Redlining, the practice of banks and real estate agents steering black and Latino families away from predominantly white neighborhoods, is often spoken of in the past tense. We tend to think of it as a vestige of Jim Crow, of a thankfully bygone era when people wore racism on their sleeves and wove it into neighborhood engineering without repercussion.
Some recent cases, however, show that not only is redlining alive today, but that it’s also evolved in many cases into racist practices that aren’t as detectable as they were during Jim Crow.
Redlining can determine where people of color are able to live or even whether they can have pizza delivered to them. My colleague Laura Bliss has pointed to maps of Baltimore that show redlining effects lingering in the city today. The federal government has been ramping up its investigations of housing discrimination through its Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, a partnership between the U.S. Justice Department and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The task force says you can count on more redlining cases coming up for investigation, which is starting to freak out some in the housing finance sector.