What Anti-Racist Housing Policy Looks Like

February 17, 2022

Repair and redress.

The Roosevelt Rundown features our top stories of the week.

How to Design Anti-Racist Housing Policy

In 2019, the median white household held eight times as much wealth as the median Black household. 

For most of those households—and particularly for low- and middle-income households—wealth largely means home equity. But in today’s housing market, the legacies of New Deal–era redlining and continuing racial exclusion are still shutting Black families out of this wealth-building. 

“[C]ontemporary mortgage markets still exclude more than half of Black American households from homeownership,” Roosevelt fellow Naomi Zewde and co-authors Raz Edwards and Erinn Bacchus write in a new report, which finds that 8 in 10 Black buyers cannot afford New York City’s “affordable” co-ops. 

We need anti-racist housing policy that “can function reparatively, ensuring that adequate financial and technical support are invested in the well-being of Black, Latinx, and other historically segregated persons and communities,” the authors write. 

Read their recommendations in Trying to Erase the Red Line: National Lessons from a New York Homeowner Policy.


The Legacy of Wrongful Japanese American Incarceration

This Saturday, February 19, marks 80 years since President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066—a choice that led to the removal of civil rights and wrongful incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans.

At last fall’s Four Freedoms Awards, the Roosevelt Institute acknowledged the lasting harms of that decision, posthumously honoring civil rights activist Fred T. Korematsu with the 2021 Freedom Medal. After his challenge of EO 9066 made it to the Supreme Court, Korematsu spent the rest of his life advocating for repair, redress, and justice. 

“What Mr. Korematsu understood well was that our nation must learn from FDR’s misguided policy choices: There is no justice without racial justice,” Roosevelt President and CEO Felicia Wong said in a statement reflecting on the Day of Remembrance.

“While I cannot undo the harm caused by this forced incarceration policy, I can acknowledge its cruelty and restate my family’s commitment to historical repair and redress,” said Roosevelt Board Chair Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.


What We’re Reading

What Can Replace Free Markets? Groups Pledge $41 Million to Find Out.New York Times

COVID Has Made Global Inequality Much Worse [by Roosevelt’s Joseph Stiglitz]Scientific American

Renters across US Face Sharp Increases—Averaging up to 40% in Some Cities [feat. Roosevelt Fellow Lindsay Owens]The Guardian

The White House Is Going After One of Climate Change’s Thorniest Problems – The Atlantic