2021 Equity Challenge Day 9: Segregation, Redlining and Housing Inequity

That enormous disparity … is entirely attributable to unconstitutional federal housing policy practiced in the mid-20th century that has never been remedied.

Richard Rothstein

Author on race, education and policy

Homeownership remains a primary way for Americans to build wealth. However, according to the Center for American Progress, “For centuries, structural racism in the U.S. housing system has contributed to stark and persistent racial disparities in wealth and financial well-being, especially between Black and white households.” Intentional practices like redlining and exclusion from federal housing programs ensure that regions across our country, including metro Detroit, continue to be residentially segregated. In fact, since 1990, Detroit has held the title of most segregated metropolitan area. Housing segregation has a domino effect, impacting not only where someone lives, but also where they work and go to school, their health and financial well-being.



Watch this short video to learn about the history of “Housing Segregation and Redlining in America.” (7 minutes)

Watch this video from WDIV Channel 4 to learn how housing discrimination in Detroit is an example of systemic racism. (3 minutes)

Segregation expert Richard Rothstein debunks the American myth that white and Black people live separately by choice and discusses how U.S. law and policy has perpetuated segregation. (9 minutes)


Listen to this interview with Stephen Henderson of “Detroit Today” to learn why the Detroit area remains segregated even as diversity grows. (17 minutes)


Review the list of policy recommendations from the Michigan League for Public Policy or the National Low Income Housing Coalition and contact your legislators.

Reflect And Share:

  1. How did today’s challenge make you feel? What is something you learned today?
  2. Take a moment to consider the neighborhood where you live, where you shop, where you work, where you or children in your life go to school, and the places you frequent. How integrated or segregated are they? How often are you in the majority/minority?
  3. Consider where you live. How has your family background influenced that? How have laws and policies influenced that?
  4. What material from today do you still have questions about or want to learn more about? What are ways you can further explore those questions?


Start the conversation. Send the tweet. Share your story. Make the Facebook post. Sharing what you learn and experience with your family, friends, and co-workers is the first step toward allyship.

Join thousands in conversation by using hastag #EquityChallenge or #TakeTheEC21