Editorial: Fair Housing Affects All Communities | Point of view


When someone in the United States brings up the idea of ​​reparations, strong opinions are immediately voiced. “Why should we pay for something we didn’t do?” is heard from whites, alongside “You weren’t a slave, so why should you get anything out of it?” What these arguments fail to realize or firmly ignore is the fundamental inequalities still pervasive in the country to this day that put people of color at an unfair disadvantage, and how whites have directly benefited from this disadvantage.

One of these drawbacks is the continued housing segregation that exists across the country. With the abolition of slavery and the hope of better opportunities in American cities, many blacks ventured north to places like Chicago. Since there was no law against housing discrimination of any kind, these people were forced to live in the oldest and poorest areas of the city, with the richer areas refusing to live. sell to blacks. Thus, blacks and other minorities have been sequestered in their own parts of the city, and often overcharged for unsanitary and downright dangerous homes.

Then, in the 1930s, the federal government had many cities in the United States rated for investor security. The best areas for investment were marked in blue and consisted primarily of suburban housing, and areas deemed most unfavorable for investment were marked in red. This practice, now commonly referred to as redlining, has led many sections of cities, mainly those with minorities and people of color, to be labeled as dangerous for investments and loans. Areas where blacks were nearby or where blacks have moved in have been described as contaminated and treated with lower designations in the graphics.

Because they were labeled risky to give loans, most banks would not make loans to help black people get better housing or home ownership, or if they did, they would only offer loans. loans with high interest rates and associated predatory practices. causing many to lose the few resources at their disposal.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 made it illegal to discriminate against people in the housing industry, but by then it was too late. A model had already been created and de facto segregation had been put in place. Today, the areas demarcated by the federal government in the 1930s still face economic problems alongside a majority minority population. This is where repairs can make amends. Evanston’s recent resolution on reparations is an attempt to close the homeownership and wealth gap between white and minority Americans caused by practices like redlining.

But Evanston shouldn’t be alone. Repairs, at least in the form of housing reform, should be tackled nationally. Monetary incentives to help move blacks, other minorities and the poor to better housing than they can afford and tax incentives for businesses to invest in resource-poor areas would be a good start in eroding a situation. part of the systemic inequality that is pervasive in this area. country.

April is national Fair Housing Month, celebrating the 1968 Act. To celebrate, look at your area or areas near you on a redlining card and see the mark left by racist housing practices. Then reach out to your local, state, and national representatives to get things done, passing resolutions like Evanston’s or a supporting bill. HR 40 to start making repairs – and more importantly, to start healing America’s soul.

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