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Thursday, August 14, 2014

How Far We've . . . Not Come

Posted by on Thu, Aug 14, 2014 at 8:38 AM

Besides the Ferguson Missouri replay of Bull Connor v. MLK, we also have a reminder another legacy of American racism in the Chicago area today.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has brought suit against an Orland Park homeowners' association. The group had allowed owners to rent their units, but then one showed his to African-American or mixed-race potential renters. He got a phone call with the usual racist epithets, and the Association promptly changed its rules. Owners now could not rent to anyone. Just to be safe.

Money quote:

In May of that year, the property owner showed the unit to two sisters who are black and, separately, a multiracial woman, her African-American husband and her multiracial daughter, the lawsuit says.

The suit alleges that a neighbor of the property owner and a member of the homeowners association called the property owner that same day and told him, “I hope you are not doing what we think you are doing because we do not want to live next to (racial slur).”

A few days later, the lawsuit alleges, the property owner received a letter from the homeowners association telling members that a vote was necessary to determine the “amount of control the members have in protecting their privacy.” Members were given the option to vote in favor of allowing renters only if they were limited to families, defined as two parents and their children, and excluded families with foster children.

Note the coded way of excluding African-Americans without using racial categories.

The suburb in question is one of the White Flight Suburbs that sprang up overnight out of cornfields in the aftermath of the end of legal segregation. As I contemplate my city without these people, I can only say: good riddance.


Comments (4) RSS

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Urgutha Forka 1
I may be mistaken (I often am) but weren't HOA's originally started with the explicit reason of pooling resources for insurance and such, but with the implicit reason of making sure that racist homeowners can keep out races they're terrified of?
Posted by Urgutha Forka on August 14, 2014 at 9:01 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 2
Of course they can't use racial language. That's illegal. But it makes me wonder if the realtors selling those houses conspire to sell only to white people, in coordination with homeowners? There ought to be an investigation.

@ 1, you may be right. I'm sure you are at least partially correct. Covenants used to explicitly exclude pretty much anyone who wasn't a WASP.
Posted by Matt from Denver on August 14, 2014 at 9:09 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 3
I was a child there when white flight started. It was all about fear. But mostly about fear their property values would decline. Which is exactly what happened when they started scrambling to get out. I was also in the white burbs when MLK was murdered. People talked about getting on their roofs with shotguns. All about fear.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on August 14, 2014 at 9:25 AM · Report this
Fred Casely 4
In the late '90s I bought a house built in 1949 in a suburb east of Oakland. The covenant had a paragraph that had been blacked out. My agent told me what it had contained, saying, "Yeah, this is where a lot of people moved after Berkeley integrated its public schools."
Posted by Fred Casely on August 14, 2014 at 11:33 AM · Report this

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