Kurt Paulsen on long-term impacts of racist housing policies
UW-Madison urban planning professor Kurt Paulsen explains how government policy and business practices that discriminated by race continue to affect homeownership rates of Black families in Wisconsin.
By Nathan Denzin | Here & Now
October 12, 2023
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So for 70 years in American cities, we have disinvested and extracted wealth from Black neighborhoods, and we've protected white home ownership neighborhoods with zoning and federal subsidies and mortgage insurance. And over 70 years, you continue to see those patterns in the American city, right? That you have Black neighborhoods and white neighborhoods. Because the policies we adopted in the 30s set in motion a process that kind of locks itself into place in the American city. Both physically with disinvestment, with neighborhood boundaries, with highways, but also legally in terms of the ability of zoning and mortgage insurance to underwrite suburban development, and to exclude redevelopment in urban neighborhoods. And the result is that even though we've outlawed discrimination with the Fair Housing Act, it's still the case that in the state of Wisconsin, the Black home ownership rate is only 25%. Nationwide, the Black home ownership rate is no better today than it was in 1968. All right, and so we've removed some of the procedural barriers of discrimination, but we have not removed the deep structural inequalities and segregation that's written into the landscape. And so that means that in Wisconsin, even today, 50 years after the Fair Housing Act, we have one of the worst Black home ownership rates of any state. And on most measures of economic and social wellbeing, African Americans in Wisconsin experience some of the worst outcomes anywhere in the nation.
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.