Life and Times of Alex Esguerra — Housing Segregation

Under the Color of Law, the onset de jure segregation, from civil rights to Covid-19

Posted by noreply@blogger.com (Alex Esguerra) on

                     
The Color of Law
     The Color of Law  one of my bestseller favorites book is back in the lime light since it was published in 2017. Written by bestselling author, Richard Rothstein this book One of Publishers Weekly's 10 Best Books of 2017
Longlisted for the National Book Award. This “powerful and disturbing history” exposes how American governments deliberately imposed racial segregation on metropolitan areas nationwide (New York Times Book Review).

In United States law, the term color of law denotes the "mere semblance of legal right", the "pretense or appearance of" right; hence, an action done under color of law adjusts the law to the circumstance, yet said apparently legal action contravenes the law. Wikipedia

Back when this book published Richard Rothstein, a leading authority on housing policy, explodes the myth that America’s cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregation―that is, through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies. Rather, The Color of Law incontrovertibly makes clear that it was de jure segregation―the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments―that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day. 

2017 also saw some of the continuance of massive shootings and White Supremacist propaganda's everywhere. As to how this movement got more motivated is another topic for discussion. On the other side of this was the great wall or immigration's racial divide.

The last 3 months in hiatus of the Corona virus Covid-19 pandemic, what was common was the health disparities on getting the deadly virus with the African Americans, Latino's minorities who are low income, sufferers of immune compromised due to health issues, and no health insurance. In addition, most of the essential low paid jobs exposed daily to this virus which does not have cure as of today are done by these minority groups. Not to forget this Wuhan virus was initially called "Chinese Virus" which motivated the racial tension towards Chinese and Asian Americans. Wearing a mask when you cannot social distance to prevent contamination of the no cure virus is even mock.

George Floyd
A few days ago, out of all the chaos, 
in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a forty-six-year-old black man named George Floyd died in a way that highlighted the implications that calls such as the one Amy Cooper placed can have; George Floyd is who Christian Cooper might have been. (The police made no arrests and filed no summons in Central Park. Amy Cooper has apologized for her actions; she was also fired from her job.) Police responding to a call from a shopkeeper, about someone trying to pass a potentially counterfeit bill, arrested Floyd. Surveillance video shows a compliant man being led away in handcuffs. But cellphone video later shows a white police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for seven minutes, despite protests from onlookers that his life is in jeopardy.

In 2015, police responding to calls of a dispute between a man and a woman in north Minneapolis fatally shot a twenty-four-year-old African-American man named Jamar Clark. Police and paramedics on the scene claimed that Clark had resisted arrest and had attempted to grab an officer’s gun; bystanders claimed that he was handcuffed and on the ground when the shot was fired. Clark’s death was followed by more than two weeks of demonstrations outside the Fourth Police Precinct in Minneapolis, led by Black Lives Matter; an attempt to disrupt holiday shopping at the Mall of America, in protest; and cascading contempt from black residents that, two years later, factored into Mayor Betsy Hodges losing her reëlection bid. In light of that history, Frey has been unequivocal about police culpability in Floyd’s death. “Being black in America should not be a death sentence,” he said on Tuesday.

One of the reviews of this book, "“Rothstein’s work should make everyone, all across the political spectrum, reconsider what it is we allow those in power to do in the name of 'social harmony' and 'progress' with more skepticism…The Color of Law shows what happens when Americans lose their natural rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, or in the case of African-Americans, when there are those still waiting to receive them in full.”
Carl Paulus, American Conservative"


These last few years in America reminds me of the past histories in third world developing countries with poverty, corruption, authoritarian rule and economic divide of the rich and poor. Can't imagine it's almost the 22nd century, that America the greatest, wealthiest most powerful country, has the most deaths in this virus now passing 100,000, there's no general testing policies, no vaccines, 40 million unemployed

We have not had time to grief for the loss souls in Covid-19 and now we have George Floyd. It truly hurts to think about these disparities.  The best most important thing to remember is in-spite of all these events we have to remain calm, we have to think about the future and get this democracy back.

Read more →


A Review on The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein

Posted by Alexander Esguerra on

The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein is a great read bestseller. Living between the Pacific Northwest and San Francisco, I can truly relate when the book started with the state of residential racial segregation in San Francisco, CA.
A good example is that San Francisco nowadays has outlived New York and any major metropolitan city as the highest cost of living as well as one of the highest in rent and home purchase. Thus a good example is the Ellis Act. 
The “Ellis Act” is a state law which says that landlords have the unconditional right to evict tenants to “go out of business.” For an Ellis eviction, the landlord must remove all of the units in the building from the rental market, i.e., the landlord must evict all the tenants and cannot single out one tenant (for example, with low rent) and/or remove just one unit out of several from the rental market In the Color of Law as mentioned in the book, it is concerned with consistent government policy that was employed in the mid-twentieth century to enforce residential racial segregation. Hence that was a time that African Americans and Whites cannot live in the same building. Thus San Francisco for example is where the Rev. Cecil Williams founded the Glide Memorial United Methodist Church coinciding with the  the Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks  era and revolution. 
 
From zoning ordinances to public housing as discussed in the book, there's still a huge segregation and thus the disconnect. The book has several number of pages solely on Frequently Asked Questions. From author, Ta-Nehisi Coates says he would pay reparations to African Americans to the author's notes citing his stint with the Economic Policy Institute in developing The Color of Law. This book is indeed a great read on the topic and from the last I've heard, the publisher is now printing additional copies due to demand.
 
I would end he topic again in an affordable housing program called Below Market Rate, In this program developers that build skyscrapers and multi development condominiums for example are required to dedicate and unit or building which can be sold a Below Market Rates. This is a great program to be able to purchase a property if your in the low to medium income bracket and do not have much cash to put in towards the purchase. The sad reality is that the lenders or banks in this program themselves sometimes get listed as accredited but when to contact them they will state they are not with the program. Worst scenario is that even with such programs, there's still no way to raise a 10-15% downpayment and closing cost just to get a home mortgage.
 
When you get to finally read this book, you'll better understand what the inequalities are specifically on housing.

Read more →