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Longleaf Select University Press Titles Spring/Summer 2021

Race for Profit
How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


Apr 01, 2021
$27.95 CAD


9.2in x 6.1 x 1.1 in | 500 gr

Page Count:

368 pages


6 halftones
The University of North Carolina Press
HISTORY / African American & Black

By the late 1960s and early 1970s, reeling from a wave of urban uprisings, politicians finally worked to end the practice of redlining. Reasoning that the turbulence could be calmed by turning Black city-dwellers into homeowners, they passed the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968, and set about establishing policies to induce mortgage lenders and the real estate industry to treat Black homebuyers equally. The disaster that ensued revealed that racist exclusion had not been eradicated, but rather transmuted into a new phenomenon of predatory inclusion.

Race for Profit uncovers how exploitative real estate practices continued well after housing discrimination was banned. The same racist structures and individuals remained intact after redlining's end, and close relationships between regulators and the industry created incentives to ignore improprieties. Meanwhile, new policies meant to encourage low-income homeownership created new methods to exploit Black homeowners. The federal government guaranteed urban mortgages in an attempt to overcome resistance to lending to Black buyers – as if unprofitability, rather than racism, was the cause of housing segregation. Bankers, investors, and real estate agents took advantage of the perverse incentives, targeting the Black women most likely to fail to keep up their home payments and slip into foreclosure, multiplying their profits. As a result, by the end of the 1970s, the nation's first programs to encourage Black homeownership ended with tens of thousands of foreclosures in Black communities across the country. The push to uplift Black homeownership had descended into a goldmine for realtors and mortgage lenders, and a ready-made cudgel for the champions of deregulation to wield against government intervention of any kind.

Narrating the story of a sea-change in housing policy and its dire impact on African Americans, Race for Profit reveals how the urban core was transformed into a new frontier of cynical extraction.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is assistant professor of African American studies at Princeton University and author of From BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation and How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective.

This is an incredibly important history. Well-written, persuasive, and brimming with insightful analysis, Race for Profit is a book that people have been waiting for.--Beryl Satter, author of Family Properties: How the Struggle over Race and Real Estate Transformed Chicago and Urban America

Taylor offers a strong account of major transformations in U.S. affordable housing policy and its impact on African American communities. This is an extraordinary book, measured and incisive, with a rich and compelling narrative.--Joseph Heathcott, The New School

Race for Profit powerfully disrupts a standard story about racism--that it depends on discriminatory exclusion--and introduces readers to 'predatory inclusion,' an analytical gift for students of social history. Through impressive research and vivid storytelling, Taylor offers an unflinching examination of the mythology that has sustained the American dream, ultimately revealing that, for many African Americans, homeownership hasn't resulted in the fulfillment of a dream but instead has been a nightmare--a horror story of racial capitalism.--Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow

In Race for Profit, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor makes an enormous contribution to the collective understanding of the methods and mechanics of racial capitalism, revealing how the real estate industry's long history of discrimination against African Americans has adapted from explicit policies of racist exclusion to equally devastating predatory financial mechanisms. Drawing on deep archival research, Taylor's lucid and incisive book explains why we cannot look to the private sector for solutions, but instead need a radically different approach to housing based on the right to a dignified life for all."—Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine

The book makes a strong case that giving so much power to profit-driven industries doomed the program's goals from the start, and there are clear parallels to the later subprime mortgage crisis of the 2000s. Race for Profit is an important addition to the literature on predatory lending and housing discrimination, as well as a valuable warning.--Foreword Reviews

Essential for readers wishing to understand the depth and differentials of U.S. racial discrimination, Taylor's masterly expose of the political economy of the racially bifurcated market systematically lays bare how residential segregation made profits from race; it also illustrates the mismatch of market solutions to racist policies and practices and underscores the limits of legislation alone to undo institutional racism.--Library Journal, starred review

Like many historians, Taylor stays close to the history she documents and doesn't set out to address the present day in a sustained or direct way. She doesn't propose a solution to these perpetual abuses, and certainly not a neat, bipartisan policy move. In her telling, the problems are deep and abiding. They have to do with the degree to which the "American Dream" has become synonymous with the big yet also small accomplishment of owning a house.--The New Republic

Details bungling mismanagement, gross corruption, distorted incentives, civil rights regulations that went unheeded and unenforced — what Taylor calls a system of "predatory inclusion" that was distinct yet not entirely free from the racist system of exclusion that preceded it.--The New York Times

A groundbreaking new book.--The New Yorker

Taylor grounds her analysis in extensive archival research and in conversation with the historiography that it both extends and challenges.--Metropolitics

Narrating the story of a sea-change in housing policy and its dire impact on African Americans, Race for Profit reveals how the urban core was transformed into a new frontier of cynical extraction.--Democratic Left

Among the myriad strengths of Race for Profit is Taylor's thoughtful and poignant analysis of the structures of meaning that undergird the racialized political economy of homeownership in this period.--H-Net Reviews

In this meticulously researched and well-written volume, Taylor . . . highlights an important chapter in African American history, focusing on how mortgage bankers and the FHA turned the promise of black home ownership into an urban nightmare, ultimately reinforcing historic urban-suburban racial segregation.--CHOICE

Taylor lays bare the naked racism, unethical practices, and rampant profiteering that saturated all aspects of the federal government and real estate industry's treatment of Black America.--Planning Perspectives

Taylor's new and critical addition to the canon of housing-inequality scholarship illuminates how the private real estate industry, even in the era of supposed "Fair Housing," failed Black people by preying on them for profit. It also reveals how mistaken American ideas about real estate—specifically, the idea of homeownership as a pillar of the American Dream—fueled the system that encouraged the pillaging of Black capital, while ultimately betraying the American public writ large.--Public Books

The product of a seasoned author, Taylor's book strikes a tough balance. It details the intricacies of HUD policy while holding readers close through very human depictions of the experiences and manipulations of those policies. . . . There's within its pages new ways to interrogate the story we tell about policy gone wrong.--Black Perspectives

Taylor's novel analysis, vivid storytelling, clear argumentation, and encyclopedic mastery of the historiography make [Race for Profit] a future classic.--The Metropole

In her thorough examination of a purposefully erased chapter of housing policy, Taylor achieves a compelling history for both specialists and the general-interest reader. The concept of predatory inclusion, perhaps Taylor's most important contribution, offers an important framework for critiques of housing under capitalism. . . . [and] suggests a more revolutionary rethinking of our contemporary relationship to housing.--Carolina Planning Journal

A rich economic and policy history, Race for Profit begins and ends its account of housing inequality with people. . . . In crisp and empathetic detail, Taylor . . . discusses the Black people who were cynically given predatory loans to purchase dilapidated houses and who eventually fought back.--The Nation

As meticulous in its details of government policies as it is abundant with the personal stories of those impacted by this predatory inclusion. . . . Race for Profit, like all good history, has rewritten the past so that we can reimagine a future, one in which our housing system is no longer built on profitmaking.--Jacobin

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