READ: This Article Proposes a Novel Strategy to Address Market Bias Against Black Homeowners

By Sameer Rao Jun 23, 2016

A new article from The Washington Post offers a novel solution to combat racist economic bias against Black homeowners.

"The people who live [in predominantly Black neighborhoods] are penalized for biases built into the housing market. White home buyers seldom consider neighborhoods with even a modest Black population, and so housing demand is much lower in those communities," wrote the Post’s Emily Badger. "That drives down prices and muzzles appreciation. It means that homeownership simply isn’t as good of a deal in neighborhoods that are even slightly Black."

In the article, Dorothy Brown, a legal scholar at Emory University, talks about a novel idea: that mortgage interest deductions should apply "only to homeowners who live in neighborhoods that are at least 10 percent Black."

As Badger explained, "decades of official government policy, lending practices and silent preferences have sorted Blacks and Whites into separate housing markets in America." Current mortgage interest deductions further that division, offering disproportionate benefits to the economically privileged. Brown described her idea as one that can account for this historical housing market discrimination:

We’ve got social engineering right now in the code, and people are fine with it because they’re winning. And all I’m saying is you’re already winning in the market. You don’t need to also win in the tax subsidy.

Brown feels this type of subsidy would not promote gentrification of Black neighborhoods, because "that flies in the face of all the research out there showing that Whites don’t want to live in diverse neighborhoods."

Read the full piece here, and let us know what you think about Brown’s idea in the comments.