This is what institutional racism looks like.
Despite what you may hear from the Right-wing media, institutional racism is still a very real problem in the United States. And, it creates a vicious cycle that keeps minority families from rising out of poverty.
According to a recent study from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, the racial makeup of neighborhoods in Baltimore is “the most significant predictor of whether a [mortgage] loan gets made.”
After widespread unrest following the death of Freddie Gray earlier this year, researchers began to look at causes of persistent, racial wealth disparities. They discovered that black families have a far more difficult time getting home loans in Baltimore, and banks are rejecting loans more often in black neighborhoods.
Researchers looked at government mortgage data and found that banks have issued twice as many loans to white people in Baltimore as they do to African Americans – regardless of income.
And, the President of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, John Taylor, explained, “If lenders are not making loans in a community, the opportunities for people to work their way out of poverty is pretty slim.”
Without loans, communities miss out on investment and jobs, and without mortgages, black families are denied the opportunity to build generational wealth. That's why African American families continue to hold dramatically less wealth than white families, and that's why unemployment rates in cities like Baltimore continue to linger far above the national average.
This type of institutional racism exacerbates poverty, crime, and many other serious issues that plague the black community. And, those issues lead to more negative stereotypes, more police violence, and more of our fellow Americans feeling shut out of the system.
Racial disparities in loans and mortgages is extremely difficult to prove, but this research shows that red lining is still happening in this day and age. Now, the only thing left to do is make sure that this institutional racism comes to an end.