The March Book Club selection is Whiteness in Plain View: A History of Racial Exclusion in Minnesota by Chad Montrie. This book is published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press, who describes the book thus:
Whiteness in Plain View examines the ways White residents across Minnesota acted to intimidate, control, remove, and keep out African Americans over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Their methods ranged from anonymous threats, vandalism, and mob violence to restrictive housing covenants, realtor deceit, and mortgage discrimination, and they were aided by local, state, and federal government agencies as well as openly complicit public officials. What they did was not an anomaly or aberration, in some particular place or passing moment, but rather common and continuous. Chapter by chapter, the book shows that Minnesota’s overwhelming Whiteness is neither accidental nor incidental, and that racial exclusion’s legacy is very much woven into the state’s contemporary politics, economy, and culture.
Impact on Communities: But redlining is illegal now. How does it affect people today?
Since redlined areas were overtly denied opportunities to develop, it left those neighborhoods and residents falling behind other neighborhoods, where businesses, schools, and housing (including property prices) grew. Even though redlining as a practice has been illegal since the passing of the Fair Housing Act in 1968, the build-up of suppressed growth has made it so communities of color still feel the effects today. According to a study by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, 74 percent of the neighborhoods that were redlined in the 1930s are low-to-moderate income neighborhoods today, and 64 percent are also majority minority neighborhoods.
Redlining curbed the economic development of minority neighborhoods, miring many of these areas in poverty due to a lack of access to loans for business development. After 30-plus years of underinvestment, many nonwhite neighborhoods continue to be seen as risky for investors and developers. From Bankrate.com: Aug 4, 2023
Impact on Health: According to the National Institutes of Health, "Historical redlining is linked to increased risk of diabetes, hypertension, and early mortality due to heart disease with evidence suggesting it impacts health through suppressing economic opportunity and human capital, or the knowledge, skills, and value one contributes to society. " Read the full article at this link.
Impact on Temperature: Inside Climate News reports that a study of 108 historically redlined cities nationwide found temperature differences between redlined neighborhoods and more affluent neighborhoods in 94 percent of them, and that the differences were consistent with racial and economic makeup. The greatest differences were in the Southeast and West, while the Midwest displayed the least.
A growing volume of evidence suggests the temperature differences are no coincidence. Nationwide the hottest urban areas tend to be the neighborhoods with low-income communities and communities of color. In nearly every instance, researchers can trace a link to a nearly century-old federal program aimed at helping homeowners during the Great Depression that was turned against those who needed it most, because of a practice known as redlining.
This article is a short read and quite powerful. Click here.
Impact on educational outcomes: The National Low Income Housing Association, "The Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University recently released a new working paper exploring the impact of historical redlining policies on educational outcomes, including school district funding, school diversity, and student performance. The findings demonstrate that districts and schools currently located in formerly redlined neighborhoods have significantly less per-pupil revenues, larger shares of Black and non-white student bodies, less diverse student populations, and lower average test scores compared with those located in neighborhoods that were not redlined.“While much of the literature today shows redlining’s negative effects on outcomes such as housing prices, neighborhood segregation, and crime, very few studies, if any, look at the intergenerational relationship between redlining and present-day educational outcomes,” write the authors. “These findings suggest that education policymakers need to consider the historical implications of redlining and past neighborhood inequality on neighborhoods today when designing modern interventions focused on improving life outcomes of students of color.” Read the study’s findings here."
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