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Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal For White Americans Only

2314 words - 9 pages

"Life is all right in America", "If you're all white in America" --- From the song "America", a well-known song from the musical West Side Story. The birth of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal opened new opportunities to Americans who had suffered through the long Great Depression. One of the new opportunities afforded to Americans were the policies that made it possible for more Americans to own their own homes. However, there was an important qualification that needed to be in place to experience the benefits of these policies: you needed to be white and middle class. The exclusion of African Americans from these policies was perpetuated by the establishment of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC), who discriminated against African Americans by deeming African American neighborhoods unworthy of credit and denied African American families of federally backed loans and mortgages. African Americans soon gained the reputation of hurting the property values of any land they inhabited, resulting in a widespread housing segregation. As a result, although the unequal housing market is often thought of as a by-product of deep-rooted racism against African Americans, it was in fact due to federal policies and private practices that served to promote and encourage already existing racism. This promotion of racial inequality reinforced both the racist actions of individuals, but also allowed realtors to take advantage of African Americans who desperately to achieve the American Dream of purchasing a home and building equity.
The HOLC and the FHA were the main determinants of whether a family was able to buy a house or not. This power helped white families considerably in gaining ownership of houses, but severely crippled home ownership ability for African American families. The role of the HOLC was to provide low interest loans and refinance homes to prevent foreclosure; the role of the FHA was to guarantee mortgages from default. Both of these organizations worked to minimize the risk of home loans for banks, making it easier for families to obtain loans and mortgages to buy homes. This resulted in an explosion of home ownership from the 1930’s to the 1960’s, “In 1930, only 30 percent of Americans owned their homes; by 1960, more than 60 percent were home owners.”
The effect of these policies may have afforded an array of opportunities to white Americans, but they had a very different effect on the African American population. The establishment of these policies contributed to a state of unequal and segregated housing among African Americans and whites referred to as the dual housing market. In a dual housing market, the price of any given home was assigned two separate prices...

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