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Forty years ago, Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act, requiring banks to lend to qualified borrowers in blighted neighborhoods. Together with the Fair Housing Act passed in 1968, the legislation aimed to eliminate the practice known as redlining. But it is full of loopholes: It doesn’t apply to mortgage brokers or cover internet banking, and it allows banks to claim credit for loaning to white applicants moving into historically black neighborhoods – supposedly lifting up low-income areas, but also enabling gentrification.
In The Color of Law (published by Liveright in May 2017), Richard Rothstein argues with exacting precision and fascinating insight how segregation in America—the incessant kind that continues to dog our major cities and has contributed to so much recent social strife—is the byproduct of explicit government policies at the local, state, and federal levels.