The Chicago Tribune’s Redeye edition quotes Dick Simpson, professor of political science and former GCI scholar, in article on a Brookings Institute report that found Chicago is the country’s third-most segregated large city.
In Chicago, the shift of African-Americans from the city to the suburbs is likely because residents are in search of better housing and schools and safer communities, said Dick Simpson, a professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a former Chicago alderman. But many black residents still land in suburbs with majority-black populations, like Dolton, Harvey and Maywood.
“There is a long tradition of segregation in Chicago and it’s only slowly eroding,” Simpson said. “The social science studies show that often African-Americans only look for housing in neighborhoods that are African-American, and whites only look to own in neighborhoods that are white. It has become deeper than past laws. It has affected the psychology and what individuals seek as a comfortable community.”
It’s only in suburban communities like Oak Park and Evanston, where the local governments have made a concerted effort to integrate, that there has been real progress, Simpson said.
Chicago is much more integrated than it was 30 years ago, he said. But it’s not nearly time to celebrate.
“The level of segregation in Chicago and the region is still scandalous,” Simpson said. “Being the most segregated city is a title we’ve had for, unfortunately, decades. We are doing better, but we are not doing better fast enough.”