Long Time Coming: Racial Inequality in the Nonmetropolitan South, 1940-1990

By Mark A. Fossett; M. Therese Seibert | Go to book overview

1
Introduction

Racial inequality is one of the most striking features of the American stratification system. That this remains so as the twentieth century draws to a close is surprising and sobering given the sweeping political and social changes that have taken place over the past three decades. It has now been more than thirty years since landmark Civil Rights and Voting Rights legislation was enacted into law in the mid-1960s. These acts and subsequent related legislation, executive orders, and court decisions ended state-supported segregation and formally prohibited discrimination in voting, public accommodations, housing, education, and employment. Also at this time the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was established to promote equality of opportunity in education, employment, and housing and was later empowered to require remedial actions if employers were found guilty of discrimination ( Burstein 1994; Rose 1989). In conjunction with executive orders and court decisions it fostered implementation of policies of "affirmative action" aimed at redressing inequalities of the past. As these changes in the legal sphere were taking place, remarkable changes in racial attitudes also were occurring. Levels of racial prejudice openly expressed by Whites fell dramatically and expressed support for equality of opportunity irrespective of race increased significantly ( Schuman, Steeh, and Bobo 1985). Had sociologists and other social scientists of the 1950s been informed that these social changes were about to transpire, they could not have been faulted for predicting that racial inequality would be well on its way to being a thing of the past by the close of the century.

Of course this is not the case; racial inequality endures. To be sure, a few long-term trends suggesting movement toward equality can be noted for select groups (e.g., the young and highly educated) and for a few indicators (e.g., the representation of minorities among

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Long Time Coming: Racial Inequality in the Nonmetropolitan South, 1940-1990
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Tables and Figures xi
  • Preface xv
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • Notes 16
  • 2 - Determinants of Racial Inequality in Nonmetropolitan Areas 18
  • Notes 70
  • 3 - Measurement Issues 76
  • Notes 89
  • 4 - Trends in Inequality 91
  • Notes 126
  • 5 - Cross-Sectional Analyses 129
  • Notes 156
  • 6 - Longitudinal Analyses 159
  • Notes 185
  • 7 - Overview and Discussion 187
  • Appendix A - Measuring Inequality 195
  • Notes 224
  • Appendix B - Measuring Inequality with Census Occupation Data 229
  • Notes 246
  • Appendix C - Measures 248
  • Notes 258
  • References 261
  • Index 273
  • About the Book and Authors 285
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