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Noah Smith

Redlining Never Went Away

New research shows that discriminatory lending holds down housing values, hurting black wealth accumulation.
The numbers don't lie.

The numbers don't lie.

Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Back in 2014, Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote a long article entitled “The Case for Reparations.” The article recounted how the economic damage done to black Americans by government policy and social oppression didn’t end with slavery. Segregation and widespread violence against black people persisted for almost a century after the Civil War. And the practice of redlining -- a term that encompasses both housing discrimination and the denial of services to people in predominantly black neighborhoods -- persisted even longer.

It’s certainly true that the economic gap between African-Americans and others remains wide. Here is the picture for income: