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  • Writer's pictureJesse Ledbetter

Redlining Richmond: Part 3

The effects of redlining are alive and well as we've seen in our prior blogs on the topic. Areas that were removed from being able to be loaned to in the 1940-1950s still under perform. Their environmental climate is worse, their schools are worse, their crime rates are worse. In short, redlining did exactly what it was meant to do, to be an extension of the Jim Crow era policies of the south, and to disadvantage people of color for generations. As time has moved forward, while the explicit practice of redlining has been banned, lenders have been caught discriminating against minorities, service companies refuse to service these same redlined areas, and predatory loan companies prey on those same families denied conventional loans to "offer" them high-interest loans.

How do we correct this evil?

  1. Invest heavily in schools in formerly redlined areas. The best way to do this is to stop investing in schools based on area taxes and to have all taxes flow into a pool of resources that can be equally distributed. The idea that a rich child should have more government funding for their education than a poor child is the strangest form of socialism there is (then again, this is America where we give handouts to oil companies...)

  2. Incentivize investment in redlined areas. Provide tax breaks for those willing to invest in these areas in businesses and affordable housing.

  3. Prosecute the individuals found to be discriminating against minorities in the real estate industry - don't merely fine the companies. 2008 has taught us what happens when we fine companies and don't put anyone in jail - the criminals find new ways to do the same old thing.

  4. Provide mortgage incentives to minorities. To correct the robbery of wealth for 250 years from minorities in terms of housing, the most direct method of justice would be in the form of mortgage forgiveness or mortgage assistance.

Are these enough? No. However, they are likely "too far" for anyone who has drunk the kool-aid of "pull your bootstraps" "American Dream" thinking. A class of people in this country was robbed, for the entirety of the start of our nation. Period. That robbery happened at the direct benefit of others, and indirect benefit of all. Period.

If we care about justice in this country, then we need to pay for our crimes against humanity. Options 1, 2 and 3 are likely far more palatable to the current political climate than 4.

Take a virtual tour of the "Undesign the Redline" Exhibit

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