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The housing Disparity

Updated: Aug 1, 2020

Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, “I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of  ‘interposition’ and ‘nullification’ - one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

I’m sorry Mr. King, but for the kids to play together, they would have to be within a liveable radius of each other and the segregation along railroad lines has deeply segregated the daily lives of every American citizen. It is because of these reasons that white Americans cannot empathise when a black kid gets shot on the street. 

The photos show the result of serial segregation throughout the mid 50’s that have resulted in complete alienation of two groups of society from each other.

The Washington Post made graphics showing the discrepancy.

Marshall Mathers’ (Eminem) movie ‘8 mile’ revolved around a road that divided the city of Detroit as shown in the photo.

While I took only a few examples, this kind of segregation is prevalent throughout mainland US. It is the reason for the coinage of the phrase “to be on the wrong side of the tracks”. 

Present- day effects

The next question that comes to mind is that, today not every black family is poor and like in every other case in the US, money talks. This was comfortably tackled by the concept of racial steering, which was heavily utilised after the implementation of the so called ‘Fair Housing Act 1968’.

Racial steering refers to ‘the practice in which real estate brokers guide prospective home buyers towards or away from certain neighbourhoods based on their race. Racial steering is often divided into two broad classes of conduct; 1. Advising customers to purchase homes in particular neighborhoods on the basis of race 2. Failing, on the basis of race, to show, or to inform buyers of homes that meet their specifications.’[1]

The US utilizes a system of district schools wherein only kids living in a suitable radius are allowed to join. This causes the children to always be around children of the same ethnicity and household incomes. This in turn causes a generational feedback loop of  things such as crime and poverty, which as studies show are heavily prevalent in non-white low income neighbourhoods.

The causes of these segregation techniques are being heavily felt today in the form of unvarying riots throughout the US mainland. We need to move in a direction of stable racial integration which can be done only when children of both the races have common playgrounds.

Angad Nayyar


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