Category Archives: Housing

But That Was Then, This Is Now: Part 4: The Racial Wealth Gap

dsc_0024.jpgOkay, so African Americans were segregated at almost every level until the Civil Rights Movement. But since then they have no excuse for being less well off, and white people haven’t done anything to hold them back since then, have they? And what about white people? Aren’t they just as badly off as poor blacks?

Well, it just so happens that several studies were recently done on the subject, on which I will heavily rely for this post. But first a few things that made getting ahead harder for blacks before the Civil Rights Movement. Continue reading

But That Was Then, This Is Now : Part 3 A Little Property History

plantation houseThis is the third post in a series that started because of a white person’s question on Facebook: What have whites ever done to blacks —  after slavery — to keep them from succeeding? Don’t they have exactly the same opportunities as we?

Read the introduction to the series here.

(For this post I rely heavily on Ned and Constance Sublette’s eye-opeing book: The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave-Breeding Industry.)

In America, one of the main ways to build assets is through home ownership. In the previous post I already laid out the many ways government on every level, together with the housing industry, kept African Americans segregated from whites, how they kept them out of middle-class neighborhoods and how they refused to give them mortgages. A century of segregated neighborhoods, racially restrictive covenants and redlining have left African Americans far behind where home ownership is concerned.

If we’re going to talk about real estate, though, to really understand the scope of the injustice done to African Americans, we need to go back to the very beginning of white land use in America. Continue reading

But That Was Then, This Is Now : Part 2 Housing Inequality

redlining

Image: HousingWire.com

The first African-American disadvantage I want to address is housing, because housing determines access to education, healthcare, jobs, fresh vegetables, even, and the ability to build assets.  (For an introduction, see the previous post.) A lot of white people think, or like to think, that de jure segregation, i.e. based in law — the official segregation of blacks and whites — was something of the Deep South and the distant past, and that the segregation we see today ‘just happened’, because of black people’s personal choices and circumstances — that it’s voluntary, de facto segregation. Continue reading

But That Was Then, This Is Now : Part 1 Introduction

DSC_0072A while ago I saw someone ask, somewhere on Facebook, “But what have whites done, since the Civil War, to prevent blacks from succeeding? Why do we owe them anything?” So I got to work, thinking I’d write a post in which I’d neatly sum up, chronologically, all the ways whites have worked to systematically exclude blacks from the American dream. Continue reading

Nomadic Retirement: The American Way

image kenmore-wa.showmethead.com

image kenmore-wa.showmethead.com

(Response to Daily Prompt “There’s No Place Like Home”.)

America is full of nomads, aka retirees. They live in RVs, some moving around from one beautiful spot to another, others staying in one place.

What’s the attraction?

Too Big to Break Up?

(Image from homedepot.com)

(Image from homedepot.com)

We have lived in our home for six years now, and I had decorated the entire house, except for the master bathroom.

Yes, in American houses, the parents’ bedroom is referred to as the master bedroom and the bathroom, which is usually accessed from within the master bedroom, is referred to as the master bathroom. Continue reading

Freedom vs Safety (No, This Is Not About the War on Terror)

Photo: tellurideinside.com

Every now and then I make myself unpopular with many of my neighbors. We have a Yahoo group, which is great, because with lightning speed we can get the word out about a lost dog or a scam artist in the neighborhood. But sometimes it can get contentious, and when it does, it seems that I’m often right in the middle of it. I have no idea why, because I’m just mild, non-confrontational, li’l ole me, right readers? Continue reading