Post #1: Housing Inequalities Plaguing the Black Community

Source: US Uncut

In America, buying homes or being able to rent an apartment in the area of your choosing is seen as an aspect of life everyone should have access to. Unfortunately, many Black Americans still struggle to maintain decent living conditions and are forced to live in the poorest parts of the cities. Though many people believe housing inequalities such as housing segregation and impoverished government housing are excuses and issues that can be easily remedied, that is not always the case. These problems come from deep seated prejudice, racial discrimination, and racist ideals residing in laws from the Jim Crow Era and unfair housing regulations that cannot be easily abandoned, even in this advanced time.

What are Housing Inequalities?

The housing inequalities black Americans face is a very important and sensitive topic. In a few examples, this can be described as housing segregation between the black and white communities, extreme poverty in government housing, or the redlining or denying of services to the black community in real estate. For those who have not experienced these types of occurrences, it can be hard to understand and measure how severe it can actually be, explaining why some Americans debate that the black community exaggerates about these issues because they are too lazy to pick themselves up by the bootstraps and do for themselves like everyone else. In reality, there is a deeper connection to housing inequalities than black Americans having a stereotypically low work ethic.

Why Housing Inequalities Exist and Where They Come From

The foundation of housing inequalities are based upon the prejudiced and discriminatory practices forced upon black Americans after the abolishment of slavery and segregation: The malice they received from racist whites in coherence to the Jim Crow laws which heavily enforced racial segregation and racism. Racist white Americans did not want to share anything with African Americans because they believed they were inferior to white people and did not deserve anything they had. Sooner than later, the legal doctrine “Separate but equal” came about to bring justice to African Americans who were neglected proper housing along with other basic life necessities, though it did not do much good. Though “Separate but equal” was supposed to guarantee equal protection of all citizens under the law, housing for blacks was always worse than housing for whites. Black Americans would also be forced to live in the poverty ridden neighborhoods of their towns, and would be denied real estate so they couldn’t buy out of their neighborhoods even if they had the money.

Source: Social Problems 2016

Examples of Housing Segregation in the Black Community

In the New York Times article Affluent and Black, and Still Trapped by Segregation, authors John Eligon and Robert Gebeloff investigate and explain why African American families with high incomes still end up living in poverty ridden neighborhoods; emphasizing how and why income is not the only factor in the equation. Filled with many observations of data and credible sources as well as interviews from actual resdients, this article proves to have much extensive information. All throughout the article, Eligon and Gebeloff both use various studies and extensive data to show inequalities like the fact “[that] white people prefer to live in communities where there are fewer black people, regardless of their income”. In other words, even after people of color rise to the occasion and try to earn an honest living like everyone else as majority of privileged Americans say they need to, it is still impossible to compete with racist white America’s agenda. There should be no reason why a group of people does not want to live by another group of people, if not incited by prejudice and racist or stereotypical logic and thinking, the same thinking which inspired white flight; the departure of whites from places (as urban neighborhoods or schools) increasingly or predominantly populated by minorities. Even after black Americans tried to move into white suburbia and become a part of society in America, instead of being greeted, they were left in the dust and were forced to pay higher mortgages.

Other statistics from data platform Social Explorer finds that in the United States, thirty-seven percent of black families earning 100,000 dollars or more live in poor areas, while only nine percent of white families earning the same amount or more live in poor areas. Out of these numbers, twenty-two percent of these black families live in affluent areas, opposed to the forty-seven percent of white families living in affluent areas. The housing and economic divide between affluent areas with higher white populations and poverty ridden areas with higher minority populations are still prevalent in the same exact communities and neighborhoods with little to no positive change.

Examples of Housing Bias

In another article entitled Housing Bias and the Roots of Segregation, Clyde Haberman explores “impoverished African-Americans often trapped in soul-deadening public housing, [the] segregated “projects” that have dotted many an urban landscape”. Haberman examines how housing regulations themselves allow bias in the housing community to thrive without more regulations to actually help its residents. With personal experiences as well as court cases and statistics, this argument is well sustained and balanced. For example, highlighting how the government allowed housing programs to blatantly redline poor black neighborhoods, court case Gautreaux “[…] accused the Chicago Housing Authority of discrimination in its stewardship of public housing that methodically steered low-income minorities toward ghettos”. After ten long years, the Supreme Court finally ruled the segregation was inadmissible and urged various cities to move the impoverish communities into wealthier neighborhoods. However, even after fifty years, “[…] Century Foundation found a sharp increase in “concentrated poverty,” a term applied to a census tract where at least 40 percent of the residents are below the federal poverty line — about $24,000 for a family of four. From 2000 to 2013, the foundation said, the number of Americans living in concentrated poverty rose to 13.8 million from 7.2 million, with African-Americans and Latinos disproportionately represented.” After many years of advancements and racial progression, racial disparity in housing still remains the same. Neighborhoods which have always been neglected beautification and government assistance are the same neighborhoods that housed segregated African Americans in the poorer, less affluent housing. These statistics just show how things have been fairly unchanged, and the hundreds of years of prejudice and bigotry buried into the American soil we call home: no matter where we live.


Why this Conversation Needs to Happen

It is highly important for people to know and understand though the housing inequalities plaguing the black community may not affect everyone, they are still just as significant as any other issue. Not only do housing inequalities such as redlining and housing bias still occur, they are hurtful to the groups who have to undergo the quiet prejudice just to end up stuck in the same impoverish neighborhoods after putting in so much effort and hard work to leave them. Nonetheless, even with all of these barriers, Black Americans have made great strides to overcome prejudice and inequalities in the housing and real estate business.

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