How Should We Think About Race? A Conversation on Equity, Inclusion and Integration

  • Catalina Freixas
  • Mark Abbott
Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


The purpose of the chapter is to better understand the differences between black and white Americans in the ways they think about race and what they see as the primary objective of desegregation. Recent studies on the concept of race by Hannaford (1996), Ignatiev (2008) and Painter (2011) as well as recent commentary on the state of race relations in the United States provided by Coates (2014, 2015, and 2017) and Kendi (2016) informed the focus group agenda. Two main themes emerged from the conversation. One, African Americans view societal dynamics very differently than whites. Whites tend to think of society as an integrated whole, while African Americans tend to see it as being comprised of competing factions. Two, as a result, whites tend to understand racism in terms of attitudes, while African Americans view it through a sociopolitical lens and as an unequal distribution of power and resources. Consequently, blacks and whites conceptualize the goal of desegregation antithetically. For whites, integration is the goal, whereas blacks are more interested in equity or the fair distribution of power and resources. In the accompanying essay, “American Urban Housing and Racial Integration Before 1968,” Eric Mumford examines attempts by architects and planners to develop racially integrated communities before the 1968 Fair Housing Act.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catalina Freixas
    • 1
  • Mark Abbott
    • 2
  1. 1.ArchitectureWashington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Social and Behavioral SciencesHarris-Stowe State UniversitySt. LouisUSA

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