De Facto Segregation - Definition, Examples, Cases, Processes (2022)

Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made racial segregation illegal in the United States, the practice of segregation continued. This practice of separating minorities, especially black Americans, from whites was labeled de facto segregation, and commonly occurred in schools, though such public places as diners, beaches, and others remained segregated. To explore this concept, consider the following de facto segregation definition.

Definition of De Facto Segregation

Noun

  1. Racial segregation that happens “by fact,” rather than by legal requirement.

Origin

1960s American idiom

What is De Facto Segregation

Although Congress ended the legal practice of segregating blacks from whites, the reality is that the practice continued through the 1960s. In fact, the struggle for equal, non-segregated rights continued through the following decade as well. De facto segregation refers to racial segregation that is not supported by law, but engaged in nonetheless. This may not be an intentional effort to keep the races apart, but be a result of natural conditions, or due to the gulf between financial classes. For instance, even if a school district does not separate students according to race, schools in different areas of the district may have more students of one race than others.

(Video) 8 Anderson: De Jure Segregation vs. De Facto Segregation

For example:

Alicia’s two children attend school two blocks from their home. The school is attended by 90% black students, the other 10% being comprised of a mixture of races. Alicia feels her children aren’t getting the quality education they deserve, and makes a claim of racism through segregation. This, however, is an example of de facto segregation, in which the large number of black students is due to the primarily black population of the school district, not any action taken by the school district or other governmental agency.

De Facto Segregation vs. De Jure Segregation

While de facto segregation occurs as a matter of circumstance (or “fact”), de jure segregation, which translates as “according to the law,” occurs based on law. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 put an end to segregation by law, but lacked the punch to end segregation in fact. Over time, businesses and other public places began serving people of all races, and allowing them into their establishments.

De facto segregation vs. de jure segregation is most easily observed in relation to education. Because school enrollment is based on geographical grouping of students, it is not uncommon for schools to remain segregated de facto, though there are no laws that require it.

De Facto Segregation in School Systems

Although racial segregation in schools was put to an end, as far as the law is concerned, by Brown v. Board of Education, de facto segregation still exists. This is because children are usually assigned attendance at a particular school, depending on their residence address. Residential segregation, then, creates educational segregation. More, school budgets are often dependent on property tax revenues, so poor areas tend to have poorer schools.

(Video) De Jure and De Facto

This shows, not only in the lack of facilities, but in the discontent over low pay expressed by teachers and other school employees. Examples of de facto segregation have proven, throughout history, to be much more difficult to do away with than de jure segregation, as it cannot simply be legislated away.

De Facto Segregation Example in the Supreme Court

America was founded on the belief that everyone should have an equal opportunity to thrive and succeed, as long as they’re willing to work for that dream. The reality that slavery existed flew in the face of America’s lofty standard of freedom and equality. Even after slavery was abolished following the Civil War, until about 1865, racism continued to plague black Americans, segregating them from white society.

The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which as adopted in 1868, guarantees equal protection under the law – to all citizens – as it states:

“[no state] shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

This was not enough to change long-held attitudes that black Americans were somehow inferior, and should be shunned. The phrase “separate but equal” came into use as a legal doctrine was embraced in which, as long as any public facility provided equal services to each race, the races could be physically segregated. This included services provided by any governmental agency, public facilities and accommodations, housing, education, medical care, employment, and transportation.

(Video) 🔵 De Facto and De Jure - De Facto Meaning - De Jure Examples -- De Facto in a Sentence - Formal

In 1951, the parents of 20 children filed a class action lawsuit against the Board of Education of the City of Topeka, Kansas, which operated separate elementary schools for black and white students. The parents wanted the school district to stop its policy of segregation. The parent named at the head of the class action lawsuit, Oliver L. Brown, was a welder for the Santa Fe Railroad, and assistant pastor at his local church. His daughter, a third-grader, walked six blocks each day to the bus stop, then rode a mile to her segregated “black school,” Monroe Elementary. The “white school,” Sumner Elementary, was just seven blocks from the Brown’s home.

The court ruled in favor of the Board of Education, citing that the Supreme Court had set a precedent when it ruled that state law requiring “separate but equal” facilities in railway cars, was not unconstitutional. Although the court acknowledged a belief that segregated schooling had a negative effect on black children, it denied the parents’ claim based on the fact that the white and black schools in Topeka were substantially equal in buildings, curricula, qualifications of teachers, and transportation.

The case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which heard the case of Brown v. Board of Education in 1953. Chief counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (“NAACP”), Thurgood Marshall, argued on behalf of the plaintiff parents. The issue was not whether the conditions at the black schools were equal to the conditions at the white schools, but whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibited even the operation of separate public schools.

The high court said that, while the Fourteenth Amendment did not require school integration, it did not prohibit it. It also noted that, in modern times, public education is an essential element of people’s lives, often defining the core of democratic citizenship, socialization, and even professional status. Children denied a quality education are less likely to succeed in life. The court also noted that separating children on the basis of race had a negative effect on the children’s self-esteem, and their ability to learn.

Although the Supreme Court justices were initially divided on the issue, they eventually came to a unanimous decision, ruling that, when a state strives to provide public education, all children must be afforded the same right to that education. The Court noted that racial segregation, even de facto segregation, was “inherently unequal,” and therefore unconstitutional. Still, the issue of desegregating, or integrating, students proved to be a laborious task. In this example of de facto segregation legislation, more hearings were required, and finally an order by the Supreme Court, issued on May 31, 1955, that desegregation occur with “all deliberate speed.”

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De Facto Segregation in Healthcare

Even though there is no legal, or de jure, segregation in healthcare, segregation does, in fact, exist. This is, once again, largely the result of the grouping of minorities into poorer neighborhoods, which are notorious for having few opportunities in healthcare. Although 20 million Americans gained much-needed health insurance with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”), it is estimated that, in 2016, over 30 million people still have inadequate healthcare coverage, or none at all.

Healthcare suffers a racial divide, in all areas of health, from infant health and mortality, to life expectancy. While healthcare professionals acknowledge the disparity, the sheer size of the dilemma is daunting, as the actual problem is tied to the de facto segregation that crowds minorities into poor communities. A lack of availability of quality, regular healthcare leads to worsening health problems.

A shortage of black doctors, who people in largely-black communities seem to be more likely to trust, creates an additional backlog. By the time many of these people are seen by a neighborhood doctor, their problems have become quite serious. Much like the issues of education and employment, de facto segregation in healthcare creates a vicious cycle, making it very difficult for people to rise above the societal expectations.

But segregation in healthcare is not only a matter of unequal access to healthcare, but unequal quality of healthcare when it is available at all. While de jure segregation was made illegal in healthcare, as well as other areas, de facto segregation has remained difficult to end. This may be largely due to the fact that the government, which is bound by the Civil Rights Act, is directly responsible for government-funded healthcare facilities. Many facilities that provide medical services are privately owned. From clinics and emergency rooms, to nursing homes, oversight in issues of segregation is nearly non-existent.

Related Legal Terms and Issues

  • Affordable Care Act – A comprehensive health insurance reform that aims to provide more American’s with affordable, quality health care.
  • Class Action Lawsuit – A lawsuit filed by one person, on behalf of a larger group of people with a common interest in the matter.

FAQs

Which of the following is an example of de facto segregation? ›

Rather than an intentionally legislated effort to separate the groups, de facto segregation is the result of custom, circumstance, or personal choice. So-called urban “white flight” and neighborhood “gentrification” are two modern examples.

What is an example of de facto? ›

An example of something de facto is a rule that people always follow even though it is not an official procedure, a defacto procedure. An example of something de facto is a person who functions as a parent even though they are not related to the child, a defactor parent.

Which is the best definition of de facto segregation? ›

Primary tabs. De facto segregation was a term used during the 1960s racial integration efforts in schools, to describe a situation in which legislation did not overtly segregate students by race, but nevertheless school segregation continued.

What are some examples of de jure segregation? ›

This was de jure segregation.
...
In the ghetto,
  • garbage was collected less frequently,
  • predominantly African American neighborhoods were re-zoned for mixed (i.e., industrial, or even toxic) use,
  • streets remained unpaved,
  • even water, power, and sewer services were less often provided.
6 Mar 2014

Which is an example of de facto segregation quizlet? ›

If blacks/whites live in the same neighborhood but over time start to separate into different communities, this is considered de facto segregation.

Which is an example of de facto discrimination quizlet? ›

Examples of de facto would be the percentage amount of blacks and Hispanics that feel discriminated against in their communities and job treatment (over 50% of them). Another example would be the feeling of being targeted by police force for simply being Black or Latino (52% of blacks and 25% of Latinos).

What causes de facto segregation? ›

De facto segregation may be the result of a combination of events outside the government's control, but that does not extinguish the fact black students and Hispanic students are suffering under the effects of living in a segregated society.

What is de facto segregation quizlet? ›

De Facto Segregation. The separation of different groups of. people based on some characteristic. (e.g., race, religion, ethnicity) that is not. required by law, but that happens anyway.

What is de facto segregation in AP Human Geography? ›

De Facto Segregation. Racial segregation that happens by fact rather than by legal requirement. Redlining. A process by which banks draw lines on a map and refuse to lend money to purchase or improve property within the boundaries.

What are the 3 types of segregation? ›

Types
  • Legal segregation.
  • Social segregation.
  • Gated communities.
  • Voluntary segregation.

What is the difference between segregation and de facto segregation? ›

De jure segregation is understood to be unconstitutional in the United States, requiring a proactive remedy. When segregation is deemed de facto, the state bears no burden of redress.

Why does de facto segregation typically occur quizlet? ›

Why does de facto segregation typically occur? People choose to live with others who share their racial and ethnic characteristics.

What are three examples of segregation in the United States? ›

Segregation in the United States
  • Black Codes and Jim Crow.
  • The Supreme Court and Segregation.
  • Housing Segregation.
  • Segregation During the Great Migration.
  • Segregation and the Public Works Administration.
  • Red-Lining.
  • Housing Segregation.
  • Segregation in Schools.
28 Nov 2018

What is the difference between de jure and de facto segregation quizlet? ›

Were they successful? The difference between de facto and de jure segregation is that defacto segregation is unintentional separation of racial groups whereas dejure segregation occurs when the government implements laws to intentionally enforce segregation.

What is the difference between de jure and de facto? ›

De facto means a state of affairs that is true in fact, but that is not officially sanctioned. In contrast, de jure means a state of affairs that is in accordance with law (i.e. that is officially sanctioned).

What was de facto segregation civil rights and the Vietnam War? ›

Terms in this set (20) What was "de facto" segregation? Separation that occurred through intimidation, violence, and unfair laws.

Does de facto segregation still exists in the United States? ›

De facto segregation, or segregation "in fact", is that which exists without sanction of the law. De facto segregation continues today in areas such as residential segregation and school segregation because of both contemporary behavior and the historical legacy of de jure segregation.

What is an example of ethnic segregation? ›

In terms of regional ethnic segregation, Native Americans and many Japanese Americans during World War II were relocated and residentially separated from other Americans.

Which of the following accurately describes de facto segregation in the United States? ›

Which of the following accurately describes a difference between de jure and de facto segregation/discrimination in the United States? De jure segregation/discrimination is now unconstitutional; de facto segregation/discrimination is now fairly common.

How do we address de facto discrimination quizlet? ›

Affirmative action is a deliberate effort to counteract de facto discrimination and provide full and equal opportunity in areas such as education and employment for traditionally disadvantaged groups. This policy attempts to require providers of opportunities to show that their policies are not discriminatory.

Which of the following is an example of a direct form of discrimination? ›

Direct discrimination. Direct discrimination is when someone is treated unfairly because of a protected characteristic, such as sex or race. For example, someone is not offered a promotion because they're a woman and the job goes to a less qualified man.

Does de facto segregation violate the Constitution? ›

. The constitutional status of de facto school segregation has frequently been adjudicated by state and lower federal courts, with discordant results. Several federal district courts have held it a violation of the equal protection clause. The federal courts of appeals have unanimously upheld it.

What does de facto mean in simple terms? ›

1 : actual especially : being such in effect though not formally recognized — see also de facto segregation at segregation. 2 : exercising power as if legally constituted or authorized a de facto government a de facto judge — compare de jure.

What is de facto simple meaning? ›

De facto is used to indicate that something is a particular thing, even though it was not planned or intended to be that thing. [formal] This might be interpreted as a de facto recognition of the republic's independence. Synonyms: actual, real, effective, existing More Synonyms of de facto. De facto is also an adverb.

What are the two types of segregation? ›

Segregation is made up of two dimensions: vertical segregation and horizontal segregation.

What is a segregation process? ›

1 : the act or process of segregating : the state of being segregated. 2a : the separation or isolation of a race, class, or ethnic group by enforced or voluntary residence in a restricted area, by barriers to social intercourse, by separate educational facilities, or by other discriminatory means.

What are the 5 measurements of segregation? ›

They argued that segregation is not a unidimensional construct, but encompasses five distinct dimensions of spatial variation. The five dimensions they identified are: evenness, exposure, clustering, concentration, and centralization.

What is an example of the principle of segregation? ›

In plants, for example, the color trait of the flower will depend on the type of allele inherited by the offspring. Each parent plant transfers one of the alleles to their offspring. And these sets of alleles in the offspring will depend on the chromosomes of the two gametes uniting at fertilization.

What is the similarity and difference between de jure and de facto segregation? ›

Something that is de jure is in place because of laws. When discussing a legal situation, de jure designates what the law says, while de facto designates what actually happens in practice. “De facto segregation," wrote novelist James Baldwin, “means that Negroes are segregated but nobody did it.”

What caused the Black Death quizlet? ›

What caused the Black Death? Plague is an infectious disease caused by bacteria called Yersinia pestis.

What is the definition of de jure segregation? ›

De jure segregation, or legalized segregation of Black and White people, was present in almost every aspect of life in the South during the Jim Crow era: from public transportation to cemeteries, from prisons to health care, from residences to libraries.

What was the purpose of segregation quizlet? ›

Integration is an act to bring together blacks and whites, segregation is an act to separate blacks and whites.

What is de facto segregation quizlet? ›

De Facto Segregation. The separation of different groups of. people based on some characteristic. (e.g., race, religion, ethnicity) that is not. required by law, but that happens anyway.

What is de facto segregation in AP Human Geography? ›

De Facto Segregation. Racial segregation that happens by fact rather than by legal requirement. Redlining. A process by which banks draw lines on a map and refuse to lend money to purchase or improve property within the boundaries.

Which is a description of de facto segregation quizlet? ›

De facto segregation means racial separation that occurs "as a matter of fact", e.g., by housing patterns (where one lives) or by school enrollment (where one goes to school).

What is an example of de facto sovereignty? ›

For example, Oliver Cromwell became de facto sovereign after he had dismissed the Long Parliament. Napoleon became the de facto sovereign after he had overthrown the Directory. Likewise, Franco became the de facto sovereign after he had dislodged the legal sovereign in Spain.

What does de facto mean in simple terms? ›

1 : actual especially : being such in effect though not formally recognized — see also de facto segregation at segregation. 2 : exercising power as if legally constituted or authorized a de facto government a de facto judge — compare de jure.

Why does de facto segregation typically occur quizlet? ›

Why does de facto segregation typically occur? People choose to live with others who share their racial and ethnic characteristics.

What is de facto simple meaning? ›

De facto is used to indicate that something is a particular thing, even though it was not planned or intended to be that thing. [formal] This might be interpreted as a de facto recognition of the republic's independence. Synonyms: actual, real, effective, existing More Synonyms of de facto. De facto is also an adverb.

What was de facto segregation civil rights and the Vietnam War? ›

Terms in this set (20) What was "de facto" segregation? Separation that occurred through intimidation, violence, and unfair laws.

What causes de facto segregation? ›

De facto segregation may be the result of a combination of events outside the government's control, but that does not extinguish the fact black students and Hispanic students are suffering under the effects of living in a segregated society.

What is the difference between segregation and de facto segregation? ›

De jure segregation is understood to be unconstitutional in the United States, requiring a proactive remedy. When segregation is deemed de facto, the state bears no burden of redress.

How do we address de facto discrimination quizlet? ›

Affirmative action is a deliberate effort to counteract de facto discrimination and provide full and equal opportunity in areas such as education and employment for traditionally disadvantaged groups. This policy attempts to require providers of opportunities to show that their policies are not discriminatory.

What is the difference between de jure and de facto segregation quizlet? ›

Were they successful? The difference between de facto and de jure segregation is that defacto segregation is unintentional separation of racial groups whereas dejure segregation occurs when the government implements laws to intentionally enforce segregation.

What is the main difference de facto and de jure segregation? ›

What is the difference between de facto and de jure segregation? DE FACTO segregation exists by practice and custom. DE JURE segregation exists by law.

What does de facto mean in government? ›

A "de facto government" comes into, or remains in, power by means not provided for in the country's constitution, such as a coup d'état, revolution, usurpation, abrogation or suspension of the constitution.

What is a de facto state of war? ›

Abkhazia, Transdniestria, and northern Cyprus will be called de facto states. The term refers to a place that exercises internal sovereignty over its citizens but is not recognized by most of the world as the de jure legal authority in that territory.

What can a de facto claim? ›

De facto rights in NSW are the same as married couples' rights when it concerns property settlement.
...
De Facto Rights In NSW: Property Settlement
  • They were in a de facto relationship for at least two years.
  • There is a child of the de facto relationship.
  • The de facto relationship was registered in a state or territory.
20 Jan 2022

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