A New Report Challenges “Race as Risk” in Housing

A new report from the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity argues that implicit bias manifests in the housing and lending markets partly due to a historical and deeply rooted association between race and risk. The report examines how historical and structural racism affects racial disparities in housing and credit outcomes today. Further, by applying the lens of racial cognition – how race impacts the way individuals think and behave – the report uncovers the influence of implicit racial bias in housing and lending.

The report argues that racial bias within the housing and credit markets is pervasive and decisive. One study the report mentions, is that 28 percent of Whites support an individual homeowner’s right to discriminate on the basis of race when selling a home. Another shows that paired testing audits continue to report that minorities are told about and shown fewer units than Whites, even if they are well-qualified.

Along with examining the structural elements such as redlining, racial covenants, and subprime lending, the report also discusses the intersection of implicit bias and neighborhood dynamics, and the history of White avoidance, resistance to integration, NIMBYism, and the negative association with “affordable housing.” In its recommendations, Kirwan Institute gives detailed assertions that implicit bias and structural inequity must be addressed jointly at an institutional and a personal level.

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The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity was established in 2003 as a center for interdisciplinary research at The Ohio State University. The Kirwan Institute works to create a just and inclusive society where all people and communities have opportunity to succeed.