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The Roles Of Place, Race, And Privilage In Unequal Opportunities

781 words - 4 pages

In this article, Squires and Kubrin argue that place, race, and privilege interact and combine to play a large role in the unequal opportunities that different citizens have in metropolitan areas across the United States. They first explain the existence of “bad” neighborhoods in these metropolitan areas and attempt to describe their development over time. They discuss how place has played a role in this. For example, they discuss sprawl, which they define as “a pattern of development associated with outward expansion, low-density housing and commercial development, fragmentation of planning…, auto-dependent transport, and segregated land use patterns” (48). They explain how sprawl has negatively affected inner-city neighborhoods. Additionally, the authors discuss the impact of race on the formation of unequal life opportunities. Racial minorities do not have access to the same opportunities as white people in America today. Although improving in recent years, the United States remains a highly segregation nation. This segregation, which is both a cause for and result of sprawl, is an example of how place and race interact in the formation of bad neighborhoods and unequal opportunities. Finally, the authors define how privilege affects inequality. Living in an area of large concentrated poverty as well as family social status, being born into either extreme wealth or poverty, have a large effect on the opportunities that one will have in life.
In addition to describing the factors that go into the development of unequal opportunities in urban areas, the authors list some of the costs of living in a bad neighborhood. These “concentration effects,” as they call them, include access to healthcare and financial services. Both are much more difficult to come by in areas of concentrated poverty and racial minorities, although these groups would benefit from them extraordinarily. Bad neighborhoods also cost their residents in terms of education and access to jobs, two additional examples of potential benefits missed by lower income and minority race groups. The need for these services is higher in bad neighborhoods than it is in areas where they are already located. Finally, crime disproportionately affects residents of bad neighborhoods. All of these costs affect children directly, and they lead to an unfortunate “vicious cycle” from which it is extremely difficult to escape. Someone born in one of these neighborhoods is much less likely to...

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