In a very brief video, Tim Harford, an economist and author of two very interesting books: The Logic of Life and The Undercover Economist, cleverly explains how a mild preference (of not wanting to get outnumbered) of individuals in a mixed neighborhood can result in extreme segregation.
“We, as individuals, might be completely rational and tolerant, but the society that we produce together may be neither rational nor tolerant” opines Harford, giving a nod to Thomas Schelling’s paper on racial segregation (“Models of Segregation”) that eventually got him a Nobel prize in 2005.
That a racist society (or neightborhood) does not necessarily contain racist individuals was very interesting to me. In essence, a racist society can be considered a gestalt. [A structure, configuration, or pattern of physical, biological, or psychological phenomena so integrated as to constitute a functional unit with properties not derivable by summation of its parts. – Definition from MW]