Study Finds Young African American Males Feel Less Safe in White Neighborhoods

There have been many reports of cab drivers refusing to take passengers to predominantly Black neighborhoods, fearing for their own personal safety or White people crossing the street to avoid passing Black youth on the sidewalk. But a new study led by Christopher Browning, a professor of sociology at Ohio State University found that young Black males also feel less safe when they travel to neighborhoods that are predominantly White.

Researchers gave a large group of Black youths smartphones that tracked their locations for a week and asked the participants to rate how safe they felt (among other questions) five times per day. Results showed that African American boys felt less safe even in areas that were only modestly more White than where they usually spent time.

“It doesn’t have to be a majority White neighborhood for African American boys to feel more threatened,” Professor Browning said. “It just has to be more White than what they typically encounter.”

The data showed that African American girls did not feel less safe in White neighborhoods.

Related Articles


  1. Not terribly surprising. But the character of the neighborhood makes a huge difference and strangers disregard this at their peril

  2. Doubtful if the results would be much different if the situations were reversed. How much of this is tribal and how much cultural may be difficult to determine. To disregard the feeling may be hazardous to health

  3. I know that I don’t feel particularly comfortable in “more white” neighborhoods and spaces and I’m a middle-aged black male. My dream isn’t to live in the “whitest” neighborhood I can afford like it is for a lot of blacks.

    • Blacks see “white neighborhoods” as havens because black neighborhoods are criminalized with rough and unappealing infrustruture, little to no access to quality supermarkets/grocery stores, inferior schools due to low tax base, litered trash all over the place, and the mantality of the people inhabiting such environments.

      I know because I grew-up in a diverse, well maintained neighborhood, then ventured out to black neightborhoods due to cheaper rent once I graduated from college.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Two Black Scholars Appointed to Faculty Positions

The new faculty are Esther Jones at Brown University and Dagmawi Woubshet at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision is Established at Bowie State University

"The new program will help to increase the number of counselor educators within the counseling field and the number of competent Black counselor educators," says Dr. Otis Williams, chair of the Bowie State University department of counseling and psychological studies.

Elizabeth City State University Partners With the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to Increase Representation of Black Graduate...

"We are excited by this partnership with UT Health Science Center and the opportunities this brings to our students who wish to pursue advanced degrees," said Kuldeep Rawat, dean of the Elizabeth City State University School of Science, Health and Technology.

Kimberly White-Smith Honored for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education

“Through her leadership and scholarship, Dr. White-Smith inspires a new generation of teachers to serve students and approach their work with equity, compassion, and respect,” said Gail F. Baker, provost and senior vice president at the University of San Diego. 

Featured Jobs