Giving Compass' Take:

• In this story from Smithsonian, author Katie Nodjimbadem highlights Richard Rothstein's argument that residential segregation in cities is the result of state-sanctioned racial discrimination.

• What are the consequences of residential segregation? What inequalities in society might be solved if we were able to end residential segregation?

• To learn about the relationship between residential and educational segregation, click here.

It’s not surprising to anyone who has lived in or visited a major American metropolitan region that the nation’s cities tend to be organized in their own particular racial pattern.

A narrative of racially discriminatory landlords and bankers—all independent actors—has long served as an explanation for the isolation of African-Americans in certain neighborhoods in large cities. But this pervasive assumption rationalizing residential segregation in the United States ignores the long history of federal, state and local policies that generated the residential segregation found across the country today.

In The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, Richard Rothstein, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, aims to flip the assumption that the state of racial organization in American cities is simply a result of individual prejudices. He untangles a century’s worth of policies that built the segregated American city of today. From the first segregated public housing projects of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, to the 1949 Housing Act that encouraged white movement to the suburbs, to unconstitutional racial zoning ordinances enacted by city governments, Rothstein substantiates the argument that the current state of the American city is the direct result of unconstitutional, state-sanctioned racial discrimination.

Read the full article about residential segregation by Katie Nodjimbadem at Smithsonian