Integration Exhaustion, Race Fatigue, and the American Dream
When the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 was being debated, Senator Walter Mondale famously stated that “the reach of the proposed law was to replace the ghettos by truly integrated and balanced living patterns.” But the nation has had a long, uneasy relationship with the concept of integration. Several legal mandates, social science research reports, and advocacy positions have endorsed the pursuit of integration, but segregation remains a dominant reality in virtually all U.S. cities and their surrounding areas. In recent years, the value of integration appears to be losing its hold. “Integration exhaustion” on the part of nonwhites and “race fatigue” on the part of whites have defl ated some of the pressure for integration. Many suggest that today we live in a “post-civil rights world,” and so perhaps the need for integration, like the Civil Rights Movement itself, has faded.