Cover image for Race for profit : how banks and the real estate industry undermined black homeownership
Race for profit : how banks and the real estate industry undermined black homeownership
Physical Description:
349 pages : illustrations 25 cm.
Introduction: Homeowner's business -- Unfair housing -- The business of the urban housing crisis -- Forced integration -- Let the buyer beware -- Unsophisticated buyers -- The urban crisis is over, long live the urban crisis -- Conclusion: Predatory inclusion.
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor offers a ... chronicle of the twilight of redlining and the introduction of conventional real estate practices into the Black urban market, uncovering a transition from racist exclusion to predatory inclusion. Widespread access to mortgages across the United States after World War II cemented homeownership as fundamental to conceptions of citizenship and belonging. African Americans had long faced racist obstacles to homeownership, but the social upheaval of the 1960s forced federal government reforms. In the 1970s, new housing policies encouraged African Americans to become homeowners, and these programs generated unprecedented real estate sales in Black urban communities. However, inclusion in the world of urban real estate was fraught with new problems. As new housing policies came into effect, the real estate industry abandoned its aversion to African Americans, especially Black women, precisely because they were more likely to fail to keep up their home payments and slip into foreclosure. --


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Book 363.51 TAY 1 1
Book 363.51 TAY 1 1
Book 363.51 TAY 0 1

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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 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.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

U.S. policy took a critical turn in the 1970s, from creating public housing to encouraging African Americans in low-income communities to purchase homes, explains Taylor (African American studies, Princeton Univ.; Rats, Riots and Revolution). Ending decades of redlining that restricted black homeownership, the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) joined with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to launch an unprecedented public-private partnership with bankers, builders, and real-estate brokers in order to buoy a virtually unregulated multibillion-dollar urban housing market on the backs of poor and working-class subprime borrowers. The shift propelled skyrocketing profits for the real-estate industry, but it was hardly uplifting. Persisting practices that Taylor describes as "predatory inclusion" spread racial discrimination by failing to protect black buyers in housing markets, in which they ended up paying more for less amid expanding segregation and unfair housing laws. VERDICT Essential for readers wishing to understand the depth and differentials of U.S. racial discrimination, Taylor's masterly exposé of the political economy of the racially bifurcated market systematically lays bare how residential segregation made profits from race; it also illustrates the mismatch of market solutions to racist policies and practices and underscores the limits of legislation alone to undo institutional racism.--Thomas J. Davis, Arizona State Univ., Tempe