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Multicultural Geographies

The Changing Racial/Ethnic Patterns of the United States

John W. Frazier, Florence M. Margai

Publication Year: 2010

Geographical perspectives on the changing patterns of race and ethnicity in the United States. In an approach that differs from other publications on U.S. multiculturalism, Multicultural Geographies examines the changing patterns of race and ethnicity in the United States from geographical perspectives. It reflects the significant contributions made by geographers in recent years to our understanding of the day-to-day experiences of American minorities and the historical and current processes that account for living spaces, persistent patterns of segregation and group inequalities, and the complex geographies that continue to evolve at local and regional levels across the country. One of the book’s underlying themes is the dynamic and complex nature of U.S. multiculturalism and the academic difficulty in evaluating it from a single viewpoint or theoretical stance. As such, Multicultural Geographies is derived from the joint efforts of selected scholars to bring together diverse perspectives and approaches in documenting the experiences of American minorities and the issues that affect them.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: Global Academic Publishing


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pp. v


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

Increasingly, colleges and universities across the United States are restructuring their general education requirements to incorporate courses that deal with issues of pluralism and diversity. Such curricular transformations recognize the increasing demographic, social, economic and political relevance of American minorities and require courses that promote a broader understanding...

I. Introduction

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pp. xi

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Chapter 1. Multiculturalism and Multicultural Education in the United States: The Contributory Role of Geography

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pp. 1-10

Settlement geography and cultural landscapes, two well-established themes of human geography, have taken on renewed importance in the study of the United States. The examination of regional cultural patterns, such as the distribution of Hispanics in the American Southwest, Germans in Texas, and Mormons in the Salt Lake Region are a few examples...

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Chapter 2. Culture, Cultural Landscapes and the Historical Contexts for Economic Expansion, Immigration and Group Settlements in the United States

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pp. 11-28

This chapter introduces the concepts that are central to the understanding of multiculturalism within a geographic context. Specifically, culture and cultural landscapes are relevant to the study of group identities, behaviors and practices, and the visual manifestations of their activities on the natural landscape. Also relevant to our discussion is the development of the Anglo-American society,,,

II. U.S. Black Geographies

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pp. 29

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Chapter 3. Black American Geographies: The Historical and Contemporary Distributions of African Americans

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pp. 31-40

Until recently, blacks constituted the largest minority population in America. The U.S. Census 2000 reported about 34 million blacks and approximately 35 million Latinos. Even though Latinos have surpassed blacks as the largest minority group, the token minority status of blacks remains in social focus. This is partly the result of the better assimilation of other ethnic minority groups and the persistence of Dubois’ “color line” in Highly segregated...

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Chapter 4. The Plight of African Americans in Michigan: Residential Segregation, and Predictable Outcomes in Mortgage Lending and Educational Achievement

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pp. 41-54

The last chapter provided a historical context for the evolution of black urban geographies in the northern United States. The Great Migration resulted in the relocation of millions of African Americans and the emergence of the national black ghetto system. Black migration to northern cities, which started slowly but exploded by World War II, continued after the 1950s...

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Chapter 5. Predatory Lending and Race: A Case Study of a Washington, D.C. Lender

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pp. 55-64

During the 1990s, the market and supply of subprime mortgage loans increased dramatically. Subprime loans are made to borrowers who do not meet the criteria for conventional loans and are offered at a higher price to account for the higher risk associated with the loan. As such, the marketing of subprime loans offers a service that enables individuals previously shut out of the mortgage market to qualify for a loan...

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Chapter 6. Low Birth Weight and the Contribution of Residential Segregation, New York City, 2000

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pp. 65-75

Low birth weight, the percentage of babies weighing less than 2,500 grams at birth, is a major public health problem in the United States, contributing substantially to infant mortality and childhood disabilities. Low birth weight reflects not only the infant’s health, but also the mother’s health, and is a useful indicator of women’s reproductive health and how it varies among neighborhoods and communities...

III U.S. Asian Geographies

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pp. 77

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Chapter 7. Asians in America: Some Historical and Contemporary Patterns

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pp. 79-99

The term “Asian” describes a substantial range of cultures spread over thousands of miles of the globe. Even descriptive Asian sub-phrases can be deceiving. For example, “East Asian,” meant to refer to people in one geographic region, actually describes distinctly different cultures separated by the great distance from Pakistan to southern India. Grouping dissimilar cultures into a single class...

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Chapter 8. What Color is Segregation? Changing Spatial Segregation of Asians: 1980–2000

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pp. 101-112

The empirical studies conducted in the past decade or so have reported a general decline in the level of segregation in the U.S. (e.g., Denton 1999). While researchers and policy analysts continued to call for more actions to speed up the process of lowering segregation, the general direction of decline appears to be promising. There are, however, several limitations in these studies...

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Chapter 9. From the Ghetto to the Invisiburb: Shifting Patterns of Immigrant Settlement in Contemporary America

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pp. 113-124

Since the early 20th century, scholars have been studying immigrant socio-spatial behavior and settlement patterns. There is little disagreement about the fundamental urban nature of immigrant ethnic settlement in the United States. The vast majority of immigrant ethnics have concentrated in central cities...

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Chapter 10. Refugee Resettlement in Utica, New York: Opportunities and Issues for Community Development

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pp. 125-146

Several recent studies have documented the role of international migration in the dynamics of demographic change in selected U.S. metropolitan areas. Salvo and Lobo (1996) revealed the importance of international migration in metropolitan and intra-metropolitan population trends in New York City...

IV U.S. Latino Geographies

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pp. 147

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Chapter 11. Changing Latino Geographies in the United States

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pp. 149-169

Latino Americans (also referred to as Hispanics) now represent the largest single minority population in 21st century America. Like the Asian American population discussed in the previous section, they constitute many subcultures, including Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans, Central and South Americans, and native groups such as the Tejanos, Chicanos, and Hispanos (Haverluk, 1997). As a cultural group.....

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Chapter 12. Determinants of Latino Migration to Allentown, PA

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pp. 171-189

The Latino population of Allentown and Lehigh County, Pennsylvania has increased dramatically over the past twenty years. Between 1980 and 2000, the Latino population has more than quadrupled from about 7,000 to 32,000. The vast majority of this increase is in people of Puerto Rican ancestry. According to the 2000 Census, 68 percent of the Latino population in Lehigh County identified themselves as Puerto Rican...

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Chapter 13. Latino Landscapes and Latino-Black Districts: A Study of Allentown, PA

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pp. 191-206

Like all communities, Allentown, Pennsylvania is a unique place. It mirrors complex historical and contemporary socioeconomic, cultural, and political processes that continually reshape its geographic landscapes. At the beginning of the 21st century, Allentown is a city of conflicting images, containing signs of prosperity and indicators of inequality and urban decay...

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Chapter 14. Diversity Comes to a Small City: The Case of Binghamton, NY

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pp. 207-216

One of the underlying themes of this text is the transforming power of institutional forces, immigration and internal migration on the changing local cultural landscapes of the United States. Particular places such as Allentown, Pennsylvania have become attractive destinations for particular groups, such as Latinos...

V. Methods of Racial/Ethnic Data Portrayal and Analysis

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pp. 217

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Chapter 15. Reading and Mapping America’s Changing Ethnic Geomorphologies and Palimpsest Geographies

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pp. 219-230

This chapter explores the concept “ethnic geomorphology,” which describes the mosaics or mixtures of ethnic groups that have existed and exist in America’s rural areas, small towns, and large metropolitan areas. The “geomorphology” depicts the surface features of a place and those forces or processes that are responsible for what exists at any point in time. A related concept, “ethnic geology,” which refers to...

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Chapter 16. The Use of a 3-D Mapping Technique to Portray Racial and Ethnic Change

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pp. 231-245

As noted by Brunn in the last chapter, the changing geography of ethnic communities can be compared to the creation and structure of geologic formations. For example, the movement of various ethnic groups into an urban neighborhood over several decades could be thought of as sedimentary layers, one on top of another. Other examples are many. However it is Brunn’s suggestion that ethnic communities...

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Chapter 17. A Comparison of Traditional and Spatial Measures of Segregation: Some Empirical Findings

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pp. 247-262

One of the central issues in segregation and population studies has been the attempt to effectively measure the level of segregation among population subgroups in the United States. The most frequently used measure by researchers has been the dissimilarity index D, which was first advocated by Duncan and Duncan (1955). Even though there has been a lot of skepticism...

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Chapter 18. Using Geo-Data Techniques to Analyze Environmental Health Inequities in Minority Neighborhoods: The Case of Toxic Exposures and Low Birth Weights

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pp. 263-274

The move toward the construction of an inclusive multicultural society in America demands the elimination of race and place-based inequalities. This, in turn, requires the use of effective tools and analytical approaches that are capable of pinpointing these inequities among the population subgroups for remediation and redress. One such area of concern has been...


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pp. 275

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Chapter 19. Summary and Conclusions

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pp. 277-282

Americans have long been a people on the move, seeking a better life and environment for their families. Notable indicators of this longstanding tradition of geographic mobility include the westward expansion to new frontiers, international migration, the Great Migration from South to North and back, intra-urban migration across neighborhoods, and the occupational transition...


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pp. 283-286


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pp. 287-288

E-ISBN-13: 9781438436838
E-ISBN-10: 1438436831
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438436821
Print-ISBN-10: 1438436823

Page Count: 300
Illustrations: 20 b/w photographs, 6 maps, 53 tables, 69 figures
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: 1
Series Title: Global Academic Publishing

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • United States -- Race relations.
  • United States -- Ethnic relations.
  • Human geography -- United States.
  • United States -- Geography.
  • Cultural pluralism -- United States.
  • Multicultural education -- United States.
  • Social change -- United States.
  • Minorities -- United States -- Social conditions.
  • Immigrants -- United States -- Social conditions.
  • United States -- Study and teaching.
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