How We Built the GhettosRoundup: Historians' Take
Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The Daily Beast. His reporting and analysis has appeared in The American Prospect, The Nation, The Atlantic, CNN.com, and The Washington Post. He covers campaigns and elections, as well as policy and public opinion. He is based in Washington, D.C. You can follow Jamelle on Twitter at @jbouie.
Yesterday, apropos of Paul Ryan’s remarks on “inner-city poverty” and a culture that “doesn’t value work,” I wrote about the policy that went into building our inner-cities and depriving whole communities of wealth and opportunity. Likewise, at MSNBC, Ned Resnikoff wrote an excellent piece on the wide income and wealth disparities between blacks and whites. “ In 1984,” he writes, “the white-to-black wealth ratio was 12-to–1…But over the next 14 years the wealth gap began to grow once again, until it had skyrocketed up to 19-to–1 in 2009.”
A large part of this, he explains, has everything to do with housing discrimination:
Disparities in homeownership are a major driver of the racial wealth gap, according to a recent study from Brandeis University. According to the authors of the report, “redlining [a form of discrimination in banking or insurance practices], discriminatory mortgage-lending practices, lack of access to credit, and lower incomes have blocked the homeownership path for African-Americans while creating and reinforcing communities segregated by race.”
In my earlier piece, I alluded to these policies and practices, but didn’t describe them. But it’s worth taking the time to do exactly that, given the extent to which they were a huge influence on the housing landscape of the United States, and key to creating the ghettos and housing projects that litter our inner-cities. Obviously, this won’t be comprehensive, so consider it an introduction to these issues.
Redlining is the practice of denying key services (like home loans and insurance) or increasing their costs for residents in a defined geographical area. In theory, this could be used against anyone. In reality, it was almost exclusively a tool to force blacks (and other minorities) into particular geographic areas. The practice began with the National Housing Act of 1934, which established the Federal Housing Administration, as well as the Federal Home Loan Bank Board. It was this agency which created “residential security maps” for several cities to determine the safety of real estate investments in selected areas.
You should already see where this is going:
Existing black neighborhoods were lined as unsafe, and thus ineligible
for financing. For prospective property owner, this was terrible: Absent
cash on hand, there was no way to afford a home or a business in your
area. What’s more, blacks were all but barred from entering white
neighborhoods, if not by restrictive racial covenants (which
forbid property sales to African Americans and other minorities) then by
violence and intimidation. In Chicago, for instance, anti-black riots
were a regular part of public life....
comments powered by Disqus
- Rubio Surges Into Second In New Hampshire
- Branstad Says Cruz Ran ‘Unethical’ Campaign
- Christie Highlights Santorum’s Endorsement of Rubio
- Portman Comes Out Against Trade Deal
- Megyn Kelly Gets a Book Deal
- A Big List of the Bad Things Clinton Has Done
- An Unambiguous Sign Sanders Won Last Night’s Debate
- Still Friends at the End
- Quote of the Day
- Trump Still Leads as Clinton Slips
- Clinton Can’t Shake Image as Wall Street’s Friend
- Maddow Doesn’t See Sanders Winning
- Why Does the Media Still Shield Chelsea Clinton?
- Bush Jokes His Mother May Have Abused Him
- Rubio Closes the Gap in New Hampshire
- Tourism spot for Colonial Williamsburg shocks some New Yorkers during Super Bowl 50 for use of 9/11 attack footage
- We asked 6 political scientists if Bernie Sanders would have a shot in a general election
- The price of oil has plummeted and with it Russia’s finances
- Legal scholars at Harvard debate Cruz’s eligibility to serve as president
- Has one of Sally Hemings’s siblings been neglected by history unfairly?
- Retired historian George Dennison remains on the payroll at the U. of Montana while faculty are cut
- The Atlantic profiles exciting ways to teach history
- LDS Church has gone from 0 to 4 historians specializing in women’s history
- American Historical Association protests Turkey’s crackdown on historians and other academics who signed a a petition critical of the Turkish government
- Israeli historian Yair Auron lays out details of a massacre in 1948