RACE / RACISM
Black Homeowners’ Resilience Against Racism and the First Oral History of Black Twitter
Catch up on the stories of Blackness you might have missed
There’s no overarching theme to this week’s collection of race and racism news. But like every week, it provides examples of Black people persisting and fighting against a world that’s trying to crush them — whether it’s a homeowner trying to preserve a piece of the American dream, Haitian groups exercising self-determination to rebuild after a devastating earthquake, or ordinary folks using social media to set the cultural agenda.
Racism in real estate
The New York Times Real Estate section recently published a trio of stories about the difficulties faced by Black homeowners, and the determination it takes for them to stay in their homes. For example — did you know that deeds for houses across the country still contain (now unenforceable) clauses that prohibit the property from being sold to Black people and other marginalized groups? So-called racial covenants are illegal, but removing them from the house’s paperwork can take money and time that homeowners don’t always have. The Times reports that some states are trying to make it easier to take out the racist language, though.
Another story examines the dilemma faced by some aging Black homeowners in gentrifying neighborhoods: They need to sell, but the people and entities who can pay market prices could be the same ones accelerating the displacement of Black families who have lived there for generations. And some of them make the longtime residents feel like they no longer belong there. 74-year-old Thomas Holley, told the Times that one new White neighbor mistook him for a panhandler: “I noticed a neighbor putting up something out front and I was curious. I went over to strike conversation and before I could finish a sentence, he told me that he didn’t have any money.”
Meanwhile, even Black homebuyers with six-figure incomes and excellent credit are struggling to win bids for houses and apartments in New York neighborhoods that are known for their vibrant expressions of Black culture. And other Black homeowners are fighting to hold on to their properties despite…