Study shows that housing discrimination still exist in AmericaJune 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Posted in African American, blacks, desegregation, discrimination lawsuit, Disrespect, equality, Ethnicity in America, European American, justice, minority, Prejudice, President Obama, Public housing, Race in America, segregation, skin color, U. S. Census, whites | Leave a comment
Tags: African Americans, Asian Americans, Associated Press, black, current-events, department of housing and urban development, discrimination, ethnic enclaves, ethnicity, European Americans, Fair Housing act, Hispanics, HUD Study, Prejudice, President Obama, race, Shaun Donovan, white
Almost fifty years ago the Fair Housing Act came into effect. Following closely the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the act was to bring into effect the equal treatment of all American citizens. We like to think today that as a society we have come a long way in eliminating unfair treatment of our fellow citizens. True, time has passed, but according to a recent study conducted by The Department of Housing and Urban Development, discrimination still exists.
In an Associated Press article, “Housing inequality remains, study finds,” by Suzanne Gamboa, we are told that HUD deployed “pairs of testers—one white, one minority in each pair —to do more than 8,000 tests separately across 28 metropolitan areas in the $9 million, study the Obama administration conducted last year.” We were told that “Testers’ were the same gender and age and presented themselves as equally qualified to rent or but a unit…” The results showed that the “blatant discrimination of literally slamming doors in the faces of minorities” that happened during previous studies was not as prevalent as in the past studies. Minorities were generally able to “get appointments and see at least one unit last year. However, blacks and Asian-Americans were treated differently than white counterparts often given fewer options.”
An old saying that “old habits die hard” might easily be applied here regarding the practice of fair housing to all American citizens. Prior to 1963 segregated housing was encouraged and readily accepted in America. Still today in many of the large metropolitan areas ethnic enclaves still exist with little effort to change the ethnic make-up of these communities. The ethnic character of these communities serves as a symbol of uniqueness that invites protecting the status quo—strangers are not welcomed. Today, in some cities, street gangs appear to enforce the ethnic character of the communities by keeping out people they think are not one of them or making their lives difficult. Of course, the strategies for keeping the communities “ethnic free” vary with the economic and social status of the communities. Efforts are still being employed to control the access to housing by ethnic Americans, but because of the laws and subsequent penalties, these efforts are more subtle than before.
According to the article and the study, one case involved an Asian tester who went to see an agent about a two –bedroom unit. She was shown the unit and told it was available for rent as advertised. No other units were made available to her. Later, we learn, “a white tester saw the same agent and unit, but she was told about four more two-bedroom units that were available in other places.” While this agent did not break any laws, she obviously showed a bias towards the Asian tester. The article noted, “That’s typical of the kind of unequal treatment we observed across metropolitan housing markets nationwide.”
The idea that some European American have about non-European Americans wanting to live in a close proximity to them because of the skin color is as bogus today as it has ever been. The reason non-European Americans want to live in some of these communities is the same as anyone’s—price, work, location, schools, etc; the color of their neighbor’s skin in totally coincidental. At one point in American history, having a non-European ethnic American as a neighbor would negatively affect the value of the property because the real estate was organized to deliberately reflect the practice. The original practice was known as “red lining, “and was instituted by realtors to increase their profits. One suspects that seemingly some elements for that philosophy still exists and is reflected in the discrimination observed by the study.
The study added that “Unfortunately, our findings reveal a sad truth—that the long struggle to end housing discrimination remains unfinished,” so said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. Margery Turner, senior vice president for program planning and management noted that “It’s fundamentally unfair somebody would get information about fewer homes and apartments just because of the color of their skin. But it also really raises the cost of housing search for minorities and it restricts the housing choices available to them.” When the issue of housing becomes a matter of simply making money, much of the attitude will change because investors want to make money and if discrimination causes them to lose it, they will have a change of mind.
All indications from the latest Census report shows that American society is changing from a European ancestry majority population to a non-European ancestry majority population in just a matter of a few decades. That change is having an emotional affect on some European American who cannot accept the change or find it extremely difficult to accept the change. The fact is that in the near future where people live will have little to do with the color of their skin. The people who choose to hold on to their biases will have a challenge living in society, especially in metropolitan areas. An example of what could happen in the housing market that would upset the practice of ethnic discrimination might involve a mixed-ethnic couple. Let us say that the wife is European American and the husband an Asian American and the wife meets with the realtor and make all the arrangements for the housing without the husband. Once the process is finalized, the realtor has no say in the matter. The new neighbors might be up-set, but that’s life.
We know that discrimination will always be a part of society regardless of laws and policies because some people will never accept other people just because they look different from them. When people live in a society and enjoy the benefits that the society affords, they must realize that total freedom is impossible, that compromise and cooperation is necessary for each individual to experience the greatest degree of freedom available. They must learn that living in a society makes certain demands on everyone; and that total freedom is not possible.