Nonprofit Quarterly: A plan to reverse “economic apartheid” in the US

Nonprofit Quarterly, May 29, 2019: A plan to reverse “economic apartheid” in the US

Nearly 40 million Americans live in poverty, and it’s harder than ever to move into the middle class. And the racial dimensions to this growing divide were largely created by design.

“It’s not a gap that just happened by accident,” Dedrick Asante-Muhammad tells us. “It was an intentional policy-driven situation that maintains the racial divides we have in this country.”

Asante-Muhammad is a leader with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a nonprofit challenging discriminatory practices in banking, housing, and business—sectors which he says have historically upheld policies that caused people of color to fall behind economically. After World War II, while whites benefitted from government policies that helped them enter the middle class, people of color were largely locked out.

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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