Racism and the economy: Focus on housing

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“Racism and the Economy: Focus on Housing” is focused on structural racism in our housing markets and its impact on economic outcomes for all Americans.
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“Racism and the Economy: Focus on Housing,” a virtual event hosted by all 12 district banks of the Federal Reserve System.

The fourth installment of the virtual event series is focused on structural racism in our housing markets and its impact on economic outcomes for all Americans. Keynote speakers outline the historical and contemporary context of how racism, racial exclusion and predatory inclusion have limited housing opportunities and wealth-building for communities of color.

Leaders from the public, nonprofit and academic sectors present policy proposals for dismantling the deep inequities in housing market valuation, mortgage lending, and patterns of housing development.

Below is a list of keynote speakers, moderated by Raphael Bostic, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta:

  • Andre Perry: Senior fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution.

    “While mob violence, restrictive covenants and racial zoning may be a part of our history, their imprint remains on the so-called built environment.”

    Housing is “central to everything that we do— education, infrastructure, policing. But it’s also been used as a weapon to deliberately devalue and hurt Black people and is part of the growth model for whiteness in this country.”

    Referring to the devaluation and loss of capital in the Black community, Perry says we need investment to build wealth. We know “wealth is a predicter of health, education, business opportunities and more.” He adds that if we restore the value that’s been extracted by racism. “We can get out of this recession if we invest in Black people … the proverbial pie grows.”

  • Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor: Assistant professor, Department of African-American Studies, Princeton University.

    Taylor urged dealing with these pervasive problems with “regulation and enforcement of existing laws with regard to civil rights.” She said there is not rigorous enforcement, and “no behavior-altering punishment.” Media exposes of these problems have been ongoing for decades — redlining, racist banking practices, etc. But somehow, she says, “It doesn’t compel action.”

Use the audio player above to listen to the program.

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