The Economist quotes Maria Krysan, professor and department head of sociology and former GCI scholar, in an article comparing racial segregation patterns in urban and suburban communities.
OAK PARK, just outside Chicago, is known to architecture aficionados as the home of Frank Lloyd Wright, who built some fine houses there. This small suburban village also has another distinction: it is racially mixed. In the 1970s it vigorously enforced anti-segregation laws; today the “People’s Republic of Oak Park”, as it is sardonically known, is 64% white, 21% black and 7% Hispanic. “Oak Park stands out so much,” says Maria Krysan at the University of Illinois at Chicago. But it does not stand out quite as much as it used to.
America remains a racially divided country, and Chicago is one of its most segregated cities. The south side is almost entirely black; northern districts such as Lincoln Park are golf-ball white; a western slice is heavily Hispanic. Yet the Chicago metropolis as a whole—the city plus suburban burghs like Oak Park—is gradually blending. For several reasons, that trend is almost certainly unstoppable.