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The Betrayed and the Betrayers

BY JUSTIN WHITE | July 30, 2020

Racial justice cannot be separated from economic justice.

Our American history has had too many instances of social groups being denied economic opportunities, or worse, being promised prosperity only to be deceived for the economic gain of others. The sordid history extends from redlining, to banks and insurance companies denying economic opportunities to certain geographical areas that had “undesirable racial concentrations,” to predatory, high-interest subprime mortgaging. These secret deals have handed over too many neighborhoods and cities to the bondage of economic disparity.

betrayer, betrayed

In recent years, we have seen more books and articles dedicated to exploring the history of systematic, economic oppression along racial lines. Books like Not In My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City by Antero Pietila have helped me better understand the social construction of the neighborhoods I walk and drive through as a resident of Baltimore City. Ta-Nehisi Coates’s article, “The Case for Reparations” weaves together this heinous history of wealth stalling and depletion and connects it to those living today. Like the prophet Isaiah, those who care about justice must become advocates and “speak to the weary” and set our “faces like flint.” Though our cities have been and still are places of deceit and treachery, we must face it head on, call it what it is, and put events into motion that will bring true transformation. We have been betrayed and have been the betrayers, but God is compassionate with our errors and offers us answers. But are we willing to look?

Reflection Questions:

  • When have you asked the question, “Why?” when faced with economic disparity in your neighborhood, community, or city?
  • How have you actively played a role in helping to bring justice to the landscape of your neighborhood, community, or city?
3 replies
  1. Mr Anon
    Mr Anon says:

    I see what your getting at but this is not just specific to one race, it can affect anyone at anytime and a certain percentage will know nothing more but to have financial hardship from birth until they leave this earth. People say “the banks stereotype and refuse loans and mortgages” just because of the pigment of ones skin, but this is not the case…..a bank is a business it has to be responsible when lending and it applies to all. This is when credit checks take place and when the client has bad credit history it will get refused and nothing to do with race. There are actually more white people in poverty conditions than any other race in the US, and recently due to the pandemic I’ve had to lay off 20% of my workforce and because of the current racial situation I am been forced to keep non white people ( most that lack experience ) and get rid of hard working, reliable and experienced workers for “legal reasons” which is wrong,and my business earnings are down by 45% so more will most likely follow. Imagine having to hire or keep a person not on experience, education and skills but just on the skin color that is racist right ? my business will be liquidated if I continue like this and this will add to those poverty statistics. It won’t affect me cause I’m quite wealthy but my family comes first. God Bless

  2. Mr Anon
    Mr Anon says:

    Did you know that Black banks reject Black loan and mortgage applicants the same has your normal banks. Have you ever heard of the 1960’s minimum wage that said Black farm workers should get paid $1 a hour and not $3.60 a day ? probably not…this introduction was bad as 25000 Black workers lost there jobs at the time even black people weren’t happy on this decision.


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