This article examines the ways that members of three adjoining stably racially diverse urban communities conceptualize and engage diversity, and the ways in which their discourse and actions are cohesive with federal policies. Making use of interviews with 41 active residents in these communities, I argue that even in liberal, pro-Obama, racially diverse communities, a considerable amount of ambivalence exists in both thought and action connected to diversity, an ambivalence which is cohesive with Obama’s own federal policies that impact neighborhoods like these. The community members define diversity broadly beyond race, are ambivalent about its presence in their community, and do not undertake significant steps as a community to maintain it. Similarly, while Obama’s federal urban and housing policies speak broadly to underserved businesses, equity, and inclusiveness, the strongest and most concrete thrust to these policies is geared toward development. In the absence of stronger policy to support racial diversity in local urban communities, such development efforts are likely to sustain segregation and gentrification; this is all the more likely when local communities are themselves ambivalent about racial diversity and fail to enact intentional measures to sustain it.
Gender and Sexuality | Race and Ethnicity | Sociology | Theory, Knowledge and Science
Burke, Meghan, "Diversity and Its Discontents: Ambivalence in Neighborhood Policy and Racial Attitudes in the Obama Era" (2010). Scholarship. 11.