Published: Feb. 24, 2006

On February 24th, Professor Daria Roithmayr of the University of Illinois gave a faculty colloquium on a chapter from her forthcoming book, "Locked In Apartheid." Professor Roithmayr began her talk by noting that racial disparaties often persist for long periods of time, even after the cessation of overt racial discrimination. In her book, she explains this phenomenon by reference to concepts drawn from antitrust law and complex systems theory. In particular, she argues that early advantages gained by whites through racial discrimination have a self-reinforcing quality. Racial disparity is thus characterized by "positive feedback loops" that amplify disparity, making it increasingly difficult for disadvantaged groups to catch up. On the basis of these findings, Professor Roithmay concludes that the effects of racial discrimination in the United States can be remedied only through massive intervention.