Racism in Home Ownership Is Not A Myth

Real estate agents, mortgage lenders and public officials created a system of housing segregation that makes it easy to target black communities.

Many who enjoy the benefits of “white privilege” have doubted the existence of racism in home ownership, and dismissed it as a myth.

But if only they could take off the blindfolds of unmerited privileges, they would vividly see that the United States’ real estate industry has been governed by racist institutional practices and policies for decades.

The depth of institutional racism in our expensive ‘free market’ of home ownership is highlighted in the manner in which real estate boards, municipal governments, neighborhood associations, state and federal courts, mortgage lenders, and many other federal housing programs authorized and fostered discrimination by drawing sharp neighborhood boundaries that promoting economic and social inequity.

For much of the 20th century, real estate agents, mortgage lenders and public officials used race as criteria to offer financial services to certain communities. They denied black people access to certain areas in order to keep property values at an ever increasing rate, and rounded up black people into certain neighborhoods by encouraging white home owners to sell their houses cheap and leave for greener pasture.

Another racist tool that was used to rip-off Black home buyers is the practice of contracts for deed, which is basically a scam to squeeze  every last resource out of them through high interest loans.

Our generation is quite familiar with this kind of practice as it was a similar predatory and discriminatory tool – the subprime “ghetto” mortgage lending – that was used during the great recession to exploit every bit of wealth black home buyers had.

As a result of these practices, the government and its cohorts created a system of housing segregation in the cities and suburbs, thus, making it very easy to target black communities like Flint.

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