What are the consequences of residential segregation in the story A Raisin in the Sun?

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price7781 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

All segregation, whether it is residential, social, educational, financial or political, always causes those who are set apart from having equal opportunities and advantages in society.  For Walter and his family, they are forced to live in a small apartment in the black community because they are not paid enough as blacks to get up and out of the inner city.  Walter is a chauffeur for a white man and dreams of having his own business to provide for his family.  He must rely on his mother’s inheritance to fund his business venture because he probably cannot get credit from the bank. 

When you separate races, another race will have privileges that the others don’t have.  There will be more jobs, higher wages, and better living conditions for those who have the power in society.  Poverty will exist in those areas that don’t have economic advantages.  Living in poverty has been going on for so long that Walter is having a hard time breaking the color barrier of discrimination.  Called generational poverty, it is the hardest form of poverty to get out of because it is all that generations of families have known.  The poverty is not caused by circumstances like losing a job or an illness but is embedded in a culture who has been discriminated against in many ways. 

There are so many causes of discrimination, and it is a very complicated issue.  When generation after generation experiences it, it is harder to fight and earn opportunities granted others.  Things like white flight from the inner city, the proportionate amount of blacks in service jobs versus life long careers, and living in a system of privilege that gives more power to whites makes it very hard to achieve the American dream the Youngers are pursuing so desperately.  Where they live is just one barrier they have to break down to achieve.