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Race And Segregation In Chicago; 'We Have Created It. We Engineered Segregation'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Morning Insiders take a look at a sensitive subject: race and segregation in Chicago. There are some striking patterns involving who lives where in Chicago, and why.

CBS 2's Vince Gerasole takes us on a tour of three of Chicago's 77 neighborhoods: Humboldt Park, Edison Park, and Chatham, to help illustrate Chicago's struggles with segregation.

While Chicago's overall population is fairly evenly divided – approximately 32 percent white, 30 percent black, and 29 percent Hispanic – a closer look at the numbers shows how segregated most of the city is.

"The place that you live shapes so profoundly all aspects of your life," said Maria Krysan, a professor of sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Chatham, for example, is 97 percent African American; while Edison Park is 84 percent white. Humboldt Park is a bit more diverse, with 54 percent of its residents Hispanic.

"Because of the segregation, just the very virtue of wanting to live by your friends and family is going to perpetuate segregation," Krysan said.

There are 18 Chicago neighborhoods where more than 90 percent of the population is black.

"The most important thing to understand about why we have segregation is that we have created it. We engineered segregation," Krysan said.

Krysan said now-outlawed lending practices kept minorities out of minorities, and also kept investment out of black neighborhoods. Businesses and jobs left, communities became blighted, and crime rose.

"We set up this stage, and then we disinvested in those communities," she said.

In Englewood, a blighted neighborhood on the South Side, approximately 96 percent of residents are black.

"When we talk about segregation here, you're also talking about a segregation of investment," said Asiaha Butler, president of the Resident Association of Greater Englewood.

Butler, a developer, has chosen to remain in Englewood and work to create affordable housing that she hopes will attract Chicagoans of all backgrounds.

"I may not be here when the change happens, but I just want to know that at least we planted seeds that could eventually sprout," she said.

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