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Introduction to this chapter

In this unit, we are back to our textbook. We are reading Chapter 4 in Desmond/Emirbayer. This chapter is focused on economics and how different groups of people are impacted very differently by how the American society is stratified/organized.

Along those lines, you are watching a shorter film narrated by Richard Rothstein, Segregated By Design. Rothstein published a book titled The Color of Law in which he presents research that shows how housing policies and affirmative action laws in the United States have uniquely disadvantage people of color. This means discrimination in housing, inability to secure a mortgage, and preventing people of color from moving into suburbs or “better” neighborhoods. This is a very complex issue. In Segregated by Design, Rothstein himself narrates the video, explaining the gist/content of his book. This video is fast-paced but it has subtitles. I encourage you to stop and rewind in order to understand the content.

Important terms to know are redlining and blockbusting.

Assignments:Write Applied Paper.

Applied papers: In this applied papers, you are asked to respond to the provided prompt, using the readings and films, and to add some of your own research. Each paper should be about 2 pages long, double-spaced (about 500 words) and address the provided prompt in the following manner:

Applied Paper

This unit was focused on housing and affirmative action, as well as how deliberate housing policies have disadvantage people of color in the United States.

Guiding Prompt: Is housing discrimination something that you were aware of before? Look at one of the redlined maps on the website Mapping Inequality (pick a city) and compare how the city is laid out today (you can use Google Maps, Bing, or any other online mapping tool – Zach suggested using real estate websites, such as or, which would give you home values as well).
Can you tell what kind of impact redlining has had on these communities?

For this paper, you can do some visual comparing of how American cities have developed. You should put your findings into context with your readings and the video.
If you cannot find visual comparisons, you can describe the observations that you may have made yourself.

Applied papers: In this applied papers, you are asked to respond to the provided prompt, using the readings and films, and to add some of your own research. Each paper should be about 2 pages long, double-spaced (about 500 words) and address the provided prompt in the following manner:

1) Introduction. What is this unit’s topic about? Respond to the prompt by identifying specific sections in the readings and films that speak to the topic.

2) Research. Identify an artifact or example that highlights the topic in concurrent society. For example, find an article or artifact from at least two places: An American news source, a piece of art (music, written, paint, etc.), an international news source (in English language), or something else relevant that may provide an example or argument that relates to the topic. Some news sources are provided in the course shell in the left-hand menu. However, you may find a different item that would help underscore the issue or your argument.

3) Conclusion. Here, you tie the readings, film, and your found article/item together. What is your take-away in response to the prompt? What are you making of this issue after having done some research?

4) Discussion questions: Provide three (3) discussion questions that you would like your classmates to respond to.

5) Always cite your sources and provide references at the end of your paper.

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