Posted on January 28, 2021

Dismantling White Privilege Starts with Undoing Racist Housing Policies

Andre M. Perry and Stuart Yasgur, Brookings Institution, January 14, 2021

The disgraceful, failed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 made clear the consequences of our country’s history of white privilege: a threat to democracy itself. We must hold those individuals accountable, but we also must hold the biased policies that enabled them accountable, which requires those policies’ removal and replacement.

That work starts with the racist housing policies that have segregated neighborhoods, devalued lives, and eroded equal justice under the law—a foundational ideal on which our democracy rests. In that vein, Brookings and the Economic Architecture Project at Ashoka are launching a large-scale effort to foster a new generation of structural innovations to address systemic racism in the housing market.

According to Brookings research, homes in Black-majority neighborhoods are underpriced by a painful sum of $156 billion across the country. That figure was calculated after controlling for many of the excuses people give as to why home values are lower in Black communities, including lower-quality schools and higher crime rates.


{snip} But just as white supremacists built this architecture of inequality, we can undo it and replace it with systems that generate positive, equitable results.


In our work, we’ve often heard excuses to maintain the status quo: You can’t solve for racismThe price is what the market dictates. Or the not-so-subtle dig on Black people: That’s just how they are.

To those comments we say: There is nothing wrong with Black people that ending racism can’t solve.