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According to President Trump, desegregating the Suburbs would have devastating effects. What he means is his affluent white neighborhoods should not allow non-white people within them. The policy Trump wants to reverse is the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) policy, which has been in place for over 52 years.
What Is AFFH? How Will It Families?
The AFFH policy is part of the Fair Housing Act, which became law in 1968, only a week after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. The Act provides those in impoverished communities with access to affordable housing. The Department of Housing and Urban Development finalized AFFH responsibilities under the Obama administration.
In other words, AFFH and HUD are designed to prevent earlier practices of segregation. However, this is what Trump wants to reverse. As a result, many families could lose access to affordable housing, education, and jobs. So, yes, there would be a devastating impact — but not to the suburbs. It would have a catastrophic effect on the people who rely on these policies.
Considering that this policy eliminates discrimination, and was finalized under former President Obama, it makes sense why Trump would push back. After all, Trump’s first 100 days consisted of reversing every Obama policy, thus helping to revive racism. HUD was established in 1965, three years before AFFH, it provides housing grants to low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled.
Trump and White Flight
To be clear, Trump is not entirely scrapping the departments. What he plans to do is ease regulations on local governments by eliminating essential assessment tool that maps out racial segregation. The AFFH rule was installed in 2015 to enforce the Fair Housing Act of 1968. According to Politico, this Act “requires local governments to track patterns of poverty and segregation with a checklist of 92 questions.” People only able to gain access to federal funds only if the government completes this process.
Actively ignoring this crucial detail to benefit white homeowners in suburbia could potentially lead to white flight and redlining, which is the process in which impoverished people (usually Black) are not allowed access to grants. Redlining was a common practice in the 1950s and 60s — eras Trump seems to admire highly. It allowed for white, affluent suburbs to flourish, while minority communities were placed in ghettos.
As a result, many people living in the ghetto were forced to turn to lives of crime as they were denied access to jobs, proper education, health opportunities, etc. This is why stereotypes such as “Black people are ghetto,” and “only live on government assistance” are so highly known. The practice was eventually banned. However, segregation took another form. When minorities, especially Black people, were allowed into white suburbia, many white people practiced what is known as white flight.
Segregation’s Affect on Disadvantaged Neighborhoods
Instead of coexisting with Black people in the suburbs, white people fled. The more Black people in one community, the more redlining was practiced. White people moved into ghettos. Black people were forced to move elsewhere to accommodate their new “neighbors,” in other words, gentrification. These practices, although illegal, are still taking place.
For example, Englewood, Chicago, is commonly avoided by residents due to high levels of crime. However, what most people do not know is that the neighborhood in its early days was an affluent community.
After more and more Black people began to move into the neighborhood, opportunities, as well as white people moved out. This left Englewood residents to turn to lives of crime, as the government would not grant funds to disadvantaged neighborhoods. This kept segregation alive and degraded Englewood’s status to another poor, crime-ridden neighborhood.
Even today, the government does not grant funds to disadvantaged neighborhoods. Instead, they leave these neighborhoods on their own and continuing the trend of segregation. Anyone can see this by comparing the Gold Coast with Englewood. By Trump ending the use of the AFFH tool, he would be allowing segregation to run rampant and unchecked.
Opinion by Reginae Echols
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
CityLab: Trump Targets Efforts to Desegregate U.S. Suburbs
Politico: Trump moves to roll back Obama housing desegregation rule
HUD: HUD’S PUBLIC HOUSING PROGRAM
Alliance for Housing: Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) – A Critical Tool Against Housing Discrimination and Segregation
Featured Image Courtesy of Stephen Downes’ Flickr Page-Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of Peter Miller’s Flickr Page-Creative Commons License