Famous Author of the Color of Law | Richard Rothstein


The Effect of Federal Policy on Racial Wealth

Would you believe the federal government discriminated with intent? Richard Rothstein, author of the Color of Law, explains how the Federal Housing Administration housing was designed to explicitly segregate. It would not insure mortgages for African Americans but it subsidized developers with the requirement that no home would be sold to African Americans, and it was included in Underwriting manual.  Veterans Administration established under GI Bill adopted all of the racial exclusions and restrictions (Levittown, Daly City) financed by VA. If you don't have a home, you don't have equity in the home which increases to provide the primary source of wealth. In this episode, Richard explains how written policies were used to segregate African Americans in the mid-1920s and how that still determines the racial landscape of today.

Key Takeaways:

  • The obligation we have to redress the current unconstitutional racial landscape
  • How to make it politically possible to implement ‘end racial segregation’ policies by mobilizing local civil rights groups
  • How to exercise your obligation as an American to remedy civil rights violations

"As American citizens, we have an obligation to remedy civil rights violations, and I hope that whites and blacks will get engaged in the kinds of civil rights activities this new national committee needs to redress racial segregation." -Richard Rothstein

In this episode you’ll discover:

How the federal government implemented many racially explicit policies to create segregation [1:56]

Richard explains the written federal government policies that determine today’s racial landscape [3:13]

How Richard became interested in de facto segregation as an education policy writer [8:12]

Richard’s efforts in racial conversations that will help progress racial segregation redress [11:34]

The importance of political will and mobilization to redress racial segregation [13:18]

The history of sundown towns and their long-term effects in segregation [15:53]

Listen in to learn how racial segregation in America was created, sustained, and reinforced in many different levels of government. You will also learn why you’re obligated to take part in mobilizing for the remedy of the civil rights violations to help end racial segregation.


Richard Rothstein is a Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Policy Institute and a Senior Fellow (emeritus) at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.


He is the author of The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, which recovers a forgotten history of how federal, state, and local policy explicitly segregated metropolitan areas nationwide, creating racially homogenous neighborhoods in patterns that violate the Constitution and require remediation.

He is also the author of many other articles and books on race and education, which can be found on his web page at the Economic Policy  institute: http://www.epi.org/people/richard-rothstein/.

Pevious influential books include Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic and Educational




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