Diego Casillas

Ms. Portugal


December 21, 2018


Redlining is Present

Imagine a game. A game with a red line of paint. You had to stay on one side. Your side was decrepit and only one race was on your side of the line. Imagine being sick, weak, and on your own. The people on the other side have beautiful homes, insurance, safety, and everyday commodities. This game has been going on for almost a century. This game is called redlining. Redlining was an act passed in the 1930’s and it made segregation within neighborhoods, districts, streets, even cities. It let financial institutions and agents decline financial help to a specific area. Most people in these areas were minorities. And they split that area with a red line to signify credit risk. This is still going on in the 21st century, in Oakland. This blog post will explain the cause for redlining, the effect it still has to this day and solutions to this present day threat.    

To start, the wealth gap for African americans and White people working in 1943 – 1951 was very substantial. Serena Lei explains, “In their 30s, Whites have an average of $147,000 more in wealth than blacks (three times as much). By their 60s, Whites have over $1.1 million more in average wealth than blacks (seven times as much). Though the dollar gap grows with age, the ratio doesn’t grow in the same way” (Urban Institute). What Urban Institute is saying is that when redling began (1934) African-americans got a huge wage gap compared to White folk which in turn means that the huge wage gap led to redlining becoming a reality since the insurance agents don’t want to risk not making profit. The red lined areas were all poor and homeless areas that were just not enough worth dealing with for the cash money business. http://apps.urban.org/features/wealth-inequality-charts/

Moreover, an Oakland resident named Joseph Thornton wanted to share out his opinion on redlining. Thornton stated, “Redlining began because back then, some people were greedy and racist chumps” (Thornton). What Thornton means by this is that the CEOs and the companies took advantage of loopholes and cracks in the government law so they can get some extra money.  They saw how the government treated the minorities so the companies just took advantage of that since it was more incognito to do so.

To add on further, Urban Displacement makes a connection from the redlined maps to present day gentrification maps. Urban states, “83% of today’s gentrifying areas in the East Bay were rated as “hazardous” (red) or “definitely declining”(yellow)” (Urban). Since redling was affecting specific areas for so long, after it was banned, gentrification took its place and is now the new present day threat in the Bay Area. Also, a student of Life Academy and lifelong resident of Oakland carese to show his point of view. Dustin Crawford talked about how he doesn’t realize it was redlining since he only notices the rent going up. Crawford does think though that others do feel redlining because some banks and finances don’t want to maybe lose money. His point makes sense since not every minority on the planet experiences present day redlining but him saying that some still do is definitely plausible since some banks and financial aids can try to not give loans.

Additionally, Kevin Stein a California Reinvestment Coalition member suggests an idea to solve the present day redlining problem. Stein proposes that, “Perhaps do more to work with nonprofits to buy buildings at risk of being flipped due to market pressures so that people who have been living in the Bay Area for a long time can continue to live in the Bay Area, because when people get evicted you know it’s very hard for them to find places to go.” (KQED/Stein). Stein’s solution allows original once redlined citizens to stay safe to live in the city or even closer to their original living space. Furthermore, E. Scott Reckard (a writer for Los Angeles Times) wrote about the San Francisco company allegedly discriminated specific areas and had to pay for it. Scott wrote, “The settlement, announced thursday by the U.S. Justice Department, also requires the San Francisco company, by far the nation’s largest home lender, to provide $50 million in down-payment assistance to residents of areas where the alleged discrimination had a significant effect” (Reckard). Since the San Francisco company had to pay any amount money to the discriminated areas, it shows that this happened after redlining was deemed illegal. It also means that the San Francisco company (and maybe others) still see specific communities and neighborhoods as high risk, no reward even though those people living in these places needed financial assistance. For getting discriminated, the victims can sue the financial companies for their crimes and get the last laugh.   

To wrap things up, redlining is still active in the Bay Area because gentrification is modern day Redlining. Minorities still have a huge wage gap compared to White people and this is causing segregation in the housing market. The game has been popular for almost a century. And no one is winning.

  1. James G 1 year ago

    Hi Diego,

    I really enjoyed your article. The way that you introduced the topic was very engaging, as it lulls readers into a false sense of security where they think they are participating in a thought exercise, only to realize that you are actually introducing them to a problematic phenomenon that still occurs today. Additionally, your sources are robust and do a very good job at explaining that redlining is not just a historic phenomenon, but one that continues to happen in modern times.

    In your paragraph where you reference Joseph Thornton, I think that the use of anecdotal evidence is strong. I am curious: did you happen to come across any research that backs up what Thornton is saying, that redlining was used to financially benefit the companies that participated in it? I think that Thornton’s comments are convincing in their own right, but it might be interesting to see if there are any statistics out there that Thornton might have been basing his claim off of.

    I would definitely love to hear if you found any statistics regarding Thornton’s claim, and I would also like to know if you plan to take this research farther and how you would do that. Redlining is a concept I first heard of when I was a freshman in college – it is so exciting to see a freshman in high school engaging in this type of critical thinking!

    Please write back. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you plan to proceed with this research.


    • Author
      Diego 1 year ago

      Thanks James. Joseph Thornton didn’t base his data on exact statistics but from prior knowledge of the subject. And yes, I would like to focus on redlining in other posts if accessible. Thanks again.

  2. Cece 2 years ago

    I really enjoyed how in the beginning you drew the reader in by starting off with “ imagine a game “ I feel like that’s what really drew me in and had me thinking and actually made it kind of easier to understand your piece. Overall your topic sounds like a really interesting topic, and I’m glad you brought it forth and wrote about it because if I’m being honest I didn’t really quiet pay attention to anything involving red lining, so thank you for writing about this and publishing it. I also enjoyed how you included some background information in the beginning so that also made it easier for me to understand for long this has been going for. Thank you for your writing and I hope to see what other pieces you write about.

    • Author
      Diego 2 years ago

      Well thank you for reading my epic gamer post and telling how I assisted you in knowing about the facts about red lining. I will try to be even more of an effective writer in later posts. Thanks again.

  3. Gregorio 2 years ago

    sup gamer, your epic work is epic indeed. i greatly enjoyed the example giving at the beginning of your work. you allows a reader to understand more of thy problem making it easier to explain. i also liked that you put in the opinions of the community so more people can share their opinion. this essay was very epic.

    • Author
      Diego 2 years ago

      Yes Ricardo, my post is very wet, lit, fire, LMAO, rofl, and lol.

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