The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

Category: Humanities
Author: Richard Rothstein
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Comments

by ProfessorLayton   2020-08-16
This is a symptom of issues that still very much exist in the 21st century. In the US access to a good education is closely tied wealth, which is closely tied to homeownership and property values, which are in turn still benefiting from discriminatory housing policies [1].

As an example, the Bay Area has some of the best schools and most expensive real estate in the country. This is due to a lack of supply, yet to this day it is illegal to build high density and inexpensive housing in the vast majority of lots so that the less wealthy can start building equity, which again is a huge portion of wealth. Ordinances like high minimum lot sizes and low coverage were deliberately designed to make it more expensive for POC to buy into a neighborhood. This is covered extensively in The Color of Law, and is a great read [2].

Perhaps the better approach is to fix these systemic issues so that schools didn't have to compensate for them.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Color-Law-Forgotten-Government-Segreg...

by roywiggins   2020-06-13
Redlining was a conspiracy, but it's pretty well documented. Here's a good book on it.

https://www.amazon.com/Color-Law-Forgotten-Government-Segreg...

by bout_that_action   2019-11-17

>Yeah, well my ancestors were murdered by Hitler. Where are my reparations?

What kind of dumbass fucking question is that? You can oppose reparations for American descendants of slaves but why does this topic cause some to go beyond that and into asking extremely stupid, nonsense questions? Just ridiculously idiotic on multiple obvious levels.

Here's one: Ever consider the fact that you know or can find out who your ancestors actually are? Ever consider that huge difference in history and existential reality between you and those whose past you're ignorantly devaluing?

To answer your telling, myopic, intelligence-insulting question, why would the U.S. be responsible for restitution?

You sound like veganmark and others when they also turn their brains off for some reason and bring up similar irrelevant parallels: Brilliant fucking contorted gems like "Does Bernie get reparations for the fact that his father came to the US without a cent to his name because his relatives were destined to be slaughtered by the Nazis?" Just blatant demonstrations of willing, abject ignorance and deliberate blindness with respect to the documented facts and nuance associated with this issue.

Your dime-a-dozen mindset is too hopelessly self-centered and regressive to spend any more time on so I'm just gonna repost part of a previous response to this same kind of bullshit:

-

To this day, Jewish families in Germany that survived the Holocaust are receiving reparations. And it looks like others may not be done collecting yet:

Poles look to charge Germans $850 billion to mark 80 years since Nazi invasion

>A Polish lawmaker said Friday that a committee examining potential German reparations to Poland hoped to complete its report by September 1, the 80th anniversary of the Nazi invasion, and would likely demand up to $850 billion for the damage inflicted during World War II.

It's interesting to see which groups can push for (and have been successful at obtaining) reparations without catching predictable, often nonsensical flak/closed-minded idiocy that obscures discussion on the merits and who cannot.

Some are even offered an extra boost! Like Joe Biden proposing $30 million for Holocaust survivors in 2013. Forget the American citizens whose lives were continually destroyed for centuries and their descendants' futures harmed with the help of the U.S. government, let's try to take on the moral obligations of other countries first!

Slavery, Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration, The War on Drugs, Redlining, race rioting targeting black businesses, VA home loans that shut out Black WW2 vets, etc. are extremely consequential uncompensated crimes. As late as the 1960s, blacks were still separated in public and prisons from most all other races. Just blacks. Not latino, not Jewish, not Irish. Just black! Not even a lifetime ago. If your sense of justice leads you to believe no form of compensation should ever be provided, or even explored, and that a large percentage of black Americans should just shut their faces after absorbing the enormity of the generational injury visited upon them (starkly illustrated by the racial wealth gap, imprisonment statistics, etc.), that's completely on you.

Just don't be surprised when others make inroads with affected populations who know full well just how thoroughly they've been fucked with for hundreds of years (regardless of how effectively this dark history has been suppressed).

>"Tepid solutions are not enough for the times in which we live; we need huge, strategized acts of righteousness, now. Just as Germany has paid $89 Billion in reparations to Jewish organizations since WW2, the United States should pay reparations for slavery." -@marwilliamson

-

Cornel West gets it, why don't you:

https://theintercept.com/2019/03/07/cornel-west-on-bernie-trump-and-racism/

> MH: And that’s to do with the man himself. You’re endorsing him as a person, as your brother. In terms of policies, is there a particular policy that you think is crucial to his campaign that makes him stand out from the rest? > > CW: No, the policies have to do — policies against militarism, policies against poverty, the critiques of Wall Street, the consistency of his call for Democratic accountability of corporate elites and financial elites and basically the greed that we see among so many of those elites. And the same is true about racism. I want to hit this issue head-on because there’s been some talk about reparations and it’s true. I’ve supported reparations. I’ve been struggling for reparations for over 40 years, but I don’t see an endorsement of reparations as the only precondition of fighting against white supremacy. There’s no doubt that his policies will benefit poor and working people and poor and working black people and brown people more than any other candidate. And so, yes, when it comes to just reparations as a whole and larger dialogue certainly, I’m for it, but I hope that a lot of black folk don’t get confused and sit back on this issue of reparations. > > MH: You think you can get him to move on reparations? Because he was asked on ABC’s The View about whether he backed it and he said well, you know, we’ve got crises in our communities and there’s other better ways to address that than by “just writing out a check.” A lot of people criticized him for that as you say, do you think he can move on that like he’s moved on other issues? That people like you persuade him to a different position? > > CW: No doubt about that, but the core is ensuring that there’s fundamental transformation in the racist system under which we live so that the lives of black and brown and yellow peoples are much better. And so, that’s the real issue. And so, it seems to me I don’t want reparations to be an issue that gets us away from him taking a stand on those issues so much better than any other of the other candidates. > > MH: So you say he takes a takes a better position on those issues than other candidates. > > CW: Oh, no doubt about it. > > MH: A lot of those liberal critics, as you know, have said for a long time, especially in recent days that he’s not good on race issues. They say he has a blind spot when it comes to race both in terms of his rhetoric, in terms of the people he surrounded himself with in the past. What do you say to those liberal critics as someone who has been writing and thinking about race and racism your whole life and yet is a Bernie supporter? > > CW: Well, one, it’s a matter of his heart. He’s an anti-racist in his heart. Two, he’s old-school. He’s like me. He doesn’t know the buzzwords. He doesn’t endorse reparations, one moment in the last 30 years, silent on it. He has the consistency over the years decade after decade and therefore it’s true in his language, in his rhetoric. There are times in which he doesn’t, he doesn’t say the right thing. He doesn’t use the same kind of buzzwords. But when it comes to his fight against racism, going to jail in Chicago as a younger brother and he would go to jail again. He and I would go to jail together again in terms of fighting against police brutality. So in that sense, I would just tell my brothers and sisters, but especially my chocolate ones that they shouldn’t be blinded by certain kinds of words they’re looking for, that in the end, he is a long distance runner in the struggle against white supremacy.

-

Even Trevor Noah, owned by the PTB and regardless of the motivations, gets it and sums it up concisely:

https://twitter.com/TheDailyShow/status/1110293987536093184

-

And one of the many great posters here, /u/jlalbrecht, eventually saw the light:

>Note I should have had a h/t regarding my reparations stance to both /u/ikissthisguy and my wife.

-

>cheers. Credit where it is due. You helped me see the issue from outside my personal experience, similar to how Killer Mike changed my opinion about US gun control.

Bolding mine. Try it sometime.

-

/u/jlalbrecht:

>Thanks. I'll note that my reparations stance was changed by /u/ikissthisguy and my wife from "everything Bernie has proposed up to this point" to "everything Bernie has proposed up to this point + a check and an apology." It was on the importance of this latter point where my CIS-gendered-white-male-perspective was suppressing my empathy gland.

/u/ikissthisguy:

>> empathy gland

>If only everyone had one! Or even half of our so-called representatives in government.

/u/jlalbrecht:

>Everyone has one. It is just that those of most of our elected officials are completely smothered by wheelbarrows full of cash from big donors. For those people, it takes a gay relative or similar for their empathy gland to function again.

by bout_that_action   2019-11-17

No, basically my eyes have always been open once I learned about American slavery (I mean, it's not hard to understand that if an individual or group has been continuously harmed over a long period of time, never received restitution or apology, and their resulting disadvantages cumulatively accrued for centuries -- not unlike advantages accumulated for the perpetrators or the wealthy in general who sustain undeserved/unearned gains for generations -- then there's absolutely no question something needs to be done as a remedy to what's been artificially baked into society no matter how late or partially restorative) but The Color of Law took it to another level in realizing how things have been deliberately engineered and the sheer amount of dark history and consequences that've been suppressed.

'The Color Of Law' Details How U.S. Housing Policies Created Segregation

https://www.npr.org/2017/05/17/528822128/the-color-of-law-details-how-u-s-housing-policies-created-segregation

> SHAPIRO: So the basic argument of your book is that while racist individuals might have contributed to housing segregation in specific cases, there was an overwhelming amount of government policy at the state, local and federal level that explicitly forced black people to live in different places from white people. And I have to admit that reading this book, the geographic scope, the longevity, the sheer creativity of these policies really took me by surprise. > > ROTHSTEIN: It takes many people by surprise. This whole history has been forgotten. It used to be well-known. There was nothing hidden about it. The federal government pursued two important policies in the mid-20th century that segregated metropolitan areas. One was the first civilian public housing program which frequently demolished integrated neighborhoods in order to create segregated public housing. > > The second program that the federal government pursued was to subsidize the development of suburbs on a condition that they be only sold to white families and that the homes in those suburbs had deeds that prohibited resale to African-Americans. These two policies worked together to segregate metropolitan areas in ways that they otherwise would never have been segregated. > > SHAPIRO: The book gives so many different examples of how this played out, and one of the worst offenders is the FHA, the Federal Housing Administration. Explain why this one government agency has so much influence over where people live and what the FHA did to prevent black people from buying and owning homes. > > ROTHSTEIN: Perhaps the best-known example is Levittown, just east of New York City, but there were subdivisions like this all over the country. What the federal government did in the 1940s and '50s, it came to a developer like Levitt, the Levitt family that built Levittown. That family could never have assembled the capital necessary to build 17,000 homes on its own. > > What the federal government did, the FHA, is guarantee bank loans for construction and development to Levittown on condition that no homes be sold to African-Americans and that every home have a clause in its deed prohibiting resale to African-Americans. > > SHAPIRO: The FHA policies here were not merely incentives or encouragements. You tell the story of progressive, idealistic developers who wanted to build integrated housing communities and were absolutely unable to do so. And we're not just talking about in the Deep South here. > > ROTHSTEIN: We're not talking about the Deep South at all. We're talking of the North, the West, the Midwest. The great American novelist Wallace Stegner got a job right after World War II at Stanford University. There was an enormous civilian housing shortage. He joined and helped to lead a co-operative of 400 families who bought a large tract outside Stanford University where they wanted to build single-family homes. > > The FHA refused to insure those homes refused to provide the capital for construction because the 400-member co-operative had three African-American members. The co-operative tried to resist the FHA's demand, promising the FHA that the number of African-Americans in the co-operative wouldn't exceed the percentage of African-Americans in California as a whole. > > The FHA refused that compromise. Finally, the co-operative had to disband because they couldn't go ahead with the project. They sold the land to a private developer, who with FHA guarantees built single family homes with racially exclusive deeds. > > SHAPIRO: Your book also explains one way in which black neighborhoods became undesirable. You described zoning laws in which black parts of town were officially zoned for industrial plants, waste disposal, other things that we would consider a blight. And meanwhile, those businesses were explicitly kept out of white neighborhoods in the same cities. > > ROTHSTEIN: Yes, there are examples in St. Louis and Los Angeles, neighborhoods that once they had African-American residents were rezoned to permit industrial and toxic uses. Those rezonings turned those neighborhoods into slums. White families outside those neighborhoods looked upon the neighborhoods, saw slums and concluded that African-Americans were slum dwellers and that if they moved into their neighborhoods, into the white neighborhoods, they would bring those conditions with them.

-

https://www.amazon.com/Color-Law-Forgotten-Government-Segregated/dp/1631492853/

>I originally wrote a dissertation-length review of this book before opting to delete it and simply say: if you want to sing a recurring chorus of "there's no f***ing way this can be true?!" while learning more than you ever thought possible, about a topic you thought you already knew a decent amount about: then you need to buy this book (and some pencils for marking up the margins). It is the most uncomfortable, disheartening, damning, and critically important book I may have ever read. Everyone, and I mean everyone, needs to know this history (and the facts that back it up). There are no acceptable excuses for this "forgotten history", and it is now up to our generation to find an acceptable path forward, while never downplaying the horrors of our past.

by bout_that_action   2019-11-17

Imagine how much else you haven't heard about. There's a lot of dark history that's been suppressed.

'The Color Of Law' Details How U.S. Housing Policies Created Segregation

https://www.npr.org/2017/05/17/528822128/the-color-of-law-details-how-u-s-housing-policies-created-segregation

> SHAPIRO: So the basic argument of your book is that while racist individuals might have contributed to housing segregation in specific cases, there was an overwhelming amount of government policy at the state, local and federal level that explicitly forced black people to live in different places from white people. And I have to admit that reading this book, the geographic scope, the longevity, the sheer creativity of these policies really took me by surprise. > > ROTHSTEIN: It takes many people by surprise. This whole history has been forgotten. It used to be well-known. There was nothing hidden about it. The federal government pursued two important policies in the mid-20th century that segregated metropolitan areas. One was the first civilian public housing program which frequently demolished integrated neighborhoods in order to create segregated public housing. > > The second program that the federal government pursued was to subsidize the development of suburbs on a condition that they be only sold to white families and that the homes in those suburbs had deeds that prohibited resale to African-Americans. These two policies worked together to segregate metropolitan areas in ways that they otherwise would never have been segregated. > > SHAPIRO: The book gives so many different examples of how this played out, and one of the worst offenders is the FHA, the Federal Housing Administration. Explain why this one government agency has so much influence over where people live and what the FHA did to prevent black people from buying and owning homes. > > ROTHSTEIN: Perhaps the best-known example is Levittown, just east of New York City, but there were subdivisions like this all over the country. What the federal government did in the 1940s and '50s, it came to a developer like Levitt, the Levitt family that built Levittown. That family could never have assembled the capital necessary to build 17,000 homes on its own. > > What the federal government did, the FHA, is guarantee bank loans for construction and development to Levittown on condition that no homes be sold to African-Americans and that every home have a clause in its deed prohibiting resale to African-Americans. > > SHAPIRO: The FHA policies here were not merely incentives or encouragements. You tell the story of progressive, idealistic developers who wanted to build integrated housing communities and were absolutely unable to do so. And we're not just talking about in the Deep South here. > > ROTHSTEIN: We're not talking about the Deep South at all. We're talking of the North, the West, the Midwest. The great American novelist Wallace Stegner got a job right after World War II at Stanford University. There was an enormous civilian housing shortage. He joined and helped to lead a co-operative of 400 families who bought a large tract outside Stanford University where they wanted to build single-family homes. > > The FHA refused to insure those homes refused to provide the capital for construction because the 400-member co-operative had three African-American members. The co-operative tried to resist the FHA's demand, promising the FHA that the number of African-Americans in the co-operative wouldn't exceed the percentage of African-Americans in California as a whole. > > The FHA refused that compromise. Finally, the co-operative had to disband because they couldn't go ahead with the project. They sold the land to a private developer, who with FHA guarantees built single family homes with racially exclusive deeds. > > SHAPIRO: Your book also explains one way in which black neighborhoods became undesirable. You described zoning laws in which black parts of town were officially zoned for industrial plants, waste disposal, other things that we would consider a blight. And meanwhile, those businesses were explicitly kept out of white neighborhoods in the same cities. > > ROTHSTEIN: Yes, there are examples in St. Louis and Los Angeles, neighborhoods that once they had African-American residents were rezoned to permit industrial and toxic uses. Those rezonings turned those neighborhoods into slums. White families outside those neighborhoods looked upon the neighborhoods, saw slums and concluded that African-Americans were slum dwellers and that if they moved into their neighborhoods, into the white neighborhoods, they would bring those conditions with them.

-

https://www.amazon.com/Color-Law-Forgotten-Government-Segregated/dp/1631492853/

>I originally wrote a dissertation-length review of this book before opting to delete it and simply say: if you want to sing a recurring chorus of "there's no f***ing way this can be true?!" while learning more than you ever thought possible, about a topic you thought you already knew a decent amount about: then you need to buy this book (and some pencils for marking up the margins). It is the most uncomfortable, disheartening, damning, and critically important book I may have ever read. Everyone, and I mean everyone, needs to know this history (and the facts that back it up). There are no acceptable excuses for this "forgotten history", and it is now up to our generation to find an acceptable path forward, while never downplaying the horrors of our past.

by bout_that_action   2019-08-24

> Re the comments on this tweet: Does Bernie get reparations for the fact that his father came to the US without a cent to his name because his relatives were destined to be slaughtered by the Nazis?

Why would the U.S. be responsible for restitution? Or is this yet another demonstration of your willing, abject ignorance and deliberate blindness with respect to the documented facts and nuance associated with this issue?

To this day, Jewish families in Germany that survived the Holocaust are receiving reparations. And it looks like others may not be done collecting yet:

Poles look to charge Germans $850 billion to mark 80 years since Nazi invasion

>A Polish lawmaker said Friday that a committee examining potential German reparations to Poland hoped to complete its report by September 1, the 80th anniversary of the Nazi invasion, and would likely demand up to $850 billion for the damage inflicted during World War II.

It's interesting to see which groups can push for (and have been successful at obtaining) reparations without catching predictable, often nonsensical flak/closed-minded idiocy that obscures discussion on the merits and who cannot.

Some are even offered an extra boost! Like Joe Biden proposing $30 million for Holocaust survivors in 2013. Forget the American citizens whose lives were continually destroyed for centuries and their descendants' futures harmed with the help of the U.S. government, let's try to take on the moral obligations of other countries first!

Slavery, Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration, The War on Drugs, Redlining, race rioting targeting black businesses, VA home loans that shut out Black WW2 vets, etc. are extremely consequential uncompensated crimes. As late as the 1960s, blacks were still separated in public and prisons from most all other races. Just blacks. Not latino, not Jewish, not Irish. Just black! Not even a lifetime ago. If your sense of justice leads you to believe no form of compensation should ever be provided, or even explored, and that a large percentage of black Americans should just shut their faces after absorbing the enormity of the generational injury visited upon them (starkly illustrated by the racial wealth gap, imprisonment statistics, etc.), that's completely on you.

Just don't be surprised when others make inroads with affected populations who know full well just how thoroughly they've been fucked with for hundreds of years (regardless of how effectively this dark history has been suppressed).

>"Tepid solutions are not enough for the times in which we live; we need huge, strategized acts of righteousness, now. Just as Germany has paid $89 Billion in reparations to Jewish organizations since WW2, the United States should pay reparations for slavery." -@marwilliamson

-

Cornel West gets it, why don't you:

https://theintercept.com/2019/03/07/cornel-west-on-bernie-trump-and-racism/

> MH: And that’s to do with the man himself. You’re endorsing him as a person, as your brother. In terms of policies, is there a particular policy that you think is crucial to his campaign that makes him stand out from the rest? > > CW: No, the policies have to do — policies against militarism, policies against poverty, the critiques of Wall Street, the consistency of his call for Democratic accountability of corporate elites and financial elites and basically the greed that we see among so many of those elites. And the same is true about racism. I want to hit this issue head-on because there’s been some talk about reparations and it’s true. I’ve supported reparations. I’ve been struggling for reparations for over 40 years, but I don’t see an endorsement of reparations as the only precondition of fighting against white supremacy. There’s no doubt that his policies will benefit poor and working people and poor and working black people and brown people more than any other candidate. And so, yes, when it comes to just reparations as a whole and larger dialogue certainly, I’m for it, but I hope that a lot of black folk don’t get confused and sit back on this issue of reparations. > > MH: You think you can get him to move on reparations? Because he was asked on ABC’s The View about whether he backed it and he said well, you know, we’ve got crises in our communities and there’s other better ways to address that than by “just writing out a check.” A lot of people criticized him for that as you say, do you think he can move on that like he’s moved on other issues? That people like you persuade him to a different position? > > CW: No doubt about that, but the core is ensuring that there’s fundamental transformation in the racist system under which we live so that the lives of black and brown and yellow peoples are much better. And so, that’s the real issue. And so, it seems to me I don’t want reparations to be an issue that gets us away from him taking a stand on those issues so much better than any other of the other candidates. > > MH: So you say he takes a takes a better position on those issues than other candidates. > > CW: Oh, no doubt about it. > > MH: A lot of those liberal critics, as you know, have said for a long time, especially in recent days that he’s not good on race issues. They say he has a blind spot when it comes to race both in terms of his rhetoric, in terms of the people he surrounded himself with in the past. What do you say to those liberal critics as someone who has been writing and thinking about race and racism your whole life and yet is a Bernie supporter? > > CW: Well, one, it’s a matter of his heart. He’s an anti-racist in his heart. Two, he’s old-school. He’s like me. He doesn’t know the buzzwords. He doesn’t endorse reparations, one moment in the last 30 years, silent on it. He has the consistency over the years decade after decade and therefore it’s true in his language, in his rhetoric. There are times in which he doesn’t, he doesn’t say the right thing. He doesn’t use the same kind of buzzwords. But when it comes to his fight against racism, going to jail in Chicago as a younger brother and he would go to jail again. He and I would go to jail together again in terms of fighting against police brutality. So in that sense, I would just tell my brothers and sisters, but especially my chocolate ones that they shouldn’t be blinded by certain kinds of words they’re looking for, that in the end, he is a long distance runner in the struggle against white supremacy.

-

Even Trevor Noah, owned by the PTB and regardless of the motivations, gets it and sums it up concisely:

https://twitter.com/TheDailyShow/status/1110293987536093184

-

And one of the many great posters here, /u/jlalbrecht, eventually saw the light:

>Note I should have had a h/t regarding my reparations stance to both /u/ikissthisguy and my wife.

-

>cheers. Credit where it is due. You helped me see the issue from outside my personal experience, similar to how Killer Mike changed my opinion about US gun control.

Bolding mine. Try it sometime.

by mantrap2   2019-08-24

For America, you definitely need to read "Color of Law". And it should be mandatory reading by Blue City residents and planners because most of the most racist systems like zoning and red-lining started in Blue Cities. Zoning is straight out of San Francisco and intended to limit, displace and steal the real estate of Chinese-Americans! It's a matter of public record! And yet zoning and very similar types of arbitrary and capricious planning is still practiced today.

Having been raised in the SF Bay Area, this doesn't surprise me because "Blue" value people are usually the most racist people I've met. They think they aren't but if you listen to their words and watch their deeds (e.g. the NIMBYism that has caused the current housing crisis in the SF Bay Area), you see it's primarily about racism, sometimes hidden by classicism, which is hidden by "preserving the community norms/feel".

by moto123456789   2019-07-21

>“Terrified by the 1917 Russian revolution, government officials came to believe that communism could be defeated in the United States by getting as many white Americans as possible to become homeowners—the idea being that those who owned property would be invested in the capitalist system. So in 1918 the Department of Labor promoted an “Own-Your-Own-Home” campaign, handing out “We Own Our Own Home” buttons to schoolchildren and distributing pamphlets saying that it was a ‘patriotic duty’ to cease renting and to build a single-family unit.”

From The Color of Law

by o_safadinho   2019-07-21

I'm not sure about the other guys but I'll answer your question?

​

Did you vote in the 2016 elections?

I have voted in every federal election since I turned 18. That includes the 2016 election when I was living outside of the country.

​

Who did you vote for in the Democratic primary?

While I was able to find out how to vote in the general election from overseas, I was never able to figure out how to vote in the primary while living overseas, so I skipped voting in the primary.

​

Who did you vote for in the 2016 presidential election?

I voted for Hillary, though to be honest I'm not a fan of her. I thought voting for her would be better than voting for Trump or skipping the election. The state that I'm registered in, Florida, is a big state and a swing state. It ended up going to Trump anyway.

​

What exactly do you feel is negative against Black Americans and what policies are you looking for to rectify that?

​

For me, the biggest thing is the racial wealth gap. The following quote is taken from [a paper that was released by the Boston Fed](https://www.bostonfed.org/publications/one-time-pubs/color-of-wealth.aspx)

​

> Nonwhite households have only a fraction of the net worth attributed to white households. While white households have a median wealth of $247,500, Dominicans and U.S. blacks have a median wealth of close to zero.

​

By comparison, West Indian immigrants in Boston had median total assets that were more than 17 times that Black Americans and median net worth that was about 1,500 times that Black Americans! No that is not a typo. When you compare the median net worth of an ADOS family in Boston to a white family in Boston, the white family has almost 31,000 times more wealth.

​

Those types of numbers don't happen by accident. To understand how they happened, you have to look at history. While there are a number of books, such as [The Color of Law](https://www.amazon.com/Color-Law-Forgotten-Government-Segregated/dp/1631492853) that go into detail about this history, [this](https://www.chicagofed.org/publications/working-papers/2017/wp2017-12) working paper from the Chicago Fed sums it up perfectly in one sentence:

​

> In total, our results provide strongly suggestive evidence that the HOLC maps had a causal and lasting effect on the development of urban neighborhoods through credit access.

​

And what little wealth Black Americans have is projected to fall to 0 by 2053!

​

The reasons behind the poverty of African Americans was caused by government policies that were abolished before most black immigrants moved to this country!

​

Before the passage of the [Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_and_Nationality_Act_of_1965) Africans weren't allowed to immigrate the US, and West Indians were only here in small numbers. The ones who were here assimilated into ADOS neighborhoods and families.

​

You can say that countries like Jamaica and Senegal or where ever are also poor, and while you may be correct, that has nothing to do with me. That is a grievance that should be taken up with the British or the French.

​

I personally see noting wrong in acknowledging that we as a people, though connected, have different histories.

​

When Obama says things like we can't do reparations because [immigrants would get offended](https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/164713) I think, then they can just stay where they are.

​

Also, I really don't care about immigration reform. And this is coming from a guy that is married to a latina immigrant. Our people have been here for 400 years, why should I care about immigration reform? That does nothing for me or my community.

​

Now, I have nothing against immigrants. I speak three languages, have been to multiple countries, have lived abroad and am married to an immigrant. Honestly, my mother's family was relatively wealthy for a black family in the South during Jim Crowe. My grandfather left 5 properties for my mom and my aunt to split when he passed. However, I see no reason to put the needs of foreigners ahead of the needs of my own people, even if those foreigners are black.

​

I really don't care if the government does something to fix immigration if they do it after addressing the wealth gap here first.

by cyberphlash   2019-07-21

> Still wondering why anyone really cares where people choose to live.

Actually, where people live is one of the biggest drivers of life outcomes. If you're born in KCK instead of Leawood - your probable life outcomes is much worse.

At one time, segregation was official city/state/fed policy, which subsidized the development of all-white suburbs (like Prairie Village was one of the first) and movement of people from urban areas to the suburbs - aka 'white flight'. Today, we're still living with white flight. If there were a middle to upper income suburb of Kansas City that were 88% black, do you think many white people would choose to move there? Me neither.

Check out Richard Rothstein's book "The Color of Law", or his lectures on YouTube. Great history and info about the relationship between housing segregation and life outcomes in the US.

As the Vox illustrates, segregation is still going on today (it's actually getting worse) due to policies like zoning laws and drive to prevent low-income housing and apartment complexes from being improved in middle-upper income cities, resulting in low income minorities living in a small number of areas in the metro (as illustrated by the original Vox piece map).

by bout_that_action   2019-07-21

> Regarding loans, as far as I know banks cannot legally discriminate against credit and loan applicants on the basis of race, either de jure or de facto. In other words, the loans and interest rate terms people get today are supposed to be colorblind.

You really need to read this book, it's changed the perspective of others even less inclined to just considering reparations than you:

https://www.amazon.com/Color-Law-Forgotten-Government-Segregated/dp/1631492853/

This NPR interview with the author is a good intro:

https://www.npr.org/2017/05/03/526655831/a-forgotten-history-of-how-the-u-s-government-segregated-america

Don't take this the wrong way, just a strong suggestion to check out well-documented but suppressed history (for good reason from the PTB's perspective, if you ask me) that could transform your mindset somewhat. Your mention of loans really indicates that could be possible, you might even have a similar reaction to this guy:

>Jack Storey

>I originally wrote a dissertation-length review of this book before opting to delete it and simply say: if you want to sing a recurring chorus of "there's no f***ing way this can be true?!" while learning more than you ever thought possible, about a topic you thought you already knew a decent amount about: then you need to buy this book (and some pencils for marking up the margins). It is the most uncomfortable, disheartening, damning, and critically important book I may have ever read. Everyone, and I mean everyone, needs to know this history (and the facts that back it up). There are no acceptable excuses for this "forgotten history", and it is now up to our generation to find an acceptable path forward, while never downplaying the horrors of our past.

by bout_that_action   2019-07-21

> So you don’t think infinite generational healthcare AND college for black families is reparations for multi generational economic exclusion?

What? Of course it's not. How is that not obvious? Everyone would get healthcare and the chance to go to public college. It's universal so it's clearly not reparations (but still a good thing). Are you high? Are you aware of other groups like Japanese Americans who have gotten reparations? Native Americans? Hello. I honestly don't follow you here...

For ex., how does that close the wealth gap? How does free college fix this:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D0yc0olX4AAC7qe.jpg

This has to be a knowledge of suppressed history deficiency, otherwise I don't know why you said what you said. This is an eye-opening read:

https://www.amazon.com/Color-Law-Forgotten-Government-Segregated/dp/1631492853/

>This reparations thing is a schism tactic . It’s obvious.

Of course it is, in the mainstream...do you have reading comprehension issues? When did I deny that? I said: "It's a legitimate movement that's been recently co-opted and amplified to do exactly what you described."

Read my longer comment to xplo below if you're not aware of some of the nuances here regarding the "schism tactic."

-

Replying to your later edit:

>It’s polling at only 30%

*32% but close enough. MLK and the Freedom Riders were at ~35% approval in the '60s so nothing is set in stone if people are willing to work for it/change minds.

>it’s a new emotionally charged wedge issue like abortion is. Proof? Look at the establishment scumbags pushing it. Cory fucking booker and Kamala “Hillary 2.0” Harris.

They're not really pushing it honestly. They just co-opted a real movement that the establishment failed at squashing. And they're not alone. There are others like Julian Castro, Warren, etc. fake supporting it too.

>You think these are the white knights who are going to fight for reparations?

Hell no. Who said they were?

>They got terrible track records. They vote against the people constantly .

Yup.

>So establishment looks for the most emotionally charged issue that polls the lowest.

False: that wasn't the progression in this case.

>That’s how wedge issues are designed and why they are pushed.

Generally, yes, but not the origin story here. I know because I've had a front row seat watching it develop.

>“Reparations” is the new “abortion” wedge issue.

Nah, abortion isn't going anywhere. Just look at the recent third-trimester brouhahas in VA and NY.

by bout_that_action   2019-07-21

Highly recommended:

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

https://www.amazon.com/Color-Law-Forgotten-Government-Segregated/dp/1631492853/

Top comment:

> Jack Storey

>The Most Important Book I May Have Ever Read

>I originally wrote a dissertation-length review of this book before opting to delete it and simply say: if you want to sing a recurring chorus of "there's no f***ing way this can be true?!" while learning more than you ever thought possible, about a topic you thought you already knew a decent amount about: then you need to buy this book (and some pencils for marking up the margins). It is the most uncomfortable, disheartening, damning, and critically important book I may have ever read. Everyone, and I mean everyone, needs to know this history (and the facts that back it up). There are no acceptable excuses for this "forgotten history", and it is now up to our generation to find an acceptable path forward, while never downplaying the horrors of our past.

-

Richard Rothstein interview on Fresh Air with Terry Gross:

A 'Forgotten History' Of How The U.S. Government Segregated America

>Rothstein's new book, The Color of Law, examines the local, state and federal housing policies that mandated segregation. He notes that the Federal Housing Administration, which was established in 1934, furthered the segregation efforts by refusing to insure mortgages in and near African-American neighborhoods — a policy known as "redlining." At the same time, the FHA was subsidizing builders who were mass-producing entire subdivisions for whites — with the requirement that none of the homes be sold to African-Americans.

>Rothstein says these decades-old housing policies have had a lasting effect on American society. "The segregation of our metropolitan areas today leads ... to stagnant inequality, because families are much less able to be upwardly mobile when they're living in segregated neighborhoods where opportunity is absent," he says. "If we want greater equality in this society, if we want a lowering of the hostility between police and young African-American men, we need to take steps to desegregate."

...

>On the long-term effects of African-Americans being prohibited from buying homes in suburbs and building equity

>Today African-American incomes on average are about 60 percent of average white incomes. But African-American wealth is about 5 percent of white wealth. Most middle-class families in this country gain their wealth from the equity they have in their homes. So this enormous difference between a 60 percent income ratio and a 5 percent wealth ratio is almost entirely attributable to federal housing policy implemented through the 20th century.

by pc   2018-11-10
Stripe cofounder here.

This is an issue that I know a lot of HN readers care about and I'd encourage anyone interested to get involved. (Feel free to reach out to CA YIMBY, your local representatives, or any of the other organizations doing good work in the field.)

Bad housing policy is one of the biggest impediments to overall economic growth[1] and to individual economic opportunity[2][3] in the US. Our current restrictive policies disproportionately hurt poorer, younger, and (frequently) non-white[4] people. I really hope we can change them.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Color-Law-Forgotten-Government-Segreg...

by malyk   2018-01-15
I just finished reading "Color of Law", which, while not the best formatted book, gives a really really good overview of the systematic, government led, programs designed and enforced explicitly against african americans from the late 1870s until the 1980s. It's a pretty quick read and well worth it for anyone who thinks that "systematic racism" isn't real.

https://www.amazon.com/Color-Law-Forgotten-Government-Segreg...

by Decade   2018-01-07
> But many voters believe what we should preserve is the single-family home, built environment

> Do you believe this is an honest characterization of their core goal?

Yes. I can quote Rothstein about racist motivations[0] or Marohn about short-sighted financial recklessness,[1] but I believe more people have nostalgia than malice. Even if they deploy structural racism and racist rhetoric.

Most people become set in their ways very quickly, and have difficulty imagining what is good other than what they thought was good when they were young. By now, you cannot find a native-born American who grew up in a time before cars became supreme. Most Americans don’t even remember a time before the Suburban Experiment.[2]

So, yes, people will bring up building heights, and respecting the neighborhood, and traffic, and parking über alles, but I think the main motivation is that they can’t imagine someone else can have a good life that is a benefit to the community other than the life that they think is a good life.

[0] https://smile.amazon.com/Color-Law-Forgotten-Government-Segr...

[1] https://www.strongtowns.org

[2] https://www.strongtowns.org/curbside-chat-1/2015/12/14/ameri...

by gricardo99   2017-08-19
You can go back further, start around the 1930s, and see housing policies/practices that didn't just drive inequality, but also segregation[1]. I was shocked (pardon my ignorance).

1 - https://www.amazon.com/Color-Law-Forgotten-Government-Segreg...