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 the life 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 different groups who are living it: 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
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.
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