Dayton Daily News reports on national segregation study
February 6, 2012 — The Dayton Daily News has published an article, “Dayton slowly moving toward integration,” reporting on a controversial new study about racial segregation in the United States. The article, by staff writer Mary McCarty, also includes commentary by MVFHC President/CEO Jim McCarthy and features the story of a local African American woman who turned to MVFHC for help after she suspected she had faced discrimination.
The study, “The End of the Segregated Century: Racial Separation in America’s Neighborhoods, 1890–2010,” by the conservative think tank Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, reports that black segregation is at its lowest point in the past century and that segregation in Dayton has dropped 22 percent in the past 40 years. The report also claims that “all-white neighborhoods are effectively extinct,” although it acknowledges that segregation has not disappeared.
“We have made progress, but there’s a long way to go,” MVFHC’s President/CEO Jim McCarthy says in the article. “It’s simply not true that all-white neighborhoods are extinct. We have laws on the books that redlining is illegal, but instances are constantly being discovered.”
In the article, Mary McCarty reports on the experiences of Tiffany Bryant, an African American nurse who faced problems last year applying for an apartment at a complex in Centerville. Suspecting discrimination, Bryant contacted MVFHC, and MVFHC investigated and filed a complaint that led to both parties agreeing to mediation. Bryant, who found another apartment in Centerville, remarks in the article about how she feels less trustful now of white people and wonders about how her new neighbors feel about her.
The article also quotes Ruth Thompson-Miller, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Dayton, as finding the Manhattan Institute’s study to be overly optimistic. She says, ”One family moving into a community doesn’t mean it’s diverse, and just living in a neighborhood doesn’t mean they’re welcome or that they aren’t getting harassed.” Thompson-Miller also raises concerns about disparities between whites and minorities in health and income.
Margery Turner, vice president of research for the Urban Institute, is also quoted in the article. Although the decline of segregation is “something that should be celebrated,” Turner says, “ it is hard to say that segregation is a thing of the past. I hope that Ohio’s poor grades catalyze a conversation that’s fruitful for the region and helps to remove barriers to equal opportunity and affordable housing.”