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By the late 1960s and early 1970s, reeling from a wave of urban uprisings, politicians finally worked to end the practice of redlining. Reasoning that the turbulence could be calmed by turning Black city-dwellers into homeowners, they passed the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968, and set about establishing policies to induce mortgage lenders and the real estate ind By the late 1960s and early 1970s, reeling from a wave of urban uprisings, politicians finally worked to end the practice of redlining. Reasoning that the turbulence could be calmed by turning Black city-dwellers into homeowners, they passed the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968, and set about establishing policies to induce mortgage lenders and the real estate industry to treat Black homebuyers equally. The disaster that ensued revealed that racist exclusion had not been eradicated, but rather transmuted into a new phenomenon of predatory inclusion. Race for Profit uncovers how exploitative real estate practices continued well after housing discrimination was banned. The same racist structures and individuals remained intact after redlining's end, and close relationships between regulators and the industry created incentives to ignore improprieties. Meanwhile, new policies meant to encourage low-income homeownership created new methods to exploit Black homeowners. The federal government guaranteed urban mortgages in an attempt to overcome resistance to lending to Black buyers - as if unprofitability, rather than racism, was the cause of housing segregation. Bankers, investors, and real estate agents took advantage of the perverse incentives, targeting the Black women most likely to fail to keep up their home payments and slip into foreclosure, multiplying their profits. As a result, by the end of the 1970s, the nation's first programs to encourage Black homeownership ended with tens of thousands of foreclosures in Black communities across the country. The push to uplift Black homeownership had descended into a goldmine for realtors and mortgage lenders, and a ready-made cudgel for the champions of deregulation to wield against government intervention of any kind. Narrating the story of a sea-change in housing policy and its dire impact on African Americans, Race for Profit reveals how the urban core was transformed into a new frontier of cynical extraction.


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By the late 1960s and early 1970s, reeling from a wave of urban uprisings, politicians finally worked to end the practice of redlining. Reasoning that the turbulence could be calmed by turning Black city-dwellers into homeowners, they passed the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968, and set about establishing policies to induce mortgage lenders and the real estate ind By the late 1960s and early 1970s, reeling from a wave of urban uprisings, politicians finally worked to end the practice of redlining. Reasoning that the turbulence could be calmed by turning Black city-dwellers into homeowners, they passed the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968, and set about establishing policies to induce mortgage lenders and the real estate industry to treat Black homebuyers equally. The disaster that ensued revealed that racist exclusion had not been eradicated, but rather transmuted into a new phenomenon of predatory inclusion. Race for Profit uncovers how exploitative real estate practices continued well after housing discrimination was banned. The same racist structures and individuals remained intact after redlining's end, and close relationships between regulators and the industry created incentives to ignore improprieties. Meanwhile, new policies meant to encourage low-income homeownership created new methods to exploit Black homeowners. The federal government guaranteed urban mortgages in an attempt to overcome resistance to lending to Black buyers - as if unprofitability, rather than racism, was the cause of housing segregation. Bankers, investors, and real estate agents took advantage of the perverse incentives, targeting the Black women most likely to fail to keep up their home payments and slip into foreclosure, multiplying their profits. As a result, by the end of the 1970s, the nation's first programs to encourage Black homeownership ended with tens of thousands of foreclosures in Black communities across the country. The push to uplift Black homeownership had descended into a goldmine for realtors and mortgage lenders, and a ready-made cudgel for the champions of deregulation to wield against government intervention of any kind. Narrating the story of a sea-change in housing policy and its dire impact on African Americans, Race for Profit reveals how the urban core was transformed into a new frontier of cynical extraction.

30 review for Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Insightfully breaks down how anti-Black racism has shaped U.S. housing policy, from the time of the New Deal into the present, diving deep into the impact and legacy of the HUD Act of 1968, passed by LBJ and administered by Nixon. Through the act the feds guaranteed urban mortgages, with few conditions, in order to incentivize private lending to low-income Black families. Eager to scam the government and Black communities, the real estate industry quickly pivoted from redlining to what Taylor ca Insightfully breaks down how anti-Black racism has shaped U.S. housing policy, from the time of the New Deal into the present, diving deep into the impact and legacy of the HUD Act of 1968, passed by LBJ and administered by Nixon. Through the act the feds guaranteed urban mortgages, with few conditions, in order to incentivize private lending to low-income Black families. Eager to scam the government and Black communities, the real estate industry quickly pivoted from redlining to what Taylor calls predatory inclusion, in which exploitative mortgages on hard-to-maintain homes in segregated neighborhoods were freely lent to Black mothers, who were misinformed about their housing choices by brokers. When the act led to thousands of foreclosures and ruined lives, the Nixon admin cast all the blame on Black women and abandoned the project of guaranteeing fair and affordable housing, instead shifting to housing vouchers. Taylor succinctly covers so much history here, and foregrounds the voices of those targeted by the program, something sorely missing in many other books of this kind.

  2. 5 out of 5

    D. St. Germain

    The private-public partnership has been a model long touted by politicians as a panacea for solving social problems without the bloat of government programs. But in Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor shows us how this model repeatedly failed black homeowners. She illuminated the low-income housing programs to encourage home ownership that enabled a new class of real estate professionals to profit off substandard housing The private-public partnership has been a model long touted by politicians as a panacea for solving social problems without the bloat of government programs. But in Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor shows us how this model repeatedly failed black homeowners. She illuminated the low-income housing programs to encourage home ownership that enabled a new class of real estate professionals to profit off substandard housing, with the full backing of the federal government. When housing policy shifted from building public housing to underwriting public private partnerships, she writes, “the HUD-FHA guarantee to pay lenders in full for the mortgage of any home in foreclosure transformed risk from a reason for exclusion into an incentive for inclusion.” She notes that by 1971, “federal subsidy programs were paying the real estate industry $1.4 billion a year and financing one in four new housing units produced.” In this way the shift in housing policy was a handout to the private sector while failing to regulate the activities of that sector, leading to scores of bad actors and bad outcomes for the people who fell prey to them. Taylor brings us dozens of examples of these bad actors in practice. She writes of one study of Berkeley and Oakland, California, where “dilapidated homes were sold to low-income families for three and four times more than they were worth. The houses were “largely incapable of passing honest FHA inspection and certainly failed to meet minimum FHA standards.” In 1971, after a large outcry against the government’s failure to oversee these loans and guarantees, a study by HUD (overseen at the time by George Romney) found that eighty-eight percent of existing housing guaranteed by FHA and HUD had significant problems, while with 43 percent of new subsidized housing that had been build with federal handouts had serious defects. The private / public model of affordable housing has at its heart a conflict of interest, and this plays out particularly along race and class lines. As the economist Paul Collier has succinctly put it, “people have two motives for buying a house. For most people it is a home; for some it is an asset.” There are fundamental mismatches in motivation between the public interest of providing housing for people and the private interest in maximizing profits from housing. As Taylor notes, the private (real estate) market tends to ignore the public call for safe and affordable housing, as the profit motive considers safe and affordable non-lucrative and thus a non-starter. But the rise of low-interest mortgage loans backed by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) created opportunities for those real estate speculators to profit from real estate sales that might otherwise be considered risky. The government diffused that risk, thus creating a moral hazard whereby real estate dealers were protected from the consequences of their actions, knowing they could be bailed out by the government. Homeownership matters for so many reasons. It has historically been the primary way wealth is accumulated in America. Exclusionary housing practices in communities of color have ensured that intergenerational wealth created by housing has accrued primarily to white families only. As Taylor shows through careful historical analysis and reams of data that private/public partnerships have only entrenched and intensified the battle for decent housing, while making the most vulnerable evermore vulnerable. This book is a serious work of scholarship showing how the actual results of political ideas are a far cry from the reality they produce.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Hall

    As much as everybody went nuts for Matthew Desmond's Evicted, and without trying to directly compare the two, this book might perhaps deserve as much or more cultural fanfare as Desmond's book received. Taking as a starting point the vaunted housing initiatives set in place under Johnson's administration, this book details the institutional and administrative failings that beset these programs, as well as the way in which the "public/private partnerships" so touted by The Great Society became li As much as everybody went nuts for Matthew Desmond's Evicted, and without trying to directly compare the two, this book might perhaps deserve as much or more cultural fanfare as Desmond's book received. Taking as a starting point the vaunted housing initiatives set in place under Johnson's administration, this book details the institutional and administrative failings that beset these programs, as well as the way in which the "public/private partnerships" so touted by The Great Society became little more than mechanisms for Real Estate and Banking interests to fleece both the federal government (with the tacit approval of HUD and FHA officials) and, more often than not, poor women of color. Taylor does a phenomenal job of not merely mining the tendrils of redlining and the half-baked race "science" that underpinned basic assumptions around real estate values and the rules and regulations that fed directly into discriminatory practices that still exist today (sub-prime mortgages, anybody?) but of tracing the dots between redlining, federal policy and the coded and racialized language that has been used to denote who deserves or does not deserve public money, who uses or abuses public subsidies and public aid. She points her finger squarely at the way poor women of color were (and still are) demonized as "welfare queens," while at the same time 'upstanding men of business' absconded with millions of tax dollars for doing essentially nothing to alleviate segregation (indeed further cementing it) and by conning people who just wanted safe, adequate housing near job opportunities into incurring debt. While Desmond's book discusses the need for more housing assistance, this book makes more substantive case against the racist rot of our mindset towards housing from the outset, and the dire need for substantive changes towards finally achieving safe, affordable and integrated housing across this completely fucked up, racist-ass country.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ishan Daya

    Wowwwww. This book was incredibly insightful, and really takes you through a winding journey of housing policy between the late 60’s and early 70’s. This book is a brilliant analysis around root causes behind how historic housing policies failed. Each page takes like 5 minutes to read because of its density (at least for me), but I came out of each session reflecting on how we have taken some of these same concepts and implemented them and have continued to fail because we continue to look to th Wowwwww. This book was incredibly insightful, and really takes you through a winding journey of housing policy between the late 60’s and early 70’s. This book is a brilliant analysis around root causes behind how historic housing policies failed. Each page takes like 5 minutes to read because of its density (at least for me), but I came out of each session reflecting on how we have taken some of these same concepts and implemented them and have continued to fail because we continue to look to the private sector or the ‘free market’ as a tool of advancement, rather than seeing it as a racist and defunct tool of oppression. Really well done, really dense, but so well worth it!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    There is some irony that on the release day of Barack Obama's much feted memoir I finished Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor's history of race and housing in the 1960s and 1970s. After all one of the most powerful criticisms of the Obama presidency was his administration's handling of the housing crisis, choosing to bailout the lenders largely responsible for the financial collapse while offering nothing to borrowers facing foreclosure of their mortgages. This facilitated the greatest destruction of wealt There is some irony that on the release day of Barack Obama's much feted memoir I finished Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor's history of race and housing in the 1960s and 1970s. After all one of the most powerful criticisms of the Obama presidency was his administration's handling of the housing crisis, choosing to bailout the lenders largely responsible for the financial collapse while offering nothing to borrowers facing foreclosure of their mortgages. This facilitated the greatest destruction of wealth among African-Americans, a demographic heavily reliant on home ownership as a savings vehicle. Taylor gives us a meticulously researched and persuasive account of how federal housing policy has largely failed African-Americans. Situating her account between the Johnson and Nixon administrations, Taylor argues that even the more liberal and aggressive attempts to reshape housing in the United States under Johnson failed to make significant strides in achieving equal access and opportunity for Black home ownership, beholden and influenced by private real estate interests whose drive for profit made them unwilling to break with racial norms to desegregate housing. The early years of the Nixon administration showed some promise under Housing Secretary George Romney to continue at least in principle aggressive attempts to desegregate housing, but reelection aspirations quickly pushed Nixon to break from these efforts to appease his base among white homeowners in the suburbs. Taylor has produced an incredibly important history of the politics that destroyed the liberal attempts to end housing segregation and ushered in neoliberal hegemony that handed the market unfettered power to manage access to quality housing in the United States. While most lavish Obama today as he releases Promised Land, its important to not forget how his presidency continued a long line of administrations failing to address inequality in a realm so essential to American identity, home ownership

  6. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

    I've been researching this topic for a book proposal I'm working on. I'd been piecing together the story myself when I came upon this book. Thank you Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor for this astoundingly well-researched book. It's a long and complicated story and I now feel like I have a handle on it. I've been researching this topic for a book proposal I'm working on. I'd been piecing together the story myself when I came upon this book. Thank you Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor for this astoundingly well-researched book. It's a long and complicated story and I now feel like I have a handle on it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Eli

    Race for Profit is a deeply researched, impeccably argued study of the conception, implementation, and consequences of HUD-FHA's low income housing programs in the late 60s and early 70s. Previously, redlining by the government and the financial sector meant that Black people and Black neighborhoods were--legally--perceived as risky investments due to race. Thus Blacks were overwhelmingly excluded from the rising postwar prosperity enjoyed by whites, who were extended generous FHA loans to buy h Race for Profit is a deeply researched, impeccably argued study of the conception, implementation, and consequences of HUD-FHA's low income housing programs in the late 60s and early 70s. Previously, redlining by the government and the financial sector meant that Black people and Black neighborhoods were--legally--perceived as risky investments due to race. Thus Blacks were overwhelmingly excluded from the rising postwar prosperity enjoyed by whites, who were extended generous FHA loans to buy houses in the suburbs whose value was precisely tied to their location in racially homogenous white neighborhoods. Federal redlining officially ended in 1968, but racialized residential segregation and wealth disparity did not. That year, in response to residential segregation and housing shortages, Lyndon Johnson signed the Fair Housing and HUD (Housing and Urban Development) Acts into law, which centralized federal housing policy under one department, prohibited explicit racial discrimination in the housing industry, and created a public-private partnership between the government and mortgage banks to incentivize investment and encourage homeownership in black communities. Crucially, the central mechanism created to achieve these goals was heavy government subsidy of private mortgage loans: if a bank offered a standard loan at 8% interest and $1,000 down payment, HUD would pay the lender 7% of the interest and $750 of the down payment, greatly easing the borrower’s financial burden. In addition, the entire loan was guaranteed by HUD, meaning the mortgage banker got paid the full amount of the loan, even if the borrower defaulted. Because it was conceived as a public-private partnership (for reasons that have to do in large part with the ballooning costs of the Vietnam War) HUD’s low-income housing program absorbed the deeply ingrained racial prejudice of the housing industry, a prejudice so integral that it structured the entire housing market, and touched every element of the home-buying process, from mortgage underwriting criteria, to appraisal, to zoning, and more. By completely removing the risk associated with lending to Blacks without remedying the racism of the housing industry, the new program created a perverse incentive for banks to generate as many new loans as possible without ensuring--and often willfully overlooking--their viability (an incentive that was supercharged by the introduction of a new financial instrument called a “mortgage-backed security,” hmmmm). In fact, under this regime, mortgage banks were especially incentivized to loan to buyers who they knew could not afford the terms of the loan, because when the house went into foreclosure, they could buy it again at a low price and start the process anew, getting paid in full by HUD no matter what. These incentives, in combination with disastrously inadequate oversight, meant that poor Blacks in urban neighborhoods with old housing stock were sold homes they couldn’t afford, at inflated prices set by corrupt appraisers, and given no material support should they almost inevitably fall behind on mortgage payments and maintenance costs, leading in most cases to quick eviction from homes they were promised were the ticket to the American Dream. Though the exclusionary race discrimination policy of redlining had ended, HUD’s federal mortgage insurance scheme created a new regime of wealth extraction in Black neighborhoods through a pernicious “predatory inclusion.” Though Taylor makes clear that it was the combination of racism and profit-seeking in the housing industry that caused HUD-FHA’s low-income mortgage insurance scheme to fail, she also documents the program’s mismanagement under Richard Nixon and his HUD secretary George Romney. Nixon sought to cut back the burgeoning administrative state created to oversee LBJ’s Great Society initiatives. This desire dovetailed with his “southern strategy” of dogwhistle racism to consolidate his white suburban political base. With these goals in mind, Nixon took two measures that effectively doomed HUD’s fair housing initiatives to failure. First, he announced that the federal government would not take punitive measures against white suburban neighborhoods that resisted the construction of low-income housing, even though withholding federal money is the central enforcement mechanism of 20th century American civil rights law. Then, Nixon handed down severe budget cuts to HUD, crippling its ability to properly administer such a large, regulation-intensive program. These two actions greatly exacerbated the existing structural problems involved with the mortgage insurance scheme, nigh-guaranteeing the failures described above. Nixon then blamed this failure on the Black homeowners themselves, taking it as evidence of a deficit of character among Black citizens rather than the result of the racism, profit-seeking, and mismanagement of government and private industry. The HUD act’s low-income housing scheme fell as part of the wider turn to neoliberalism, which Taylor helpfully reminds us was as much a white backlash against the civil rights provisions of the 1960s as it was a corporate backlash to the stagflation and unemployment crises of the 70s. But its failures were not inevitable. Taylor’s analysis suggests that the program would have been more viable if it did not rely on incentivizing private investment, and if the government took civil rights enforcement seriously (If these seem like unlikely counterfactuals, it’s because American capitalism is deeply racist). But because it was a public-private partnership under the aegis of a large federal agency, and because the government did not take civil rights enforcement seriously, Nixon could paint the mortgage insurance plan as a wasteful government handout to undeserving racial minorities, and then use this as evidence that the welfare state needed to be dramatically curtailed, rather than reinforced. These days, we face a cascading series of crises--climate change, extreme wealth inequality, health care, drug-resistant microbes, and more--that call for massive public investment. Taylor’s book should remind us that there are better and worse ways to structure this investment. First, do not structure the investment around the profit-seeking behavior of private actors. Instead, use social welfare as the basis of taxpayer-funded government investment. Second, do not apportion this investment according to racial or other prejudice. Instead, make sure the programs are well-funded and use existing civil rights law to rigorously safeguard against uneven apportionment. It’s no coincidence that these steps cut directly against the principles of neoliberal governance. They are essential qualities for any program that aims to tackle one of the slow-rolling catastrophes listed above. --- I keep trying to add some personal reflections on reading the book at the end of this review, but I find that nothing I write adds anything substantial to my attempt at a description of Taylor’s argument. It’s an argument so powerful, and so well-supported by original research, that all I can say is that if you are interested in mid-century American politics, structural racism, political economy, housing, or (broadly speaking) justice, you are obligated to find a copy of this book and read it as carefully as possible. The style may be a bit academic (it is adapted from a dissertation), but this is in service of precision, not obfuscation.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Glenda

    “Race for Profit” offers a detailed look into the ways federal, state, and local housing policies have functioned to deprive POC of home ownership. For example, HUD and FHA policy has been undermined by banks and the real estate industry so as to keep POC from moving into predominately white suburbs, even after the government officially ended redlining. The author examines closely George Romney’s role as HUD director during the Nixon administration. I’ve read books and articles about housing, in “Race for Profit” offers a detailed look into the ways federal, state, and local housing policies have functioned to deprive POC of home ownership. For example, HUD and FHA policy has been undermined by banks and the real estate industry so as to keep POC from moving into predominately white suburbs, even after the government officially ended redlining. The author examines closely George Romney’s role as HUD director during the Nixon administration. I’ve read books and articles about housing, including “Evicted,” and consider myself a fairly informed person, but nothing prepared me for the extent of what I learned listening to this audiobook. Topics Predatory inclusion: expensive and unequal lending terms -Best practices in real estate created inequity. -racial discrimination seen as good business -realtors say POC bring down property values -Frederick Babcock created real estate value appraisals. These contributed to low value of housing in black urban areas. -real estate industry required segregation to preserve value and private industry interests. -normative whiteness -racialized narratives of family -Nixon: guild the ghetto -subprime marked black neighborhoods -zombie properties -coded speech such as “urban crisis” -1973 Nixon moratorium on subsidies for housing -Ch 1: -rats as symbol -2-year old infant eaten by rats -hostility of FHA to black buyers -Shelly v Kramer on restrictive covenants -1949 less than 2% of FHA loans to black people -urban renewal destroyed affordable housing -VHMCP failure in 50s -FHA refused to act against discrimination -free market hypocrisy -residential segregation -block busting: buy from whites to sell to blacks Economic racism -segrenomics These are just a few of the revelatory moments in this important book. Teachers using any text that addresses housing, such as “A Raisin in the Sun” will enrich their units w/ passages from “Race for Profit.”

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    Excellent Study African American Housing Policy This is great account of the history of federal help for housing of African Americans since WWII. It covers a lot of policies and laws and provides a fascinating account. When government makes a commitment and economic problems happen, social programs are the first to go and the last to come back.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bobby Bermea

    Powerful, harrowing, clinical. Taylor does the dirty work so you don't have to and spells out her hypothesis in plain, no-nonsense language. At times it's like stepping into the ring with a prize-fighter with the facts hitting you like uppercuts and haymakers. But once you make it through you'll be a little wiser, hopefully a little more compassionate and have a greater understanding of the obstacles that Black people have had to go through just to live in this country. And maybe, just maybe, yo Powerful, harrowing, clinical. Taylor does the dirty work so you don't have to and spells out her hypothesis in plain, no-nonsense language. At times it's like stepping into the ring with a prize-fighter with the facts hitting you like uppercuts and haymakers. But once you make it through you'll be a little wiser, hopefully a little more compassionate and have a greater understanding of the obstacles that Black people have had to go through just to live in this country. And maybe, just maybe, you'll be galvanized to help fix it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nick Klagge

    My partner and I read this as a mini-book club, with informal discussions after finishing each chapter. It was an interesting experience, given my background as a financial regulator and her background in critical race theory and education. I think I was right in Professor Taylor's target audience, as someone quite familiar with the history of redlining but not as familiar with the transition of federal housing policy to a public-private collaboration approach in the 1970s (where it remains today My partner and I read this as a mini-book club, with informal discussions after finishing each chapter. It was an interesting experience, given my background as a financial regulator and her background in critical race theory and education. I think I was right in Professor Taylor's target audience, as someone quite familiar with the history of redlining but not as familiar with the transition of federal housing policy to a public-private collaboration approach in the 1970s (where it remains today). "Enjoyed" is probably not quite the right word, given the nature of the policy shifts covered, but I did learn a lot from this book. Some highlights: -The FHA turned to the private sector to scale up its mortgage lending activity, but never committed the resources (or had the political will) to adequately monitor and enforce compliance with fair lending laws designed to prevent racist behaviors. Given the government's continued reliance on the private sector as a force multiplier today (e.g. PPP lending), this is an important precedent to be aware of--and indeed racial disparities in PPP lending have already been raised by several groups. -George Romney used a lot of rhetoric of integration and antiracism (and indeed, he came across as pretty admirable to me in the early chapters of this book), but ran an organization in the FHA that remained racist in its treatment of its own employees. Ultimately his commitment to integration in the FHA's activity as well is shown to be weak as well. Today, we're seeing a lot of organizations publicly espousing antiracist views, but also seeing employees come forward to denounce white supremacist internal behaviors and structures. -I appreciated Prof. Taylor's breakdown of "the real estate industry" as a non-monolithic entity. She shows how the interests of homebuilders often conflicted with the interests of mortgage brokers (most clearly, on the relative importance of new construction vs. refurbishing of existing properties). It's certainly a powerful industry, but effective politicians on either side may be able to exploit internal differences. -The cult of homeownership takes on a life of its own. Prof. Taylor shows how the FHA programs often pushed Black people into buying houses even when they preferred to rent. The numerical goals of the programs superseded what should have been the ultimate motivation of the programs, which is to provide people with better and more integrated housing situations. -The 70s see the beginning of suburban municipalities using zoning law to prevent the construction of affordable housing and therefore of integrated neighborhoods. This practice is still alive and well; in my own state, the Connecticut Mirror has provided excellent coverage of it. Withholding federal funds from municipalities is shown to be an effective deterrent, but one that takes a lot of political will to apply. -Much like with attempts to integrate schools through busing, the most affluent White communities are basically unaffected, and all of the integration efforts are targeted at working class White communities. The result, even if effective, is only partial integration, and more commonly the result is failure. The communities with the most resources to support lower income families are not called upon to do anything, and cynical (probably wealthy) politicians can use integration to stoke racist resentment in the White working class. Professor Taylor shows how the turn to the private sector in federal housing policy was driven in part by the federal budget pressures caused by spending on the Vietnam War. As I remarked to my partner, one of my takeaways from the book is that racial discrimination and inequalities are so entrenched that it takes a war level of effort (resources, planning, strategy, tactics) to address them. We see the National Guard being called in to enforce racial integration of schools in the South in the early years, but political will dying out later with the project of integration unfinished. Johnson couldn't summon a war level of effort to integrate housing while fighting a shooting war overseas. Will our nation be able to summon a war level of effort to address racial disparities in the 21st century?

  12. 5 out of 5

    Katie/Doing Dewey

    Summary: This was a fascinating, infuriating, and important read, but it could also be dry and repetitive at times. I'm so glad I got around to doing an end of month round-up and realized I'd not yet reviewed this book, because I'm excited to tell you about it. Like many of the National Book Award nominees, this book deals with a heavier topic. It covers the many ways that government housing subsidies in the 1960s and 1970s disadvantaged black families. Several major problems with the program all Summary: This was a fascinating, infuriating, and important read, but it could also be dry and repetitive at times. I'm so glad I got around to doing an end of month round-up and realized I'd not yet reviewed this book, because I'm excited to tell you about it. Like many of the National Book Award nominees, this book deals with a heavier topic. It covers the many ways that government housing subsidies in the 1960s and 1970s disadvantaged black families. Several major problems with the program allowed race-dependent outcomes. In particular, it seems that none of the administrations that ran the program were willing to enforce civil rights law or provide adequate oversight of housing quality. This allowed the real estate industry to continue racist practices while receiving government funding. Add to this some perverse incentives that meant banks could make more money on mortgages if tenants were evicted and you have a recipe for disaster. As you might expect, this book covers history everyone should be aware of, but it will make you incredibly angry. I'd already read about some of the racist real estate practices described in this book, but their relationship to government programs were new and horrifying to me. I learned a lot from reading this. It was clearly well-researched and gave a thorough history of these government programs. Like many NBA nominees, it made me want to read many of it sources. If I'm honest though, I could have done with a less thorough history! The broad outlines of the government programs were almost as interesting as they were appalling. The personal stories that were included were also engaging and brought home the devastating human cost of these programs. The details of who was running the programs and the political context weren't as interesting or important to me. Nevertheless, I really would recommend this to pretty much anyone in the US as an important part of the history of our country. I'd just replace it with something even more accessible if that was an option!This review was originally posted on Doing Dewey

  13. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    A book about federal housing policy published by a university press wouldn't be getting this much attention if we weren't in our present situation, but that doesn't mean it doesn't deserve your appreciation. Race for Profit is not an overview of how the federal government, banks, the real estate industry, etc. have conspired to fuck over African-Americans post-Reconstruction but it does pop in the stories of redlining, the Great Migration, and the disaster of massive public housing projects on o A book about federal housing policy published by a university press wouldn't be getting this much attention if we weren't in our present situation, but that doesn't mean it doesn't deserve your appreciation. Race for Profit is not an overview of how the federal government, banks, the real estate industry, etc. have conspired to fuck over African-Americans post-Reconstruction but it does pop in the stories of redlining, the Great Migration, and the disaster of massive public housing projects on occasion, if you're unfamiliar with those parts of the story. This book primarily focuses on the unmitigated disaster wrought upon Black families between 1968 and 1973, when a more conservative government headed by Nixon ended federal support for public housing and used the combined powers of HUD and the FHA, headed by Mitten's dad George Romney, to encourage home ownership in Black neighborhoods by offering mortgages to poor families. Romney made some weak attempts to integrate working class suburbs, but that didn't happen. Meanwhile, enticing, coercing, or forcing people searching for rental housing into home ownership became a nightmare way for realtors and lenders to make quick money by "selling" distressed properties, receiving reimbursement from the federal government for their overhead, and getting paid again when the properties were foreclosed on. Dozens of people were eventually indicted but, despite all the appalling stories where the lenders and realtors were clearly at fault, the blame was inevitably placed on poor Blacks for living in places they couldn't move out of. Tragic, worth reading, good audio narration.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    2020 has been a fucking awful year, but I resisted shying away from books that presented hard, depressing, anger-inducing, honest assessments of White Supremacist America. This is another of those books. Fucking hell White Supremacist America had/has quite the insidious and horrifying racist real estate and banking industries. No surprise here, since the "land of the free..." was built, sustained and expanded through the legalized/codified enslavement of Black People for hundreds of years, then t 2020 has been a fucking awful year, but I resisted shying away from books that presented hard, depressing, anger-inducing, honest assessments of White Supremacist America. This is another of those books. Fucking hell White Supremacist America had/has quite the insidious and horrifying racist real estate and banking industries. No surprise here, since the "land of the free..." was built, sustained and expanded through the legalized/codified enslavement of Black People for hundreds of years, then their subsequent post-slavery slavery that continues to the present day. This book is overwhelmingly forthright in proving that White Supremacist American Government, at every level, worked openly and obviously to exclude Black People from home ownership at every possible place in the chain of home acquisition. And still does. There is a lot to absorb here, but readers dedicated to learning how fucking racist America is will be rewarded, sadly, with plenty of examples. Simply put, White Supremacist America continues to blame Black People for their plight, refusing in any way to acknowledge that a nation that would enslave another human being has created the problem while refusing to accept the horrifying results. None of the problems of the USofA with regards to racism will be mended until reparations are paid. Black People started with way less than zero in America, so there is simply never going to be any "catching up", regardless of any future developments. Until White Supremacist America admits its terrible past wrongs and makes them right Black People will be running to stand still. At best. An essential read, especially for those who think the symptom of White Supremacist America's racism - Black People's economic deficit relative to White People - is actually a fact. Yes, that means the very people that should read this book, White Supremacists - probably won't. Fuck them, I say.

  15. 5 out of 5

    BMR, LCSW

    There is so much more to the history of Blacks and homeownership in the US than redlining and restrictive covenants. As with most policies in the US, centuries of exclusion are very difficult to recover from for the most marginalized and minoritized populations. Mitt's dad George Romney plays a very large role in the book, during his time as the head man at HUD. Recommended for history geeks, policy wonks, and housing scholars. Natives of Baltimore, Detroit, St. Louis, and Chicago will probably re There is so much more to the history of Blacks and homeownership in the US than redlining and restrictive covenants. As with most policies in the US, centuries of exclusion are very difficult to recover from for the most marginalized and minoritized populations. Mitt's dad George Romney plays a very large role in the book, during his time as the head man at HUD. Recommended for history geeks, policy wonks, and housing scholars. Natives of Baltimore, Detroit, St. Louis, and Chicago will probably recognize a lot of the tales and references.

  16. 5 out of 5

    alaya

    I have no idea how I used to read academic books for fun, and so quickly, but that’s not my brain anymore. Some months I read it, some months I didn’t, but I made it through. A doozy, but I learned a lot. Very important for folks interested in American neoliberalism. My props to the research assistants.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Connie Kuntz

    I’ve never been one to fully grasp the intricacies of U.S. policies, but Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor writes about them with historical, social and political perspective. This could have been a dry reading experience or an emotional one, neither of which appeal to me, but the author did her research so well that the experience was rich, informative, frustrating and enlightening. And there are moments of humor, too. Not “feel good” humor, but the “Oh my God, seriously?” humor. (See the Good Housekeepi I’ve never been one to fully grasp the intricacies of U.S. policies, but Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor writes about them with historical, social and political perspective. This could have been a dry reading experience or an emotional one, neither of which appeal to me, but the author did her research so well that the experience was rich, informative, frustrating and enlightening. And there are moments of humor, too. Not “feel good” humor, but the “Oh my God, seriously?” humor. (See the Good Housekeeping cartoon for an example.) I recommend buying a copy so you can underline and take notes as you read. This book comes with an excellent bibliography and index, too. I look forward to reading more work from this author.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sheila H

    The best book I read in 2020. Clearly breaks down how real estate went from redlining to “inclusion” for Black people with exploitation at every turn, and shows how Republicans laundered racism into worries about poor people and neighborhood makeup.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dre McDermott

    Finally finished it. The information was frequently repeated so the writing style wasn’t my favorite. But interesting history of oppression and swindling of the poor via the real estate industry.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Heather Reid

    If you’ve read The Color of Law, this book should be next on your list. This book picks up where the other left off detailing how discrimination continued after the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968 and telling the story of the creation of HUD, its many issues, its gutting, and how the government was able to shift blame from itself onto the black poor it claimed to want to help.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey

    I learned A LOT from this book but found the chronology and writing style hard to latch onto. I wish there had been more specific stories or case studies to help guide me through. Helped me think more deeply about the connections between housing and education access.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Abbey

    POPSUGAR 2020: A book with a pun in the title Austin Justice Coalition Book Club - September 2020 Spoiler alert: Richard Nixon was a big ass racist. (shocking, I know) The big thing I got out of this book was how adversarial each presidential administration was against the one that came before it, especially in regards to federal housing regulations. I do believe that each man placed in charge of federal housing believed that he was doing what was best, but due to willful ignorance, and in some ca POPSUGAR 2020: A book with a pun in the title Austin Justice Coalition Book Club - September 2020 Spoiler alert: Richard Nixon was a big ass racist. (shocking, I know) The big thing I got out of this book was how adversarial each presidential administration was against the one that came before it, especially in regards to federal housing regulations. I do believe that each man placed in charge of federal housing believed that he was doing what was best, but due to willful ignorance, and in some cases, very purposeful and active racist policies, Black people suffered blows that would take generations to overcome. This is an excellent history, well researched, and densely informative. It's certainly a must read for deepening one's knowledge of recent (20th century) Black economic history.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Never Without a Book

    Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor novel Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership, is another example of how hard it is to be Black. The stunts the government has pulled in the housing industry….ugh! I don’t even know where to begin here. Throughout this book Yamahtta Taylor highlights on the low-income housing programs (HUD) that encouraged “Black homeownership” but, ultimately was a set up from the start. The purpose of the Federal Housing Administration is t Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor novel Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership, is another example of how hard it is to be Black. The stunts the government has pulled in the housing industry….ugh! I don’t even know where to begin here. Throughout this book Yamahtta Taylor highlights on the low-income housing programs (HUD) that encouraged “Black homeownership” but, ultimately was a set up from the start. The purpose of the Federal Housing Administration is to back mortgages arranged through a government funded program that would pay off loans if buyers defaulted on their payment. With this program, Black renters from poor areas had an opportunity to become homeowners. Yes! Great news, right?! Wrong! Crumbling structures, rat infested homes, all these conditions opened the doors for homeownership fraud. At the end of the day real estate brokers and mortgage bankers valued black owners because, they were poor, desperate and would likely fall behind on their payments. And you know what that means, banks would profit from being repaid for inflated mortgages, and profit again when the foreclosed property was resold to another poor family that qualified for a government-guaranteed mortgage. cha-ching! Yamahtta Taylor did some extensive research and her findings are shocking. This book is dense, but soooo informative. This is a must-read. Many thanks to University of North Carolina Press for gifting me this copy.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    Highly illuminating and important, but a bit of a tough read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Viola

    In a historic victory for unhoused people, Philadelphia city officials agreed to hand over 50 vacant homes to a community land trust, following months of organizing and protest encampments. We hear from one of the organizers and speak to Philadelphia-based Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, who has written extensively about housing insecurity and says the direct actions there are applicable across the U.S. “This dynamic exists all over the country where you have both empty housing and houseless people, a In a historic victory for unhoused people, Philadelphia city officials agreed to hand over 50 vacant homes to a community land trust, following months of organizing and protest encampments. We hear from one of the organizers and speak to Philadelphia-based Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, who has written extensively about housing insecurity and says the direct actions there are applicable across the U.S. “This dynamic exists all over the country where you have both empty housing and houseless people, a completely irrational expression of what American capitalism means,” Taylor says. The sustained movement in Philadelphia established “a model for what all tenant organizing and activist groups should be taking up, which is occupy the space, occupy the properties and put political pressure on public housing authorities to do their job and house people that are unhoused.” AMY GOODMAN: Keeanga, you’re in Philadelphia. Your book Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership was a 2020 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for History. Congratulations. KEEANGA-YAMAHTTA TAYLOR: Thank you. AMY GOODMAN: But I want to ask about the historic victory in Philadelphia among housing activists after city officials agreed Friday to hand over 50 vacant homes to a community land trust, following months of organizing by unhoused people, including protest encampments and taking over vacant homes. Fifty mothers and children who have been occupying 15 vacant city-owned houses will also be permitted to stay as part of the deal. Philadelphia Housing Action, the group behind the direct action campaign, will set up the community land trust. On Monday, we reached community organizer Jenn Bennetch at the Camp Teddy encampment and asked her to describe the significance of the victory. JENN BENNETCH: Not just is it like a win for us, and not just is it a win even for the people in the encampments who will be able to move into homes, but this is also like 50 units that would have been sold to developers and used to speed up the process of gentrification in our neighborhoods. … We’re going to be able to, like, house people from the encampment, if everything goes through right, and also we’ll be stopping these units from being sold off to the private market and potentially becoming like luxury condos or student housing in our neighborhoods. … If this works out, then it could be a good push to go and say, like, instead of allowing housing authorities to, like, sell units and make money off of them, after they intentionally neglected them until they were too much for them to deal with, then allow community groups to take on those units and rehab them and use them for what their original use was, which is to house people in need. AMY GOODMAN: So, that’s housing organizer Jenn Bennetch. If you can talk about the significance of this victory? And just in the bigger picture, we’re talking about tens of millions of Americans face eviction. This is a key area that you focus on, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. KEEANGA-YAMAHTTA TAYLOR: Sure. I think this is tremendously significant. Not only is this a vindication of a strategy that was focused on direct action. People occupied, you know, tony sections of downtown Philadelphia. They refused to move. They acted in solidarity with each other. There are so many times over the last two months when the city threatened to shut down the camps, when the city threatened legal action against the organizers. And throughout that, people stood tall. They did not cave in to the pressure. And they essentially called the city’s bluff. And the city was reluctant to actually move in on the camp, because Philadelphia has been a site of very large, demonstrative protests around police brutality. There’s a well-organized legal protection, as well as activist networks in the city, that I think created some pause and reluctance on the part of city officials. But I think, even beyond its impact in Philadelphia, which I think is tremendous, there’s a bigger lesson to be drawn here, because this dynamic exists all over the country, where you have both empty housing and houseless people — a completely irrational expression of what American capitalism means. But, even more perniciously, you have public housing authorities — every city has one — which is either sitting on properties, that they should be distributing to people in need of housing, but they are sitting on properties, waiting for the right price point to flip those properties for profit. And that is unconscionable for public housing authorities to be engaged in that kind of predatory, gentrifying behavior. And so, what has happened here in Philadelphia is creating a model for what all tenant organizing and activist groups should be taking up, which is occupy the space, occupy the properties, and put pressure, political pressure, on public housing authorities to do their job and house people who are unhoused. It is not that complicated. We shouldn’t be having empty housing and people without homes in the midst of a pandemic. At no time should we be having it, but we certainly should not be experiencing this in the midst of a pandemic. And I think that this is a model, a strategic model, and a tactic that should be generalized by housing groups across the country. Now is the time, I think, to move on this, because the emergency of housing insecurity is at its most acute point, but also there’s a greater connection being made between housing as healthcare, housing as a right, that has been demonstrated by the CDC’s own moratorium against evictions, which really demonstrate that housing is an issue of healthcare as well as an issue of shelter. AMY GOODMAN: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, we want to thank you so much for being with us, New Yorker writer, author of Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership, 2020 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, assistant professor of African American studies at Princeton University. https://www.democracynow.org/2020/9/2...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jack

    Race for Profit is a sharp history of how racism, capitalism, and public-private governance intersected to reproduce segregated and undervalued Black neighborhoods in the second half of the 20th century. The book adds to a growing canon of scholarship that illuminates how the U.S. government created policies, and/or in many cases sanctioned private actors to carry them out, to segregate communities and uphold white supremacy in the housing market. What distinguishes this this book is that it goe Race for Profit is a sharp history of how racism, capitalism, and public-private governance intersected to reproduce segregated and undervalued Black neighborhoods in the second half of the 20th century. The book adds to a growing canon of scholarship that illuminates how the U.S. government created policies, and/or in many cases sanctioned private actors to carry them out, to segregate communities and uphold white supremacy in the housing market. What distinguishes this this book is that it goes beyond the well-documented role of redlining to focus on lending and credit, and how the dream of home ownership became a tool for finance capital to extract value from Black communities. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor puts in some dissertation-level work in this text, and seems like a real comrade in linking these practices to the underbelly of capitalism.

  27. 4 out of 5

    sarah

    ugh this country

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mark Steininger

    Reading this book directly after finishing Richard Rothstein's The Color of Law felt like I had the veil removed hiding the true insidious racism of the housing industry in a matter of week. While Rothstein makes compelling arguments for the existence of De Jure segregation in United States housing policy, Taylor lays bare the segregationist public-private partnership that has defined our housing markets for decades. She also records the deeply heartbreaking and personal stories of black home ow Reading this book directly after finishing Richard Rothstein's The Color of Law felt like I had the veil removed hiding the true insidious racism of the housing industry in a matter of week. While Rothstein makes compelling arguments for the existence of De Jure segregation in United States housing policy, Taylor lays bare the segregationist public-private partnership that has defined our housing markets for decades. She also records the deeply heartbreaking and personal stories of black home ownership and housing that defined the 1960s and 70s. "Predatory Inclusion" will remain a staple in my vocabulary for years to come thanks to this book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ruby

    "The widespread access to homeownership across the United States in the aftermath of World War II cemented it as a fundamental feature of the cultural conceptions of citizenship and belonging." "Race for profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership examines the critical turn in U.S. housing policy when the FHA, housed within HUD, ended its long practice of redlining, instead turning to new policies that enocuraged low-income African Americans to become homeowners "The widespread access to homeownership across the United States in the aftermath of World War II cemented it as a fundamental feature of the cultural conceptions of citizenship and belonging." "Race for profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership examines the critical turn in U.S. housing policy when the FHA, housed within HUD, ended its long practice of redlining, instead turning to new policies that enocuraged low-income African Americans to become homeowners in the 1970s." "As historian Rhonda Williams has noted, "Low-income black women['s]...citizenship struggles draw attention to the issues shaping postwar urban residency as well as the character of the liberal state and U.S. democracy." "The new uses of "urban crisis" were a means of aryiculating the perception of crisis in American cities without using race as its catalyst." "Colorblind universalism fulfilled the dream of racial liberals in their insistence that removal of racial language was evidence of inclusion. Racial liberals relied on the trace of representation or the physical presence of those who had been previously exluded as proof of change. Thus, it was radicals who coined the phrase "institutional racism" to critique the inadeuacy of representation and presence as clear measures of racial equality or racial repair." "The particular role of banks and the real estate industry in undermining Black homeownership, which reinforced the racist idea that African Americans lower property values, cannot be understood as clearly without these women. The cheating of Black communities and homeowners continues to skew economic outcomes and shape racist housing policies. These women fought back, and by exposing what happened to them in interviews with journalists, and through lawsuits, their story can now be told." "From the 1930s until the late 1960s, U.S. housing policies were caught between innovation and regressive racial attitudes that produced a multitiered approach to public policy: homeownership and development for white residents, public housing or extractive and predatory tenancy for African Americans in the wake of urban renewal practices." "The real estate industry used the conditions of Black communities, born out of a rigid adherence to residential segregation, as evidence to justify the continued exclusion of African Americans from white neighborhoods. These were the conditions of extraction and investment, but not for those who lived there." "The past could not be so neatly erased from the new world that was created; instead, the past helped to shape how the new policies and practices were implemented." "The American housing market was an expression of the precailing racial consciousness of the larger society in which it operated." "Racism in real estate has remained resilient and ingrained, demonstrating the limits of inclusion as discrimination, exploitation, and predation continued well after the legal hurdles to fair or open housing had been cleared." "From the inception of the housing market in the United States, its viability had been structured around a scaffolding of racial knowledge that presumed insight into the speculative elements of "good housing" and "good neighborhoods," which could then be actualized through ascending property values. Transmogrifying real estate into homes and then again into financially accruing assets depended on the alchemy of race, place, and the perceptions of the buying public-or "property values are where culture meets economics." "Segregating African Americans into deteriorating urban neighborhoods and then starving those communities of resources and other investments greatly limited their access to better-paying jobs and well-resourced public schools, while pushing them into substandard housing. Poverty and segregation led to overcrowding in Black housing, thus hastening its deteriorating." "The 1964 Civil Rights Act banned discrimination in any federally subsidized housing with an important exception: homes purchased with an FHA-backed loan. Omitting the FHA from the scrutiny of federal racial regulators exposed not only the suffocating influence of the real estate industry but also the servile reluctance of government officials to seriously confront racism in the housing market." "Racial liberalism posited inclusion as the antidote to the crisis created by exclusion." "Inclusion on predacious terms was not only about banking and real estate, but it raised deeper questions about the progress and triumphalism that pervade the discourses of racial liberalism and uplift so central to the U.S. narrative of progressive change over time." "Racial concerns shaped the public policies of the FHA from its inception. Because the federal government relied on "experts" from the housing industry to shape its emergent housing policies, it imported the racial common sense of the real estate industry, including the forgone conclusion that Blacks and other nonwhites should be separated from whites to preseve property values." "By 1957, of people displaced by urban renewal, over a quarter of Black families were relocated to public housing, compared with 10 percent of white families; "urban renewal projects utilized 11,000 units of public housing of which 9700 were occupied by nonwhites, or 88 percent." The survival of public housing was directly tied to its necessity as relocation housing for the tens of thousands of city dwellers forcibly removed from their homes and neighborhoods." "Despite the authoritative role of the federal government in the banking industry and, by extension, the housing sector, federal regulators refused to enforce the law, claiming that the market alone could ultimately resolve the housing issues for African Americans. Historian David Freund has pointed out the lengths to which the FHA went to obscure its role as a government agency in facilitating the homeownership boom of the postwar period. Writes Freund, "Federal interventions did more than simply structure opportunity [for whites]; paradoxically they also helped to popularize the idea that givernment interventions were not providing considerable benefits to white people." "Capitalists liked to talk about "risk" as a central feature of their economic system, but when it came to the business of urban reform, they wanted no risk, just the profit derived from investing there." "The financial vacuum created by the demand of Black buyers and the dearth of available financing meants that predatory lenders-like the notorious contract sellers-were able to prey upon potential Black homeowners. It was not that the Black housing market in Chicago was "untapped." Instead, exploitative economic transactions made the Black housing market very lucrative for those positioned to extract capital from Black communities. Even for MetLife, Black housing was a desirable investments as long as it was kept separate from white housing." "After years of government abandonment of urban areas and prioritization of suburban development, the state would now use its power and resources to protect the investment of private capital in the inner city." "Perhaps of even more consequence, the failure to open the suburubs to Black buyers and renters, while simultaneously denying the plausibility of race as a factor, facilitated the thriving conditions of predatory inclusion in the existing, urban market." "Rising labor costs were the inspiration for Nixon's Philadelphia Plan, which has been overstated as a liberal gesture in support of affirmative action. Nixon was less interested in "affirmative action" and Black equality in the workplace than he was in resetting the wage table for carpenters, who, it was believed, created inflationary pressure on wages overall." "Housing for poor and working-class people had been the subject of federal and local debate and discussion for most of the twentieth century, and yet by the end of the 1960s, when compared with actaul need, affordable housing remained scarce in the cities across the country." "From 1960 to 1970, 2.1 million white people left American cities for the suburbs. Over the same period, 2.6 million African Americans moved into the nation's cities, becoming a disproportionately urban-based population." "Over the course of the 1960s, 762,000 nonwhites moved to the suburbs, a number that was 42 percent more than in the previous decade but syill dwarfed by the influx of 12.5 million whites into the same areas. The movement of almost a million nonwhites into suburban areas did not demonstrate nascent integration; rather, it represented the extension of Black urban communities into new suburban development. In other words, Black suburbanization occured at a trickle, created new Black suburbs, and was not indicative of Black absorption into white suburban communities." "As the numbers of African Americans swelled city centers across the country, the development of an urban-based Black political and economic class raised the possibility of community autonomy and control." "A house was the most important asset in the lives of ordinary Americans; this fact explains, in part, the extreme reactions of most white homeowners in opposition to low-income housing, especially in white working-class suburbs. It also explains the anxious efforts of African Americans to access this social benefit." "Nixon's expression of concern for "economic integration" was to effectively oppose the central strategy of the HUD Act, which was placing low-income housing into outlying areas. Nixon's attempt to distort the issue could not change what everyone knew to be true: the only controversy over low-income housing was that it was housing for Black and Latino residents." "The problems that were to beset HUD's homeownership programs stemmed from the federal government's reliance on a network of private institutions that, in turn, relied on racial discrimination as the guarantor of its bottom line." "Although praising the benefits of homeownership was easy, the reality of owning a home was a difficult and unpredictable enterprise for anyone who was not wealthy. The level of difficulty and unpredictability became greater as one's income and the condition of the house deteriorated." "The problem of constrained choice was then exacerbated by the program's reliance on the housing industry, which had so tightly bound its profit margin to racial discrimination that there was not a single moment in its history where racial discrimination had not prevailed as a defining industry practice." "Section 235 and other low-income homeownership programs were not welfare-far from it. Indeed, program participants paid the federal government a monthly insurance premium for the mortgage insurance on their homes. Although these women were able to budget monthly payments for their homes, they lacked disposable income with which to make unplanned payments for the kinds of repairs that are a regular part of owning a house, particularly an old and used house." "Taking on thousands of dollars of debt for ownership of an old and declining property while also being tied to a community with few prospects for reinvigorating its job market was a tall order under the best of circumstances; for the poor, it exacerabted and deepened one's descent into the ranks of the poor. But since homewonership was firmly situated as a cornerstone of the American dream, the aspiration for inclusion into its ranks went without question. Instead the questions turned to who was capable and responsible enough to assume homeownership." "Poor black women would play an important role in bringing to light the role of racial discrimination in the application of HUD's programs. Their complaints, social activism, and willingness to engage in litigation to make their grievances public opened a gradually widening aperture into the depths of the crisis in HUD and exposed the lie in repeated suggestions that they were nothing more than "unsophisticated buyers." "Between 1968 and 1972, HUD-FHA had more foreclosures on homes it insured than in its previous thirty-year history." "The failure of even sympathetic officials to attune themselves to the very real differences between early efforts to create a market for low-income white homeowners in the 1940s versus the market constructed for low-income African Americans thirty years later marked the inattention throughout U.S. society to the details of how race and location shape the outcomes of homeownership." "Blaming the poor served a purpose. HUD officials desperately wanted to keep the narrative from becoming one of federal officials signing off on criminally defective houses-a task made much easier by the fact that the story of negligent and lazy poor people failing to perform basic maintenance was so readily available. Where the story of poor Black people as willful culprits would not fit, the discription of them as overwhlemed and ignorant and devoid of common sense in purchasing a home was alternatively pursued." "The resurrection of the viability of redlining was made possible by higlighting the perceptions of urban dysfunction. The more intense the problems in American cities, the more legitimacy was lent to the boundaries that limited the spatial movement of the people who lived in those cities. When defending the previous regime of redlining, officials had claimed that race was not a motivating factor and, instead, the exculsion was based on location and the lack of viability of places. The emerging the discussion concerning the urban place focused on the people who lived there." "Neoliberalism and neoconservativism converged around the demonization of working-class and poor Black people in cities to undermine the legitimacy of welfare state perceived to be prioritizing the care of "undeserving" African Americans. But the struggles of Black people throughout the 1960s had legitimized the idea of social welfare abd depicted them as deserving of it." "When public policies are guided by the objectives of private enterprise, as the HUD homeownership programs undoubtedly were, they are clinched in a dance of conflict." "In this book I have tried to mark the pivot in U.S. policy and political history at the end of the 1960s to draw attention to how statutory changes alone are rarely, if everm enough to undo deeply ingrained cultural, social, economic, and political assumptions that shape our society." "The conflation of race and risk to property value has been fully absorbed into the popular cultural and real estate acumen of the United States. Enduring racist assumptions about Black hygiene and moral fitness overlapped with the obsession of white property owners in protecting their investments." "The quality of life in U.S. society depends on the personal accumulation of wealth, and homeownership is the single largest investment that most families make to accrue this wealth."

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nils Jepson

    Need to take a deep breath. i don't usually read books like this even when they're non-fiction. "race for profit" is fact fact fact, intricately researched with numbers and names and other proper nouns overwhelming each sentence. or, at least me, reading each sentence. it's a book that you have to take your time with and, if you don't, well there's not much point in reading it. it was especially difficult coming into this since i don't have a lot of background knowledge into how mortgages or cap Need to take a deep breath. i don't usually read books like this even when they're non-fiction. "race for profit" is fact fact fact, intricately researched with numbers and names and other proper nouns overwhelming each sentence. or, at least me, reading each sentence. it's a book that you have to take your time with and, if you don't, well there's not much point in reading it. it was especially difficult coming into this since i don't have a lot of background knowledge into how mortgages or capital lending or any of the other predatory practices banks (and the FHA) took part in. i think reading this as a homeowner would probably be insane but as someone who has only a tip of knowledge on what homebuying even looks like, i was lost some of the time. that's my bad, though. "race for profit" is one of the most detailed histories of anything i have ever read. it's a grueling read; both in the level of detail that it covers and the bureaucratic nightmares that it unpacks. taylor excellingly places you smack in the middle of the FHA and does a really good job at peeling back the layers of the agency, whose who, what the political narratives were at the time, and the different pieces of anti-poverty legislation that were both put forward and gutted by the agency. the whole book spans about an 8 year period, from Johnson to Nixon, from the Great Society to Nixon's New Federalism. The book moves pretty linearly, from the original private-public partnerships set into place by Johnson and the gutting of any anti-poverty government initiatives by Nixon. taylor is definitely a historian and while the book is loosely organized into arguments, it's mostly a step by step history of the FHA and it's failures to actually uplift black communities. i sometimes wish it went further, and i found the last chapter which was a bit more argumentative and thematic then the rest (detailing just how the nixon administration and private interests pushed the dysfunctionality and racism of the FHA onto black families, creating an "underclass"), than just details but it did the details so goddamn well it's hard to ask the book to be anything else. if anything, this book serves as ammo for your arguments with your neoliberal families and friends, clearly outlining a case study that details just how insidious and dangerous capitalism has always been, and how any form of capitalist inclusion is simply building off an innately racist system. i spent half my time reading this underlining and jotting notes in the corners in unreadable highlighter and building hypothetical arguments in my head that i could bring up to my coworkers or friends. taylor doesn't build these arguments for you so much as lay out the facts of each and hope, through subtle signposts, that you can connect the dots from there. like i said, "race for profit" is a historian's history: it's detailed, lengthy, slogging (sometimes) and very very scary once you start to put what you're reading into the context of today's racial capitalism. the book is a warning: we've been here before, perhaps we've been further down the path of enlightenment then where we are now, so beware, be critical of any austerity measure or government program that prioritizes corporate involvement or ties corporate involvement with social justice, and fight for a world that cares for itself. like all great histories, this is a lighthouse, asking to be seen and read and sat with, and hoping that it's light reaches far enough through the fog to reach someone, somewhere. i hope it's you. well worth a read and a challenge.

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