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Enforced segregation by racial, ethnic origin, and social status has a very old history. No so long ago, slaves and servants occupied different spaces, oftentimes within the same household or estate. Violence was explicit and used to establish direct domination. The advent of an industrial society and liberal democracy in Europe and the US no doubt brought improvements to the conditions of minorities and the powerless. However, new forms of discrimination found their way around the formal public discourse of freedom and equality. Restrictive covenants made it all but impossible for minorities and immigrants to buy homes in specific neighborhoods. Yet, as decentralized mechanisms requiring coordination of all owners, covenants tended to achieve their intended segregating effect mostly in new subdivisions. MORE

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