News Stories

Your Vote: What Does Race Have to Do With It?

As voters go to the poles today, we realize that the recession is hitting us ALL hard, but it turns out that race (which plays a big part in many areas of life) has played a part in the recent epidemic of mortgage foreclosures. A new study shows that show that black segregation, and to a lesser extent Hispanic segregation, are powerful predictors of the number and rate of foreclosures in the United States. Researcher Jacob Rugh says, "This study is critical to our understanding of the foreclosure crisis since it shows the important and independent role that racial segregation played in the housing bust." Researcher Douglas Massey says, "While policy makers understand that the housing crisis affected minorities much more than others, they are quick to attribute this outcome to the personal failures of those losing their homes: poor credit and weaker economic position. In fact, something more profound was taking place--institutional racism played a big part in this crisis." The authors conclude that, "Ultimately, the racialization of America's foreclosure crisis occurred because of a systematic failure to enforce basic civil rights laws in the United States. In addition to tighter regulation of lending, rating, and securitization practices, greater civil rights enforcement has an important role to play in cleaning up US markets. It is in the nation's interest for federal authorities to take stronger and more energetic steps to rid US real estate and lending markets of discrimination, not simply to promote a more integrated and just society but to avoid future catastrophic financial losses."

Art credit: Dreamstime.com



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