Race and homeownership, continued


Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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6 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    Let’s say that I have a house.

    Let’s say that I want to sell it *ONLY* to an Italian person. Irish need not apply, we have a nice neighborhood without public urination, thank you very much, and we’d like to keep it that way.

    What state-sponsored solution do you propose to my backwards ways? Eminent domain?Report

  2. The story Will tells here happened all across the country, not just in Southern locales. And before it was The Blacks, it was (as Jaybird alludes to) the Irish, the Italians, etc. One potential supporting factor was the desire of these minority communities to remain together. If they saw heavy resistance in one area, it was sometimes more desirable to collectively find another one. This is how we get neighborhoods with names like Germantown, Little Italy, Irish Hill, etc.Report

  3. mike farmer says:

    Free people, property rights and contracts — where people live is their business, not the government’s business. Government should protect individual rights. Society should work the rest.

    But, as a human being I find it morally reprehensible that people of a certain neighborhood would attempt to steer people away or to their neighborhood based on the color of skin. If I was a developer with the means to do so, I’d develop a neighborhood very close by and advertise “For sale to anyone with the money to buy it”. If I was a member of the community, I would reveal the racist mindset every chance I had. Society can deal with these problems without the State and without physical coercion.Report

  4. Patrick Duffy says:

    Interesting that the government’s proper role, in the minds of the majority today, is now to enforce house with racially random occupants, while it used to be government’s role, in the minds of the majority at the time, to enforce racially segregated housing. In both cases, its government enforcing the majority’s opinion on the minority. In this case, I believe, we are talking about an area where the government should not be telling us how to live our lives. It is the same as the government deciding whether you can live in this state or not, whether you can live in this country or not.Report

    • We are actually selling our house right now. When you get an offer the process is completely blind. You don’t know their name, what they look like, anything. So in that sense, I guess red tape has struck a blow for equality. If you have the capital, you get the house. If we want to talk about erecting some sort of artificial barrier where everyone in a given neighborhood mutually agree to inflate home prices to a point where they believe undesired minorities will no longer be able to afford their homes…well that’s a huge gamble and even if it works it says more about income inequality between races than anything else IMO.Report

      • greginak in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

        FWIW about 15 years ago I sold my parents house where I grew up. To make a long story short our real estate agent, who was the dad of one of my best friends as a kid and lived five houses away from us, didn’t show our house to a couple. This certain couple were looking for a house in the exactly the price range and size of the one we were selling. And the Mom worked directly across the street from our house. This house was pretty objectively something like what they were looking for. Did I mention the agent, a white guy, lived a few houses away. He showed them houses in other towns, not bad towns, but with lower property values, a bit more run down, not quite as good schools and bit more crime. Well eventually this couple went to a different agent who said “I have the exact house you are looking for” and took them to our house immediately. They bought it about an hour after seeing it. Anybody want to take a guess what color skin the people who bought our house had. They were a very nice Haitian immigrant couple and were pissed.

        They could have lived a perfectly fine life in one of the other towns but they would have also lost out on some tangible advantages. I’m not even discussing what can or should be done about this kind of thing. The point is, this kind of thing directly hurts people and limits their options. You might even say it can inhibit their ability to pursue happiness and life.Report