When They Demand Equity, They Mean Your Equity in Your Home
03/20/2021
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Earlier (July 2020): Biden Vows To Rip Out Roots Of Systemic Racism, i.e. Seize The Equity In Your Home

From the New York Times opinion page:

Your Home’s Value Is Based on Racism

Wherever they choose to buy, Black people are penalized by white preferences.

By Dorothy A. Brown

Dorothy A. Brown is a professor of law at Emory University. She is the author of the forthcoming book “The Whiteness of Wealth: How the Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans — and How We Can Fix It,” from which this essay is adapted.

March 20, 2021, 11:00 a.m. ET

John, who is Black, and his wife, who is Japanese American, purchased a family home in a suburb of Atlanta in 2004.

When he was interviewed for my book, John — who asked to be identified only by his first name to protect his family’s privacy — said the couple chose to buy in College Park, where 80 percent of the residents are Black, because they expected their children to identify and be treated as Black. They wanted the kids “to be in the village of Black community life, and to understand the cadences and relationships that are built there.”

But the family’s time in College Park didn’t last long. Because of the relatively low home values in their neighborhood and the resulting low property taxes, the public schools in the area were underfunded. So after their second son was born, they decided to move to an area with a better-funded school district.

This time, they bought in Candler Park, an area that is 87 percent white and less than 5 percent Black. In 2014, John and his wife sold their College Park home in a short sale for $60,000 — $144,000 less than what they paid for it.

Were they just unlucky? No. Is this massive loss through real estate unusual? Not for Black families.

Black Americans are often unable to build wealth from homeownership in the same way their white peers are

It’s almost as if FDR’s redlining was, on the whole, good for blacks by encouraging them to rent rather than to sink their hard-earned wealth in houses that would drop in value.

, in large part because home prices are generally set by the people who make up the majority of buyers: white Americans.

White families typically prefer to live in predominantly white neighborhoods with very few or no Black neighbors.

Fortunately, tens of millions of nonwhites are pouring into America, so these obsolete prejudices are on their last legs. You can tell that the values of homes in black neighborhoods are irrationally penalized by racist white biases by the way that Asian immigrants all snap up cheap homes in black neighborhoods so their children and elders can enjoy the safe streets and good schools that blacks create.

Homes in these neighborhoods tend to have the highest market values because most prospective purchasers — who happen to be white — find them most desirable.

Black Americans, on the other hand, tend to prefer to live in racially diverse or all-Black neighborhoods.

Of course, when whites choose to move into black neighborhoods, that’s gentrification, which is equally as bad as whites choosing to move into white neighborhoods. I know it sounds confusing at first, but just remember this handy all-purpose mnemonic: “Black good, white bad.”

Research has shown that once more than 10 percent of your neighbors are Black, the value of your home declines. As the percentage of Black neighbors increases, the property’s value plummets even further. …

This is where the past meets the present. “There’s a carry-over of the redlining and steering days, before the fair housing laws were passed. So the difference in property values almost tracks 100 percent with the demographics of the area,” said Wayne Early, an Atlanta-based realtor and community economic activist.

FDR has been dead since 1945, but the bad juju curse he put on home values in black neighborhoods is still working its powerful hex on blacks in 2021.

So if a Black person like John buys a home in the diverse neighborhood he prefers, his home is likely to not appreciate in value as much as a home in a white neighborhood. But if he becomes a homeowner in a predominantly white neighborhood, making a good financial investment, social penalties can follow: Will a neighbor call the police as he enters his own home? Will he have to alert the police that his Black sons belong in the neighborhood and shouldn’t be treated as suspicious? Whatever they choose, Black people risk being penalized by white preferences.

“There are no other Black people that live on my street,” John said. But he also acknowledged that the appreciation of the house has been phenomenal. “In terms of long-term value, I would absolutely choose this neighborhood again,” he said. But his vision of raising his sons in “the village of Black community life” looks very different now.

Enter tax policy to add insult to injury. The typical white family has eight times the wealth of the typical Black family, a racial wealth gap that’s fueled by tax subsidies for homeownership. …

Tax policies tend to disadvantage Black Americans while subsidizing their white peers.

… Joe Biden’s presidency could bring us one step closer to rooting systemic racism out of our tax laws. His first executive order created a data working group — which includes the Department of the Treasury, which is responsible for administering tax laws — designed to disaggregate data by demographic variables like race and ethnicity. Collecting tax data by race is a first and necessary step in making our tax laws more equitable.

If white supremacy is to be rooted out everywhere, it must be rooted out of our tax system. Black taxpayers should not be required to finance our own subordination.

I look forward to the Biden Administration publishing statistics on exactly how much in taxes each race pays.

[Comment at Unz.com]

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