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White Flight Continues From Ethnoburbs Around the Country

As affluent whites have returned to more urban areas, some might think that white flight is a relic of the 20th century, but overwhelming evidence shows that white flight continues, just in a different place and time.
September 5, 2016, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Joseph Sohm

"White flight from highly concentrated Asian immigrant communities or 'ethnoburbs,' a term first coined by Wei Li, is nothing new," writes Anjali Enjeti.

The story builds on the story told in this passage about the persistence of white flight—though the years and locations might change:

Sociologist Samuel H. Kye, the author of Segregation in Suburbia: Ethnoburbs and Spatial Attainment in the Urban Periphery, examined segregation patterns in 150 middle class metropolitan black, Hispanic, and Asian ethnoburbs from 1990 to 2010. By focusing on middle-class, as opposed to lower-class ethnoburbs, he hoped to eliminate poverty as a factor for white flight. In a phone interview, he relays that the relative economic prosperity of an ethnoburb does not diminish white people’s decisions to abandon it. “Across the board, any time you see a significant presence of minority residents, there is a near perfect predictor of exodus of white residents,” he says.

The article includes anecdotes from the author's life in Johns Creek, a suburb of Atlanta that has become more and more Asian as whites have moved to the next suburban ring over, but Enjeti also provides data on the trend from around the country and especially the city of Cupertino, a suburb of San Jose, California.

Enjeti is not offering a dry demographic analysis of white flight. The point is to call attention to the racial motivations behind out-migration of whites from ethnoburbs: "Somehow white parents’ liberal politics and progressivism do not inform them that the decision to relocate to avoid Asians is racism. They’ve defined the term so narrowly, their own individual acts of prejudice don’t meet it."

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, August 25, 2016 in Pacific Standard
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