"Social Race" and Black-White Segregation
Returning to the conceptual framework in Figure 1-1, racial prejudice underlies the discriminatory behavior practiced by whites against blacks. The persistence of segregation is based in part on these attitudes and behaviors, although human attitudes are often not consistent with behavior. Black skin color and (ultimate) ancestry in the African homeland (mainly western Africa) are social markers of African Americans that trigger prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory behavior among whites. White attitudes about the "quality" of neighborhoods, and inceasing emigration, as the proportion of blacks rises are very instructive in this regard.
As noted in Chapter 1, and elaborated later (Chapter 3), the combination of persistent segregation and the perpetuation of high poverty rates in the black population results in the concentration of urban blacks in high-poverty areas. Furthermore, social class stratification within black groups, related to some degree to skin color, also contributes (to a lesser extent) to this concentration of poverty ( Massey and Denton, 1993).
Moreover, sociologists and anthropologists have shown that within the black community an association between darker skin color and lower social class (or social status), especially among women, has persisted, ( Keith and Herring, 1991; Dressier, 1993). Thus, upward social mobility for blacks continues to be associated with "whiteness" in skin color, as well as with adoption of white values and lifestyle, despite the emergence of black pride and cultural awareness in recent decades. The social relevance of skin color is dramatized by the "bleaching syndrome" or the attempt to overcome the obstacles to assimilation related to the "stigma" of dark skin color within Hispanic populations by the use of "beauty" creams and folk preparations to lighten the color of the skin ( Hall, 1994). In The Fact of Blackness, Fanon( 1992; originally published in French in 1952) wrote of the search for a serum for "denegrification" to "throw off the burden of that corporal malediction" of blackness as viewed by the white majority and incorporated by some blacks in the desire for integration.