of remedy to housing discrimination that lead back to the Jim Crow segregation era and it was supposed to be a gateway to the middleclass for African Americans. Also known as the Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, the Fair Housing Act prohibited discrimination regarding the sales and financing of housing based on race, religion, and national origin. After the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, the Fair Housing Act was addressed to President Johnson in April of 1968 due to Dr. King’s assassination riots and he referred to this responsibility as being one of the proudest moments of his entire presidency prior to signing it. However, the country still struggles to live up to the laws that were passed in the wake of Dr. King’s assassination half a century later. For example, Independent News recently reported that a prestigious independent school in New York City had ended a policy that grouped the school’s students together by race in 2017. Although it is an improvement concerning the country’s diversity, it is still evident that segregation still exists today. The NYC’s school strategy definitely caused a stir amongst the students’ parents, many of which reportedly deemed the policy as a form of segregation. However, the school’s states that its purpose was not to segregate but to form a progressive program that is rooted “”in a fundamental love of learning and a connection to the real world.”” Do you think that this is a reasonable explanation to this absurd policy that has been kept up for many years?

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By merging fiscal factors with race in the measures of segregation, it is evident that there is a relevant intersection between them. For example, there is a large difference between the number of white, black, and Hispanic students that attend low and high poverty schools. Below, Figure 1 demonstrates that white students are three times more likely to attend a wealthy school than a poor school, whereas black and Hispanic students are six times as likely to attend a poor school than a wealthy one.

Figure 1 – Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), “”Public Elementary/Secondary School

According to Mumford Center assistants Jacob Stowell and Deirdre Oakley, there is a declining share of Hispanic and black students in majority white schools since 1990. White students have moved from schools that are mainly white, increasing their portrayal in schools that are moderately white or moderately minority. Black, Hispanic and Asian students have moved from schools that are moderately white toward those that are moderately minority. In the same period, both majority white schools and majority minorities schools have experienced a significant change in the average race composition; they experienced a heavy decline in white students and gained more Hispanic students. Although this does seem like good news, there was also a sharp decline in the number of enrollments of white students in both white and minority schools at around the same time. From 1988 to 2000, there was a 5.3 percentage point decline in the share of white students in schools of the average black student to the current low of 30.9%. However, the current exposure of black students to white students is considerably higher than it was in 1968 (45.9% vs. 37.7%).

Segregation not only applies to race or classism, but to sex and gender. During a press conference, Rep. Mark Walker, who is the chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee, referred to the group’s female members as “”eye candy.”” Unsurprisingly, his remark had received backlash, especially from social media. Not long after the congressman made his comment directed towards females, social media users referred it to sexist and misogynistic. Women from all over the country have dealt with this type of sexist behavior over the last couple of centuries. Women are now working in all occupations that once were solely the domain of men, and many are in important roles in business and government. However, sex segregation still remains a problem in the workplace because the norms of society restrict occupational choices by men and women. Economists Francine Blau (Cornell University), Peter Brummund (University of Alabama), and Albert Yung-Hsu Liu (Mathematica Policy Research), examined trends in occupational segregation between 1970 and 2009 and found that the process of desegregation has slowed in recent times, regardless of the education level necessary for a job. (See Figure 2.)

Occupational Gender Segregation in the United States:1970-2009

Figure 2 – Source – See Table 8 in Blau, Francine, Peter Brummund, and Albert Liu, 2013. “”Trends in Occupational Segretgation by Gender 1970-2009: Adjusting for the Impact of Changes in the Occupational Cding System.”” Demography 50(2): 471-402

Traditional economic theories have tried to explain that gender segregations are an unavoidable consequence of men and women’s “”natural differences”” regarding their skills. However, contemporary economists have considered it to be discrimination by employers. According to the “”pollution theory of discrimination””, which was written by a Harvard University Economist named Claudia Golding, men often underestimate women’s skills “”based on their current underrepresentation in certain occupations on the assumption that increasing their representation would lower overall productivity.”” Of course, this is false.

Despite the heavy decline in sexism, racism, and classism, researchers still argue that discrimination and segregation are perpetuated by the belief that people’s social, economic, familial roles should be fundamentally different, whether it is stereotypical or in the form of social pressures. Fortunately, with the world constantly changing, the issues regarding the different types of segregation can be fixed and it is all up to every single human being, including you.

Works Cited

Whitehurst, Grover J. Segretgation, Race, and Charter Schools: What Do We Know? Co-written by Richard V. Reeves, Edward Rodrigue, October 2016, pp. 27-28

Williams, Joseph P. “”Segregation’s Legacy.”” United States & World Report News 20 Apr. 2018: USNews, 16 Nov. 2018.

Brown, Deneen L. “”The Fair Housing Act was languishing in Congress. Then Martin Luther King Jr. was killed.”” The Washington Post 11 Apr. 2018: WashingtonPost 11 Nov. 2018.

Schelling, Thomas C. “”Dynamic Models of Segregation.”” Journal of Mathematical Sociology, vol 1, pp. 143-186, Gordon and Breach Science, 1971

Richards, Kimberley. “”Prestigious NYC School ends policy that grouped students by race.”” Independent 13 Nov 2016.

U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey, 2012-13, https://nces.

Mcgrew, Will. “”Gender Segregation at Work: Separate but Equal or Inefficient and Unfair”” Washington Center for Equitable Growth 18 August 2018: EquitableGrowth

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Segregation: How It Still Exists Today. (2019, Oct 31). Retrieved February 1, 2023 , from

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