The enduring challenge of racial integration in the United States


This paper formulates a new model of racial integration for African Americans in the United States, based upon a careful consideration of the weaknesses in previous models. Instead of spatial mixing, this model of integration calls for transformed habits of interaction between citizens in public spaces, as well as a redistribution of power, understood as access to resources and opportunities. Integration along these lines would produce mutual transformation rather than compulsory assimilation. However, this model does not necessarily answer the concerns of integration critics who question the capacity of the United States to achieve true racial equality. Hence, the conclusion considers three significant obstacles to the achievement of integration, and acknowledges that unprecedented, radical transformations would be necessary to lay the groundwork for integration. In the end, both integration pessimism and a renewed commitment to integration are reasonable and defensible responses to our still-segregated present.

Publication Title

Du Bois Review