This American Life House Rules Grace barbara

Introduction: Discrimination in the Housing Market

In the United States, segregation has been illegal since 1954, and due to the Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Act, discrimination in the housing market has been illegal since 1968. Although, these policies have been enacted, discrimination has managed to work itself into our communities even though it is not explicit. Minorities struggle with discrimination within the workplace, when searching for homes, and when completing everyday activities like shopping, eating, and more.

Racial Covenants, Blockbusting, Redlining, and more

Historically, discrimination within the housing market has always been prevalent. After segregation was deemed illegal, blockbusting, the practice of persuading owners to sell property cheaply due to the fear of individuals from another race or class moving into the neighborhood, took over, and is still prevalent to this day. Some people "don't feel safe" where they live, and that is mostly due to their view of society and the stereotypes pinned on minorities. To eliminate blockbusting, two different practices were implemented.

The first being a practice entitled: racial covenants, home and apartment owners were particular about who they sold their property to, and they mainly sold to white individuals.

The second practice was redlining, the act of refusing a loan (or insurance) to someone because they live in an area deemed to be a poor financial risk, which limited individuals on which properties they could afford and which pushed them out of "high-class white neighborhoods."

The impact of housing discrimination is a lack of diversity and a white takeover and a force of Blacks, Latinos, and all minorities to be pushed into a different place like they’re not “good enough” for housing communities that whites live in.

Rationale of Housing Discrimination

Unfortunately, not everyone is viewed in the same light by society, and many people are ostracized and seen as pariahs due to their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and more. This sad truth affects many people in our communities, and is most of the time hidden but still implemented. For example, property owners may be looking to keep a neighborhood or apartment complex majority “white” due to the stereotypes of the white (wo)man: educated, working, family centric, civil (doesn’t cause problems), whereas the stereotypes pinned on minorities are that of: criminal, uneducated, illegal, unstable job, causes problems in communities. Denying an individual a place to live due to their physical appearance, race, beliefs, or other is not okay.

How the fair hosing act works

The main goal is to eliminate housing discrimination, promote economic opportunity, and achieve diverse, inclusive communities by leading the nation in the enforcement, administration, development, and public understanding of these policies.

How housing discrimination is handled

Companies have been formed to raise awareness and eliminate housing discrimination by hosting case studies and potentially formulating lawsuits against the building manager and the building itself. A white male or female and their minority counterpart are sent to a building to inquire about apartment/housing openings to test and see if there is any differentiation between the answer provided from the building management to the white individual compared to the answer provided to the minority individual. If there is a difference in answers, then the building could be subject to a lawsuit on behalf of breaking the fair housing and equal opportunity law.

How where you live affects you

Where you live affects who are you are, what you do, and more. A recent study was completed by Shigehiro Oishi and his colleagues at the University of Virginia tested this and "the researchers found that residents of mountainous states like Washington, Idaho, and Montana showed higher tendencies to introversion than states with flatter terrain like Iowa, Ohio, and Michigan" (Psychology Today). More specific than that, what kind of building, how you're treated in this space, and those who live around you affect you as well.

Those who are not made welcome in their community due to their race, religion, sexual orientation, or something else are obviously psychologically affected, and it is even worse to be evicted due to their race.

Joseph Ngangum

In 2003 after a change in management at an apartment building in Takoma Park, Maryland, Joseph Ngangum and all of the residents (all of which being Black) were evicted without reason other than the fact that they would be "large renovations in the building" and an "increase in rent." Even though Joseph and many of the residents petitioned this and offered to pay the higher rent, the "late renovations" were completed in less than a week and their apartments were sold to all white individuals.

"Joseph's experience made him feel that Black people do not have the same right to a home as Whites. Appalled by the behavior of the building owner, Joseph filed a complaint to halt the owner's illegal practices, and filed a lawsuit against him" (The Human Faces of Housing Discrimination;

Personal Reflection on the Topic

Where I live has affected my life in more ways than one. Even though I live in a small town (Yardley, Pennsylvania), it has shaped me as an individual. I have met people that I have formulated lifelong friendships with, and I have truly connected with my neighbors. Unfortunately I feel that (in this day and age) much of our community doesn’t even know their neighbors, and it’s sad. My neighbors have sparked friendships, babysitting, and safe-havens for me, and without where I live I feel that my personality would be much different than it is now if I did not have the social and educational experiences that I have had within my neighborhood. That being said, housing discrimination takes away from the enjoyment of loving where you live and wanting to live somewhere. Nobody has the right to decide where you can or cannot live.

The underlying topic at hand is that our community is not accepting of all people no matter their appearance, sexual orientation, or beliefs.

Feel free to get in contact with any questions or comments by emailing:



Fair Housing And Equal Opportunity. Web. 17 Jan 2017

Houses in NYC. Digital Image. 17 Jan 2017.

Environmental Racism - A Haiku Deck by Michele Pinkham. Web. 17 Jan 2017.

What is Blockbusting? Digital Image. 17 Jan 2017.

Does Where You Live Make You Who You Are? Web. 17 Jan 2017.

The Human Faces of Housing Discrimination. Web. 17 Jan 2017.

What is white flight? Digital Image. 17 Jan 2017.

WashLaw. Web. 17 Jan 2017.

Created By
Grace Barbara


Fair Housing And Equal Opportunity article Houses in NYC Image Environmental Racism - A Haiku Deck by Michele Pinkham What is Blockbusting? Image Does Where You Live Make You Who You Are? The Human Faces of Housing Discrimination What is white flight? Image WashLaw Image and Article

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