Derek Handley on identifying housing discrimination
UW-Milwaukee English professor Derek Handley explains how understanding historical patterns of racist housing discrimination can help spotlight contemporary practices that have similar impacts.
By Nathan Denzin | Here & Now
October 5, 2023
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One of the things I tell my students is that we have to be very careful not to demonize or romanticize, whether certain groups of people or individuals. I think what I want folks to learn is that things were done wrong in the past. There was discrimination, there was racism, right here in Wisconsin, right here in Milwaukee County. And we gotta make sure these things don't happen again. So I don't want anybody to feel bad about what happened in the past, but I want them to feel empowered and inspired moving forward to be an agent of change. An agent to make difference. So when they see or perhaps observe something similar that they'll stand up and say, this is not right. We have to change that. And we have to think about that. Because some of these issues, unfortunately, are not, are still present. When you think about African Americans who are perhaps trying to sell their homes, and they have to, you know, take their pictures down off the walls, and have their white friends stand in the house so it can be appraised at a higher rate. That hearkens right back to Zeddie Hyler having to have his white friend buy the property and then sell it back to Hyler. So these are conversations, these are situations perhaps still on a smaller scale, but they're still happening. So for those who are interacting with this project, be a changemaker.
Editor’s note: If you have watched this or any other Wisconsin in Black & White report, please share your feed back in a survey at pbswisconsin.org/wibw-survey. Thank you.