Ren Farley comments on “Black and white optimism on Detroit-area race relations”

July 29, 2016

Reynolds Farley is quoted in a Bridge Magazine piece, reprinted in today's Detroit Free Press, on “Black and white optimism on Detroit-area race relations.” The piece reports on a recent poll by the Detroit Journalism Cooperative that collected opinions from 600 residents of Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties.

“Seven-in-10 metro Detroiters say they believe race relations in the greater Detroit area are getting better or at least have stayed the same over the past 10 years, the poll found” writes Bill McGraw for Bridge Magazine, reporting that this is “a significant contrast from results of recent national polls, in which most Americans say race relations nationally are getting worse.”

“I think it’s easier for people in the Detroit area to have some familiarity with race relations than people in a state like Maine, where there’s virtually no black population at all and the information comes from seeing violent incidents on television,” said Farley.

Poll findings were not all optimistic, however. “Sixty-five percent of blacks polled said their race makes it harder to succeed in life,” writes McGraw. And seven-in-10, he says, report believing they were treated less fairly than whites while applying for a loan or mortgage, searching for a good job, and more.

For more detail, read the story and review the poll results

Reynolds Farley is professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Michigan and an expert on Detroit demographics. Three times, he led the University of Michigan's longstanding Detroit Area Study, and each time, he focused on the causes of segregation. He is the author (with colleagues Sheldon Danziger and Harry Holzer) of Detroit Divided, which explains how Detroit became the least diverse major city in America--more than 80 percent black--and explicates the city's troubled history of segregation. At the Ford School, Farley teaches a one-credit short course on The History and Future of Detroit (PubPol 466). Read about Farley and his course in this State & Hill article.