Racial Inequality in New York City since 1965

Edited by Benjamin P. Bowser & Chelli Devadutt

Subjects: Urban Sociology, Public Policy, New York/regional, American History, African American Studies
Hardcover : 9781438475998, 452 pages, September 2019
Paperback : 9781438476001, 452 pages, July 2020

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

List of Illustrations

J. Phillip Thompson


Benjamin P. Bowser and Chelli Devadutt

Part I. Structural Underpinnings of Inequality

1. Economy: Inequality in New York City: The Intersection of Race and Class
James A. Parrott

2. Housing: The Paradox of Inclusion and Segregation in the Nation’s Melting Pot
Ingrid Gould Ellen, Jessica Yager, and Maxwell Austensen

3. Education: New York City School Segregation Then and Now: Plus Ça Change
Norman Fruchter and Christina Mokhtar

Education Addendum
Improving School Culture to Reduce Educational Disparities for Black and Latino Young Men
Adriana Villavicencio, Shifra Goldenberg, and Sarah Klevan

4. Government: Do Mayors Matter? Race, Justice, and the Men in City Hall, 1965–2017
Jarrett Murphy

Part II. The Race Mountains

Introduction to Part 2
Hector R. Cordero-Guzmán

5. African Americans and Racialized Inequality in New York City
Benjamin P. Bowser

6. Latino Americans: The Evolving Latino Population in New York City
Hector R. Cordero-Guzmán

7. West Indian Americans: Select Socioeconomic Characteristics of West Indian Immigration in New York City
Calvin Holder and Aubrey W. Bonnett

8. Asian Americans: Immigration, Diversity, and Disparity
Howard Shih

9. Ethnic Conflict: How Much Exists in New York City?
Benjamin P. Bowser, John Flateau, Hector R. Cordero-Guzmán, Howard Shih, Calvin Holder, and Aubrey W. Bonnett

Part III. Practice and Policy
Introduction to Part 3
Hector R. Cordero-Guzmán

10. Policing: Stop and Frisk: Continuity of Racial Control and Reconstructed Blackness
Natalie P. Byfield

Policing Addendum: Race-Based Discrimination in Expert Witness Testimony
George W. Woods and Stephen Greenspan

11. Public Health: Public Policy, HIV/AIDS, and the Destruction of Community in New York City
Robert Fullilove

Public Health Addendum: Inequalities in Health and Access to Health Services in New York City: Change and Continuity
Michael K. Gusmano and Victor G. Rodwin

12. Human Development Index: The Five New Yorks: Understanding Inequality by Place and Race in New York City
Kristen Lewis and Sarah Burd-Sharps

13. Public Housing: New York City’s Third City
Victor Bach

14. Political Participation: Black New Yorkers: Fifty Years of Closing the Political Inequality Gap, 1965–2016
John Flateau

15. Social Capital, Gentrification, and Inequality in New York City
James Rodriguez, Robert L. Hawkins, and Andrew Wilkes

Conclusion and Recommendations
Benjamin P. Bowser and Chelli Devadutt


A comprehensive exploration of racial inequality in New York City since 1965.


In the past, the study of racial inequality in New York City has usually had a narrow focus, examining particular social problems affecting ethnic-racial groups. In contrast, this book provides a comprehensive overview of racial inequality in the city's economy, housing, and education sectors over the last half-century. A collection of original essays by some of New York's most well-known and emerging urban experts, Racial Inequality in New York City since 1965 explores what city government has done and failed to do to address racial inequality. It examines the changes in circumstances of Asian, Latino, West Indian, and African American New Yorkers, outlining how theirs have either improved or deteriorated relative to their white counterparts. The contributors also analyze how practices and policies in policing, public housing, public health, and community services have maintained racial inequality and discuss how political participation can increase social capital among city residents in order to reduce racial inequality. The book concludes by offering a compendium of practical recommendations and actions that can be implemented to address racial inequality in the city.

Benjamin P. Bowser is Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Social Services at California State University, East Bay. His many books include Gangster Rap and Its Social Cost: Exploiting Hip Hop and Using Racial Stereotypes to Entertain America. Chelli Devadutt is Co-Organizer of the Walter Stafford Project on Inequality in New York City at New York University.


"…the anthology aims to be an interdisciplinary resource that tackles numerous aspects of racial inequality in New York City. It succeeds in its mission and that despite the harrowing statistics and stories told, the book's last chapter with its dozens of pragmatic recommendations forces readers, most of whom are likely researchers and activists themselves, to confront what scholarship can do, here and now, to reduce racial inequality. " — Gotham Center for New York City History

"Through 15 chapters, scholars, policy experts, and activists recount both the good and bad events relating to race that have taken place since 1965, culminating with insights into policies and practices that offer a path toward greater equality. While the book focuses on New York City, it serves as a primer for the whole country, which is currently struggling to understand its racial history and to define a path forward … Highly recommended. " — CHOICE

"This book provides a broad and up-to-date survey of social and demographic trends in New York City. Unlike many other works, it crosses policy arenas and is not shy in advocating community action. " — J. Phillip Thompson, New York City Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives