In this module, we looked at the historical and contemporary forces that fostered racial segregation in cities throughout the U.S, as well as how patterns of segregation have both persisted and changed in recent decades. You have also seen how to use segregation data and mapping tools to examine current patterns and recent trends of racial segregation in different cities. In this memo, you are going to bring together the conceptual and data tools from the modules to construct your own description and analysis of racial and ethnic residential patterns in a U.S. city or metropolitan area of your choosing.
You memo will include three major components: 1) A description of current patterns of racial and ethnic segregation in the city you have chosen; 2) A description of the most important changes in these segregation patterns from 1980 until the present; and 3) An explanation, using ideas from the readings and lectures, of some possible causes of these patterns and trends
.Steps in the Memo-writing Process:
Step 1: Choose a city or area that you would like to analyze for this memo. This can be a particular city (ex. West Palm Beach, Omaha, or Los Angeles), or a major metropolitan region (Ex. the Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall Metropolitan Division, or the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria Metropolitan Division). You can use any city you like, EXCEPT for the examples used in the module video (Milwaukee, WI and Raleigh, NC). I recommend choosing a city with at least 100,000 residents (i.e., avoid small towns), because it will make the data easier to read and interpret.
Step 2: Using the Diversity and Disparities Project data tool, examine and take notes on the basic demographic composition of the city you are studying. How large is the population? What are the three (3) largest racial or ethnic groups in the city? What percentage of the population did each group represent in 2020? Has that changed since 1980? If so, how?
Step 3: Using the Diversity and Disparities Project data tool, examine and take notes on the current (i.e. 2020) patterns of segregation between the two (2) largest racial and ethnic groups. In particular, you need to focus on two kinds of data. The 2020 Isolation Index for each group, and the 2020 Dissimilarity Index between these two groups. This will give you three (3) data points that you will use to describe current patterns.
For example, if the two largest groups in the city are Hispanic and Black, you will need the following three pieces of data: a) the Hispanic Isolation Index; b) the Black Isolation Index; and c) the Black-Hispanic Dissimilarity Index.
Step 4: Use the Racial Dot Map tool, visualize current patterns of segregation in the city you have chosen. Take notes on how the largest ethnic and racial groups are distributed in the city. In which areas do members of each group tend to live? Are different neighborhoods clearly dominated by a single group, or are they inhabited by multiple groups? Are some of the areas of the city more integrated than others? Are some racial and ethnic groups more integrated than others?
Step 5: Using the Diversity and Disparities Project data tool, examine and take notes on historical trends in segregation between the two largest racial and ethnic groups. In other words, describe how segregation between these two groups has changed from 1980 to 2020. In the memo you will need to establish what you see as the two (2) most important changes to segregation patterns over this time period (and you must support this with data). You will likely observe multiple changes in the data, and the choice of which to focus on is up to you. You may use either the dissimilarity index, the isolation index, or both to support your description of the change.
(Note: Changes in the city’s population size, or in the percentage of the population belonging to a racial group, are demographic changes, NOT segregation changes. Make sure to show changes in segregation using isolation or dissimilarity index numbers).
Step 6: Once you have gathered all of this material, your last step is use what you have learned about segregation to consider why you think this city is segregated as it is. What ideas or concepts from Module 4 will help you to explain the current patterns and historical trends you see in the data and on the map? It may be helpful at this stage to review your notes from readings, videos, and lectures, or re-read/re-watch any material you think will be useful. You are required to use and cite at least one (1) specific idea from the module in your explanation.
(Note: The required readings focused mainly on Black-White segregation. If you have chosen a city with a large Hispanic/Latino population, I highly recommend the optional reading by Celia Lacayo
Actions on racial attitudes toward Latinos and persistent segregation in a multi-ethnic suburb).
Step 7: Draft your memo, which must have the following components.
a) an original title that hints at what you will present in the memo;
b) an introductory paragraph that states the city you have chosen to analyze, explains why you chose this city, and establishes a thesis statement (i.e. the overall argument the memo makes about segregation patterns in the city);
c) one to two paragraphs in which you describe the current (2020) demographic characteristics (see step 2 above) and current patterns of segregation in the city (see steps 3 & 4 above);
d) One paragraph in which you describe the two most important trends in segregation between 1980 and 2020, and support them with specific data from the dissimilarity and/or isolation index (see step 5, above);
e) One paragraph in which you draw on at least one idea from readings or lectures to explain the current patterns and/or recent trends in segregation in the city you have chosen, using an idea or concept from the module (see step 6, above);
f) A concluding paragraph that tells the reader what the main takeaway of your analysis is. What have we learned from your memo about segregation in this city? What might this tell us about changing patterns of segregation in the US more broadly?
g) A Reference page that includes full citations for any article(s), lecture(s), or video(s) that you used in your analysis. Since you are required to apply one idea from readings or lectures, there must be at least one source cited in this section. Make sure to use Chicago Style, author-date citationsLinks to an external site.. (Note: The reference page does not count toward the overall word limit).
Step 8: Proofread carefully before submission. You should check for three things: a) typos, incorrect punctuation, missing words, spelling and grammatical errors; b) correct reference format; and c) overall coherence of the memo – Do I have a clear argument? Does my writing make sense? Does the body of the memo match what I said I would show in the introduction?