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Presence of racial and ethnic separation is a reality in the 21st century. Thoughts of racial heterogeneous societies where race is not a factor to be considered in making major decisions are far from being realized. The racial composition of a residential area has a significant influence on who stays in that area.
Sentiments for racial separation are so strong that those who engage in interracial marriage are almost considered outcasts by the people of their races. By examining this week’s readings, it will be shown that racial and ethnic separation is a reality in today’s society.
Racial and Ethnic Separation
White Americans feel unsafe when interacting with people from other races. This feeling is especially pronounced when the people in question are African Americans. Furthermore, white Americans have been shown to feel secure when staying in communities that are dominated by fellow white Americans.
According to Emerson and Yancey, the race of the dominant population in a given community is a huge factor for white Americans when seeking residency in that community. Emerson and Yancey demonstrated that when white Americans buy houses for their residency or even for business purpose, the races of the people staying around the home or house to be bought is always considered.
They further showed that white Americans’ tolerance for other races around their residential areas differs with the race in question. African Americans were shown to be the least tolerated by the white Americans. It was shown that a continued influx of African Americans into a residential area that is dominantly occupied by white Americans will lead to a “white flight” – whereby the white Americans will shift from the residential area.
Price and Singer observed that the county of Fairfax in metropolitan Washington is an ideal example of a white flight incident. In less than a generation, immigrants replaced white Americans in this county. Emerson and Yancey observed that white American couples with children under 18 years of age are the most sensitive and will be the first to move out of a residential area if they feel its racial mixture is going out of balance in favor of other races.
Dalmage studied the racial and ethnic separation in regard to interracial marriages. According to statistics, the change in the percentage of interracial marriage from 1980 to 2010 was 9.6.
Dalmage noted that 43 percent of the society believes that interracial marriages change the society for better while 44 percent are of the opinion that these marriages create no difference in the society. 11 percent believes interracial marriages change the society for worse. More details showed that white Americans are the least willing to engage in interracial marriages followed by African Americans, Hispanics and Asians in that order.
For those white Americans who prefer interracial marriages, preference for marriage partners is first given to the Hispanics, then the Asians and last the African Americans. It was shown that African American men compared to African American women are more likely to pick a couple from a different race than their own.
For the Asians the case was opposite whereby men compared to women are less likely to get a couple from a different race than their own.
The Reaction Part
Racial segregation is strong in today’s society. People of different races prefer to deal with people of their own races. This tendency has especially been seen to be very strong among the white Americans. As already noted above, white Americans are not comfortable staying near or around regions where the racial mixture is heterogeneous. African Americans have particularly been the core of this white American discomfort.
Emerson and Yancey argued that this is because white Americans associate African Americans with violence. In the eyes of white Americans, an increasing volume of African Americans in a residential area is an indication of a future marred with violence thus the need to take an early flight out. Emerson and Yancey made a good and logical analysis in explaining the white American and African American segregation.
The point on violence makes a lot of sense in explaining why white Americans do not prefer staying near African Americans. Taking into consideration that statistics have shown that African Americans engage more in violence than people of any other races, it is understandable why white Americans prefer non African American neighborhoods.
Dalmage offered deep insights on why white Americans least prefer African Americans for marriage partners. Dalmage argued that white American women are looked upon by the white American society as the preservers of white American racial purity. She further argued that white American women who cross the border to have sexual intimacy with African American men are looked down upon by the white American society.
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This society considers them unattractive and unintelligent. These women are further said to be contaminated and consequently they lose their eligibility as white American women in the eyes of white American society. Dalmage further observed that such women are constantly subjected to criticism and hostility which in most cases lead them to end their relationship with African American men.
On the hand, African American women who enter into interracial marriages were said to end these marriages at some point. Dalmage argued that this is because of the dedication of these women to their African American community.
The three articles did a great work analyzing the racial and ethnic separation. Among the three articles, the article by Dalmage had the best chance to cover the background of the intolerance between white Americans and African Americans in a more detailed manner. The best way to understand the segregation between these two is by examining their historical relationship.
Actually, some of the questions that Emerson and Yancey raised in their article can be answered by looking back at the historical relationship of these two races. For instance, Emerson and Yancey wondered why white Americans will not prefer to stay in a dominant black community even when the conditions were that there was no violence. In the 1950s, white Americans, especially in the South, viewed African Americans as lesser human beings.
It may be argued that this attitude among white Americans towards African Americans still exists in its weakest form. This is the only logical way to explain why the white American society considers white American women contaminated when they get into marriage with African American men.
Racial and ethnic separation is still experienced in our society. Studies have shown that white Americans are the most sensitive to issues touching on race. They isolate themselves from other races and are comfortable staying alone in regions where they form the racial majority.
It has also been shown that white Americans are very intolerant to African Americans and will pick them only as the last resort as their neighbors or marriage partners. This intolerance is rooted in historical relationship between the white Americans and the African Americans.