Redlining Explained

With Facebook in trouble for allowing people to exclude potential renters based on race, redlining has been in the news lately. So, I thought it would be good to remind everyone of what redlining is and of ow it was critical to the federal government’s efforts to segregate America.

In 1934, the Roosevelt administration created the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The New Deal program was sold as a way of providing public housing to deal with the housing shortages that existed during the Great Depression. In reality, the FHA became a federal program that made it easier for whites to find homes and played a huge role in the segregating of America that still exists today.

Redlining is known as such because the government and lenders would literally draw a red line around neighborhoods where people of color were more likely to live. Once the red lines were established, the federal government and other lenders would refuse to provide mortgage assistance in the neighborhoods, or to build much housing in the segregated neighborhoods.

On the other hand, the federal government was making cheap loans available to developers to build in largely white neighborhoods and providing mortgage assistance to white people who wanted to live in the white neighborhoods. In many cases, the federal government expressly prevented people of color from living in white neighborhoods.

The practice of redlining wasn’t outlawed until the Fair Housing Act of 1968. For 34 years, the federal government’s official policy was to segregate people of color in neighborhoods the federal government would then starve of money.

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