American apartheid: The perpetuation of the underclass

Douglas S. Massey, Nancy A. Denton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The geographic differentiation of American cities by socioeconomic status does more than conveniently rank neighborhoods for the benefit of demographers, however; it also creates a crucial connection between social and spatial mobility. By drawing on benefits acquired through residential mobility, aspiring parents not only consolidate their own class position but enhance their and their children’s prospects for additional social mobility. In a segregated world, the deck is stacked against black socioeconomic progress, political empowerment, and full participation in the mainstream of American life. As with black business owners and professionals, the pragmatic adaptation of black politicians to the realities of segregation gave them a vested interest in the ghetto and its perpetuation. The depth of isolation in the ghetto is also evident in black speech patterns, which have evolved steadily away from Standard American English. Because of their intense social isolation, many ghetto residents have come to speak a language that is increasingly remote from that spoken by American whites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationColor - Class - Identity
Subtitle of host publicationThe New Politics Of Race
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9780429970085
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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