The Politics of Exclusion: The Failure of Race-Neutral Policies in Urban America

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Contrasting views of race and society make for heated debate in the United States. From the perspective of assimilation, society operates in a fair, open, and meritocratic fashion. Racial discrimination, while not completely eliminated, arguably has little impact on people's life chances. In contrast, research examining the social construction of race has emphasized continued discrimination. Race remains embedded in social, political, and economic institutions, contributing to systemic racism. The Politics of Exclusion examines how these debates about race-and the proper role of government in addressing issues of race-shape public policy. Investigating three case studies, that involve economic redevelopment, historic preservation, and redistricting in San Diego, New York, and Los Angeles, Saito illustrates the enduring presence of racial considerations and inequality in public policy. Individuals and groups who may sincerely characterize themselves as free of racial prejudice still participate, though perhaps unwittingly, in practices that have racialized outcomes.