Traci Burch

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The Suburban Promise of Brown

Traci Burch

TraciTraci Burch is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University and Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation. Her research interests include social policy, political behavior, and criminal justice. Burch is the author of Trading Democracy for Justice, published by the University of Chicago Press, and is coauthor of Creating a New Racial Order, published by Princeton University Press. Her work has appeared in several peer reviewed journals, including Political Behavior, Law and Society Review, and Criminology and Public Policy.

Speaker Abstract
Can We All Get Along, Revisited: Racial Attitudes, the Tolerance for Diversity, and the Prospects for Integration in the 21st Century  

The talk will build on themes first articulated in Creating a New Racial Order by Jennifer Hochschild, Vesla Weaver, and Traci Burch, published by Princeton University Press in 2012.  Creating a New Racial Order presents the argument that four demographic and social phenomena—immigration, multiracialism, generational replacement, and genomic science—have the potential to upset the existing hierarchical relationships between the racial groups living in the United States.  These phenomena exert their transformative pressure by 1) shifting definitions of what races are; 2) adding and erasing racial groups and redefining who fits into them; 3) changing social relations among groups;  4) reassigning groups to different levels of economic and political power; and 5) changing the legal status and rights of racial groups.  The book also acknowledges several forces, such as mass incarceration and wealth gaps, that might exert cross pressures that can block potentially positive transformations in the American racial hierarchy. This presentation will focus on the possibility that immigration and generational replacement—particularly with respect to the increasing diversity of younger Americans—can exert pressure on social relations enough to sustain communities that are mixed by race and income.  I will present updated data on attitudes toward neighborhood diversity by age and race, as well as an overview of research on the ways in which racial attitudes can shape neighborhood preferences.  In doing so, I hope to encourage the audience to think about possible ways to encourage the acceptance of diverse neighborhoods as well as to understand the forces that block the viability of such arrangements.