From Jacobin Mag's review of the book—curious what you all think:
"Rothstein is right to attack the systematic racism that has plagued this country and to lay bare the way our cities have been racially segregated — and continue to be to this day...to the extent that it helps educate the young, and especially white Americans, about certain harsh realities, The Color of Law serves a good purpose. This country’s sorry record on race needs to be aired as an essential part of our urban history.
On the other hand, Rothstein is wrong in ways that mislead readers about the causes and course of racial segregation. His errors of theory and fact seriously undermine the value of the book as a work of historiography and are a disservice to progressive politics today. Indeed, Rothstein ends up bolstering conservative positions on several fronts, starting with the idea that racism is not a structural element of US civil society and that government is the problem not the solution."
The Federal Housing Administration and Veterans Administration not only refused to insure mortgages for African Americans in designated white neighborhoods like Ladera; they also would not insure mortgages for whites in a neighborhood where African Americans were present. So once East Palo Alto was integrated, whites wanting to move into the area could no longer obtain government-insured mortgages.
State-regulated insurance companies...also declared that their policy was not to issue mortgages to whites in integrated neighborhoods...The Bank of America and other leading California banks had similar policies, also with the consent of federal banking regulators.
Until the last quarter of the twentieth century, racially explicit policies of federal, state, and local governments defined where whites and African Americans should live. Today’s residential segregation in the North, South, Midwest, and West is not until the last quarter of the twentieth century, racially explicit policies of federal, state, and local governments defined where whites and African Americans should live.
Today’s residential segregation in the North, South, Midwest, and West is not the unintended consequence of individual choices and of otherwise well-meaning law or regulation but of unhidden public policy that explicitly segregated every metropolitan area in the United States. The policy was so systematic and forceful that its effects endure to the present time. Without our government’s purposeful imposition of racial segregation, the other causes—private prejudice, white flight, real estate steering, bank redlining, income differences, and self-segregation—still would have existed but with far less opportunity for expression.
When people think of segregation, they most often think of factors like private prejudice, white flight, real estate steering, bank redlining, income differences, and self-segregation — I'm interested to read more about the *government's* explicit policy contributions to segregation in this book.