Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Racism is Unaffordable For All But the Wealthiest Americans

Racism has become a luxury good in America, which is odd because all the anti-racist efforts are centered on poor and middle-class whites. Weird.

Obama, Trump, and Daffy Duck
Fred Trump’s company was rewarded for all its contributions to middle-class America by being sued by the Nixon administration in 1973 for violating the 1968 Fair Housing Act. Only 4 percent of its tenants—in places like Forest Hills in Queens and Brighton Beach in Brooklyn—were black. The young Donald fired back, hiring Roy Cohn and arguing that allowing welfare recipients to rent in his father’s complexes would risk “massive fleeing from the city of not only our tenants, but communities as a whole.” Eventually, Donald signed one of those consent decrees with the feds, not admitting to doing anything but promising never to do it again.

Perhaps that episode played a role in the son’s determination to get out of his father’s business of building affordable housing in the outer boroughs, with its constant danger that antidiscrimination laws would trigger white flight to the suburbs among their largely middle-class Jewish customers, and instead follow the new generation of nouveaux riches New Yorkers to Manhattan. In 1983 Donald proved that New York’s 1970s economic malaise was definitely over by opening on Fifth Avenue the gaudy Trump Tower, which has since been home to numerous celebrities such as Jay Z and Beyoncé.

As the saying goes, “Our prices discriminate, so we don’t have to.”

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