Race, Place and Assimilation in America’s Melting Pot Suburbs

Programs for Teachers
Newberry Teachers' Consortium
Thursday, May 20, 2010

One of the most striking indicators of our new multiracial age is the growing racial and ethnic diversity of American suburbs. Suburbs are no longer the exclusively white enclaves that they were during the early post World-War II period, when developments such as Levittown established their racially homogeneous image for a generation. Rather, the increasing numbers of blacks, Hispanics, and Asians living outside central cities have contributed to the emergence of what demographers call “melting pot suburbs.” Blacks and immigrants from Asia and Latin America are not only transforming the face of suburbia, they also are coming into closer and more complicated contact with each other and with whites. This seminar will consider whether residential contact among minorities and whites in these suburban settings is leading to the greater tolerance and understanding associated with America’s melting pot ideal or is instead leading to more inter-group prejudice and conflict.

Seminar led by Reuel Rogers, Northwestern University

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