Hate Thy Neighbor: Move-In Violence and the Persistence of Racial Segregation in American Housing

Overview


Hate They Neighbor shows in devastating detail the rise and persistence of tactics for preventing residential racial integration, starting in the 20th century and continuing into the present. Although many minorities can find good housing in areas they can afford, just enough of their neighbors still greet them with cross-burnings, firebombs, and violence to send an ongoing warning: integrate at your own risk."
—Amanda I. Seligman, ...
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Hate Thy Neighbor: Move-In Violence and the Persistence of Racial Segregation in American Housing

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Overview


Hate They Neighbor shows in devastating detail the rise and persistence of tactics for preventing residential racial integration, starting in the 20th century and continuing into the present. Although many minorities can find good housing in areas they can afford, just enough of their neighbors still greet them with cross-burnings, firebombs, and violence to send an ongoing warning: integrate at your own risk."
—Amanda I. Seligman, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Despite increasing racial tolerance and national diversity, neighborhood segregation remains a very real problem in cities across America. Scholars, government officials, and the general public have long attempted to understand why segregation persists despite efforts to combat it, traditionally focusing on the issue of “white flight,” or the idea that white residents will move to other areas if their neighborhood becomes integrated. In Hate Thy Neighbor, Jeannine Bell expands upon these understandings by investigating a little-examined but surprisingly prevalent problem of “move-in violence:” the anti-integration violence directed by white residents at minorities who move into their neighborhoods. Apprehensive about their new neighbors and worried about declining property values, these residents resort to extra-legal violence and intimidation tactics, often using vandalism and verbal harassment to combat what they view as a violation of their territory.

Hate Thy Neighbor is the first work to seriously examine the role violence plays in maintaining housing segregation, illustrating how intimidation and fear are employed to force minorities back into separate neighborhoods and prevent meaningful integration. Drawing on evidence that includes in-depth interviews with ordinary citizens and analysis of Fair Housing Act cases, Bell provides a moving examination of how neighborhood racial violence is enabled today and how it harms not only the victims, but entire communities.

By finally shedding light on this disturbing phenomenon, Hate Thy Neighbor not only enhances our understanding of how prevalent segregation and this type of hate-crime remain, but also offers insightful analysis of a complex mix of remedies that can work to address this difficult problem.
Jeannine Bell is Professor of Law at IU Maurer School of Law-Bloomington. She is the author of Policing Hatred: Law Enforcement, Civil Rights, and Hate Crime; Police and Policing Law; and Gaining Access to Research Sites: A Practical and Theoretical Guide for Qualitative Researchers (with Martha Feldman and Michele Berger).

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Americans are increasingly racially diverse and tolerant—a 2007 Gallup Poll indicated that 75% of whites approve of interracial marriage—but we still live in relatively segregated neighborhoods, although not necessarily by choice. “There is significant evidence that minorities who move into white neighborhoods experience violence on a nearly daily basis,” Bell writes, citing 455 incidents of anti-integrationist violence between 1990 and 2010, including 44 cases of arson and 96 burning crosses. Though these numbers may be surprising, the majority of present-day cross burners and arsonists are not members of extremist groups. Bell (Policing Hatred: Law Enforcement, Civil Rights, and Hate Crime), a professor at Bloomington’s IU Maurer School of Law, contends that racially motivated violence is most likely to occur in “entrenched white neighborhoods” where individuals choose to fight integration as if defending against a foreign enemy. An impassioned advocate, the author puts a human face on statistics, drawing our attention to the financial and psychological damage sustained by individual victims of move-in violence. These victims are mostly African-Americans, who moved out of segregated housing into white neighborhoods. The cumulative effect is powerful and disturbing—a nuanced view of race relations in the age of Obama and a reminder to civil rights advocates of unfinished business. (June)
From the Publisher

"An important, informative, disturbing, surprisingly encouraging book. Although I’ve taught, researched, and written about housing discrimination and segregation for decades, this book exposed me to much that I hadn’t known. . . . The facts Bell relates are shocking in their cruelty and brutality. . . . A 'must read' for anyone concerned about residential racial discrimination and segregation."-Florence Wagman Roisman,William F. Harvey Professor of Law, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

"An impassioned advocate, the author puts a human face on statistics, drawing our attention to the financial and psychological damage sustained by individual victims of move-in violence...The cumulative effect is powerful and disturbing—a nuanced view of race relations in the age of Obama and a reminder to civil rights advocates of unfinished business."-Publishers Weekly,

"Hate They Neighbor shows in devastating detail the rise and persistence of tactics for preventing residential racial integration, starting in the 20th century and continuing into the present. Although many minorities can find good housing in areas they can afford, just enough of their neighbors still greet them with cross-burnings, firebombs, and violence to send an ongoing warning: integrate at your own risk."-Amanda I. Seligman,University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

"A fascinating and deeply upsetting look at the issue of white Americans perpetrating violence in order to prevent housing integration. Recommended for scholarly readers interested in the intersection of law, public policy, and race."-Rachel Bridgewater,Library Journal

"Puts an unsparing spotlight on one of the least discussed yet most intractable barriers to full civil rights for all Americans. . . . Stunning and tragic. . . . Hate Thy Neighbor is both empirical and poignant. Her proposals for how to address this enduring scandal will, without any doubt, launch new reflection, new movements, new hope."-Patricia J. Williams,Columbia Law School

Library Journal
The problem of racial segregation in housing is a troublingly persistent one, lingering even as national attitudes toward diversity become more positive. In this disturbing book, Bell (law, Illinois Univ.; Policing Hatred: Law Enforcement, Civil Rights, and Hate Crime) explores this issue not by focusing on the oft-discussed “white flight”—white residents leaving a neighborhood when minorities move in—but by looking at what happens when white residents choose to stay and fight integration, often with chilling violence. Bell’s richly detailed book is a comprehensive exploration of the issue of “move-in violence.” She begins by examining the history of housing segregation and the legal and policy frameworks that have affected the state of housing integration since the Civil War. Especially illuminating is the chapter exploring the roles that class and power play in this complicated dynamic and examining the paradox of persistent violence in a culture that has become increasingly racially tolerant. Bell also discusses remedies that may be available to help address this problem.

Verdict A fascinating and deeply upsetting look at the issue of white Americans perpetrating violence in order to prevent housing integration. Recommended for scholarly readers interested in the intersection of law, public policy, and race.—Rachel Bridgewater, Portland Community Coll. Lib., OR
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814791448
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 6/8/2013
  • Pages: 259
  • Sales rank: 956,599
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeannine Bell is Professor of Law at IU Maurer School of Law-Bloomington. She is the author of Policing Hatred: Law Enforcement, Civil Rights, and Hate Crime; Police and Policing Law; and Gaining Access to Research Sites: A Practical and Theoretical Guide for Qualitative Researchers (with Martha Feldman and Michele Berger).

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Table of Contents

Contents
Acknowledgments ix
Introduction: Violence and the Neighborhood Color Line 1
1. The Roots of Contemporary Move-In Violence 11
2. The Contemporary Dynamics of Move-In Violence 53
3. Anti-Integrationist Violence and the 86
Tolerance-Violence Paradox
4. Racism or Power? Explaining Perpetrator Motivation 117
in Interethnic Cases
5. When Class Trumps Race: Explaining Perpetrator 136
Motivation in Interclass Cases
6. Responding to Neighborhood Hate Crimes 164
Conclusion: The Reality of Anti-Integrationist Violence 191
and Prospects for Integration
Notes 209
Index 243
About the Author 249

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