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

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

Scritto da Richard Rothstein

Narrato da Adam Grupper


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

Scritto da Richard Rothstein

Narrato da Adam Grupper

valutazioni:
5/5 (136 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
9 ore
Pubblicato:
Jul 21, 2017
ISBN:
9781501967573
Formato:
Audiolibro

Nota del redattore

Hard-hitting…

This hard-hitting and deeply researched history exposes how every level of government (local, state, and federal) created racially divided neighborhoods across America. Rothstein shows how troubling polices from the past continue to affect our cities today.

Descrizione

In this groundbreaking history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein, a leading authority on housing policy, explodes the myth that America's cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregation - that is, through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies. Rather, The Color of Law incontrovertibly makes clear that it was de jure segregation - the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments - that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day.

Through extraordinary revelations and extensive research that Ta-Nehisi Coates has lauded as "brilliant" (The Atlantic), Rothstein comes to chronicle nothing less than an untold story that begins in the 1920s, showing how this process of de jure segregation began with explicit racial zoning, as millions of African Americans moved in a great historical migration from the south to the north.

As Jane Jacobs established in her classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities, it was the deeply flawed urban planning of the 1950s that created many of the impoverished neighborhoods we know. Now, Rothstein expands our understanding of this history, showing how government policies led to the creation of officially segregated public housing and the demolition of previously integrated neighborhoods. While urban areas rapidly deteriorated, the great American suburbanization of the post-World War II years was spurred on by federal subsidies for builders on the condition that no homes be sold to African Americans. Finally, Rothstein shows how police and prosecutors brutally upheld these standards by supporting violent resistance to black families in white neighborhoods.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibited future discrimination but did nothing to reverse residential patterns that had become deeply embedded. Yet recent outbursts of violence in cities like Baltimore, Ferguson, and Minneapolis show us precisely how the legacy of these earlier eras contributes to persistent racial unrest.

Pubblicato:
Jul 21, 2017
ISBN:
9781501967573
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (5/5)
    The book, although perhaps not a true believer, accepts the legal standard that there is a constitutional obligation to remedy the effects of government sponsored segregation, but not a constitutional obligation to remedy of private discrimination. It then goes on to eviscerate the foundations of private discrimination to show that so much of it was because of government sponsored segregation. Until 1968, housing segregation was explicitly permitted and at times required by the federal government. Redlining by banks was because the government program backstopping the loans required it. The book is a compelling read.
  • (5/5)
    Segregation continues to be the rule in the United States today as most neighborhoods, cities, and suburbs are greatly tilted to be either mostly white or mostly African American. Politicians, pundits, and everyday people consider this de facto segregation, based on the choices of individuals to live among people of "their own kind," or credit the wealth disparity that prevents Blacks from affording to live in white areas.In this book, Rothstein argues that this common wisdom is all wrong.  He argues, with lots of evidence provided, that in the past 100 years, the Federal, state, and local governments have created de jure segregation of housing.  By historically being shut out from housing opportunities offered to whites, African Americans were unable to build equity and create generational wealth to pass on to later generations, contributing to the prosperity gap that exists today.  The places where Blacks and whites live today were created by the de jure segregation laws of the past, and laws against discrimination are only half-measures in that they do not undo the damage done in the past.Here are some of the ways in which the government segregated housing detailed in the book:
    • Federal Housing Authority subsidizes housing in whites-only subdivisions.
    • FHA enables redlining by refusing to insure African American mortgages.
    • FHA regulations for segregation actually written into widely-distributed manuals. Local projects that intended to be integrated could be forced to follow these Federal regulations.
    • Public housing projects built for whites were larger and better resourced, while separate public housing for Blacks were usually smaller and something of an afterthought. White projects often had vacancies while Black projects had waiting lists.
    • Property taxes overassesed in Black neighborhoods and underaccessed in white neighborhoods, adding to the burden of making ends meet for Black families.
    • Government programs that enabled whites to buy homes in the suburbs not available to Blacks. A generation of African Americans ended up trapped in decaying cities, far away from good jobs that had also moved to the suburbs.
    • Restrictive covenants that prohibit Blacks from moving into white neighborhoods granted legal protection.
    • Highway projects deliberately targeted Black neighborhoods for construction, demolishing viable communities and creating barriers around what remained (while at the same time benefiting prosperous white car owners commuting between city and suburbs).
    • Police and governments allow and abet violence by whites against Blacks who move into white neighborhoods. If fact, Black victims more likely to be charged with a crime if any legal action is taken at all.
    • IRS maintains tax exemptions for organizations that fund segregated housing.
    • Housing segregation serves as a stumbling block to integration of schools.
    • Government aware that Black home buyers were being targeted for risky subprime mortgages but fail to act on regulations to protect them.
    • Section 8 vouchers restrict African Americans to housing located only in poor, African American neighborhoods
    Rothstein also offers a final chapter with several solutions to segregation and inequality in the United States:
    • Education - this book is a good start to countering the widespread belief in de facto segregation based on individual's preferences and prejudices. The history of the government's support for funding and requiring segregation must also be taught in schools.
    • Revive George Romney's proposals to deny HUD funds to any communities that use exclusionary zoning to enable housing segregation.
    • Use the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing of the Fair Housing Act to rectify barriers to desegregation of housing.
    • Subsidies for African American homebuyers in predominately white areas (in a sense, restitution for their parents, grandparents, great-parents being unable to buy homes in these areas back when whites purchased homes at bargain rates).
    • End zoning regulations that prohibit multifamily housing or require large lots.
    • Promote inclusionary zoning.
    • “Fair Share Act” to require states to establish mechanisms to ensure that every jurisdiction houses a representative share of African Americans and low income people.
    • Allow African Americans to use Section 8 subsidies in areas with higher rents, and model Section 8 programs on the mortgage income deduction which applies to all rather than being first-come, first-serve.
    This is a powerful and important book and should be read by all Americans who care about creating a just and equitable country.
  • (4/5)
    An essential yet dry recitation of wrongs done to African Americans since Civil War times. In addition to the usual suspects of the racist South, the stances of seemingly liberal politicians and Supreme Court justices are also explored. Kudos to the author for all the research he did into this most critical of subjects. The best part is the FAQs, which consist mostly of whites trying to remove their own guilt and deny their privilege about forcing black citizens into ghettos.
  • (5/5)
    A great and necessary book.He has convinced me that the government did do thisstuff, mostly segregate the blacks from everybody else. But. he does not indicate where they got their prejudice from/? When I was a kid growing up in the Bronx, the city planned to distribute housing for blacks throughout the Bronx; the reaction was sudden and amazing. We did not want these people anywhere near us, and the program was canceled. The solutions that Rothstein proposes are reasonable. We owe these people a ton.
  • (4/5)
    Compelling research of racially explicit government policies to segregate our metropolitan areas beginning in the 1920's supports the argument of the construction of de jure segregation, the causal link to the residential segregation that is now in our neighborhoods (and local schools).
  • (4/5)
    Interesting book on how the government ignored the Constitution to create segregate communities of African-Americans and Caucasians. I learned a lot and much made me angry. He gives the history of how and when this happened and remedies to correct the past. At times I didn't understand but he wrote so that I could understand the concept. He documents everything. I especially liked the FAQ section. Worth reading.
  • (5/5)
    This extremely well researched book needs to be read by all Americans.
  • (5/5)
    A must listen/read for everyone. Even if you dismiss the conclusions or evidence. This is something you need to hear.
  • (5/5)
    This was a wonderful account of what we already had some awareness but still to this day dont heat much accountability taken by the local, state and federal govt. It is important to acknowledge & work to improve.
  • (5/5)
    This book was very informative about the nature of American segregation. I just finished listening to, but i will probably listen to it again. Thank you
  • (5/5)
    An excellent book! A very sad but enlightening story about how the white majority in this country actively worked to stop integration and keep african americans from economic advancement. We must face our history!
  • (5/5)
    If I ever had any implicit bias against black people in America, this book helped to annihilate those thoughts. It really shows how race prejudice against blacks was comprehensive and complete. Definitely worth the read and/or listen.
  • (5/5)
    Wow wow wow. So much enlightening information on why some problems still exist in America
  • (5/5)
    If you think that segregation in the US persisted mostly because of private discrimination, you are wrong; even if you don’t, you may be surprised by the pervasive involvement of federal, state and local governments in creating and maintaining segregation and the economic disenfranchisement of African-Americans. For example, World War II defense projects “played a particularly important role in segregating urban areas … where few African Americans had previously lived. In some cities, the government provided war housing only for whites, leaving African Americans in congested slums.” In 1960, Savannah evicted all white families from an integrated housing project, arguing that “whites could easily find homes elsewhere.” In Miami, “African Americans eligible for public housing were assigned to distinct projects while eligible whites were given vouchers for rentals of private apartments to subsidize their dispersal throughout the community. It was not until 1998 that civil rights groups won a requirement that vouchers be offered to African Americans as well—too late to reverse the city’s segregation.” And on and on. In St. Louis, as elsewhere, zoning boards made exceptions to residential neighborhood rules “to permit dangerous or polluting industry to locate in African American areas.” Or, if integration threatened, areas would be rezoned by localities or land condemned to prevent integrated areas from being built. The University of Chicago, supported by tax exemptions, engaged in an expensive, successful campaign to maintain segregation around its environs. In Houston, the famously “unzoned” city, city planners separated previously adjacent black and white schools to different sides of the city to make families choose “their” side. Further afield, government supported private attempts to limit African-American incomes through racially segregated unions and otherwise. In 1942, the feds took over training agencies, “which generally refused to enroll African Americans in training for skilled work. [The federal agency’s] instructions to local offices advised that if a company failed to specify a racial exclusion in its request for workers, the office should solicit one.” Property taxes tend to be overassessed in black neighborhoods and underassessed in white ones, ensuring again that it’s expensive to be black. Ending overt discrimination has come too late: the structural advantage that white families got from buying a suburban house for $8000 ($75,000 in today’s dollars) has become embedded in white wealth. Rothstein argues for generally progressive policies to start addressing these problems, but I liked his off-the-wall proposal that “the federal government should purchase the next 15 percent of houses that come up for sale in Levittown at today’s market rates (approximately $ 350,000). It should then resell the properties to qualified African-Americans for $75,000, the price (in today’s dollars) that their grandparents would have paid if permitted to do so.” The epilogue discusses various objections about white innocence and the admitted disruption that would take place if we tried to fix things—ending with the powerful point that creating the current segregation required a lot of social engineering, and it’s a bit rich (so to speak) to reject government intervention now to fix it.
  • (5/5)

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    This book was recommended by a guy who testified at our City Council. He provided annotated copies to all our councilmembers. I was so impressed I went straight to the library and got a copy.The book is about the US government's direct involvement in US housing segregation history. Its central thesis is that our current narrative assumes that housing segregation is a "de facto" issue brought about largely because of individual / local expressions of racism, when the reality is that it is a "de jure" decision made by federal, state and local governments over a long historical period. It is very convincing and well-argued.The final chapter contains several ideas for reducing the levels of segregation in American cities and suburbs.•Educate people that segregation was purposeful and government-incentivized and funded (current K-12 materials on American history make it sound like it was just due to the attitudes of residents rather than actual rules, regulations and laws)•Revive George Romney’s idea from the 70s about denying HUD funds to any jurisdictions that exacerbate or prolong segregation through exclusionary zoning (“Open Communities”)•Protect the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule (sort of on the back burner in Trump/Carson admin but can be revived)•Federal subsidies for African American homeownership programs for specifically highly white communities•Ban zoning ordinances that prohibit multifamily housing or mandate large lot sizes•Require inclusionary zoning (Portland a bit ahead of the curve here)•“Fair Share Act” to require states to establish mechanisms to ensure that every jurisdiction houses a representative share of African Americans and low income people•Increase Section 8 subsidies to African Americans renting in high rent communities and increase vouchers to all who qualify (as we do for the mortgage income deduction which applies to everyone and is not first-come-first-serve)For all who are interested in the US housing sector and racial equity, I highly recommend it.

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile