Reader Comment on Last Week’s Article About Racism & Zoning

    Your article was very interesting and timely as we must be reminded of our country’s systemic racist policies that contribute to the discord we experience today. I have a couple of other examples. 

    First, the FHA was the driver for much of the single family homes constructed in suburbia during the ’50s and ’60s.  Its underwriting policies in the early days, mandated that “the neighborhood be homogeneous (seg-regated), with that homogeneity preferably assured through racist restrictive covenants, for which the FHA helpfully supplied forms,” according to Michael Carliner, Development of Federal Homeownership Policy, as quoted on page 96 of Concrete Economics by Cohen and DeLong in 2016 . 

    In addition, I’ve read, but cannot remember the source, that the VA lending policies were similar. As a consequence, black GIs returning home, could only get loans for properties located in black communities (inner city residences) and thus were not able to build up the equity in their homes like the white GIs who were able to buy new homes on the large lots in suburbia.

     This “homogenous neighborhood” requirement in federal lending practices prevented the mixing of the races in modern America, contributing to the racial divide we experience to this day.                          —Michael Nosler