Friday, March 11, 2011

The wages of racism
We usually date the current economic crisis back to 2008. That was the year when it became obvious that a lot of people had been persuaded to buy property they were unable to pay for. Banks were in trouble and the American people put out more than $500 billion to bail out big banks, investment houses, and automobile manufacturers. 
But here's an interesting fact. In the Black and Hispanic communities, the real estate crisis, the massive default on excessively risky mortgages, began two years earlier, in 2006. People who had been sold risky mortgages were beginning to be unable to make their payments. There was a serious rate of defaults.

But no one paid any attention to that. People thought: what else is new? As usual, white people did not pay attention to the problems of people of color.

As a consequence no one saw what was coming. No one understood that the pain felt in the Black and Hispanic community was simply an early sign of what was going to happen in the country as a whole.

Had white people – bankers and government officials who are supposed to keep a tight watch on the economy – taken the early defaults more seriously, they might have been better prepared and might have even been able to prevent or at least moderate the present meltdown.

The racist disregard of what was happening to Blacks and Hispanics carries an enormous price for everyone.