THE U.S. GOVERNMENT CREATED AND/OR PERPETUATED SEGREGATED HOUSING – WITH MALICE AND FORETHOUGHT

 

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The original HOLC map of New Orleans. High “risk” black areas in red.

A Book Review

by Ellen Isaacs

 

“Racial segregation in housing was not merely a project of Southerners in the former slaveholding Confederacy. It was a nationwide project of the federal government in the twentieth century, designed and implemented by its most liberal leaders….Until the last quarter of [that century}, racially explicit policies of federal, state, and local governments defined where whites and African Americans should live….The policy was so systematic and forceful that is effects endure to the present time.” These quotes are from the preface to The Color of Law, a new book by Richard Rothstein, that presents a wealth of evidence in support of his thesis. The general ignorance of the history of de jure (by law) segregation is so profound that Chief Justice John Roberts could get away with saying that since residential segregation “is a product not of state action but of private choices, it does not have constitutional implications.” Such ideas inhibit legal remedies for the consequences of housing segregation, such as segregated education. The author also shows how racist housing laws contributed to income differentials, the large differences in wealth between blacks and whites, and prevented interracial cohesion. Continue reading “THE U.S. GOVERNMENT CREATED AND/OR PERPETUATED SEGREGATED HOUSING – WITH MALICE AND FORETHOUGHT”