The brave new world : the social and participatory behaviors of the modern suburban African American
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Have steady increases in socioeconomic status (SES) and occupational prestige along with changes in residential context and subsequently social networks necessitated a shift in our understanding of Black political participation and group identity? Specifically, how does the unique political environment facing African-American residents in majority Anglo suburbs attach unique utilities to participation, different from their neighbors or even their own co-ethnics that reside in the central city? I argue that African Americans in majority Anglo areas who expend political resources in the most proximate races will derive a negligible benefit. Further, these citizens’ most proximate residential and social network contexts heighten feelings of minority status. Consequently, I contend this class of Black voters are pushed away from the traditional forms of participation (i.e. voting for the congressman or local school board representative) and towards non-traditional, and more resource costly, forms of group directed participation which also come at much higher utilities.