The end of decades of discrimination? Time — and elections — will tell.
The recently announced plans by U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland (once denied a SCOTUS robe), to address “modern day redlining”, is a major news story that will fly under most folks radars. Watch this news clip, featuring AG Merrill Garland & Assistant AG Kristen Clarke.
It’s important because this work is led by people appointed by President Biden’s term. Since his inauguration, he has been busy, in spite of a pandemic, a multitude of global crises and hyper-lie based opposition. He:
- undid the lunacy of the last administration’s 1776 Executive Order (signed on Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal holiday, 2021)
- On Inauguration Day: Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government
Soon after, he did much more:
- Establishment of the White House Office of Faith- Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
- Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation
- White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Black Americans
- White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Native Americans and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities
- Advancing Equity, Justice, and Opportunity for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders
- Reforming Our Incarceration System To Eliminate the Use of Privately Operated Criminal Detention Facilities
This year, FEMA changed its rules to help people claim & hold their properties, when they might not have had full documentation (called heir’s property). Properties — often Black-owned and held for generations — have been stolen following natural disasters. Many owners have been unable to secure federal & other funds because they didn’t have the “right paperwork”. The Center for Heir’s Property has been fighting for families for years. The administration has moved to fix it.
And much, much more. This is the path towards making America become what it has promised.
These orders shouldn’t be taken lightly, but they aren’t the law of the land, either. They have a purpose, but lack permanency. They can all be undone with the stroke of a new president’s pen and through state actions conjured up by folks happy to take us backwards.
What AG Garland & the DOJ is working to dismantle are laws that legislators, landlords, developers and districts created or permitted. Elected officials created bills. Developers built spaces. Bankers wrote (or denied) checks. Cities & states & lawyers & Americans didn’t stand up, together, to hold them all accountable for the years of unequal access to America.
Most Americans don’t know the history rooted in housing discrimination. Most folks would be shocked to learn that the houses we live in have a foundation built with inequity. Housing access discrimination & residential segregation have created generations of communities, school districts & households that have been inequitable. Some have falsely suggested that bootstrap-pulling alone made the American dream possible . It never has.
In the nation’s capital, for example, “The typical white household in D.C. has a net worth of $284,000, compared with $3,500 for Black households.” (from a 2016 report by The Urban Institute). That has taken generations to occur. No community should be so unequal, but American laws and practices made it possible; including redlining; unevenly applied criminal laws (heavy-handed crack v. powder cocaine; criminalizing the Black addicted); subtle job & education discrimination. American stuff.
Yes, repairs are being made, like a recently passed “baby bonds” law in DC, but years of intentional damage & neglect will require years of non-stop repair and an end to allowing new leadership to break things all over again. But, this policy will take 18 more years to have its story told. Think of what the already exorbitant property values & cost of living will be by then. And, it could be undone by a future city council or mayor. Much more is needed — and it’s needed now.
The searing images of American poverty are forgotten because legislators & educators have helped to erase them, choose to regulate the telling and reject systemic restorative measures. The millions of new people in food lines, during Covid19's initial peaks, should have awakened us all about inequities. How soon we forget.
History will repeat when we don’t tell it & people in power work to abolish the facts. Those facts are told in critical race theory work.
So, now our vote to elect people who could begin to fix decades of discriminatory practices — created by past elected officials — is being threatened by the people who work for us. The seeds of ignoring history that doesn’t feel good have blossomed into the “anti-CRT” movement — which, in fact, is an anti-American history movement. Some folk just want to perpetuate America’s Truman Show — when the world knows better.
Professor Brittany Cooper sums up Ms. Rice’s flawed analysis pretty well, and the summary explains the problem. Worse, the disinformation specialists will use Condoleezza Rice’s comments to strengthen their case to refute America’s myriad criminally racist truths. People, who took oaths to defend this nation, encourage us to just “get over” January 6th and any historic assaults against its people, insult common sense. Our soldiers should never get over attacks against us; nor should the citizenry.
The irony of the death of (former) Republican & first Black Secretary of State, Colin Powell & the death of logic from the second Black Secretary — in the same month — is jarring. Of all people, Ms. Rice knows the pain brought on by discrimination. Her personal accomplishments don’t erase injustices — past or present. The people Ms. Rice align with are attempting to erase history & truths they don’t like. Their “methodology” of censoring stories that make whites “feel bad” could justify burying the “Bombingham” domestic terrot & much of America’s imperfect past. Those same voices want us to not teach kids the story of Ruby Bridges, who needed security with her elementary school, because of American anti-Black racism. Rice’s team included people who have called the Holocaust & Sandy Hook hoaxes. But, in an era where a governor seeks to punish local jurisdictions for protecting residents against a pandemic, nothing is off limits to them — especially partisan driven differences. The truth is not in them. No elected, appointed or educated being should think that is OK.
The old folk used to say, “Tell the truth & shame the devil.” We better start teaching those truths before they become outlawed.
Truth should never be a partisan debate. America’s last AG focused on re-writing laws for one person. AG Garland is working to re-write laws to create the more perfect union that was promised. But, there are several years of restoration that needs to be done to fix the years of discrimination, which was supported by four years of a president who was given authority to undo any past victories (choice; voting; criminal justice; truth; healthcare).
Federal, state & local leadership can push us forward or pull us back. It’s up to us to vote for the direction we want. Fair laws, sound leadership and liberty and justice for all shouldn’t be subject to partisan-driven interpretation. Our history has given us clear paths for good and evil. Accurate histories have shown us the dangers of unfair laws and unsound people.
Freedom comes when we protect voting our voting rights. Democracies will DEFEND its practice. Unless they embrace hipocrisy, NO true defender of democracy would work to dismantle voting rights.
Truth comes when we collectively declare that past racial & religious atrocities cannot be repeated today or tomorrow. Hate must cease in America & the world.
These self-evident truths will help make us all free.