Race the House We Live In

The below intern blog is a commentary on housing discrimination based on the video that can be found below the commentary.

Observing the various communities of New York City, it is apparent that communities are racialized. Racialized society is present in large part due to the housing discrimination from the past. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) was created in the 1930s to provide loans to the average civilian to help them buy homes or obtain loans for housing. Although this was its main purpose, the FHA was against the selling of homes to Black individuals for fear of undermining real estate value in the rapidly developing communities. Racial minorities were, yet again, at a disadvantage due to the classification of “race.” Communities were rated as “hazardous” if populated by a majority of non-White residents and rated as “Best” for communities populated by White individuals. This influenced the segregation between communities by means of housing. Whites were the racial group assisted by the Federal Housing Administration and were also pushed to consider the areas labeled as “Best,” which were intentionally rated “Best” due to its population of White individuals. Racial minorities resided in the country’s slum and as mentioned in the video, these communities were considered “ugly both in terms of the aesthetic of American cities but also ugly in terms of the solidifying of class differences and class tension.” Not only did such housing discrimination have an effect on the living conditions of the minority racial groups, but the housing discrimination had an effect on the wealth of such racial minorities. As mentioned in the third episode of The Power of an Illusion:

These were public policy decisions in which on one hand people were given access to property, given title, and subsequently wealth and on another hand where people were not given access to property, did not generate wealth, and did not generate the kind of opportunity for the next generation.

It is a fact that individuals do not gain equity by paying rent. In the past, Whites were pushed to own homes and gain such home equity while Blacks and other non-Whites were forced into apartments and pay rents. This affected the wealth of Blacks in the past and continues to effect generations thereafter. Looking at New York City today, it is apparent that many Blacks and non-Whites continue to be effected by the national appraisal system in housing. The question is: Can this housing discrimination be overturned?

Race the House We Live In

California Newsreel

Race the House We Live In

To view the video, please click the link above.


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