Race, Place and Culture: a Study of Whites and Segregated Neighborhoods

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Roosevelt University

Race, Place and Culture: A Study of Whites and Segregated Neighborhoods

A Thesis Submitted to The Faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences in Candidacy For the Degree of Master of Arts in Sociology

By Nancy J. Michaels Chicago Illinois May 2010

Committee:

Heather M. Dalmage, Chair Michael Maly, Second Reader

Table of Contents Acknowledgements…………………………………………………….…..……1-2 Introduction……………………………………………………….................….3-4 Methods………………………………………………………………….……….5-6 White Fear, Racial Borders and Resistance amid Racial Change.................7-10 Whiteness and Racial Borders ………………………………………...…..10-14 Protecting Racial Borders…………………………………….…………....14-27 Creating a White “Sameness”…..…………………………………….........27-31 The Church, Community & Internal Divisions among Whites.....................32-36 Whiteness in America……………………………………………….………...36-39 Shedding Ethnicity………………………………………….……………..39-43 A Culture of Deservedness…………………………………....……………39-43 Reclaiming an Ethnic Identity: Against Black Power, For “More” Whiteness………………………………………………………………….43-47 Looking Back on the Old Neighborhood: Whiteness Today…………......47-53 A Sense of Loss: Why Did This Happen To Us? ………………………...53-56 Choice of Neighborhood Today: The Legacy Remains………………......56-62 Going Back to the Neighborhood…………………………………………62-64 Color-blind Racism and the Continuation of Whiteness……………….…64-67 Trying Not to Appear Racist..……………………………………….…… 67-70 Conclusion……………………………………………………………………..70-72 References…………………………………………………………………...…74-76 Footnotes…………………………………………………………………………...77

1 Acknowledgements It is with sincere and deep gratitude that I offer the following thanks. First and foremost thank you to Dr. Heather Dalmage who first motivated me in her classroom when I started my undergraduate degree at Roosevelt University. I cannot remember ever leaving one of her classes without feeling inspired or somehow “stirred up” over the science of sociology or the injustices in society. Her rigorous style of teaching did not permit me to get away with memorization of material I would soon forget. Rather, through numerous (very numerous!) readings and stimulating, interactive class discussion, she was able to allow me to reach deep to find my own intellectual abilities that gave me the confidence to pursue an advanced degree in sociology and hopefully a long term related career. Heather makes me want to make a difference. (I hope she will forgive me for that last runon sentence!) I owe my experience in this research to Heather and to Professor Mike Maly, with whom I have had the honor of working over the past few years on this project that led to this thesis. Both amazing educators and writers; I cannot imagine a richer academic experience. The trust Mike and Heather have in me on this project has given me trust in myself. Their generosity in taking the time to teach me the process of research and share their deep knowledge and experience has been unparalleled. I especially love our conversations about the research that never stay on track; – too much going on in their heads! I am privileged to work so closely with these two experienced authors and incredible individuals.

2 Thank you to my family: my father, Frank; son, George and daughter Ryane who give me a steady diet of encouragement, support and humor. It is impossible to express how much I love and value them. I know my mother, Louise, would be proud. Last but most definitely not least is my husband, George, who is the smartest person I know. He is my partner and my pillar.

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INTRODUCTION Racial segregation is a global phenomenon with specific formations in various countries, cities and neighborhoods. W.E.B. Du Bois spoke to this more than a century ago in his poignant line: “[t]he problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line - the relation of the darker to lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the Islands of the sea” (Du...
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