Case for Equity
The American tradition of land giveaways was enshrined in law for decades and served to create wealth and opportunities for economic mobility for generations of mostly white American citizens and European immigrants. People of color were largely prevented from benefiting from these policies. The detrimental effect of this exclusion was compounded by decades of government-sanctioned discrimination by housing lenders. Although redlining (the practice of systematically denying home loans in communities of color) was outlawed with the passage of The Fair Housing Act of 1968, there have been several recent lawsuits wherein banks were found to have engaged in the same discriminatory practice (Housing and Urban Development 2015 and Silver-Greenberg & Corkery 2015). This practice, along with the lack of access by people of color to the nation’s decades-long practice of land giveaways, has created a huge barrier to wealth creation, well-being, and upward mobility. The impact of these practices compounded from generation to generation and created communities that have been systematically locked out of investment and economic development. Correcting this ongoing policy failure would lead to a massive generation of wealth through homeownership, home equity creation, and neighborhood stabilization.