Neighborhood Segregation in America Didn't Happen by Accident

Richard Rothstein's new book, "The Color of Law, A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America," explains how, for more than 100 years, the U.S. government practiced, enforced and allowed segregation in housing. Rothstein makes a powerful case that, despite the 1968 Fair Housing Act, the public policies of yesterday still shape the racial landscape of today. Why is current-day America so ignorant of how pervasive and overt the government's official role has been in creating and continuing housing segregation?Because it's so difficult to remedy, we've chosen, collectively as a people, to wish the problem away by claiming that it happened by accident, and therefore it's not something that requires a constitutional remedy.By accident?The standard consensus, articulated by the Supreme Court and adopted across the political spectrum, is that neighborhoods are segregated de facto, which means by personal choices of where to live, where private prejudice, private discrimination, or private real estate agents steer families — by accident — but not government action. Rather than acknowledging it as a consistent conscious policy, it's wrongly been seen as just a million personal decisions resulting in the concentration of African-Americans in segregated neighborhoods. So it's very difficult to think how to bring about a million opposite personal decisions to desegregate.  Continue reading...

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