Hate Thy Neighbor

Move-In Violence and the Persistence of Racial Segregation in American Housing

Jeannine Bell

NYU Press (publisher)

Despite increasing
racial tolerance and national diversity, neighborhood segregation remains a
very real problem in cities across America. Scholars, government officials, and
the general public have long attempted to understand why segregation persists
despite efforts to combat it, traditionally focusing on the issue of “white
flight,” or the idea that white residents will move to other areas if their
neighborhood becomes integrated. In Hate
Thy Neighbor, Jeannine Bell expands upon these understandings by
investigating a little-examined but surprisingly prevalent problem of “move-in
violence:” the anti-integration violence directed by white residents at
minorities who move into their neighborhoods. Apprehensive about their new
neighbors and worried about declining property values, these residents resort
to extra-legal violence and intimidation tactics, often using vandalism and
verbal harassment to combat what they view as a violation of their territory. Hate Thy Neighbor is the first work to seriously examine the
role violence plays in maintaining housing segregation, illustrating how
intimidation and fear are employed to force minorities back into separate
neighborhoods and prevent meaningful integration. Drawing on evidence that
includes in-depth interviews with ordinary citizens and analysis of Fair
Housing Act cases, Bell provides a moving examination of how neighborhood
racial violence is enabled today and how it harms not only the victims, but
entire communities.
 By finally shedding
light on this disturbing phenomenon, Hate
Thy Neighbor not only enhances our understanding of how prevalent
segregation and this type of hate-crime remain, but also offers insightful
analysis of a complex mix of remedies that can work to address this difficult
problem.

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