Friday, March 26, 2021

Last Call For The Most Real Fact Of Real Estate

Emory University law professor Dorothy Brown lays it out in the NY Times: in America, your home's value is based on racism. Still. In 2021. And it has been for generations.

John, who is Black, and his wife, who is Japanese American, purchased a family home in a suburb of Atlanta in 2004.

When he was interviewed for my book, John — who asked to be identified only by his first name to protect his family’s privacy — said the couple chose to buy in College Park, where 80 percent of the residents are Black, because they expected their children to identify and be treated as Black. They wanted the kids “to be in the village of Black community life, and to understand the cadences and relationships that are built there.”

But the family’s time in College Park didn’t last long. Because of the relatively low home values in their neighborhood and the resulting low property taxes, the public schools in the area were underfunded. So after their second son was born, they decided to move to an area with a better-funded school district.

This time, they bought in Candler Park, an area that is 87 percent white and less than 5 percent Black. In 2014, John and his wife sold their College Park home in a short sale for $60,000 — $144,000 less than what they paid for it.

Were they just unlucky? No. Is this massive loss through real estate unusual? Not for Black families.

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Black Americans are often unable to build wealth from homeownership in the same way their white peers are, in large part because home prices are generally set by the people who make up the majority of buyers: white Americans. White families typically prefer to live in predominantly white neighborhoods with very few or no Black neighbors. Homes in these neighborhoods tend to have the highest market values because most prospective purchasers — who happen to be white — find them most desirable.

Black Americans, on the other hand, tend to prefer to live in racially diverse or all-Black neighborhoods. Research has shown that once more than 10 percent of your neighbors are Black, the value of your home declines. As the percentage of Black neighbors increases, the property’s value plummets even further.

A study published in The American Journal of Sociology in 2009 found that “race, per se, shapes how whites and, to a lesser extent, Blacks view residential space.” The researchers showed videos of neighborhoods with different racial makeups to Black and white participants and found that even after they controlled for social class, whites found the all-white neighborhoods significantly more desirable than either the racially diverse or all-Black neighborhoods. The mere presence of Blacks in a neighborhood made it less appealing to whites.

This is where the past meets the present. “There’s a carry-over of the redlining and steering days, before the fair housing laws were passed. So the difference in property values almost tracks 100 percent with the demographics of the area,” said Wayne Early, an Atlanta-based realtor and community economic activist.


White people don't buy homes in Black neighborhoods, because they don't want Black neighbors. Black folk moving in lowers the property values by tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, because the people with the wealth to buy homes are almost all white.
That's it.
That's the entire story.
Black folks stay poor. They can't afford to move out when they do want to move to a better neighborhood, because they take a loss on the property unless they stay in Black neighborhoods with lower property values.
Systemic racism is alive and well, and in no area is that more apparent that in the American housing market.

The Political Beat Beats Women Back

There should be zero surprise that after decades of access political journalism and Trump's war on the press that women in the reporting field are suffering non-stop harassment from politicos, readers, and critics, to the point where social media is now a daily minefield that male journalists just don't have to deal with, and the male-dominated press still does not understand why they should care.

"It started late one day, and you could see it kind of building on social media,” Washington Post national editor Steven Ginsberg recalled of the torrent of online abuse directed last month at Seung Min Kim. The Post reporter had been photographed showing Senator Lisa Murkowski a critical tweet sent by Neera Tanden and seeking comment, a standard journalistic practice somehow interpreted as out of bounds or even unethical. The first thing Ginsberg and other Post editors did was reach out to Kim—“just to say: We’re here, we see it, we care, and how are you doing?” But the racist and sexist attacks only escalated, propelling Ginsberg to put out a statement to not only take a stand against harassment, but to try to move the ball forward by explaining why what Kim was doing was completely appropriate. “She and other minority women endure vile, baseless attacks on a daily basis, no matter what story they are working on or tweeting about,” he wrote. “The attacks on her journalistic integrity were wildly misguided and a bad faith effort at intimidation.” Ginsberg’s goal, he told me, was “to defend and educate.”

No journalist is above criticism. But what female journalists described to me goes beyond legitimate scrutiny of a headline or story framing and into their sex lives, their families, and other topics unrelated to their work, a wildly disproportionate level of pushback to any perceived journalistic offense. The old newsroom motto “don’t feed the trolls” seems increasingly quaint as top editors and media executives grapple with how and when to respond publicly to the deluge of smears filling a reporter’s inbox or chasing them across social media. “The environment for journalists is getting increasingly dangerous,” Ginsberg said. If not heralding a new era of how media organizations deal with attacks on female reporters, recent statements from the Post and The New York Times reflect the extent to which the problem has worsened, particularly for women on the male-dominated beats of politics and technology.

Earlier this month the Times issued a strongly worded defense of tech reporter Taylor Lorenz, whom Fox News’s Tucker Carlson sicced his followers on by bashing her on his prime-time program for, ironically, speaking out about how destructive the online harassment she’s experienced has been to her life and career over the past year. A week later the Times put out another statement—this time defending Rachel Abrams from “harassment” by One America News after the right-wing network urged viewers to contact the reporter over her upcoming “hit piece.” The statements were striking given that institutions like the Post and the Times don’t tend to acknowledge the toxic internet culture their reporters are constantly subject to. Speaking of the Lorenz incident, one reporter at the Times told me that she was glad the paper put out a statement “to show that the organization was identifying what was happening” and calling it out for what it was.

But the Times reporter, along with several other female journalists, said that overall, major media companies are not doing enough to support them, in part because a lot of news organizations believe the best way to deal with online abuse is to ignore it; journalists are coached to do the same. “What that ignores is the emotional toll that it takes on reporters, and the fact that it’s often a misunderstanding of our reporting” that warrants a response, the Times journalist said, noting that she’s seen false narratives about her work perpetuated because the paper’s social media policies keep her from commenting or engaging. Compounded with the lack of response from leadership, “you’re really just left with this feeling of being hung out to dry,” she told me. (The Times declined to make an editor available to discuss how the paper handles harassment of its reporters.)

“Even the most open-minded media organizations are still run by men who don’t fundamentally understand the misogynistic nature of these attacks,” said another reporter, among several who asked to remain anonymous due to fear of worsened harassment, as well as potential punishment by their employer for speaking out. “I really feel like there’s a space here for some male allies to step up and call this what it is,” the Times reporter told me, pointing to instances where there were multiple bylines on a story, and the only writer who got harassed or bullied online was the woman. This has especially been the case for women of color. Male and female reporters have also received asymmetrical responses after writing similar stories: Such was the case recently for Apoorva Mandavilli, a health and science reporter for the Times, who has spoken publicly about the experience.

Another reason media organizations may still be struggling with how to deal with this abuse is their failure to respond to the digital moment: So-called trolls no longer live only in the comment section at the bottom of an article or in hate mail. The nature of online abuse has evolved along with online media itself. “No media organization right now is prepared for this. Zero,” one reporter told me. “When you’re getting thousands of tweets and messages, and you’re being falsely attacked on TV and in articles, it’s imperative that you respond.” 
And the problem is people don't want to respond, because journalists are taught never to be the story themselves, and here their female colleagues getting harassed and threatened daily is definitely the story. 

We need a better press model, and four years of Trump have taught everyone that only sensationalism matters, and now it's physically harming people.

We have to do better.

It's About Suppression, Con't

Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp signed the state's voter suppression omnibus package into law yesterday, and the symbolism of the signing ceremony is a perfect description of what the bill is designed to do.

Georgia state troopers arrested state Rep. Park Cannon on Thursday as she knocked on Gov. Brian Kemp’s door, interrupting his livestreamed announcement that he had signed an elections bill into law.

The officers forcibly removed Cannon, a Democrat from Atlanta, dragging her through the Capitol and pushing her into a police car. She was charged with obstruction of law enforcement and disrupting General Assembly sessions, according to the Georgia State Patrol and released on bond late Thursday.

Cannon was with several other protesters when she knocked on Kemp’s office door, saying the public should be allowed to witness the announcement of the bill signing. The sweeping legislation requires ID for absentee ballots, limits drop boxes and changes early voting hours.

Tamara Stevens, an activist who was with Cannon, said she wasn’t being disrespectful or causing a disturbance.

“She knew he was signing a bill that would affect all Georgians — why would he hide behind closed doors? This isn’t a monarchy,” Stevens said. “You have a women of color fighting for the rights of Georgians and they arrested her for knocking on the door because she wanted to witness our governor sign the bill.”

Cannon was charged with the two counts taken to the Fulton County Jail after she refused repeated warnings to stop knocking on Kemp’s office door, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

“She was advised that she was disturbing what was going on inside and if she did not stop, she would be placed under arrest,” said GSP spokesman Lt. W. Mark Riley. “Rep. Cannon refused to stop knocking on the door.”

Court documents show she was charged with “knowingly and intentionally” knocking on the governor’s door during a bill signing and stomping on Officer L.T. Langford’s foot three times “during the apprehension and as she was being escorted out of the property.”

“The accused continued kicking on LT Langford with her heels,” according to the arrest warrant.
A black woman and state lawmaker was disappeared so quickly away from Kemp and all the white men at his ceremony that it almost created a sonic boom.
The only thing that vanished faster yesterday were the voting rights of Georgia's Black population. As I said on Twitter yesterday:

Don't expect the Supreme Court to fix this either. The time for ending the filibuster and setting national voting access laws is now.
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