Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Last Call For The Headline Is Redlining

Being Black costs Black homeowners, on average, $48,000 per home. And it doesn't matter if you are in a Black neighborhood or not, you pay nearly a 25% penalty for simply being Black in America.

Abena and Alex Horton wanted to take advantage of low home-refinance rates brought on by the coronavirus crisis. So in June, they took the first step in that process, welcoming a home appraiser into their four-bedroom, four-bath ranch-style house in Jacksonville, Fla.

The Hortons live just minutes from the Ortega River, in a predominantly white neighborhood of 1950s homes that tend to sell for $350,000 to $550,000. They had expected their home to appraise for around $450,000, but the appraiser felt differently, assigning a value of $330,000. Ms. Horton, who is Black, immediately suspected discrimination.

The couple’s bank agreed that the value was off and ordered a second appraisal. But before the new appraiser could arrive, Ms. Horton, a lawyer, began an experiment: She took all family photos off the mantle. Instead, she hung up a series of oil paintings of Mr. Horton, who is white, and his grandparents that had been in storage. Books by Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison were taken off the shelves, and holiday photo cards sent by friends were edited so that only those showing white families were left on display. On the day of the appraisal, Ms. Horton took the couple’s 6-year-old son on a shopping trip to Target, and left Mr. Horton alone at home to answer the door.

The new appraiser gave their home a value of $465,000 — a more than 40 percent increase from the first appraisal.

This is what structural racism in America looks like.

Race and housing policy have long been intertwined in the United States. Black Americans consistently struggle more than their white counterparts to be approved for home loans, and the specter of redlining — a practice that denied mortgages to people of color in certain neighborhoods — continues to drive down home values in Black neighborhoods.

Even in mixed-race and predominantly white neighborhoods, Black homeowners say, their homes are consistently appraised for less than those of their neighbors, stymying their path toward building equity and further perpetuating income equality in the United States.

Home appraisers are bound by the Fair Housing Act of 1968 to not discriminate based on race, religion, national origin or gender. Appraisers can lose their license or even face prison time if they’re found to produce discriminatory appraisals. Title XI of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act, enacted in 1989, also binds appraisers to a standard of unbiased ethics and performance.
“My heart kind of broke,” Ms. Horton said. “I know what the issue was. And I knew what we needed to do to fix it, because in the Black community, it’s just common knowledge that you take your pictures down when you’re selling the house. But I didn’t think I had to worry about that with an appraisal.”

Appraisals, by nature, are subjective. And discrimination, particularly the subconscious biases and microaggressions that have risen to the fore in white America this summer following the death of George Floyd, is notoriously difficult to pinpoint.

Ms. Horton shared her experiment in a widely circulated Facebook post, earning 25,000 shares and more than 2,000 comments, many of which came from Black homeowners and carried the same message: This also happened to me.

In each comment, a repeated theme: Home appraisers, who work under codes of ethics but with little regulation and oversight, are often all that stands between the accumulation of home equity and the destruction of it for Black Americans.

At every juncture, the federal and state governments in this country make it as hard as possible to prosecute discrimination cases, because civil rights and hate crime laws are seen solely as vehicles to unfairly victimize white Americans who make "trivial mistakes". So-called "real" discrimination and racism simply doesn't exist, after all, we elected and re-elected a Black president, right?

And yet, here we are, with a 40% penalty for being Black, outright, in the value of your home.

But Black people are all poor and lazy, and if they wanted to be wealthy, they'd be wealthy because America!

But as Trump says:

"It is what it is."

And what America is?

Built on 400 years of structural racism.

Our Little White Supremacist Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

Trump cultists are not going to accept a Trump loss. There will be violence across the nation as a result.  At some point, they are going to kill a lot of people in order to punish Democrats, and that scenario is coming closer every day.

Angry spectators who couldn’t get into the Idaho House of Representatives for a special session to deal with the coronavirus pandemic Monday shattered a glass door and rushed into the gallery that had limited seating because of the virus, including at least one person carrying an assault-style weapon.

Several conservative lawmakers went into the gallery to ask for calm and decorum, and the special session started anyway with a full House gallery and few if any people wearing masks.

The special session called by Republican Gov. Brad Little will look at changes to election laws to smooth voting in November, including dealing with extra absentee ballots and solutions to a potential shortage of polling places and poll workers amid the virus.

Lawmakers also plan to consider changes to liability laws they say are needed to protect businesses, schools and government agencies from lawsuits from people who get COVID-19.

People not let into the House gallery over social distancing requirements began chanting and banging on the glass doors. Witnesses said the crowd appeared to surge forward and the glass broke, and people rushed in to fill the gallery.

“This is our house,” said Allen Clark of Meridian, who was among those who rushed through the broken doors. “We own this house. We pay taxes. We’re citizens of Idaho. Why can’t we be allowed in a public meeting?”

Clark also carried across his chest what he said was a Yugoslavian M70B1 with a loaded 30-round magazine. Idaho permits the open carry of firearms, including in the Statehouse. People carrying assault-style rifles are not uncommon when the Legislature is in session, but usually when legislation involves gun restrictions. No such legislation has been proposed for the special session.

Once again, coercing lawmakers to change policy based on violence is terrorism.

Allen Clark is a terrorist. He should be in jail right now.  But he's not. There are thousands upon thousands of Allen Clarks out there.

Next time, they won't just go home after storming the statehouse, either.

Hell, we're probably not going to make it to the election itself before people die in a major terrorist militia shooting spree.

Unrest continued for the third night in a row in Kenosha, Wisconsin Tuesday night, over the shooting of Jacob Blake.

As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, peaceful protesters began circling at Civic Center Park near the Kenosha County Courthouse Tuesday evening. As the sun dipped away, the city’s 8 p.m. curfew kicked in for a declared state of emergency.

By the 10 p.m. hour, police cleared the park. Tear gas was deployed again.

A fence has been mounted guarding the courthouse. Officers with shields were originally behind the fence, but they drove armored vehicles out to disperse the crowd and officers systematically followed the armored vehicle to push the crowd back, deploying pepper spray and flash grenade-type devices.

The area near the courthouse has been a flashpoint for clashes between police and protesters in nights past. But on Tuesday night, the park brought out a mix of people including a group of armed Kenoshans going by the name “Armed Citizens to Protect Our Lives and Property.”

Protesters exchanged words with the armed group as they vowed to protect the city from continued looting and burning. Heavily-armed former Kenosha Ald. Kevin Mathewson was amongst the crowd.

“Last night, I saw law enforcement outnumbered by thug looting scumbags who were burning down buildings,” Mathewson said.

“I will stand in the way,” added Kevin Hladilek. “I will try and reason with them as much as I could possibly do.”

A protester yelled at the armed people, “That’s why you are out here now, because you want revenge for buildings.”
The Rev. Dr. Monica Cummings of Bradford Community Church added, “I question that gentleman showing up in military fatigues and sidearms at a peaceful protest.”

I don't question it. I expect it. It took all of 48 hours for an armed, white militia group to form to "protect" Kenosha, Wisconsin from "thug looting scumbags". These "fine people" immediately clashed with protesters last night.

Two people are already dead after this conflict.

Two people are dead and a third was injured in Kenosha, Wisconsin, following a shooting late Tuesday night, police said. 
The shooting happened amid the third night of protests over the police shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake on Sunday evening. 
On Tuesday, officers responded to reports of multiple gunshot victims around 11:45 p.m., the Kenosha Police Department said in a news release early Wednesday. 
The person injured was taken to the hospital with "serious, but non-life threatening injuries," police said. 
An investigation into the shooting is ongoing and the names and ages of the victims are still being determined, according to the release. 
Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth told The New York Times his office is investigating whether the shooting resulted from a conflict between demonstrators and a group of men with weapons who were protecting businesses.

The worst-case scenario is starting to play out before our eyes, one where violence by Trump supporters "forces" Trump to intervene in the election he cannot lose if he wants to retain his freedom from prison.

He will do anything to stay out of prison.

Including rallying white supremacist hit squads. His supporters do not care about anything other than staying in permanent power. White supremacy will be protected at all costs, as it always has been throughout the bloody history of America.

DiAnna Schenkel is a law school graduate who once ran on the Democratic ticket for her city council. She voted twice for Barack Obama. A 59-year-old suburbanite in North Carolina, she worries about her Black son-in-law being racially profiled by the police, pulled over and beaten or worse.

The portrait of a Biden voter?

No, Ms. Schenkel, who is white, is a confirmed supporter of Donald J. Trump. She voted for him enthusiastically four years ago after becoming disillusioned with the Obama presidency, and plans to vote for his re-election. At the same time, she is wary of expressing her politics openly because she believes that stereotypes of what she calls “Trumpers” like herself, as portrayed on social media and in conversations, are smug and spiteful.

“There’s so many people throwing down really inflammatory words: Racist. Xenophobic,” she said of the way people regard Trump supporters. “And these inflammatory words carry emotions. It just pivots people to where they’re not going to even tolerate someone for supporting that person. You’re automatically put on trial and you have to testify why you believe what you believe.”

As Mr. Trump takes center stage at the Republican National Convention this week, he maintains a core of rock-solid supporters like Ms. Schenkel who believe he is fighting in America’s best interests and has achieved many of his goals — which are their goals too. He has aggressively cultivated these voters over the last few months with scathing criticism of vandalism that has occasionally arisen from mostly peaceful protests calling for racial justice, and by boasting that, pre-coronavirus, he had built an economy second to none.

For Democrats and many independents, Mr. Trump has shattered the norms of presidential behavior with racist tweets and divisive policies; his use of federal agencies to advance his personal interests; and, perhaps most important, his detachment from managing the pandemic, which has killed more than 175,000 Americans.

The revulsion toward the president that his opponents feel has colored how many regard Mr. Trump’s supporters. Portrayals of his base, these supporters say, are often distilled into a caricature: that they are all white bigots, in thrall to an authoritarian leader and lost in a fog of fact-denial.

While polling and interviews turn up ample evidence of these traits, tens of millions of Americans will vote for Mr. Trump, and there are plenty of supporters who transcend the stereotypes, whose personal experiences or policy interests make him the right fit for them.

The GOP is the White Grievance Party.  Trump is the White Grievance Candidate.  And white America will absolutely reelect him in November, because there is not a white Trump voter who would trade places for 24 hours with a Black, Latino, or Asian-American.

Their response is "If you call me a racist, I will vote for the racist and his racist policies until you have nothing. I will take everything from you, because you calling me racist is the worst thing possible and I will destroy you for that."

And it will work.


Black Lives Still Matter, Con't

When Jacob Blake’s father talked with his son Sunday morning, the younger Blake was gearing up for a day of celebrating his son’s eighth birthday.

That evening, the father got word that his son had been shot eight times by police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Eighteen minutes later, he saw the now-viral video, he said.

“What justified all those shots?” his father said. “What justified doing that in front of my grandsons? What are we doing?”

Some witnesses say Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man who attended middle and high school in Evanston, was simply trying to break up a fight Sunday evening. The cellphone video of the incident shows Blake walking around and opening up his car door before appearing to be shot in the back by police.

His father said there are now “eight holes” in his son’s body, and he’s paralyzed from the waist down. Doctors don’t yet know if the injury is permanent.

The elder Blake is now making the drive from Charlotte, North Carolina, to be with his son in the hospital Tuesday.

“I want to put my hand on my son’s cheek and kiss him on his forehead, and then I’ll be OK,” his father said. “I’ll kiss him with my mask. The first thing I want to do is touch my son.”

Jacob Blake's grandfather, the late Rev. Jacob Blake, was an active member of the civil rights community in Evanston, Illinois.

On April 7, 1968, an estimated three thousand Evanston residents took part in a march that combined a tribute to King with a stand for fair housing. The march began at Emerson Street and McCormick Boulevard, proceeded through the downtown area, and ended in Raymond Park at Chicago Avenue and Grove Street, where a memorial was held.

“The fittest tribute the city of Evanston can pay to Martin Luther King,” the Reverend Jacob Blake, pastor of Evanston’s Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church, told the crowd, “is the immediate passage of an effective and comprehensive housing law.” Blake had been a principal organizer of the march and a staunch advocate of fair housing legislation.

Blake asked the gathered crowd to take a “voice vote” on a new fair housing resolution that had recently been drafted. After it was “approved,” he handed it to Mayor John Emery. The mayor had also joined the march and addressed the crowd in tribute to King.

Soon, fair housing advocates formed a “strategy committee” and issued a pledge that the marches would continue until an ordinance was passed. A “Statement of Intent” was also issued that stated “emphatically and unequivocally that if [an] ordinance was not passed on or before April 29, 1968,” the movement would “move . . . from non-violent protest. . . to nonviolent resistance,” involving an “economic boycott of all Evanston businesses, transportation systems, and profit making operations within the city limit of Evanston.”

On April 11, 1968, the Fair Housing Act (Title XIII of the Civil Rights Act) was signed into law by President Johnson, expanding existing laws and prohibiting discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, and national origin. King’s assassination, it was noted, was a “decisive factor” in the bill’s passage.

Still, in Evanston, no comprehensive fair housing law existed, and so the marches continued – daily reminders that “freedom of residence” in Evanston had not yet been realized.

Each day, people marched from Ebenezer AME Church on Emerson Street to the First Methodist Church on Hinman Avenue in an effort to bring about a city council vote on a comprehensive ordinance. Petitions were circulated, with signatories demanding the “immediate passage” of a fair housing ordinance. 
On April 15, 1968, the city council finally agreed to take a vote on a new, comprehensive fair housing ordinance. On Monday, April 29, 1968, just over 3 weeks after King’s death, two hundred people packed into the city hall chamber; outside, a crowd of 600 gathered to await the outcome of the vote.

The marches and hard work finally brought success: Fifteen to one, Evanston city council members voted to pass the ordinance, forbidding discrimination on the basis of race in the sale or rental of housing, and this time including steep fines and penalties for property owners, brokers, realtors, bankers, and others who practiced discrimination.

Evanston’s Mayor, John D. Emery, refused to sign the bill, arguing that the city had no “authority to pass such an all-encompassing law.” However, he stated, “the ordinance becomes effective without my signature.”

After the vote, the Reverend Jacob Blake, who was in the city council chamber, walked to the window and announced the result to the crowd outside. A loud cheer erupted. “I am overwhelmed,” Blake said.

The fight has gone on for centuries before I was born, and I believe the fight will continue for a long time after I am gone.  But while I am on this Earth, I want to see that fight through.


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