On 11 May 2017, I attended the sold-out event sponsored by the popular bookseller, Politics and Prose featuring the esteemed researcher and author Richard Rothstein, whose latest book, “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America,” was the subject of a lively discussion concerning the housing industry in the United States. The event was facilitated by well-known journalist and author of “Between The World And Me” Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Mr. Rothstein launched the conversation by stating the government has an obligation to remedy the situation of racial segregation in the housing sector, which is a result of policies and programs enacted at the local, state, and federal levels. After an overview of federal actions advanced by The Harding Administration via exclusionary ordinances, the explicitly racist New Deal programs of the Roosevelt Administration, and the massive expansion of public housing arising from the Fair Deal legislation of the Truman Administration, Mr. Rothstein concluded the dialogue by proposing a national conversation which would feature an accurate historical narrative and the possibility of constitutional remedies.
Following a stimulating question and answer session, the evening was concluded with the acknowledgement that long-term vision is vital to achieve the goals of challenging the myth of fairness and ensuring equality.