Read/React: An Interview with Sheryll Cashin

The distinguished legal mind discusses the triumphs and shortcomings of integration...

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Found this interview with Sheryll Cashin over on The Urbanite Magazine. Below is an excerpt

Q Why was there this “failure of integration” once we broke the back of segregation?

A
I want to underscore that we did have a chief victory with the civil rights movement. The civil rights movement transformed this country seemingly overnight. We went from a country where 80 percent of the people in surveys would say openly that “I would move if a black person moved into my neighborhood,” to where a vast majority of people would say the opposite: “No, I wouldn’t move. In fact, I might be happy that there’s some diversity coming to my neighborhood.”

In opinion polls, the vast majority of Americans will say that they believe America should be an integrated society and that they think of America as a place where no one should be limited in their access to anything based on race. But where we’re falling down is [with] our public policies, [which] actually are premised on the idea that people should be separated based on race and class. We no longer have de jure segregation where the state mandated that the races be separate. But so many of our major public policies steer us in the segregated direction.

[Consider] local zoning. America has more local governments than most westernized nations because we’ve bought this religion of local power that [says] democracy should occur at the lowest level, closest to the city. It fosters this parochialism and this idea that we have to zone to create the best tax base possible. So we won’t have garden-variety, affordable apartments in our town because that doesn’t give us high property values. Another is historic policies where the federal government taught banks and the lending industry to be fearful of neighborhoods where the classes mix, so investment in housing tends to be skewed toward segregated areas. I could go on and on.

Read on at The Urbanite Magazine

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