By John Ruberry
Obscured by liberal attacks on the Confederate battle flag is the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule announced earlier this month by US Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.
HUD will review racial demographics in suburbs such as mine, Morton Grove, Illinois, and look for what it may view as patterns of segregation. HUD will propose solutions, mainly adding affordable housing for minorities. If the town balks, federal funding will be yanked because HUD says the municipality will be in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
The federal record on integration is a bad one. The first house I lived in was in Chicago’s then-all white Roseland neighborhood. We moved out in 1968. And because unscrupulous real estate agents were engaged in panic-peddling based upon race fears, my parents sold their home at a loss, although to be fair our suburban home was a much better one. Three years later we visited the old neighborhood–it was then nearly all-black–and about one-third of the houses, including our bungalow, were boarded up. All of these home were in default of Federal Housing Administration loans as the orange signs on each house informed us. Roseland never recovered. Fifteen years later Barack Obama worked as a community organizer there–yet Roseland remains poverty-stricken and a high crime area. In fact, early this morning two men were shot while riding in a van in the unhappy neighborhood.
It was in the 1970s that the federal government pursued school busing to integrate urban public schools. For a brief period they were–until white families moved to the suburbs or sent their children to expensive private schools.
By the late 1990s, newly married and a father, I lived with my wife and daughter in a marginally dangerous Chicago neighborhood so we could save money for a decent down payment on a suburban home. Mrs. Marathon Pundit and I did not want to raise our daughter in such a place nor subject her to Chicago’s wretched schools. The suburb we live in is integrated–it is 30 percent Asian-American. But our black and Hispanic population is negligible.
Will HUD bureaucrats try to fix this “inequity” by decimating suburbs such as mine? The federal government’s record on such “repairs” is a bad one.
I’ll leave the final words to Nolan Finley of the Detroit News:
Housing is one of the more difficult markets to manipulate for social outcomes. Homeowners always have the option of packing up and moving on when the nature of their communities no longer meets their needs. They won’t be trapped by government mandates in communities where they don’t feel comfortable.
It’s a nice thought that there can be suburbs where $1 million estates sit right next to $800 a month apartments, and everybody gets along just fine. The reality is that efforts to coerce economic diversity in housing almost always end up destroying neighborhoods.