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May 22, 2018 43 tweets 17 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Despite this, we have left untouched residential segregation. #ColorOfLawBos
We haven’t tried and failed, says Rothstein. We just haven’t tried. #ColorOfLawBos
We justify it by making an excuse: residential segregation is different. Other segregation was because of laws. This, so goes the argument, just happened. #ColorOfLawBos
People say we have defacto segregation—segregation by accident. #ColorOfLawBos
Rothstein looked at segregated schools—the reason is because the neighborhoods are segregated. We have more segregation than we’ve had in 45 years. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
Supreme Court argued that the government can’t remedy de facto segregation. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
But residential segregation is a systematic government policy in the same way that school segregation was. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
One example is public housing. When it was launched in the 30s, public housing communities were built to be segregated. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
In fact, there had been plenty of integrated communities in this country. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
For example, an integrated community had existed in Cleveland. But it was segregated by the Public Works Administration. This happened in the Boston area too. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
This repeated itself during World War II—war housing throughout the country that was segregated. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
Following WWII there were millions of veterans who needed housing. Truman proposed an expansion of the national housing program—these were not houses just for low-income people. Also for the working class. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
Republicans opposed public housing. Liberals allowed for segregation in public housing in order to get public housing built. Otherwise, they worried, there wouldn’t be any public housing. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
There were white projects and black projects. White projects were vacated because they left for white suburbs. The Federal Housing Administration provided the capital for the construction of suburbs like Levittown. The FHA prohibited mortgages for African Americans.
This happened throughout the country. The government provided financing with the stipulation that neighborhoods not be integrated. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
Meanwhile, African Americans remained in the cities, which industry had abandoned. Jobs disappeared. This wound up creating concentrated poverty. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
Over time, white families built wealth through the equity in their homes. Black families didn’t have that. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
African American incomes are 60 percent of white incomes. But African American wealth is 10 percent of white wealth. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
Understanding this history will allow us to undo residential segregation. We need to understand segregation did not happen by accident. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
Rothstein urges us to examine our history and the way it’s taught. The younger generation needs to understand what happened. Otherwise we will continue to be hobbled.
Dante Ramos of the Boston Globe is now on stage to launch a conversation with Chrystal Kornegay, Dr. S. Atyia Martin, and David Harris about housing policy today.
Harris, of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law: We still make policy based on racism. We continue to be haunted by the policies of the past. Segregation is not the problem. Racism is. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
Martin, of Northeastern: What about our culture leads to perverse outcomes?
Kornegay, Executive Director of MassHousing: We have made some progress, but it’s not nearly enough. As time progresses, the gaps between the haves and have nots grow.
Kornegay would prefer investing in black communities over integration. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
Harris believes in integration as a goal, but integrating doesn’t necessarily make a person less poor. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
Kornegay, discussing regional housing policy, notes that getting people to give up what happens in their backyard is difficult.
These issues are very emotional, Kornegay says. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
Harris says that the change has to be done at a very local level. People need to mobilize not just in Cambridge and everywhere. We need activism and engagement. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
Rothstein discusses Mt. Laurel requirements in New Jersey that mandates all communities have low-income housing. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
Martin discusses Oakland. Police trained to understand implicit bias and work on community policing. Saw massive decreases in community complaints about policing. There was integration across all parts of govt. This gives her hope for other transformational changes, incl. housing
Martin also talks about policies that white people fight because they think it only helps black people, but in reality helps everybody. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
Has 40B worked or failed? Kornegay says 60,000 affordable units have been built over 50 years. Too low, but without 40B would that many have been built? #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli mass.gov/chapter-40-b-p…
Martin discusses displacement and how we need to talk about it. Racism is the root cause of the problem. People aren’t doing it intentionally, but we have blinders about what our actions lead to. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
Martin: How do we encourage more home ownership among people of color? #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
Rothstein: How do you preserve homes for existing residents? Freeze property taxes so they’re not forced. Limit condo conversion. Rent control. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
Ramos: Can we reduce prices by building more housing? People are suspicious that this could a tool to stabilize or even lower prices. Is there a way to change the debate in a positive way?
Martin believes we should build more housing. Part of the challenge is for people in communities to be respected when the landscape is going to change. We sometimes wind up talking past each other. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
Martin talks about creative ways to help people stay in their communities. For example, people in neighborhood could have first dibs on a home that goes up for sale. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
Final words—Harris: support effort to reform zoning laws. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
Martin: Think critically and think about community. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
Rothstein: Ensure that this history is taught in schools. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli
Kornegay: Don’t assume you know what’s best for other people. #ColorOfLawBos #mapoli

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