Same house, different images: Displaying photos of a White family increased an appraisal by $500,000

A White family stands with a sold sign. Source: Getty Images

Homeownership is often considered one of the pillars of American society when it comes to building wealth. Homes perform better than stocks and bonds and hedge against inflation. A 2014 Forbes article said owning is cheaper than renting, and both political parties consider it a cornerstone of middle-class living. But in understanding all of the benefits, I’m still not sure if I’ll ever own a home.

As I continue my journey to better financial health, buying a home isn’t a high priority. First of all, my student loans are hefty. Secondly, my family likely can’t help with a down payment…


Let’s Unpack This

In small corners of America, Black people are still in chains

Modern-day slavery is, sadly, not dead. Photo: Hands try to break free of chains, Getty Images

In 2020, Janelle Monae starred in the horror film Antebellum playing a Black woman who was kidnapped by White people, smuggled into a Confederate camp, and forced to live as a slave. At different parts of the movie, viewers see Monae’s life as a modern woman juxtaposed with her time in captivity.

Her life as a modern woman is set in the present day, and the captivity scenes are set in what appears to be the Civil War era. But Antebellum’s plot twist is that both time periods are the same. What’s revealed is that her kidnappers attacked her and…


LET’S UNPACK THIS

Denying tenure, jobs, and salary to Black people is just how America rolls

Nikole Hannah-Jones speaks at the 2021 Morehouse College commencement ceremony. Image: Getty

Nikole Hannah-Jones is my journalistic hero. I was introduced to her work for the first time in 2014 with the ProPublica article “Segregation Now,” a story about systemic problems in education told through three generations of a Black family in Alabama. Since then, I’ve watched her career transform and net her critical acclaim, a Pulitzer Prize for the “1619 Project,” and a MacArthur Genius Award.

She was a beacon for an aspiring journalist who primarily wrote about race. Her pieces were well-written, intelligent, honest, and seemed to be done with great care. …


Let’s Unpack This

On the one-year anniversary of Floyd’s death, has policing changed in any meaningful way?

Three brown-skinned people wear t-shirts bearing the images of Black people slain for no good reason yet blamed for their own deaths by White supremacists. Illustration by Lindsay Bailey

Derek Chauvin’s conviction left many people conflicted. On one hand, a jury of his peers held Chauvin accountable for his actions in killing George Floyd. On the other hand, Black people across the country exhaled. A country with an addiction to denying us justice did the unthinkable. It convicted an officer for killing a Black man. But the post-trial exhale couldn’t rightfully be considered one of relief. Well, maybe it was a sigh of relief but one lacking any actual comfort.

“My emotional fortitude requires managing traumatic news to ensure I can write a weekly column about America failing Black…


Let’s Unpack This

From Cecil J. Williams to Trayvon Martin, someone is always thinking they have the authority to decide that we don’t belong

A “White Only” sign marks the way to a picnic area in this historical image. Photo: Getty Images

Black people defying racists in America makes my heart smile. One of my favorite defiant moments is memorialized in a picture of Cecil J. Williams. The picture, taken in 1956, features Williams drinking from a water fountain in South Carolina. He was on his way back from an assignment for Jet magazine—photographing the state’s segregated beaches—when he stopped at a closed filling station.

The “White Only” sign is clear. What’s also clear is that Williams isn’t White. This “problem” obviously meant nothing to Williams as his eyes pierced into the camera lens with what I’ve imagined is a smug sense…


Let’s Unpack This

A lack of generational wealth makes it harder to catch up

Black millennials are playing catch-up when it comes to wealth. Photo: Getty Images

Every morning I wake up and check off the same two things on my to-do list. The first is to turn the alarm off and scroll through social media lest I missed some uber-important news that couldn’t wait until after I’ve finished washing the sleep from my eyes. Then, I look to the far corner of the room where a whiteboard with black trim hangs next to my bookshelf. It contains an elaborate, color-coded picture of my financial responsibilities.

My monthly bills, written in light green, include rent, Duke Energy, several credit card payment amounts. They’re coded in green to…


Let’s Unpack This

When cops donate money to anti-Black murderers, the system is clearly broken

Protesters gather in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August 2020 after Kyle Rittenhouse shot other protesters. Rittenhouse was arrested for murder, but many police support him. Image: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

The American policing system appears to be at a crossroads. While many still view police officers as heroes who protect and serve the community, a growing contingent of activists and lawmakers are using the recent increased media attention on state-sanctioned violence to try and effect change. Whether one thinks the police should be abolished, reformed, or defunded, there’s likely never been a time in the history of this country where police officers have been under such intense scrutiny by the general public. And with good reason.

It’s not often we see police officials disagreeing publicly regarding the actions of a…


For Lt. Caron Nazario, a military uniform and his service offered no protection from Virginia police

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Police brutality is a blight on America. As the country processes the outcome of the Derek Chauvin trial, and protests the killing of Daunte Wright and Ma’ Khia Bryant, American society’s crimes against Black people are an increasingly heavy burden for us to carry. It’s why the CDC director declared racism a serious public health threat as we probably rolled our eyes in disgust and whispered, “Yeah, no shit.”

After Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem in the 2016 football season and launched a silent and personal protest against police brutality, White people, to the surprise of no one…


Let’s Unpack This

A fired professor’s words belie the truth of her anti-Black academic bias

Photo: Georgetown University/Getty Images

When I consider the level of commitment it took for me to enroll and graduate from law school, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story’s words still ring true: “The law is a jealous mistress and requires a long and constant courtship. It is not to be won by trifling favors, but by a lavish homage.” I became intimate with Justice Story’s words as law school became the single most important thing in my life, allowing little room for anything else romantically, socially, or financially until I graduated.

For three years, on most days, I’d wake up early and head to…

Garfield Hylton

Award-winning TV news journalist. Freelance writer. Mad question asker.

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