Once again, America has whitewashed history and managed to label the need for housing a “crisis.” White supremacy is America’s real crisis, which in turn has affected the availability of housing for many people.
The term “housing crisis” is worse than the term “self-defense,” one that protects itself from scrutiny or is used to relieve a group from personal accountability. This wordplay is as detrimental today as Christopher Columbus and his crew eventually using words such as “savages” to describe the Natives living in what we call America.
Today’s gentrifiers, or gentle liars, and white vigilantes of the housing market are here to save the industry with their presence. They, too, will strap their white value across their chest and run proudly down the sidewalks of urban communities, crossing the lines of crime and poverty, using phrases like “missing middle,” while forgetting to address the “missing man crisis.”
What man is that? The Black man, who has been removed from America’s economy and family structure. He is now housed in penitentiaries across America, leaving thousands of Black women to depend upon government assistance, from subsidized housing to eviction assistance.
Locally, this “housing crisis” dates back to 1870, when newly freed slaves built North Carolina’s first prison—Central Prison. The formerly enslaved would no longer work for the private plantation owner. Now, he would be property of the state.
The efforts of Blacks to build would always be thwarted by challengers who engineered obstacles and roadblocks, such as developing sharecropping schemes and denying Blacks wealth access through loans, the GI Bill, and other wealth-building opportunities. Yoked to unjust wages and racketeering ventures, Black people could never hold on to land. Meanwhile, the vigilantes of their day could walk boldly into a man’s home, remove him, and lynch him.
Throughout American history, the so-called housing crisis was deliberately manufactured. As Blacks migrated away from the fields into the inner cities and northern states, hopes for a better future appeared promising. However, crime and congestion would surface, attracting an increased police presence.
But now, urban areas that once made white women grip their purses and clutch their pearls are the “number one” places to live.
The so-called housing crisis is nothing more than the privileged few cashing out on their discrimination. With this formula, the legacy of manifest destiny will continue, and instead of expanding west, opportunities will allow them to build up where the plantation-style homes extend to the heavens and lie directly beside the historic plantations of their forefathers.
Their quarter houses are now called ADUs. Maids cannot afford to live in them, but these units will serve as a second stream of wealth, minus the hotel tax. No longer will they retire to their personal parlors filled with scotch, bourbon, and brandy. Instead, they will leave their baby mansions and stroll to the local breweries, conveniently located in walking distance.
Their carriages have since transformed into the Raleigh transit system’s bus service, driven by Black individuals who make up 80 percent of the city’s transit system workers. Their drivers will drop them off at home, courtesy of the city’s free transportation.
The so-called housing crisis is more about who has access to wealth, political influence to redraw district lines, and the power to create an entirely new narrative by picking up where they left off without being detected.
If historic plantations are preserved, then where are the neighborhoods of former slaves that should also be preserved? Have we been relegated to only paying for the upkeep of old plantations via federal dollars, though we can’t afford to live anywhere nearby?
Prior to enslavement, Native Americans were placed onto reservations. Now, reservations are made for the formerly enslaved, whole families, at local hotels.
Not only have the same culprits stolen equality, but they’ve drained the equity directly out of our homes.
Perhaps Black people should be thankful that they were not slaughtered by the millions. Instead of trekking across the country to Oklahoma along the Trail of Tears, they’re only pushed out into the county, to Knightdale.
How can we call a “crisis” something that was done on purpose?
Dr. Kimberly Muktarian is president of Save Our Sons, a nonprofit and faith-based lobbying firm designed to engage agencies, legislators, and stakeholders from a moral perspective.
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