Yes, personal bigotry and social pressures most certainly have their influences in any society, but the fact that racial segregation in the South needed the power of the state to assure its preservation strongly suggests that if those laws had not been in place, racial divides socially and economically would have been undermined, reduced, and been on a path to fuller racial harmony and integration that was kept on hold for a century after the Civil War.
If people “naturally” want to separate themselves on racial lines, if they “naturally” do not want to associate or do business with each other, or share common goals and visions simply as “Americans,” then why did the Southern legislatures have to impose the segregation laws in the first place? Why did they have to so forcefully and sometimes brutally enforce them?
The answer is: without such laws and auxiliary “pressures,” the race-separating walls and biases would have come tumbling down. Overnight? Of course not. Human beings far too often can be stubborn creatures, but faster or slower, in an environment of traditional American preaching and practicing of individual liberty and freedom of association inside and outside the marketplace would have cured the racial scares and attitudes that were able to persist for so long because of what lasted for an additional one hundred years in the South.
Source: Richard M. Ebeling (AIER), “Systemic Racism” Theory is the New Political Tribalism – AIER