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The Color of Law | Richard Rothstein | Book Review

The Color Of Law by Richard Rothstein gives the history of de jure segregation (segregation that existed because of local laws that mandated the segregation) in America. Using multiple examples, this text argues that anti-Black governmental housing policies have led to racially divided cities and suburbs. It is an eye opener regarding the humanitarian crimes against Black men, women, and children in the United States – crimes of which were all legal in the eyes of the law.

Using detailed maps and quotes, Richard Rothstein documents the often underhanded way in which Republican and Democratic politicians alike created and enforced racial segregation in the United States using racial zoning and blockbusting. He also argues that there was state-sponsored violence often used to in order to make sure that the racial zoning policies remained in place. He conveys how these racial zoning policies segregated Black Americans and restricted them on all levels of government – federal, state, and local.

The Color of Law is a well researched text that covered all the regions in the country. It also contains stories from actual Black Americas whose lives were affected by the housing policies as well as mental and physical violence. To me, reading the actual stories and quotes from these individuals gave the text a more humane feeling and in a way saved it from being dry. These stories also gave examples of how interconnected everything within our society really in. The racial housing policies not only affected the locations where these individuals could live but also affected their economic status and caused the inability for them to be able to move forward in society. These individuals had their lives threatened in various ways by these housing policies as well.

Unfortunately, alot of people in today’s society think that this racial segregation from the housing policies is a thing of the past. The Color of Law demonstrates that this is NOT the case. The devastating effects of de jure segregation are still continuing today and are forcing Black Americans to remain restricted and threatened from moving in an upward motion in our society. Richard Rothstein attempts to give hope that we as a society may be able to move past this but also ensures that we have plenty of work to do. To me one of the best ways to move forward would be a better education as to what actually happened with the housing policies and not the version that many of years are still hearing today. This is why I feel that The Color Law should be an essential read for anyone in the US to fully understand our history.

Rating: 5 Stars

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