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Segregation in America, Does It Still Exist?

Updated on June 7, 2014

Segregation In America Today

Segregation in America, Does It Still Exist?

There are many who claim that segregation was put to rest with the enactment of the Civil Rights Bill of 1964.

Really though, does segregation still exist?

I believe it still exists, however it instills itself so subtly into our culture it doesn't occur to us to identify it as such. Other times it rears it's ugly head revealing how little progress has been made. While the days of segregation as seen in the photos on this page are thankfully long gone, it doesn't mean segregation has vanished from society completely.

I want to know what you think about segregation and whether or not it still exists.

photo credit: public domain - wikimedia

Segregation Defined

To determine if segregation still exists, let's define it:


1. to set or be set apart from others or from the main group

2. ( tr ) to impose segregation on (a racial or minority group)

source: - The World English Dictionary

Cruel Display of Racist Condescension in the Land of Segregation

Did Segregation End With The Civil Rights Bill?

Segregation in the form of separating schools, bathrooms, business establishments and the like ended with the 1964 Civil Rights Enactment, therefore from a legal position, segregation in America no longer exists.

However from other standpoints, for example; demographically or socially, does segregation still exist?

If we look at the definition of segregation: "to separate or set apart from others or from the main body or group", I feel segregation certainly exists and often thrives. And it's often by choice.

photo courtesy of public domain - wikimedia

Drive Through any Town or City

If You Really Look, It's Clear Segregation Still Exists

You know what I'm talking about. In the blink of an eye the crossing of a railroad track or river, you can be taken from a visually stimulating, thriving community to a downtrodden, windows boarded up, depressing area of town that can't begin to claim the title or atmosphere of "community".

It is old, run down, tired and worn out. It hasn't changed a bit in the past 60 years....since that decade that was supposed to change everything.

Does seeing the stark contrast of different neighborhoods in city after city make you wonder if segregation still exists like it does me?

Segregation is Often a Choice

Churches do it. The blogging world does it. Barber shops and hair salons too. College and universities, too many to list here, are notorious for it.

While segregation of schools is illegal, many people and organizations still choose to segregate or separate themselves from other groups of different races. Does this impede the way to end racism and create an environment of division and separatism?

"We must face the fact that in America, the church is still the most segregated major institution in America. At 11:00 on Sunday morning when we stand and sing and Christ has no east or west, we stand at the most segregated hour in this nation."

Dr. Martin Luther King

photo credit: Creative Commons - wikimedia

So What Do You Think?

Anyone can participate and share their opinion. Please offer your feedback on segregation.

Is Segregation As Defined By The Dictionary Alive And Kicking?

Nope It's Long Gone, Water Under The Bridge

Nope It's Long Gone, Water Under The Bridge

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    • CampingmanNW 3 years ago

      Segregation exits only for profit. The house on "The other side of the tracks" as you so eloquently point out, were not always boarded up or dilapidated. They were allowed to decay. THAT is not societies fault, but is an individual choice. The one's who publicly rail the most against this are the one's reaping the rewards, as they are PAID for their services. Does poverty exist, might be a better subject to write about. All individuals can rise...but THEY must make the choice to rise. Our current President is an example of just that. My thoughts anyway.

    • anonymous 3 years ago

      Of course schools will have a higher percentage of white kids in them, because that's the largest ethnicity in America! Blacks choosing to be around blacks and whites choosing to be around whites doesn't evidence segregation, it demonstrates freedom of choice. If you go to a Detroit Tigers Baseball game, nearly all the workers are black. If you go to a McDonald's in West Michigan, they're all white. That shows what predominant ethnicity lives there, not segregation.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      It is gone but......Um i can't write any more have to go!

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      I say no WAY DUDE your crazy its long gone water under the BRIDGE

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      Segregation? Gone.

      Discrimination? Nope.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      long gone

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      it depends on how you look at it but i think its done

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      hell yeaah

    • Bernie 6 years ago from Corbin, KY

      only by choice or economics, not forced or required

    Yes, Sadly Segregation Still Thrives

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      • anonymous 3 years ago

        segregation still exists everywhere. not just between racial colors but between the LGBT, your gender, your hair color. its always going to be here. some people just don't see it because they want to believe that they are perfect and would never discriminate. have you ever seen someone and said "ew look at her hair, its red" what else is that called? an opinion? no its discrimination! open your eyes people!

      • anonymous 3 years ago


      • Meganhere 3 years ago

        Yes, it's still here.

      • anonymous 3 years ago

        I take it non of the people commenting have been in the deep south. Small towns still have white only signs....

      • anonymous 3 years ago

        Yes, the United States is getting more and more segregated. Many places of employment are practicing segregation, and it is sad, and harmful. And, it's also ridiculous considering the fact that we are all mixed ethnically, and many are mixed racially.

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        Yes its still here

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        Yes its still here

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        One way it still exists is through gated communities. The gates have two meanings. The idea sounds better than segregated. The U.S. is obsessed with euphemisms.

      • Eric Mayo 4 years ago

        Segregation still lives on a socio-economic level.

      • Kristen 4 years ago from Wisconsin

        Unfortunately segregation is still here. Not to the extreme that it was before civil rights, but here still.

      • srsddn lm 4 years ago

        It may not be thriving the way it did earlier, but we can't say it is eliminated.

      • debate76ster 5 years ago

        Yes, but it is now hidden under several ideologies: gerrymandering voting districts, redrawing school system maps, and economic barriers to home ownership in certain areas.

      • norma-holt 5 years ago

        It's probabl;y more unintentional now because some people can't escape their family's past and are locked into poverty. This is mainly due to beaucratic discriminarion and the tolerance of racial prejudice, particularly in the police force and other places.

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        I hope someday I can come back here and be on the other side but, yes.

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        I do believe that segregation is most definitely alive and kicking. In many ways, society took two steps forward and three steps back. I don't think it can ever be completely eradicated. Even within subgroups, breaking down individual pockets of neighbourhoods, it may have more to do with 'clans/families/same nationalities' etc....more than it is about the colour of a person's skin, although there are those where that is the sole issue.

        It is not always overtly malicious, sometimes it because people are most comfortable with people who are most like themselves. Having said that, I moved from a small town in New York with a population that was black and white - I love that I have spent my adult life in one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world. Within the hue of cultures we all partake in the celebrations of the other, we are one, we are all the same.

      • miaponzo 5 years ago

        I do believe it is.. and sadly, probably always will be to some degree... people just prefer to be with similar people.

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        Of course it doubt about that. Think about it this communities for instance, and Hispanic communities. Many can claim to say that "Blacks and Hispanics have just as much of an opportunity as everyone else! They need to work!" but honestly, the single black mothers living in projects, the Hispanic families trying to band together and raise whole extended families under one roof to that not hard work? Welfare and food stamps, social security and medicare DO NOT completely provide all of the means to comfortably live. Unemployment offers MUCH less than what your wages were at work. NOT ONE PERSON CAN SOLELY RELY UPON BENEFITS! So to say this is cruel. Now, on to the next one...while this is the case, of course Blacks and Hispanics are the most likely to be impoverished. They are the most likely to have to rely on these benefits. They are the most likely to inhabit run down, poorly maintained ghettos and old thrown away housing in Urban areas. They are the ones most likely to go to poor schools, and the most likely to have to begin work right away to have to support an already struggling household. They are the most likely to turn to other (illegal) methods of making money because they don't have another choice. School (College) takes time, money, patience, and focus. In an environment like that, who could focus? And how many people do not realize that this is a cycle that is still manifesting itself from the abolition of segregation? A time when the parents of the newer generations were STILL being segregated against in jobs? A time where money didn't just fall into their laps to put them at the same level as the whites? And THESE are the people not working hard, and who have equal opportunity? Please...

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        Segregation is very much alive today. Minorities end up in poor schools, poor neighborhoods, and low-paying jobs. There is something in the system that seems biased towards minorities but I cannot put my finger on it, yet.

      • norma-holt 5 years ago

        yes, everywhere. There is something about skin colour and behaviour that leads to it whether people want it or not. Religion is mostly to blame for segregation and hatred of and for different people.

      • mrducksmrnot 5 years ago

        Yes and it is sad. Before MS put me in a wheelchair for life I often went to different churches and nursing homes and sang gospel music. I felt the Spirit of the Lord more in the segregated black churches than all the other churches combined. I was blessed growing up at a YMCA Conference center with people coming from all over the world for summer break and was exposed to all different cultures and that alone opened my heart, mind and soul to true Love for one another without regard to color, race, creed or religion. I guess I'm one of the few but I spread my disagreement to those with racial slurs toward anyone. Sticks and stones may break my bones and words really hurt but LOVE alone will stand when all else is gone.

      • Joan Haines 6 years ago

        A lot of it appears to be that self imposed type.

      • dexter yarbroug1 6 years ago

        Yes. It still exists.

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        Sadly, segregation still is separating us in "modern" ways.

      • Tony Payne 6 years ago from Southampton, UK

        I think in some smaller towns especially in the southern States it does, but overall I have seen good integration between the races, particularly in the offices where I have worked.

      • AtamaSingh 6 years ago

        Sadly, we have all become desensitized to even notice, it happens in the workplace, on job applications, and almost everywhere. Americans need to wake-up, Immigration status, skin color, gender, and race is not apart of the new global market place. They say " you can't teach an old dog new tricks" point is, we need to stop the 'madness' become more aware of reality, and think globally.

      • Kathryn Grace 6 years ago from San Francisco

        All you have to do is look at the tremendous disparity in prison populations across this country to understand that segregation and discrimination remain predominant. Frankly, in my mind THAT is a crime.

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        The segregation is slowly shifting towards the 'haves' and the 'have-not's' and more so, between the 'moneyed' and the 'under-privileged'.

      • Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

        Yes. I do believe segregation is alive and well. Some say the worship hour is the most segregated hour of all (church membership). I have certainly lived in many towns and cities where there was very little interaction or mixing among races. I've chosen to try to live in places that are more integrated by the enthusiastic choice of its residents.

      • gypsyman27 lm 6 years ago

        You can still find it, if you look in the right places. See you around the galaxy...

      • sheriangell 6 years ago

        Segregation still remains in society today. It has just changed it's face and game compared to segregation of pre-1964.

      Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color.

      ~Author Unknown~

      My Unofficial Personal Statistics

      I grew up in a city of approximately 100,000 in Michigan in the 1960s I started elementary school in 1961 at a school that was, my best guess, 60% black and 40% white. Today that same school reports that 69% of their students are black, 2% Hispanic and 29% are white.

      When I was in 5th grade we moved and the new school I attended was 100% white. Really. Today this school claims a "diverse" mix of: 89% white, 1% Native American, 4% Asian, 2% Hispanic and 3% black. Not much changed, did it?

      While these are just two schools in one small school district it was interesting to me to revisit the place of my childhood and discover little had changed at all. Interesting and highly disappointing.

      This discovery indicates to me, that while segregation is indeed illegal, that doesn't mean it no longer exists.

      2001 Perry, Florida

      In 2001 this small town just 50 odd miles east of Tallahassee, FL made it big in the media. The residents of Perry still lived in segregated "harmony" until a lawmaker from Maryland, Talmadge Branch, was passing through one day.

      Mr. Branch decided to stop in to the Perry Package Store and Lounge to enjoy a beer. He was bluntly told that "coloreds" weren't served in the lounge and he would have to enter through the back in order to enjoy his beer and lunch.

      This apparently wasn't unusual in Perry, as according to residents all the bars in that town were segregated. The mayor, when interviewed for this story, actually used the term, "consensual segregation".

      Mr. Branch himself was accused of coming to the town, just to "stir up trouble".

      For more interviews and instances of "consensual segregation" you can read the entire story right here.

      photo credit: public domain - wikimedia

      Segregation Stories

      Census study: Racial segregation persists in Muskegon-Norton Shores metro area

      MUSKEGON - Diversity is hard to come by in Elisia Sparkman's neighborhood.

      With a population that's roughly 90 percent African American, her one-story rental home on the 2000 block of Wood Street in Muskegon Heights is among the most racially segregated areas in the county, according to census data.

      But the divide isn't necessarily motivated by skin color, said Sparkman, 56, an African American who gets by on social security disability. Income, emotional ties to one's neighborhood, lack of opportunity to go elsewhere - all play a role in the racial makeup of Muskegon County's neighborhoods, she said.

      "Our generation, when we stay still, it's because.....Read entire story


      Black Northerners Migrating South in Record Numbers


      (NEWSER) - The Great Migration may have come full circle. African-Americans are leaving large cities in the East and Midwest and moving to the South in the greatest numbers in decades, say demographers. Black New Yorkers... Read entire story

      Where Do You Stand On Segregation? - You don't have to be a member to participate

      Do You Feel We Have Made Progress In Bridging The Racial Gap In America?

      See results

      Got Something To Say? - I'd Love To Hear All About It

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        • profile image

          anonymous 4 years ago

          Great information, I enjoyed your lens a lot

        • BritFlorida profile image

          Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

          The piece about Perry is amazing - thanks for a great article.

        • kristalulabelle profile image

          Kristen 4 years ago from Wisconsin

          Great topic! Very thought provoking!

        • norma-holt profile image

          norma-holt 4 years ago

          Featured this on Nearer my God and renewed the blessing, Hugs

        • norma-holt profile image

          norma-holt 5 years ago

          Dropped back to feature this on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012-2. A great wake up call on the inhumanity of man towards others. Hugs

        • Gypzeerose profile image

          Rose Jones 5 years ago

          Lovely lens, I admire you for your hard work on these important issues.

        • profile image

          anonymous 5 years ago

          Returning with a well deserved angel blessing...*

        • profile image

          miaponzo 5 years ago

          Thanks so much for bringing up this topic! Blessed!

        • BruceJackson1 profile image

          BruceJackson1 5 years ago

          Thanks for tackling such a tough issue.

        • profile image

          jimmyworldstar 5 years ago

          I think segregation is still around, just in a more subtle form. People choose to live in different areas separated by demographics and income, all sorts of people. Integrating isn't something that can just be done through law, but is something that people will have to overcome by not fearing others who don't look the same as them.

        • norma-holt profile image

          norma-holt 5 years ago

          This is such a difficult topic and just today the Moslems in Australia are claimed by the media to be targeting Jews in this country because of what is going on in Pakistan. For me multi-culturalism does not work because religious prejudices and hatred taught from the pulpits of mosques, churches, temples and so on will not allot to. You did a good job here and I have featured this on Complex Thought or Complexity of Thinking

        • mrducksmrnot profile image

          mrducksmrnot 5 years ago

          I see the largest problem in America today and all over the world for that matter is politics and judicial systems create the hate among any race, color, creed or religion. We need to put real people at all levels of a society as a whole that have the values and principles of serving the people equally. Then and only then will the world be free from hate and segregation will cease to exist and the meaning and purpose of LIFE will thrive. _/\_

        • aesta1 profile image

          Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

          I don't know if I am a pragmatist...but in my many years of life, I have seen people will always want to be better than someone else...Mississippi Burning "over whom are we better then?"

        • QuinnWolf LM profile image

          QuinnWolf LM 6 years ago

          Most segregation these days is a result of economics and lack of education. Poor kids in the ghetto grow up thinking their only hope for a future is to become a basketball star or rapper. Middle class kids grow up thinking they will get a skilled trade position. Upper class kids grow up thinking they will be a doctor, lawyer or CEO. It's up to the parents to break these stereotypes by ensuring their children follow the path of higher education.

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          May there be a day when segregation is truly only a word that we have to look up and not a reality in any part of our society.

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          Tony Payne 6 years ago from Southampton, UK

          I think that racial problems mostly exist in those communities where there are people with a negative attitude towards African Americans. When children have been brought up to believe that black people are inferior, it takes a lot to change those beliefs. Where this has not been the case I do believe that racialism has very much disappeared.

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          Kathryn Grace 6 years ago from San Francisco

          I no longer remember who said it, but somewhere, someone once said something like this: Until every last person is free, none of us is free. That remains as true today as ever. I pray every day for all our hearts to be healed and for our differences to be cause for joy, not sorrow.

        • sheriangell profile image

          sheriangell 6 years ago

          @Jennifer Einstein: Einsteinium - thanks for visiting as well as the heads up on the MLK quote. It looks normal on my end....I'm wondering if it's a browser issue?

        • Jennifer Einstein profile image

          Jennifer Einstein 6 years ago from New York City

          Don't need to publish this, but thought you would like to know that your MLK quote comes up in white on white and it looks completely blank until I highlighted it with my mouse.

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          WeirdStuff 6 years ago

          Well written article. This topic is a huge tabu in society.

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          Not sure much about the US, but people are definitely viewed with different shades according to the races. Does not essentially have to mean a racist view, but it is more of a cultural barrier, which exists in the minds of the beholders (IMO). Cheers for the wonderful topic. :)

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          Loretta 6 years ago from United States

          Even in the "melting pot" areas I see a lot of self-segregation - I'm not sure what's worse being excluded or intentionally excluding yourself. Someday we'll get to a more cohesive place, but I think as long as we continue to make progress and move forward instead of backward we'll be okay.

        • Diana Wenzel profile image

          Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

          I think these kinds of open conversations are really important. Thanks for creating a forum for the discussion of such a vital topic. We have much to accomplish in this arena.

        • gypsyman27 lm profile image

          gypsyman27 lm 6 years ago

          Segregation is still alive and well in this country in certain locales. Most of the time the people that it affects can't be bothered to try to change the situation. See you around the galaxy...

        • lollyj lm profile image

          Laurel Johnson 6 years ago from Washington KS

          Segregation of all types exists today, not only racial but socioeconomic.

          Go to any town of any size -- from a major metropolis to the tiniest rural town.

          The wealthy people live in certain areas out of choice. No one except very

          wealthy people can live in these upper crust areas.

          The very poor people live in run down areas because it's all they can afford.

          Rich people choose to segregate themselves. The poor have no choice.

          This is true regardless of race or color.