White Flight/Black Flight: The Dynamics of Racial Change in an American Neighborhood

White Flight/Black Flight: The Dynamics of Racial Change in an American Neighborhood

by Rachael A. Woldoff


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Urban residential integration is often fleeting—a brief snapshot that belies a complex process of racial turnover in many U.S. cities. White Flight/Black Flight takes readers inside a neighborhood that has shifted rapidly and dramatically in race composition over the last two decades. The book presents a portrait of a working-class neighborhood in the aftermath of white flight, illustrating cultural clashes that accompany racial change as well as common values that transcend race, from the perspectives of three groups: white stayers, black pioneers, and "second-wave" blacks.

Rachael A. Woldoff offers a fresh look at race and neighborhoods by documenting a two-stage process of neighborhood transition and focusing on the perspectives of two understudied groups: newly arriving black residents and whites who have stayed in the neighborhood. Woldoff describes the period of transition when white residents still remain, though in diminishing numbers, and a second, less discussed stage of racial change: black flight. She reveals what happens after white flight is complete: "Pioneer" blacks flee to other neighborhoods or else adjust to their new segregated residential environment by coping with the loss of relationships with their longer-term white neighbors, signs of community decline, and conflicts with the incoming second wave of black neighbors. Readers will find several surprising and compelling twists to the white flight story related to positive relations between elderly stayers and the striving pioneers, conflict among black residents, and differences in cultural understandings of what constitutes crime and disorder.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801477287
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 04/15/2011
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Rachael A. Woldoff is Associate Professor of Sociology at West Virginia University. She is coauthor of High Stakes: Big Time Sports and Urban Redevelopment.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: What Happens to a Neighborhood after White Flight? 1

1 The Parkmont Environment 12

2 Choosing Parkmont: Whites Staying and Blacks Pioneering 32

3 Stella Zuk's Story: Choosing to Stay 72

4 Cross-Racial Caregiving: Pioneers Helping Stayers to Age in place 89

5 Ken Wilkinson: Striving for the Next Generation 111

6 Black Flight: Consequences of Neighborhood Cultural Conflict 135

7 Billy's Narrative: Clashing in Parkmont 176

8 Skipping School: The Negative Effects of a Neighborhood Institution 192

9 Conclusions: Understanding the Cultural Dynamics of Neighborhood Change 213

Appendix 231

References 233

Index 245

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