In my book, Neighbors At War, I delve deeply into this nation’s history of the enforcement of racially restrictive covenants in millions of property deeds across the country. Yes, we’ve made a ton of progress in the last five decades in wiping out housing discrimination. But in little spots around the country the old mindset remains. Every time I see one of these stories pop up I consider it a national shame that a few people still live in the racist past.
A black man in Texas is in court trying to rent a home in an all-white property owners association. A covenant in the Clearwater Bay POA mandated that homeowners never rent or sell to “anyone of African descent.”
As I write these words I’m looking at an amazing anthropology article in the current issue of National Geographic. The article is about the recent discovery of a new species of bi-pedal hominid in a cave near Johannesburg, South Africa. No matter what your religious or political beliefs are, every human being on the face of this planet is “of African descent.” The black man in that Texas POA should hire a few expert witness anthropologists for his federal discrimination case. They’ll be able to prove in court that not a single member of that Association qualifies for home ownership under its own covenants.
We are all black. And yes, black lives matter.