Blockbusting is not a video game


During the past several years the Black Lives Matter movement has been taken more seriously.  Some, genuinely have made an effort to understand its preamble.  It has evolved into social consciousness not seen in decades.  One issue which has been highlighted from the movement is housing discrimination and how it was strategically used to keep non-whites from reaching their potential to secure home ownership.

Ever since African-Americans were emancipated from slavery strategies, initiatives and even public policy has been used to thwart their progress.  Jim Crow was the moniker used to define that period.  Even though it has been outlawed, to this day its remnants are still part of our environment.  Racial Covenants was the legal process used to keep property from being sold to non-whites.  Legislation from the civil rights era outlawed the practice, however even though non-whites or specifically African-Americans were eventually able to purchase property, a slew of other schemes were developed with the goal to create a negative impact.

One of those schemes was called “Blockbusting.”  In simple terms it literally means to tear up the block or neighborhood.  It was accomplished by telling white homeowners in urban areas to sell their properties to the blacks who were seeking improved housing.  The whites were motivated to sell not from some benevolent position of integrating the neighborhood.  The opposite; they were motivated to act so they could secure whatever favorable price they could achieve which allowed them to move out.


NPR just released an outstanding and more comprehensive article on this topic and others dealing with discrimination in home ownership.

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