Placing race: The role of regulation and social practice in the production of racialized space in Buffalo, New York
Housel, Jacqueline A
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The 1991 Rodney King beating and the 2001 Cincinnati riots recall images of violent citizen responses to the actions of police. These events are not isolated incidents, but join a list of individual high profile cases that have helped bring racial profiling into focus as one today's urgent urban problems. Recent research has found that there is a perception that minorities are treated unfairly by the police and that this perception is particularly pronounced among Black Americans. What remains largely unexplored is how perceptions of the mundane regulation of place, particularly through state organized policing, affect how individuals move in the micro-geographies of everyday space. The aim of this project is to investigate the everyday practices of individuals with attention to the policing of space and movement in/through/around space in a highly segregated urban area. I explore these connections in Buffalo, New York through two local populations who were known to have suffered indignities in their dealings with police, but were marked very differently---elderly whites living in 'their' neighborhoods that are now predominately Black urban spaces and Black men who were often 'out-of-place' as they negotiated white suburban space. To capture the interrelationships between the regulation of space and movement in/through/around space, I employed mixed methods, including participant observation, surveys with cognitive maps, travel diaries, interviews and focus groups. These methods, along with an intricate theoretical framework built from inter-disciplinary work on race and space, provide context-rich understandings of the construction and maintenance of not just residential segregation seen on 'color line' maps, but also the everyday shaping of embodied, experienced, racialized places.