McKinney, the town featured in a viral video of the now-resigned Texas police officer Eric Casebolt violently interrupting a pool party, has an unsurprisingly problematic relationship with race. In 2008, for example, the city and its housing authority were sued for discrimination after a group, the Inclusive Communities Project, alleged that officials were prohibiting public housing from being built on the wealthier, west side of town—where close to nine in 10 residents were white (versus accounting for just half of the population on the east side). The suit was eventually settled, with the McKinney Housing Authority agreeing to provide loans for hundreds of tax-credit units for low-income housing.
This form of de facto segregation is not limited to McKinney. In fact, it’s a reality in many American cities, according to “Zeroing In on Place and Race,” a new report by Measure of America, a bipartisan nonprofit associated with the Social Science Research Council. The paper primarily aimed to track the number youth (teenagers and young adults aged 16 to 24) who are “disconnected”: unemployed and out of school. But it consequently highlights the significant role that race and segregation play in these kinds of life outcomes. Specifically, it finds that highly segregated “metro areas,” like McKinney, tend to have higher-than-average black disconnection rates and lower-than-average rates among whites. “In other words, residential segregation by race disproportionately harms black teenagers and young adults,” the report explains.