White Space, Black Hood: Opportunity Hoarding and Segregation in the Age of Inequality

Beacon. Sept. 2021. 312p. ISBN 9780807000298. $28.95. SOC SCI
In this exploration of geography’s role in sustaining the American caste system, Cashin (law, Georgetown Univ.; Loving; Place Not Race) tackles the origins of what she calls the “Black hood” or “ghetto,” a lasting legacy of racism in the United States. Cashin uses two decades of urban studies research on cities like Baltimore, Chicago, and New York to prove that anti-Black state and federal policies and overinvestment in “white space” (i.e., affluent areas) have helped to forge the three main urbanist tools used to suppress Black neighborhoods—boundary maintenance, opportunity hoarding, and stereotype-driven surveillance. In contrast with the spate of books that address racial segregation with only a dispassionate academic focus on statistics and data, Cashin fills her book with personal stories from the Black Americans who have effectively fought the residential caste system. This book covers territory that will be familiar to readers of Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste and Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law, to which Cashin adds potential solutions rooted in respect and humanity.
VERDICT Cashin’s study of the racial foundations of residential castes is an accessible and compelling read that balances historical documents with personal narratives. Highly recommended.
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