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As we look back at the history of the United States, one of our worst legacies is our poor treatment of minorities. In our country's earliest years we were importing and selling blacks into slavery, an issue that tore our country in two. Yet through trying and often tragic efforts, minority leaders have elevated the legal status of blacks. With the passing of the Civil Rights Act early this century, the 1968 signing of the Fair Housing Act, and the recent enactment of Affirmative Action, it seemed as if African Americans would now have the same opportunities as white Americans. However, this is clearly not the case. Through subverted and underhanded tactics, many white Americans continue to limit the opportunities of minorities, and because of the nature of these tactics, the individual oppressed minorities are usually unaware of their existence. The problem lies in the racism that is deeply rooted in the foundation of this country, whose capitalist origins started in large slave owning plantations. As a result, a general attitude of minority inferiority has permeated our culture. Because of these attitudes, many white Americans in a position of authority segregate minorities and subsequently segregate themselves, altogether eliminating contact between the two groups despite their relative proximity to one another. These segregated areas are the poverty stricken inner cities inhabited by minorities, and the wealthy suburbs, inhabited by whites. Because of the lack of interaction between the two groups, white American attitudes toward minorities have changed from one of inferiority, to one of fear and misunderstanding. These attitudes take the form of what is now know as housing discrimination. Housing discrimination refers to the illegal methods used by those in the real estate business to segregate minorities into certain living areas. Housing discrimination is increasingly being seen as a problem and a major hindrance to the advancement of minorities in our country. Recently, many groups have been organized and are currently taking action to prevent housing discrimination with the ultimate goal of creating an integrated society.
On the surface, housing discrimination simply segregates minorities into specific living areas, however its implications reach far beyond the location of an individual's house. Where a family lives determines what schools their children will attend as well as the quality of their education. Since minority areas are necessarily those with low income and sometimes terrible poverty, the education systems in these areas are well below par. In addition, access to the job market is astoundingly limited and almost non-existent. As a result, parents who are forced to live in these areas are clearly at an economic disadvantage. Not only are parents limited in the jobs they can find to support their children, but if their children are lucky enough to make it though the education system, their access to the job market it even further limited. In addition, minority families who are segregated into these neighborhoods are forced to raise their children in an environment of crime and violence. When we realize all this, the devastating impact of housing discrimination becomes clear.
A major tactic used to segregate minorities in know a "steering." Steering involves the real estate agent showing a minority customer only those houses located in areas inhabited by minorities. Steering also occurs when real estate agents deter white individuals from living in area that are inhabited by many or a majority of minorities. Another tactic to keep minorities out of white living areas involves real estate agency boycotting. Essentially, rich, white suburb communities boycott real estate agencies that sell houses to minorities in their area. Since the real estates agents are trying to make money they cannot afford to lose the business of wealthy suburb residents, so they make an effort to steer minorities away from houses for sale in that area. Clearly the latter is a more overt and direct example of racism and deliberate segregation, but the concept of steering is a little more sneaky and difficult to pinpoint. Certainly, there exist real estate agents who are not racist, but simply show houses in minority areas to minorit
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Terminology mentioned in this research paper
real estate agents, real estate business,
Names mentioned in this research paper
Bill Lee, Douglas S., Nancy A.,
Organizations included in this term paper
Fair Housing Council of Greater Washington, Housing and Urban Development, HUD, Justice Department, Congress, U.S Department of Justice, Department of Justices, Department of Justice,
Locations referenced in this research paper
the largest jurisdiction, United States, Harvard University Press, Montgomery County, London,
Keywords included in this research paper
housing discrimination, minorities, fair housing, Fair Housing Act, real estate, real estate agents, lending discrimination, Housing Council, white american, customer, housing and urban development, real estate agency, African Americans, racism, civil rights, individual, job market, minority group, society, Bill Lann Lee, steering, Harvard University Press, this century, enforcement, racial, poverty stricken, Affirmative Action, education, justice system, inner cities, living conditions, low income, compensatory damages, legal status, United States, inferiority, integrate, whites, American Apartheid, Maryland, mission statement, cultural identity, playing fields, financial capability, a dream, credit history, legal action, policy analysis, awareness, hopefully,