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-  2018 

Compounding Inequalities: How Racial Stereotypes and Discrimination Accumulate across the Stages of Housing Exchange

DOI: 10.1177/0003122418781774

Keywords: racial inequality,housing,discrimination,stereotypes

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Despite numerous legal interventions intended to mitigate racial discrimination in the United States, racial inequality persists in virtually every domain that matters for human well-being. To better understand the processes enabling this durable inequality, I undertake a case study of the housing market—a domain centrally linked to persistent, systemic disparity. I examine how racial stereotypes permeate the distinct but serially linked stages of the housing exchange process; the conditions under which stereotypes are deployed in each stage; and how such dynamics accumulate to affect ultimate processes of exclusion and inclusion. Drawing on one year of ethnographic fieldwork and more than 100 in-depth interviews in the Houston housing market, my findings demonstrate that widely shared, hierarchical stereotypes about race, supported by conditions such as network-necessitated rapport-building and discretion, compound discrimination across discrete stages of housing exchange. I argue that as this accumulation occurs, inequality between minorities and minority neighborhoods and whites and white neighborhoods is rendered durable


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