Home Articles Reader Opinion Editorial Book Reviews Discussion Writers Guide About TCRecord
transparent 13
Topics
Discussion
Announcements
 

Social Isolation and Social Cohesion: The Effects of K–12 Neighborhood and School Segregation on Intergroup Orientations


by Jomills Henry Braddock II & Amaryllis Del Carmen Gonzalez - 2010

Background/Context: The United States is becoming increasingly racially and ethnically diverse, and increasingly racially isolated across race-ethnic boundaries. Researchers have argued that both diversity and racial isolation serve to undermine the social cohesion needed to bind American citizens to one another and to society at large.

Focus of Study: Given the compelling and consistent findings relating desegregation to social inclusion, this research posits that the issue of declining social trust and social cohesion may be better understood as a consequence of segregation and social isolation within communities rather than as a consequence of variations in diversity across communities. Thus, this study examines the relationship between social cohesion (social distance) and social isolation (race-ethnic segregation) at the institutional level—in schools and neighborhoods. Thus, in the present study, social distance, which reflects both weak connections among ethnically diverse groups in society and limited “bridging capital,” serves as our operational indicator of social cohesion.

Participants: Participants in this study come from the National Longitudinal Survey of Freshmen, a national probability sample of approximately 4,000 first-time students entering selective colleges and universities in 1999. Equal numbers of African American, Latino, Asian, and White students were sampled from 28 participating institutions, which resulted in an oversampling of minority students to provide meaningful comparisons across each of the major race-ethnic groups.

Research Design: This study examines the effects of early racial isolation in schools and neighborhoods on social cohesion (i.e., preference for same-race neighbors, preference for children to have same-race schoolmates, and social distance); as such, the measures of social cohesion are drawn from the baseline survey (Wave 1) conducted at the beginning of the first year, before college context and experiences could reasonably impact these outcomes. The models in this study are estimated by race-ethnic group using ordinary least squares regression. The social cohesion outcomes (i.e., preference for same-race neighbors, preference for children to have same race-schoolmates, and social distance) are estimated separately for each race-ethnic group as a function of early racial isolation in neighborhoods, early racial isolation in schools, high school type and context, and student demographics.

Findings/Results: Results suggest that social isolation in schools plays a more significant role than neighborhood isolation in diminishing social cohesion among young adults, although both matter. Our overall findings relating social isolation in K–12 schooling and young adults’ feelings of social distance, as well as preference for same race-neighbors, offer further support for perpetuation theory, which suggests that early school segregation leads to segregation across the life course and across institutional contexts. The findings also point to school segregation’s intergenerational consequences and are consistent with the results of Crain’s classic research using Office of Civil Rights data, which laid the foundation for later studies on the long-term effects of desegregation.

BACKGROUND


The United States is becoming increasingly racially and ethnically diverse and increasingly segregated across race-ethnic boundaries. The increase in ethnic diversity in the United States, like in most advanced countries, is driven mainly by sharp increases in immigration. As a consequence of continuing immigration from throughout the world and relatively high birth rates among some ethnic groups, the United States is becoming a nation of minorities at a dramatic rate. According to Fix and Passel (2003), the percentage of the total population that is foreign born was about 11% in 2000—more than double their 4.7% share in 1970. During the 1990s, more than 14 million immigrants (both legal and undocumented) entered the United States, according to estimates based on Census 2000—a figure that exceeds flows in any decade in the nation’s history. Barring a major change in the nation’s legal immigration policy or a sustained deterioration in the economy, the entry of another 14 million immigrants between 2000 and 2010 is projected (Fix & Passel). Numerous studies have also noted growing racial and ethnic segregation in both schools (Orfield & Lee, 2005) and neighborhoods Massey (2004). Indeed, Massey and Fischer (2002) contend that although de jure segregation has been largely eliminated, recent analyses of census and school data show that current levels of school and neighborhood segregation differ little from patterns observed in the 1970s—just after the passage of the Fair Housing Act (Iceland, Weinberg, & Steinmetz 2002; Orfield & Sanni 1999). For example, with regard to housing, in 2000, 60% of all African Americans lived under conditions of high segregation, and 40% were hypersegregated (Massey). Additionally, Frankenberg and Lee (2002) reported that virtually all the metropolitan school districts that they analyzed showed lower levels of interracial exposure since 1986, suggesting a substantial trend toward resegregation of American schools. Thus, both singly and in combination, these trends toward growing diversity and increased segregation have important implications for the nation’s well-being.


Researchers have argued that both diversity (Putnam, 2002) and segregation (Braddock, 2006) serve to undermines the social cohesion needed to bind American citizens to one another and to society at large. Putnam (2007), for example, noted that in the long run, immigration and diversity are likely to have important cultural, economic, fiscal, and developmental benefits. However, in the short run, he argued, immigration and ethnic diversity tend to reduce social solidarity and social capital. Putnam (2007) reported evidence suggesting that in ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the United States, residents of all races tend to “hunker down” with the result that trust (even of one’s own race) is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, and friends fewer.


Recent studies focusing on the relationship between race-ethnic diversity and social cohesion generally adopt a macro-level approach and examine the association between community demographic composition and outcomes such as trust, civic ties, and detachment. The key findings of these studies suggest that heterogeneity reduces civic engagement; “in more diverse communities, people participate less, as measured by how they allocate their time, their money, their voting, and their willingness to take risks to help others” (Costa & Kahn, 2003, p. 104). For example, research in this tradition suggests that more ethnically homogeneous states (e.g., New Hampshire) and communities (e.g., Bismarck, North Dakota) are higher on social trust than states like Florida or cities such as Los Angeles, Houston, or Atlanta, which are much more ethnically heterogeneous.


In contrast, studies focusing on the relationship between social isolation and social cohesion tend to adopt a more institutional-level approach and examine the association between segregation in schools and communities, and outcomes such as social and structural assimilation in adult life. Without exception, studies in this area have shown that one of the most important and dysfunctional aspects of racial segregation is the tendency for it to become self-perpetuating by generating and nurturing a form of avoidance learning that maintains racial and ethnic separation (Braddock, 1980). This research demonstrates that segregation of schools and neighborhoods leads to segregation in later life—in college, in adult social situations, and in employment (for reviews, see Braddock & Eitle, 2004; Braddock, Crain, & McPartland, 1984; Dawkins & Braddock, 1994).


One major difference between the two types of studies is that the former treats diversity as problematic, whereas the latter regards the ineffective management of diversity—that is, segregation and social isolation (but not diversity itself)—as problematic. For example, if one examines institutional patterns of race-ethnic segregation within communities, it is clear that the types of communities—Los Angeles, Houston, or Atlanta—that macro-focused researchers have identified as high in diversity but low in social cohesion are also among the most highly segregated communities in the nation with regard to both neighborhoods and schools. We argue that it is the higher levels of institutional segregation within diverse communities, rather than community diversity per se, that poses the greater threat to social cohesion.


EDUCATION, SEGREGATION, AND SOCIAL COHESION


Most developed societies have used public education as a major vehicle for socialization of their citizenry. In modern nation-states, education systems were typically established to incorporate citizens into the political, economic, and status order of society (Meyer & Rowan, 1978). In America, societal pressures to control, standardize, and coordinate the educational system were created first in New England to control rural citizens, then the Irish immigrants, and the later massive wave of immigrants who came to the United States during the 19th century (Meyer & Rowan; Tyack, 1974). In most instances, the effort to enlighten a nation through a system of popular education was concerned as much with attitudes and values as with the skills of literacy and numeracy Heyneman (2000). The objective was the forging of a nation—comprising diverse religions, classes, languages, and ethnicities—based not on coercion but on the informed consent of the governed. Because of their role in developing tolerance, respect for diverse others, a common identity, and shared values, schools have long been recognized as key institutions affecting social cohesion (Oder, 2005).


In the United States, the “common school” notion of public education advanced in New England by Horace Mann was established not simply, or even primarily, to teach literacy or other skills but to develop the common attitudes and values considered essential to a society in which broader and broader circles of the population were entering public life. As Ramirez and Rubinson (1979) argued, public education becomes a mechanism for the construction of loyal and efficacious citizens who are endowed with legitimated capacities to participate in the social life of the nation, a deeply institutionalized principle of democratic regimes. Thus, two of the most important institutional functions of American public education have always been preparing youth for responsible, productive adult roles and facilitating the assimilation of the nation’s diverse racial and ethnic groups. Gordon (1964) distinguished between two types of assimilation: cultural and structural. Cultural assimilation, like acculturation, refers to the process whereby an ethnic or racial group absorbs the cultural and behavioral patterns of the larger society. In contrast, structural assimilation refers to a process whereby minority groups gain access into the social cliques, organizations, institutional activities, and general civic life of the majority society. Structural assimilation involves both “primary relationships” (e.g., communal worship, intermarriage, and recreational activities) and “secondary relationships” (e.g., employment, education, and politics). Although education clearly plays an important role in cultural assimilation, this study, like previous research on the long-term effects of school desegregation, focuses on structural assimilation. However, unlike most research in the long-term effects literature that examines the relation between social isolation in schools and secondary relationships (see Dawkins & Braddock, 1994, for a description of the rationale for focusing on structural assimilation and how access to equality of opportunities are embedded in secondary relationships), this study examines how primary relationships (informal social relations and intermarriage) may be affected by social isolation in schools. It is these more informal primary relationships that constitute the stable and enduring social ties that are the foundation of social cohesion and solidarity.


In general, public education serves to cultivate both cognitive and social skills. These dual institutional functions of education are intended to benefit individuals and to meet critical societal needs. According to Heyneman (2002–2003) “ the public school experience is intended to mold desired behavior of future citizens” (p. 81). And as Meyer and Rowan (1978) contended, “modern schools produce education for society, not for individuals or families[;] . . . education becomes the central agency defining personnel—both citizen and elite—for the modern state and economy” (p. 202). More specifically, education’s central role in the cultivation of the individual’s cognitive development enhances “human capital,” leading to both individual social mobility and societal economic productivity. Likewise, the schools’ socializing function facilitates individual social development and creates “social capital,” leading to benefits for both individuals (social networks) and society (solidarity and social cohesion).


Social cohesion is becoming an increasingly important national and international concern as a result of growing social and ethnic diversity, as well as persistent, if not growing, social and economic inequalities. Indeed, Heyneman (2003a, 2003b) argued that a major focus of bodies like the European Union, many federal governments, and the United Nations has become the citizenship function of education—that purpose of public schooling that transcends curriculum and helps to create social cohesion, the basis of a stable democracy. Although his recent research focuses on the association between ethnic diversity at the community level and social cohesion, Putnam (2002) also recognized a critical role for education in generating social capital (social networks and their embedded norms of reciprocity and trust), which he argued have value for both individuals and communities.1 At the individual level, for example, networking can facilitate career mobility, whereas at the community level, dense social networks in a neighborhood might deter crime. Putnam also made an important distinction between bonding social capital (linking people of similar ethnicity, class, age, and so on) and bridging social capital (linking individuals across lines of social cleavage). He argued that modern pluralistic societies especially need bridging social capital and that school segregation (either by race or by class) severely limits a society’s capacity to foster bridging social capital (Putnam, 2002, 2007). Given this, along with the compelling and consistent findings relating desegregation to social inclusion (Braddock, 1985; Dawkins & Braddock, 1994), we argue that the issue of declining social trust and social cohesion may be better understood as a consequence of segregation and social isolation within communities rather than as a consequence of variations in diversity across communities. Thus, our study examines the relationship between social cohesion (social distance) and social isolation (race-ethnic segregation) at the institutional level—in schools and neighborhoods.


Social distance is generally regarded as a general measure of ethnic prejudice (Parrillo & Donoghue, 2005; Simpson & Yinger, 1985; Smith, 1998; Weaver, 2007). It has been defined variously in terms of “feelings of unwillingness among members of a group to accept or approve a given degree of intimacy in interaction with a member of an out-group” (Williams, 1964, p. 29)”, or “an indication of how acceptable or objectionable various ethnic groups are in society” (Marger, 1994, p. 83). As these definitions suggest, social distance is likely to be inversely related to social solidarity and social cohesion among distinct social groups within a society. Thus, in the present study, social distance—which reflects both weak connections among ethnically diverse groups in society and limited “bridging capital”—serves as our operational indicator of social cohesion.


METHODS


DATA


The data used in this study come from the National Longitudinal Survey of Freshmen, a national probability sample of approximately 4,000 first-time students entering selective colleges and universities in 1999. Participating institutions included Howard University and the University of California at Berkeley, in addition to all the schools studied by Bowen and Bok (1998). Initially, 35 schools were recruited to participate in the study, but 7 declined or did not participate for other reasons. From the remaining 28 institutions that did provide their freshman rosters, 4,573 students were selected to participate through a stratified random sample, from which 2,924 completed face-to-face interviews in the first wave of data collection. Equal numbers of African American, Latino, Asian, and White students were sampled from each institution, which resulted in an oversampling of minority students to provide meaningful comparisons across each of the major race-ethnic groups. These data are also ideal because of the longitudinal design and because the survey itself is more comprehensive than most and includes very detailed information about the students’ home, school, neighborhood, and peer contexts prior to college.


The survey was conducted in a series of waves, beginning with a lengthy CAPI-assisted survey (Wave 1) conducted in person at the beginning of the first year. This baseline survey collected detailed information about the students’ family, neighborhood, and school conditions; the most detailed questions, which pertained to students’ experiences in their last year of high school, asked students about their feelings toward their own race-ethnic group and others. Follow-up surveys conducted in the spring of the first year (Wave 2) and each spring thereafter asked the students about their courses and grades, contact with faculty, experiences with other students, involvement in activities, and perceptions of and experiences with racial discrimination on campus. This study examines the effects of early racial isolation (in schools and neighborhoods) on social cohesion (i.e., preference for same-race neighbors, preference for children to have same-race schoolmates, and social distance), and, as such, the measures of social cohesion are drawn from the baseline survey (Wave 1) conducted at the beginning of the first year and before college context and experiences could reasonably impact these outcomes. The follow-up interviews have been shorter and conducted over the phone. Sample retention, 88% for the first three waves, has been good for a longitudinal survey of this nature. For more details regarding the sampling design and data collection, see chapter 2 of The Source of the River (Massey, Charles, Lundy, & Fischer,  2002).


The models in this study are estimated by race-ethnic group using ordinary least squares regression (OLS). The form of the model is:


Outcome¡ = α +NI¡+ SI¡ + SC¡ + SD¡+ ε (1)


For each group, the social cohesion outcomes (i.e., preference for same-race neighbors, preference for children to have same-race schoolmates, and social distance) are estimated separately for each race-ethnic group as a function of early racial isolation in neighborhoods, early racial isolation in schools, high school type and context, and student demographics.


Measures


The main dependent variables in this study are three measures of social cohesion (preference for same-race neighbors, preference for children to have same-race schoolmates, and social distance), each of which was measured during Wave 1 (at the beginning of freshman year). Social distance represents a set of composite indices constructed for analyses in Source of the River (Massey et al., 2002) reflecting either perceived closeness to minorities (among Whites) or perceived closeness to Whites (among minorities). The Cronbach’s alpha for the index of social distance from minorities is .905, and .874 for the index of social distance from Whites. Means and standard deviations for all variables are reported in Table 1.


Table 1. Means and Standard Deviations for Variables Used in Analyses by Race-Ethnic Group


[39_15692.htm_g/00002.jpg]
click to enlarge


RESULTS


Given the nature of the outcome measures in our analyses, OLS regression is employed. Table 2 reports the regression of preference for same-race neighbors on early racial isolation in both schools and neighborhoods. The results are reported separately for each of the four major race-ethnic groups. The regression effects are examined with and without controls for family income, gender, high school geographic region, and high school sector. The unstandardized regression coefficients represent the net or direct effect of early racial isolation (in both schools and neighborhoods) and our control variables on the level of preference college freshmen report for having neighbors of their same race-ethnic group. Standard errors are also included in the tables. The reported unstandardized coefficients allow for comparisons of the relative effects of each of the predictors across race ethnic groups. Examining the results in Table 2, we observe that in general, early racial isolation (especially in schools) has significant effects among each race-ethnic group.


Table 2.Regression of Preference for Same Race Neighbors on School and Neighborhood Isolation With and Without Controls, Among Asian, African American, Latino and White Students


[39_15692.htm_g/00004.jpg]
click to enlarge


Model 1 examines the effect of early neighborhood isolation on young adult preferences for same-race neighbors. Here we see that for each race-ethnic group, early neighborhood isolation is strongly associated with young adult preference for same-race neighbors. This effect is strongest among African Americans (b = 2.25, SE = .276, p < .001), followed by Whites (b = 1.14, SE = .354, p < .001), Latinos (b = 1.10, SE = .228, p < .001), and Asians (b = .974, SE = .118, p < .001), respectively. In Model 1, early neighborhood isolation accounts for 6.6% of the total variance in African American young adult preferences for same-race neighbors. This model accounts for 3%, 2.7%, and 1% of the total variance in preferences for same-race neighbors among Asian, Latino, and White young adults, respectively.


Model 2 examines the combined effect of early neighborhood and school isolation on young adult preferences for same-race neighbors. Once school isolation is taken into account, we see that early neighborhood isolation remains significantly associated with young adult preferences for same-race neighbors among Asians and African Americans only. Asian and African American students who grow up in more racially isolated neighborhoods are more likely as young adults to prefer having same-race neighbors. Again, this effect was strongest among African Americans (b = 1.84, SE = .356, p < .001), followed by Asians (b = .451, SE = .247, p < .10). With the inclusion of early school isolation, the effects of early neighborhood isolation are no longer significant for Whites or Latinos. However, we also see that for each race-ethnic group, early school isolation, net of early neighborhood isolation, is strongly associated with young adult preference for same-race neighbors. As perpetuation theory (Braddock, 1980; Wells & Crain, 1994) would suggest, Asian, African American, White, and Latino students who attended more racially isolated elementary, middle, and high schools are more likely as young adults to prefer having same-race neighbors. This effect is strongest among Whites (b = 1.54, SE = .356, p < .001), followed by Latinos (b = 1.05, SE = .319, p <.001), Asians (b = .767, SE = .241, p < .001), and African Americans (b = .641, SE = .352, p < .10), respectively. In Model 2, the combination of early neighborhood and school isolation accounts for 6.8%, 4%, 3.9%, and 3% of the total variance in preferences for same-race neighbors among African American, Asian, Latino, and White young adults, respectively.


Model 3 examines the combined effect of early neighborhood and school isolation on young adult preferences for same-race neighbors, with controls for high school sector and location. Including these school and community context variables, we again see that early neighborhood isolation remains strongly associated with young adult preference for same-race neighbors only among Asians and African Americans. Students who grew up in more racially isolated neighborhoods are more likely as young adults to prefer having same-race neighbors. This effect is strongest among African Americans (b = 1.88, SE = .370, p < .001), followed by Asians (b = .448, SE = .247, p < .10). As in Model 2, the effects of early neighborhood isolation is no longer significant for Whites (b = .138, SE = .422, ns) or Latinos (b = .396, SE = .302, ns). However, even with controls for high school sector and location, we find that early school isolation is strongly associated with young adult preference for same-race neighbors for each race-ethnic group except African Americans (b = .561, SE = .381, ns). Students who attended more racially isolated elementary, middle, and high schools are more likely as young adults to prefer having same-race neighbors. This effect remains strongest among Whites (b = 1.70, SE = .363, p < .001), followed by Latinos (b = 1.11, SE = .322, p < .001) and Asians (b = .693, SE = .244, p < .01), respectively. The effect of high school sector is not significant for either race-ethnic group, whereas the effect of high school region is significant for Whites (b = 4.62, SE = 1.866, p < .01) and nominally so for Asians (b = -1.76, SE = 1.01, p < .10). Among Southern high school graduates, Whites show a stronger preference and Asians a weaker preference for same-race neighbors than their counterparts attending non-Southern schools. In Model 3, the combination of early neighborhood and school isolation, along with the school and community context variables, accounts for 6.7% of the total variance in African American young adult preferences for same-race neighbors. Model 3 accounts for 4.1%, 3.9%, and 3.4% of the total variance in preferences for same-race neighbors among Asian, Latino, and White young adults, respectively.


Model 4 examines the combined effect of early neighborhood and school isolation on young adult preferences for same-race neighbors, with controls for gender, family income, high school sector, and location. Including these demographic measures along with school and community context variables, we again see that early neighborhood isolation remains significantly associated with young adult preference for same-race neighbors only among Asians and African Americans. Asian and African American students who grew up in more racially isolated neighborhoods are more likely as young adults to prefer having same-race neighbors. This effect is strongest among African Americans (b = 1.77, SE = .375, p < .001), followed by Asians (b = .455, SE = .248, p < .10). As in Model 3, the effects of early neighborhood isolation are no longer significant for Whites (b = .162, SE = .421, ns) or Latinos (b = .219, SE = .305, ns). However, even accounting for demographic background and controls for high school sector and location, we find that early school isolation remains strongly associated with young adult preference for same-race neighbors for each race-ethnic group except African Americans (b = .579, SE = .381, ns). Students who attended more racially isolated elementary, middle, and high schools are more likely as young adults to prefer having same-race neighbors. This effect remains strongest among Whites (b = 1.71, SE = .361, p < .001), followed by Latinos (b = 1.01, SE = .321, p < .01) and Asians (b = .690, SE = .244, p < .01), respectively. The effect of high school sector is only significant for Latinos (b = -2.22, SE = 1.32, p < .10), whereas the effect of high school region is significant for Whites (b = 4.64, SE = 1.945, p < .05) and Asians (b = -1.72, SE = 1.01, p < .10) only. Latinos who attended public schools are less likely as young adults to prefer having same-race neighbors. Among students attending Southern high schools, Whites show a stronger preference and Asians a weaker preference for same-race neighbors than their counterparts attending non-Southern schools. The effect of family income is significant for Latinos (b = -.038, SE = .021, p < .10) and African Americans (b = .048, SE = .028, p < .10). Latinos from higher income families are less likely to exhibit a preference for same-race neighbors, whereas Whites from higher income families are more likely to exhibit a preference for same-race neighbors as compared with their counterparts from lower income families. The effect of gender is significant for Whites (b = 4.64, SE = 1.945, p < .05) only. White males are more likely than White females to exhibit a preference for same-race neighbors. In Model 4, the combination of early neighborhood and school isolation, along with student gender, family income, and school sector and regional location, accounts for 7.3% of the total variance in African American young adult preferences for same-race neighbors. Model 4 accounts for 4.3%, 5.2%, and 4.7% of the total variance in preferences for same-race neighbors among Asian, Latino, and White young adults, respectively.


Table 3 reports the regression of preference for children to have same-race schoolmates on early racial isolation (in both schools and neighborhoods). Examining the results in Table 3, we observe that in general, early racial isolation (especially in schools) has significant effects on preferences for children to have same-race schoolmates among each race-ethnic group.


Table 3.Regression of Preference for Children to Have Same-Race Schoolmates on School and Neighborhood Isolation With and Without Controls for Asian, African American, Latino, and White Students


[39_15692.htm_g/00006.jpg]
click to enlarge


Model 1 examines the effect of early neighborhood isolation on young adult preferences for their children to have same-race schoolmates. Here we see that for each race-ethnic group, early neighborhood isolation is strongly associated with young adult preference for their children to have same-race schoolmates. Students who grew up in more racially isolated neighborhoods are more likely as young adults to prefer their children to have same-race schoolmates. This effect is strongest among African Americans (b = 1.78, SE = .238, p < .001), followed by Whites (b = 1.05, SE = .328, p < .001), Latinos (b = 1.03, SE = .210, p < .001), and Asians (b = .893, SE = .173, p < .001), respectively. In Model 1, early neighborhood isolation accounts for 5.5% of the total variance in African American young adult preferences for their children to have same-race schoolmates. This model accounts for 2.9%, 2.9%, and 1% of the total variance in preferences for their children to have same-race schoolmates among Asian, Latino, and White young adults, respectively.


Model 2 examines the combined effect of early neighborhood isolation and school isolation on young adult preferences for their children to have same-race schoolmates. Here we see that for African Americans only, early neighborhood isolation remains strongly associated with young adult preference for their children to have same-race schoolmates when early school isolation is taken into account. African American students who grew up in more racially isolated neighborhoods are more likely as young adults to prefer their children to have same-race schoolmates (b = 1.12, SE = .307, p < .001). With the inclusion of early school isolation, the effects of early neighborhood isolation is no longer significant for Latinos (b = .419, SE = .272, ns), Whites (b = .207, SE = .384, ns), or Asians (b = .332, SE = .230, ns). In contrast, we also see that for each race-ethnic group, early school isolation, net of early neighborhood isolation, is strongly associated with young adult preference for their children to have same-race schoolmates. Students who attended more racially isolated elementary, middle, and high schools are more likely as young adults to prefer their children to have same-race schoolmates. This effect is strongest among Whites (b = 1.37, SE = .331, p < .001), followed by African Americans (b = 1.07, SE = .302, p < .001), Latinos (b = 1.01, SE = .291, p < .001), and Asians (b = .837, SE = .223, p < .001), respectively. In Model 2, the combination of early neighborhood and school isolation accounts for 6.6% of the total variance in African American young adult preferences for their children to have same-race schoolmates. This model accounts for 4.3%, 4.2%, and 2.8% of the total variance in Asian, Latino, and White young adults’ preferences, respectively, for their children to have same-race schoolmates.


Model 3 examines the combined effect of early neighborhood and school isolation on young adult preferences for their children to have same-race schoolmates, with controls for high school sector and location. Including these school and community context variables, we again see that early neighborhood isolation remains strongly associated with young adult preference for their children to have same-race schoolmates only among African Americans (b = 1.21, SE = .318, p < .001). As in Model 2, the effects of early neighborhood isolation are no longer significant for Whites (b = .198, SE = .391, ns), Latinos (b = .384, SE = .276, p < .10) or Asians (b = .322, SE = .230, ns). However, even with controls for high school sector and location, we find that early school isolation is strongly associated with young adult preference for their children to have same-race schoolmates for each race-ethnic group. Students who attended more racially isolated elementary, middle, and high schools are more likely as young adults to prefer their children to have same-race schoolmates. This effect remains strongest among Whites (b = 1.52, SE = .336, p < .001), followed by Latinos (b = 1.06, SE = .293, p < .001), African Americans (b = .884, SE = .327, p < .01), and Asians (b = .779, SE = .227, p < .001), respectively. The effect of high school sector is not significant for either race-ethnic group, whereas the effect of high school region is significant for Whites (b = 5.56, SE = 1.727, p < .001) and nominally so for Latinos (b = -2.18, SE = 1.325, p < .10). Whites attending Southern high schools show a stronger preference for their children to have same-race schoolmates than their counterparts attending non-Southern schools. In contrast, Latinos attending Southern high schools are less likely than their counterparts attending non-Southern schools to show a preference for their children to have same-race schoolmates. In Model 3, the combination of early neighborhood and school isolation, along with the school and community context variables, accounts for 6.5% of the total variance in African American young adult preferences for their children to have same-race schoolmates. Model 3 accounts for 4.3%, 4.3%, and 3.7% of the total variance in preferences for their children to have same-race schoolmates among Asian, Latino, and White young adults, respectively.


Model 4 examines the combined effect of early neighborhood and school isolation on young adult preferences for their children to have same-race schoolmates with controls for gender, family income, high school sector, and location. Including these demographic measures along with school and community context variables, we again see that early neighborhood isolation remains strongly associated with young adult preference for their children to have same-race schoolmates only among African Americans. African American students who grew up in more racially isolated neighborhoods are more likely as young adults to prefer that their children have same-race schoolmates (b = 1.11, SE = .323, p < .001). As in Model 3, the effect of early neighborhood isolation is no longer significant for Latinos (b = .254, SE = .278, ns), Whites (b = .232, SE = .390, ns), or Asians (b = .323, SE = .231, ns). However, even accounting for demographic background and controls for high school sector and location, for each race-ethnic group, we find that early school isolation remains strongly associated with young adult preference for their children to have same-race schoolmates. Students who attended more racially isolated elementary, middle, and high schools are more likely as young adults to prefer their children to have same-race schoolmates. This effect remains strongest among Whites (b = 1.53, SE = .335, p < .001), followed by Latinos (b = .995, SE = .292, p < .001), African Americans (b = .906, SE = .328, p < .01), and Asians (b = .779, SE = .227, p < .001), respectively. The effect of high school sector is not significant for either race-ethnic group, whereas the effect of high school region is significant for Whites (b = 5.1, SE = 1.72, p < .001). Whites attending Southern high schools show a stronger preference for their children to have same-race schoolmates than their counterparts attending non-Southern schools. The effect of family income is significant for Latinos (b = -.806, SE = .287, p < .01) and nominally significant for African Americans (b = -.392, SE = .237, p < .10) only. Latinos and African Americans from higher income families are less likely to exhibit a preference for their children to have same-race schoolmates, compared with their counterparts from lower income families. The effect of gender is significant for Whites (b = 3.64, SE = 1.465, p < .01) only. White males are more likely than their female counterparts to exhibit a preference for their children to have same-race schoolmates. In Model 4, the combination of early neighborhood and school isolation, along with student gender, family income, and school sector and regional location, accounts for 6.6% of the total variance in African American young adult preferences for their children to have same-race schoolmates. Model 4 accounts for 4.2%, 5.4%, and 4.4% of the total variance in preferences for their children to have same-race schoolmates among Asian, Latino, and White young adults, respectively.


Table 4 reports the regression of social distance from other race-ethnic groups on early racial isolation (in both schools and neighborhoods). Examining the results in Table 4, we observe that in general, early racial isolation, especially in schools, has significant effects on social distance among each race-ethnic group.


Table 4. Regression of Social Distance Indices on School and Neighborhood Isolation With and Without Controls among Asian, African American, Latino, and White Students


[39_15692.htm_g/00008.jpg]
click to enlarge

Model 1 examines the effect of early neighborhood isolation on young adult social distance from other race-ethnic groups. Here we see that for each race-ethnic group except Whites, early neighborhood isolation is strongly associated with social distance from other race-ethnic groups. African American, Latino, and Asian students who grew up in more racially isolated neighborhoods are more likely as young adults to exhibit greater social distance from Whites than their counterparts who grew up in less racially isolated neighborhoods. This effect is strongest among Latinos (b = .457, SE = .074, p < .001), followed by African Americans (b = .436, SE = .087, p < .001) and Asians (b = .364, SE = .070, p < .001), respectively. The effect of early neighborhood isolation on Whites’ social distance from minorities is not significant (b = -.008, SE = .065, ns). In Model 1, early neighborhood isolation accounts for 2.5% of the total variance in African American young adult social distance from Whites. This model accounts for 2.8% and 4.3% of the total variance in social distance from Whites among Asian and Latino young adults, respectively.


Model 2 examines the combined effect of early neighborhood and school isolation on young adult social distance from other race-ethnic groups. Here we see that for Latinos and Asians only, early neighborhood isolation remains strongly associated with young adult social distance from Whites when early school isolation is taken into account. Latino and Asian students who grew up in more racially isolated neighborhoods are more likely as young adults to exhibit greater social distance from Whites. This effect is strongest among Latinos (b = .240, SE = .097, p < .01), followed by Asians (b = .215, SE = .094, p < .05). With the inclusion of early school isolation, the effects of early neighborhood isolation is no longer significant for African Americans (b = .136, SE = .111, ns). However, we also see that for each race-ethnic group except Whites, early school isolation, net of early neighborhood isolation, is strongly associated with young adult social distance from other race-ethnic groups. African American, Latino, and Asian students who attended more racially isolated elementary, middle, and high schools are more likely as young adults to exhibit greater social distance from Whites. This effect is strongest among African Americans (b = .462, SE = .109, p < .001), followed by Latinos (b = .358, SE = .104, p < .001), and Asians (b = .217, SE = .092, p < .05), respectively. In Model 2, the combination of early neighborhood and school isolation accounts for 4.2%, 3.3%, and 5.5% of the total variance in African American, Asian, and Latino young adult social distance from Whites, respectively.


Model 3 examines the combined effect of early neighborhood and school isolation on young adult social distance from other race-ethnic groups, with controls for high school sector and location. Including these school and community context variables, we again see that early neighborhood isolation remains strongly associated with young adult social distance from other race-ethnic groups only among Latinos and Asians. Latino and Asian students who grew up in more racially isolated neighborhoods are more likely as young adults to exhibit greater social distance from Whites. This effect is strongest among Latinos (b = .231, SE = .098, p < .05), followed by Asians (b = .215, SE = .094, p < .05). As in Model 2, the effects of early neighborhood isolation remain insignificant for African Americans (b = .113, SE = .115, ns) and Whites (b = -.056, SE = .079, ns). In contrast, even with controls for high school sector and location, we find that early school isolation is strongly associated with African American, Latino, and Asian young adult social distance from Whites. Students who attended more racially isolated elementary, middle, and high schools are more likely as young adults to exhibit greater social distance from Whites. This effect remains strongest among African Americans (b = .482, SE = .118, p < .001), followed by Latinos (b = .367, SE = .105, p < .001) and Asians (b = .219, SE = .094, p < .05), respectively. The effects of high school sector are not significant for either race-ethnic group, whereas high school region is nominally significant for African Americans only (b = .693, SE = .407, p < .10). In Model 3, the combination of early neighborhood and school isolation, along with the school and community context variables, accounts for 4.3%, 3.1%, and 5.4% of the total variance in African American, Asian, and Latino young adult social distance from Whites, respectively.


Model 4 examines the combined effect of early neighborhood and school isolation on young adult social distance from other race-ethnic groups, with controls for gender, family income, high school sector, and location. Including these demographic measures, along with school and community context variables, we again see that early neighborhood isolation remains strongly associated with young adult social distance from other race-ethnic groups only among Asians. Asian students who grew up in more racially isolated neighborhoods are more likely as young adults to exhibit greater social distance from Whites (b = .195, SE = .094, p < .05). However, even accounting for demographic background and controls for high school sector and location, we find that early school isolation remains strongly associated with African American, Asian, and Latino young adult social distance from Whites. Students who attended more racially isolated elementary, middle, and high schools are more likely as young adults to exhibit greater social distance from other race-ethnic groups. This effect remains strongest among African Americans (b = .484, SE = .117, p < .001), followed by Latinos (b = .322, SE = .104, p < .01) and Asians (b = .220, SE = .093, p < .05), respectively. The effects of high school sector are not significant for either race-ethnic group, whereas high school region is nominally significant only for African Americans (b = .748, SE = .405, p <.10). The effect of family income is significant for Asians (b = -.27, SE = .093, p <.01), Latinos (b = -.53, SE = .102, p <.01), and Whites (b = -.25, SE = .094, p <.01) only. Latinos and Asians from higher income families exhibit less social distance from Whites, and Whites from higher income families exhibit less social distance from minorities, compared with their counterparts from lower income families. The effect of gender is significant for Whites (b = 2.09, SE = .277, p <.001), Asians (b = .57, SE = .337, p <.10), and African Americans (b = -1.37, SE = .392, p <.001) only. White and Asian males are more likely, whereas African American males are less likely, than their female counterparts to exhibit greater social distance from other race-ethnic groups. In Model 4, the combination of early neighborhood and school isolation, along with student gender, family income, and school sector and regional location, accounts for 5.6% of the total variance in African American young adult social distance from other race-ethnic groups. Model 4 accounts for 4.1%, 8.1%, and 5.9% of the total variance in social distance from other race-ethnic groups among Asian, Latino, and White young adults, respectively.


SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION


Table 5 presents a summary of the social isolation (segregation in K–12 neighborhoods and schools) and social cohesion (social distance, preference for same-race neighbors, and preference for children to have same-race schoolmates) regression results.


Table 5. Summary: Effects of Social Isolation on Social Cohesion


[39_15692.htm_g/00010.jpg]
click to enlarge


In essence, our results suggest that although both matter, social isolation in schools plays a more significant role than neighborhood isolation in inhibiting the potential development of social cohesion among young adults. The top panel of Table 5 shows that when school (K–12) segregation and other factors are taken into account, we find the net early (K–12) neighborhood segregation experiences to be significant only among Asians and African Americans. More specifically, Asian American youth who experienced early neighborhood isolation were more likely to feel socially distant from Whites and to prefer having same-race neighbors than their coethnics who experienced greater diversity in the neighborhoods in which they grew up. Similarly, African Americans who experienced early neighborhood isolation were more likely to prefer having same-race neighbors and to prefer that their children have same-race schoolmates than their African Americans who experienced greater diversity in the neighborhoods in which they grew up. In contrast, when school (K–12) segregation and other factors were taken into account, we found no significant net effects of early (K–12) neighborhood segregation among Whites or Latinos.


On the other hand, the bottom panel of Table 5 shows that when neighborhood (K–12) segregation and other factors were taken into account, we found the net early (K–12) school segregation effects to be significant on at least two of the three social cohesion outcomes for each race-ethnic group. For example, both Latinos and Asians who experienced early school segregation were more likely to feel social distance from Whites, to prefer that their children have same-race schoolmates, and to prefer having same-race neighbors than their coethnics who experienced greater diversity in their K–12 schooling experiences. Similarly, African Americans who experienced early school segregation were more likely to feel social distance from Whites and to prefer that their children have same-race schoolmates than their African American counterparts who experienced greater diversity in their K–12 schooling experiences. Likewise, Whites who experienced early school segregation were more likely to prefer that their children have same-race schoolmates and to prefer having same-race neighbors than Whites who experienced greater diversity in their K–12 schooling experiences while growing up.


Taken together, these results provide strong evidence of school desegregation’s continuing significance in preparing the nation’s youth for living in an increasingly diverse society. Our overall findings relating social isolation in K–12 schooling and young adult feelings of social distance, as well as preference for same-race neighbors, offer further support for perpetuation theory, which suggests that early school segregation leads to segregation across the life course and across institutional contexts (Braddock & Eitle, 2004; Dawkins & Braddock, 1994; Wells & Crain, 1994). Just as important, however, the findings regarding young adult preferences for their children to have same-race schoolmates point to school segregation’s intergenerational self-perpetuating consequences. Significantly, it is only on this outcome that the results are the same for each race-ethnic group—African Americans, Asians, Latinos, and Whites. These findings are also consistent with the results of Crain’s classic studies (1970) using Office of Civil Rights data (U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1967), which laid the foundation for later research on the long-term effects of desegregation. Although these findings are quite encouraging, one important limitation of the present study is that the sample is limited to college students. Although this also represents a limitation of most prior research on social distance, it leaves open the question of how generalizable these results may be to the adult population (Weaver, 2007). In addition, recent studies have also shown that social distance is related to Whiteness and other patterns of in-group ethnic identification in important ways (Clauss-Ehlers & Carter, 2005). Because measures of in-group identification were not available for the present study, we were unable to determine the extent to which the relationship between social cohesion and social isolation in schools and neighborhoods may be either mediated or moderated by in-group identity. Despite these limitations, one can make a compelling argument that if facilitating the assimilation of minorities has always been one major purpose of American public education, school desegregation has clearly been the most significant national policy aimed at achieving this end. Although this point is widely believed, the merits of school desegregation have almost exclusively been debated in terms of its impact on individuals—either short- or long term—and ignored important consequences for society at-large. It has been argued that this restricted conception of the goals of desegregation—focusing either on narrow issues such as whether test scores rise or fall after desegregation, or even broader issues such as whether individual life chances and lifestyles are enhanced as a result of desegregation—has limited our understanding of how diverse learning opportunities represent compelling macro-level societal interests (Braddock, 2006). As Hillary Clinton (2004) has pointed out, “If racial integration is a compelling interest in higher education, then how can it be anything less than a vital first-order imperative for secondary schools?”


Notes


1.Although we are aware of the continuing debates concerning both the meaning and utility of social capital  (see Smith & Kulynych, 2002), it is beyond the scope of this study to attempt to clarify or resolve the differences among the dominant  perspectives (Bourdieu, 1985; Coleman, 1988, 1990; Putnam, 2007).  As it is employed here for heuristic purposes, social capital is mainly concerned with the connections between individuals of diverse backgrounds. These “social” connections may, or may not, serve instrumental or pecuniary purposes for particular individuals. However, they do provide important “bridging” connections between individuals across group boundaries that serve a broader societal purpose.


References


Bourdieu, P. (1985). The forms of capital. In J. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education (pp. 241–260). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.


Bowen, W. G., & Bok, D. (1998). The shape of the river: Long-term consequences of considering race in college and university admissions. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.


Braddock, J. H., II. (1980). The perpetuation of segregation across levels of education: A behavioral assessment of the contact-hypothesis. Sociology of Education, 53(7), 178–186.


Braddock, J. H., II. (1985). School desegregation and Black assimilation. Journal of Social Issues, 41, 9–22.


Braddock, J. H. (2006, October). Diversity in K12 education: Implications for individuals and society. Paper presented at the Conference on High Poverty Schooling in America, School of Law, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


Braddock, J. H., II, Crain, R. L., & McPartland, J. M. (1984). A long-term view of school desegregation: Some recent studies of graduates as adults. Phi Delta Kappan, 66, 259–264.


Braddock, J. H., II., & Eitle, T. (2004). The effects of school desegregation. In J. Banks & C. M. Banks (Eds.), Handbook of research on multicultural education (2nd ed., pp. 828–843). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


Clauss-Ehlers, C., & Carter, R. (2005). Current manifestations of racism: An exploratory study of social distance and White racial identity. Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless 14(3/4), 261–286.


Clinton, H. R. (2004). Court ruling on integration is being undermined. . . Closing remarks at a conference sponsored by Yale and Howard University Law Schools, marking the 50th anniversary of the Brown ruling. Reprinted in Yale Bulletin & Calendar, April 9, 2004, Vol. 23, No. 25. http://www.yale.edu/opa/arc-ybc/v32.n25/story10.html


Coleman, J. S. (1988). Social capital in the creation of human capital. American Journal of Sociology, 94(Suppl.), S95–S120.


Coleman, J. S. (1990). Foundations of social theory. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


Costa, D., & Kahn, M. 2003. Civic engagement and community heterogeneity: An economist’s perspective. Perspectives on Politics, 1, 103–113.


Crain, R. L. (1970). School integration and occupational achievement of Negroes. American Journal of Sociology, 75, 593–606.


Dawkins, M. P., & Braddock, J. H., II. (1994). The continuing significance of desegregation: School racial composition and African American inclusion in American society. Journal of Negro Education, 63, 394–405.


Fix, M., & Passel, J. (2003, January). U.S. immigration—Trends and implications for schools. Paper presented at the National Association for Bilingual Education’s NCLB Implementation, New Orleans, LA. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org


Frankenberg, E., & Lee, C. (2002). Race in American public schools: Rapidly resegregating school districts. Cambridge, MA: The Civil Rights Project, Harvard University.


Gordon, M. M. (1964). Assimilation in American life: The role of race, religion, and national origins. New York: Oxford University Press.


Heyneman, S. (2000). From the party/state to multiethnic democracy: Education and social cohesion in Europe and Central Asia. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 22, 173–191.


Heyneman, S. (2002–2003). Defining the influence of education on social cohesion. International Journal of Educational Policy, Research, and Practice, 3(4), 73–97.


Heyneman, S. (2003a). Education and social cohesion. In J. Guthrie (Ed.), Encyclopedia of education (Vol. 6, pp. 2242–2250). New York: Macmillan.


Heyneman, S. (2003b). Education, social cohesion, and the future role of international organizations. Peabody Journal of Education, 78(3), 25–38.


Iceland, J., Weinberg, J., Daniel, H., & Steinmetz, E. (2002). Racial and ethnic residential segregation in the United States: 1980–2000. Washington, DC: U.S. Bureau of the Census.


Marger, M. (1994). Race and ethnic relations: American and global perspectives. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.


Massey, D. S. (2004). Segregation and stratification: A biosocial perspective. DuBois Review: Social Science Research on Race, 1, 1–19


Massey, D. S., Charles, C. Z., Lundy, G. F., & Fischer, M. J. (2002). The source of the river: The social origins of freshmen at America’s selective colleges and universities. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.


Massey, D. S., & Fischer, M. J. (2002). The effect of childhood segregation on minority performance at selective colleges. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 29, 1–26.


Meyer, J., & Rowan, B. (1978). The structure of educational organizations. In M. W. Meyer & Associates, Organizations and environments (pp. 78–109). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


Oder, E. (2005). The social cohesion role of educational organizations: Primary and secondary schools. Peabody Journal of Education, 80(4), 78–88.


Orfield, G., & Lee, C. (2005). Why segregation matters: Poverty and educational inequality. Cambridge, MA: The Civil Rights Project, Harvard University.


Orfield, G., & Sanni, C. (1999). Resegregation in American schools. Cambridge, MA: The Civil Rights Project, Harvard University.


Parrillo, V. N., & Donoghue, C. (2005). Updating the Bogardus social distance studies: A new national survey. Social Science Journal, 42, 257–271.


Putnam, R. D. (2002). Education, diversity, social cohesion and social capital. Retrieved from Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Web site: http:/www.oecd.org/dataoecd/37/55/30671102.doc


Putnam, R. D. (2007). E pluribus unum: Diversity and community in the twenty-first century; The 2006 Johan Skytte Prize Lecture. Scandinavian Political Studies, 30, 137–174.


Ramirez, F., & Meyer, J. (1980). Comparative education: The social construction of the modern world system. Annual Review of Sociology, 6, 369–397.


Ramirez, F., & Rubinson, R. (1979). Creating members: The political incorporation and expansion of public education. In J. Meyer & M. Hannan (Eds.), National development in the world system (pp. 72–84). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


Simpson, G. E., & Yinger, J. M. (1985). Racial and cultural minorities: An analysis of prejudice and discrimination. New York: Plenum Press.


Smith, T. W. (1998). Intergroup relations in contemporary America: An overview of survey research. In W. Winborne & R. Cohen (Eds.), Intergroup relations in the United States: Research perspectives (pp. 69–155). New York: National Conference for Community and Justice.


Smith, S., & Kulynych, J. (2002). It may be social, but why is it capital? The social construction of social capital and the politics of language. Peabody Journal of Education, 78(3), 149–186.


Tyack, D. (1974). The one best system. New York: John Wiley


U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. (1967). Racial isolation in the public schools (Appendix C5). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.


Weaver, C. N. (2007). Social distance as a measure of prejudice among ethnic groups in the United States. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 38, 779–795.


Wells, A. S., & Crain, R. L. (1994). Perpetuation theory and the long-term effects of school desegregation. Review of Educational Research, 64, 531–556.


Williams. R. N. (1964). Strangers next door. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall




Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 112 Number 6, 2010, p. 1631-1653
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15692, Date Accessed: 1/26/2022 12:25:43 PM

Purchase Reprint Rights for this article or review
 
Article Tools
Related Articles

Related Discussion
 
Post a Comment | Read All

About the Author
  • Jomills Braddock II
    University of Miami
    E-mail Author
    JOMILLS HENRY BRADDOCK II is currently professor of sociology at the University of Miami-Coral Gables. His research interests focus on issues of equity and social justice in education and labor markets. Recent articles appear in Sociological Focus, Journal of Language and Social Psychology, Negro Educational Review, and Journal of Negro Education.
  • Amaryllis Gonzalez
    University of Miami
    AMARYLLIS DEL CARMEN GONZALEZ recently completed her bachelor’s in political science at Cornell University. She collaborated on this study while participating in a National Science Foundation-supported summer research program at the University of Miami.
 
Member Center
In Print
This Month's Issue

Submit
EMAIL

Twitter

RSS