“Gatekeepers and Homeseekers: Institutional Patterns in Racial Steering';, is an informative article that touches upon many of the key points gone over in class. This article deals with the difference in the way blacks and whites were and are treated, past and present, by real estate agents when shopping for a new home. In the study, one can see that blacks were not treated as fairly as white people in the real estate market were. Many times the potential black homebuyers were discouraged from purchasing homes in the same areas that the agent would readily show a white homebuyer. The real estate agent played a very peculiar role in doing this. They were, in essence, the racist gatekeepers of a seemingly non-racist neighborhood. The study further goes into this issue by giving explanations and interpretation of this behavior that is seen all over the United States. From thorough examination of the article, one can come to the conclusion that the author, Diana M. Pearce, is following the “interactionist'; perspective to sociology.
In sociology, the interactionist perspective tends to use the “micro'; approach, where smaller groups of individuals are studied. The interactionist perspective views society as countless encounters between human beings and everyday social activity. The fact that an interactionist would make a study based on everyday, example by example cases separates them from the other perspectives, which tend to look at the larger scheme of things. Using the above approach to the study, there are three particular questions that this article answers. First, why do individuals do the things they do? Second, do people always mean what they say? Finally, how is society experienced (what was the difference between black and white experience while shopping for a home?) The following will show how the article answers the previous three questions.
Individuals do the things they do for a number of reasons. According to the interactionist approach to sociology, the population of people are greatly affected by the past and the things they see in everyday life. In the United States, sad but true, most whites are racist whether one likes to say it or not. Even though the people living in a particular neighborhood may not have a preference as to who lives near them or around them, the real estate agent already assumes that it is for the best of the neighborhood not to integrate on a large scale. This general statement is clarified in the following example taken out of the article.
This notion can be correct as well as open to interpretation. As stated in the article:
“White attitudes towards racial integration in housing have also become more positive. The steadily increasing acceptance of equal opportunity in housing over the past several decades has been matched by a decline in the number of whites who believe that they have the right to keep blacks out of their neighborhood.'; (p.117)