Jonathan Geeting

Recent Articles

Segregation Forever?

(Flickr/agentvladimir)
Nikole Hannah-Jones has written an important article for ProPublica about how the Fair Housing Act has failed to reduce racial segregation in America's housing market since its passage in 1968—or more accurately, how the FHA has been failed by a bipartisan political consensus against activist integration polic y from the federal level. Nikole's piece focuses on the betrayal of the spirit of the law at federal level, but it's also worth remembering what kinds of policies and behaviors the federal law was trying to combat at the local and state level. Then as now, the primary tool of segregationists is land use policy. Back in the heyday of de jure segregation, people used to pass cartoonishly racist zoning laws. Stuff like: Cities and towns began adopting zoning codes that designated neighborhoods as all-white and all-black. When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down those laws as unconstitutional, real estate agents wrote "codes of ethics" that included bans on selling homes to African...