12/10/2020: Resource of the Day (RoD), Redlining

Screenshot of a portion of Chicago. Population data states "infiltration" from "low-class Jews from north." There's also a dedicated section for "Negros."

The United Way of Central Iowa* did a 21-Day Equity Challenge this fall. I’m still working through the materials because there is a ton.

Many of you learned about redlining this summer thanks to an educational exhibit in Des Moines. This, however, is the most remarkable resource on redlining I’ve seen so far. It’s called Mapping Inequality, and it’s an interactive map that allows you to view the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation’s (HOLC) reports on neighborhoods throughout the country.

As if the data itself weren’t eye-opening in itself, the reports were damning. The HOLC often referred to the number of ethnic minority populations living in certain areas as “infiltration.” They directly stated and had data referring to the population numbers of “Negros” in each district.

Screenshot of a portion of Chicago. Population data states "infiltration" from "low-class Jews from north." There's also a dedicated section for "Negros."
Screenshot of Chicago neighborhood HOLC report from Mapping Inequality

If anyone in this country continues to insist racism wasn’t that bad, these federal reports make it otherwise blatantly clear. It is upsetting, gross, but not surprising if you know anything about the history of white supremacy in the United States.

If you want to do the Equity Challenge, I believe you can still join. It’s worthwhile, but I recommend giving yourself several weeks to complete it.

* Full disclosure: I have family employed with United Way.

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