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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Summer 2017

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Leonard, Kevin

Second Advisor

Zimmerman, Sarah J.

Third Advisor

Seltz, Jennifer, 1970-


This thesis seeks to document the combination of explicit and structural factors which created and still continue to create adversarial conditions for inner-city African Americans. In the process, it considers the utility of the word “ghetto” as a descriptive term and more broadly as an analytical framework. Throughout the twentieth century there were numerous factors working throughout the United States to consign African Americans to an inferior socio-economic position. Consequently, this thesis suggests that poverty in low-income African American neighborhoods as well as the continued persistence of residential segregation across the U.S. is the result of conscious policy choices and an economic system which inherently produces inequality. Through public and private practices which led to the development of a dual housing market, redlining, racially restrictive covenants, and the like, African Americans were beset with a series of structural impediments which have born decidedly negative consequences. As a result, this thesis will attempt to analyze why these trends cannot be attributed to personal failings or individual preference, but are instead the result of conscious policy choices buttressed by an economic system which perpetuates racist outcomes.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Race discrimination--United States--African Americans; African Americans--Segregation--United States; Inner cities--United States; United States--Race relations

Geographic Coverage

United States




masters theses




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