The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America - Richard Rothstein
Contrary to what many believe, Richard Rothstein states boldly at the start of his book, segregated neighborhoods in the United States didn’t result mostly from individual prejudices, personal choices, or the actions of such private institutions as banks and real estate agencies. They were instead largely a consequence of public policy—of purposeful, systematic, forceful government action. In The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America (Liveright, $27.95), Rothstein describes how laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments promoted discriminatory patterns and the development of racially homogenous neighborhoods. The measures included explicit racial zoning, officially segregated public housing, redlining of mortgages, and conditioning of Federal Housing Administration subsidies for builders on no homes being sold to African Americans. Rothstein argues that as a nation, we have an obligation to remedy the lasting effects of this segregation and have paid an enormous price in the form of wide income disparities and other inequalities by allowing this injustice to fester.