Anti-Black Residential Preferences in Toronto

Urban studies scholars have explored the relationship between anti-Black residential preferences and segregation for nearly 50 years in the United States. The classical conception was that Black-white segregation was created and reinforced by a mix of anti-Black preference, discrimination, and poverty. Recently, scholars have been puzzled about why open anti-Blackness has diminished, but segregation has not. The compelling explanations for this turn are useful, but of limited applicability for cities outside of the United States in the Global North. In places such as Paris, London, and Toronto, substantial Black populations are of relatively recent origin, so some of the historical and social drivers of American segregation do not exist in the same form there, even if anti-Blackness does. This paper explores anti-Black residential preferences in Toronto using a 2,314-person online panel. I argue that the racial capitalism paradigm provides a more flexible and robust way to interpret the consequences of anti-Black preferences than segregation metrics. Housing markets are a primary mechanism for materializing racism. At times, that takes the form of segregation, but at other times it assumes different, but equally material, forms.

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Journal of Urban Affairs