Orlando, FL (November 13, 2022) – Yesterday, Richard Rothstein, best-selling author and Distinguished Fellow at the Economic Policy Institute, was joined by Bryan Greene, Vice President of Policy Advocacy for the National Association of Realtors®, to discuss the past, present and future of equity in housing.
Richard Rothstein is the author of The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America, which spent 50 weeks on the New York Times best seller list. In his book, he argued that our segregated communities–and today's racial homeownership and wealth gaps–are the result of explicitly discriminatory government policies at the local, state, and federal levels. The powerful public reaction to The Color of Law inspired Rothstein's current work, a guidebook for Americans seeking to redress and overcome this legacy. Rothstein and Greene discussed the context of The Color of Law, as well as his new book Just Action, which shines light on what actions can be taken to truly redress segregation in this country.
"We have a fair housing law to prevent discrimination, so people think the problem is in the past…but it's not," said Rothstein. "My new book, that I have written with my daughter, goes through policy after policy of the actual action that people can take to redress segregation. Aside from just the book, my daughter is helping me organize groups of civil rights activists across the country to create something called the 'redress movement'… to create biracial local community organizations that will generate the political momentum that needs to be achieved locally to truly make changes."
Before joining NAR, Bryan Greene oversaw the enforcement of the federal fair housing laws at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He has spoken to, and been in touch with, Rothstein for many years discussing his work surrounds housing segregation.
"I invited Richard several times to come speak at HUD, and around that time HUD was also considering the issuance of a regulation to implement a provision of the Fair Housing Act that required federal, state, and local government to address the history of discrimination and segregation," said Greene. "I talked to Richard about that when he came and he said, 'you know it's the right policy, but I don't think the general public really understands the history and that it's going to be hard to get support for such a regulation when the public doesn't understand'. I didn't know at the time that he was working on a book with the subtitle, A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America. The book speaks to how discriminatory government actions like racial zoning and redlining led to the segregated America we see today."
Rothstein and Greene's conversation ranged from the topics of education policy, zoning laws, real estate agents disclosing school ratings, and property assessments. The discussion explored a range of options local community members and REALTORS® can take to redress segregation.
The National Association of Realtors® is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.5 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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