Black Identities Revisited: Spatial Mobility, Class and Ethnicity in Black Suburbs

Orly Clerge, Brown University

The purpose of this research is to investigate the spatial mobility patterns and processes in predominately black New York City suburb. I argue that as Haitians and Jamaicans have sought residence outside of inner city metropolitan areas, they have a unique process of choosing and defining their ethnic and class identities in these new suburban destinations. Through a micro-demographic community study, I employ ethnographic observation, semi-structured interviews and a structured survey in a multilevel analysis of community, family and individual spatial and social dynamics. This paper documents the mobility history of respondents and the role that class and generational status, household dynamics, and immigrant ethnic networks plays in the suburbanization process for Haitians and Jamaicans. Using class and suburban spatial location as controls allows us to understand the ways in which place-based and ethnic boundary work occurs in contexts outside of central cities.

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Presented in Poster Session 4