Residential segregation is one of the primary means by which racial inequities are created and maintained in contemporary society. Groups enter the work on housing by addressing the root causes to homelessness and home ownership, and or improving access to home ownership among groups previously shutout from the housing market. Some work on residential integration by race/ethnicity, some work on addressing the consequences of residential segregation – that is, by improving community safety, education, access to health care, etc. And some groups work on civic and political engagement and power shifts. The resources in this section document the various legal and quasi-legal methods by which segregated neighborhoods are created and maintained.

Community Resources and Tools

Building Community Well-Being, Inclusivity & Sustainability Through Social Purpose Real Estate
Danielle Ferraz Bizinelli
Social Purpose Real Estate Collaborative; UBC Sustainability Scholars Program
Lessons from Southern Tenant Union Wins
Sam Russek
Scalawag Magazine
Analysis Of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice: Baltimore Metropolitan Area
Mullin & Lonergan Associates
Expanding Choice: Practical Strategies for Building a Successful Housing Mobility Program
Urban Institute; Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC)
Housing and Neighborhood Preferences of African Americans on Long Island: 2012 Survey Research Report
ERASE (Education, Research, Advocacy & Support to Eliminate) Racism
Long Island Fair Housing: A State of Inequity
Cathryn Harris et al.
ERASE Racism
Roots, Race, Place: A History of Racial Exclusionary Housing the San Francisco Bay Area
Eli Moore et al.
Othering & Belonging Institute

Homeownership and Housing Access

Baltimore’s Community Land Trusts Offer a Pathway to Housing Justice
Jaisal Noor
YES! Magazine
Racial Justice in Housing Finance: A Series on New Directions
Megan Haberle and Sophia House (Editors)
Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC)
Creating Community Controlled, Deeply Affordable Housing: A Resource Toolkit for Community Activists & Allied Community-Based Housing Developers
Peter Sabonis and Zachary Murray, et al.
Partners for Dignity & Rights
Facing History, Uprooting Inequality: A Path to Housing Justice in California
Amee Chew with Chione Lucina Muñoz Flegal
Black Families Pay Significantly Higher Property Taxes Than White Families, New Analysis Shows
Andrew Van Dam
The Washington Post
Fair Credit and Fair Housing in the Wake of the Subprime Lending and Foreclosure Crisis
Christy Rogers, Jason Reece, Jillian Olinger, Craig Ratchford, Mark Harris, Keischa Irons, et al.
Kirwan Institute
Home Mortgage and Small Business Lending in Baltimore and Surrounding Areas
National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC)
Mobile Justice: Why Race Matters
All Parks Alliance for Change
Underwater America: How the So-Called Housing Recovery is Bypassing Many Communities
Peter Dreier, Saqib Bhatti, Rob Call, Alex Schwartz, and Gregory Squires,
Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society

Housing Security, Eviction, and Homelessness

Neighborhoods, Segregation and Integration

It’s Time to Dismantle America’s Residential Caste System
Sheryll Cashin
Housing Discrimination
John Oliver
Dismantling White Privilege Starts with Undoing Racist Housing Policies
Andre M. Perry and Stuart Yasgur
What Is the Nature of Gentrification, Displacement, and Exclusion in Global Cities?
K. Chapple and T. Thomas
Urban Displacement Project (UDP), UC Berkeley
Separate and Unequal in D.C.: A Story of Race, Class and Washington Politics
Dax-Devlon Ross
Forefront, by Next City
The Cost of Segregation: The Steep Costs All of Us in the Chicago Region Pay By Living So Separately From Each Other
Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC); Urban Institute
Where Does the American Dream Live?
Scott Michels
Retro Report
How Many Gentrification Critics Are Actually Gentrifiers Themselves?
Emily Badger
Mapping Segregation in Washington DC
Mara Cherkasky, Sarah Jane Shoenfeld, and Brian Kraft
Segregated Spaces, Risky Places: The Effects of Racial Segregation on Health Inequalities
Thomas A. LaVeist, Darrell Gaskin, and Antonio J. Trujillo
Joint Center (JCPES)

Policy and Legislation

How Minneapolis Became the First to End Single-Family Zoning
Megan Thompson, Melanie Saltzman, et al.
Fair Chance Ordinances: An Advocate’s Toolkit
National Housing Law Project (NHLP)
Race and Policy: 50 Years after the Fair Housing Act
Vincent J. Reina and Susan Wachter et al.
Penn Institute for Urban Research (IUR)
Race and Redlining: Housing Segregation in Everything
Maria Paz Gutierrez, Gene Demby, and Kara Frame
NPR, Code Switch
Segregated by Design
Mark Lopez and Richard Rothstein
Silkworm Studio; YouTooCanWoo
State Preemption of Local Equitable Housing Policies
Local Solutions Support Center et al.
The Making of Ferguson: Public Policies at the Root of its Troubles
Richard Rothstein
Economic Policy Institute (EPI)
The Racial Origins of Zoning in American Cities
Christopher Silver
Transportation Policy Is Housing Policy
Stephen Menendian
Othering & Belonging Institute
What About Housing? A Policy Toolkit for Inclusive Growth
Robert Hickey, Zachary Murray, Stephanie Reyes, et al.
Grounded Solutions Network

“By itself, gentrification can’t explain the new geography of race that has emerged since the turn of the millennium... Gentrification is key to understanding what happened to our cities at the turn of the millennium. But it is only half of the story. It is only the visible side of the larger problem: resegregation.”

~ Jeff Chang, We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation


Housing Segregation and Redlining in America: A Short History – Code Switch, NPR

Also in this section:
  • Addressing Hate and White Supremacy

  • Criminal Justice

  • Education

  • Food Justice

  • Language Justice

  • Reparations

  • Voting Justice and Democracy Building

  • Children, Families, and Youth Development

  • Economic Development

  • Employment and Labor

  • Health and Healthcare

  • Media and Technology

  • Reproductive Justice

  • Community Planning: Land and Transportation

  • Economic Security

  • Environmental Justice

  • Immigration and Refugee Rights

  • Philanthropy

  • Trauma, Violence, and Healing



In the context of racial equity work, accountability refers to the ways in which individuals and communities hold themselves to their goals and actions, and acknowledge the values and groups to which they are responsible.

To be accountable, one must be visible, with a transparent agenda and process. Invisibility defies examination; it is, in fact, employed in order to avoid detection and examination. Accountability demands commitment. It might be defined as “what kicks in when convenience runs out.” Accountability requires some sense of urgency and becoming a true stakeholder in the outcome. Accountability can be externally imposed (legal or organizational requirements), or internally applied (moral, relational, faith-based, or recognized as some combination of the two) on a continuum from the institutional and organizational level to the individual level. From a relational point of view, accountability is not always doing it right. Sometimes it’s really about what happens after it’s done wrong.

SOURCE:  Accountability and White Anti-Racist Organizing: Stories from Our Work, Bonnie Berman Cushing with Lila Cabbil, Margery Freeman, Jeff Hitchcock, and Kimberly Richards (2010). 

Related Resources:  Accountability

Location: PLAN / Change Process

Black Lives Matter

A political movement to address systemic and state violence against African Americans. Per the Black Lives Matter organizers: “In 2013, three radical Black organizers—Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi—created a Black-centered political will and movement building project called #BlackLivesMatter. It was in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman. The project is now a member-led global network of more than 40 chapters. [Black Lives Matter] members organize and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.” 

SOURCE:  Black Lives Matter, “Herstory” (accessed 7 October 2019).


When people act to perpetuate oppression or prevent others from working to eliminate oppression. 

Example: Able-bodied people who object to strategies for making buildings accessible because of the expense.

SOURCE:  Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook, edited by Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell, and Pat Griffin (Routledge, 1997).

Institutional Racism

Institutional racism refers specifically to the ways in which institutional policies and practices create different outcomes for different racial groups. The institutional policies may never mention any racial group, but their effect is to create advantages for whites and oppression and disadvantage for people from groups classified as people of color.


  • Government policies that explicitly restricted the ability of people to get loans to buy or improve their homes in neighborhoods with high concentrations of African Americans (also known as “red-lining”).

  • City sanitation department policies that concentrate trash transfer stations and other environmental hazards disproportionately in communities of color.

SOURCE:  Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building by Maggie Potapchuk, Sally Leiderman, Donna Bivens, and Barbara Major (2005).

Related Resources:  Racism (scroll down alphabetically to the box for “Institutional Racism”)

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

Movement Building

Movement building is the effort of social change agents to engage power holders and the broader society in addressing a systemic problem or injustice while promoting an alternative vision or solution. Movement building requires a range of intersecting approaches through a set of distinct stages over a long-term period of time. Through movement building, organizers can:

  • Propose solutions to the root causes of social problems.

  • Enable people to exercise their collective power.

  • Humanize groups that have been denied basic human rights and improve conditions for the groups affected.

  • Create structural change by building something larger than a particular organization or campaign.

  • Promote visions and values for society based on fairness, justice, and democracy.

SOURCE:  Julie Quiroz-Martinez, From the Roots: Building the Power of Communities of Color to Challenge Structural Racism (Akonadi Foundation, 2010), citing the Movement Strategy Center, which offers these further definitions.

Related Resources:  Movement Building

Location: PLAN / Change Process


The systematic subjugation of one social group by a more powerful social group for the social, economic, and political benefit of the more powerful social group. Rita Hardiman and Bailey Jackson state that oppression exists when the following 4 conditions are found:

  • the oppressor group has the power to define reality for themselves and others,

  • the target groups take in and internalize the negative messages about them and end up cooperating with the oppressors (thinking and acting like them),

  • genocide, harassment, and discrimination are systematic and institutionalized, so that individuals are not necessary to keep it going, and

  • members of both the oppressor and target groups are socialized to play their roles as normal and correct.

Oppression = Power + Prejudice

SOURCE:  What Is Racism?” − Dismantling Racism Works (dRworks) web workbook.

Racial Inequity

Racial inequity is when two or more racial groups are not standing on approximately equal footing, such as the percentages of each ethnic group in terms of dropout rates, single family home ownership, access to healthcare, etc.

SOURCE:  Ibram X. Kendi, How To Be An Antiracist, Random House, 2019.

Racist Policies

A racist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between or among racial groups. Policies are written and unwritten laws, rules, procedures, processes, regulations, and guidelines that govern people. There is no such thing as a nonracist or race-neutral policy. Every policy in every institution in every community in every nation is producing or sustaining either racial inequity or equity between racial groups. Racist policies are also expressed through other terms such as “structural racism” or “systemic racism”. Racism itself is institutional, structural, and systemic.

SOURCE:  Ibram X. Kendi, How To Be An Antiracist, Random House, 2019.

Related Resources:  Laws and Policies

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / History of Racism and Movements

For specific topics, also see PLAN / Issues


States have a legal duty to acknowledge and address widespread or systematic human rights violations, in cases where the state caused the violations or did not seriously try to prevent them. Reparations initiatives seek to address the harms caused by these violations. They can take the form of compensating for the losses suffered, which helps overcome some of the consequences of abuse. They can also be future oriented—providing rehabilitation and a better life to victims—and help to change the underlying causes of abuse. Reparations publicly affirm that victims are rights-holders entitled to redress.

SOURCE:  International Center for Transitional Justice.

Related Resources:  Reparations

Location: PLAN / Issues

Structural Racism

  1. The normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics – historical, cultural, institutional, and interpersonal – that routinely advantage Whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color. Structural racism encompasses the entire system of White domination, diffused and infused in all aspects of society including its history, culture, politics, economics, and entire social fabric. Structural racism is more difficult to locate in a particular institution because it involves the reinforcing effects of multiple institutions and cultural norms, past and present, continually reproducing old and producing new forms of racism. Structural racism is the most profound and pervasive form of racism – all other forms of racism emerge from structural racism.

  2. For example, we can see structural racism in the many institutional, cultural, and structural factors that contribute to lower life expectancy for African American and Native American men, compared to white men. These include higher exposure to environmental toxins, dangerous jobs and unhealthy housing stock, higher exposure to and more lethal consequences for reacting to violence, stress, and racism, lower rates of health care coverage, access, and quality of care, and systematic refusal by the nation to fix these things.


  1. Chronic Disparity: Strong and Pervasive Evidence of Racial Inequalities by Keith Lawrence, Aspen Institute on Community Change, and Terry Keleher, Applied Research Center, for the Race and Public Policy Conference (2004).

  2. Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building by Maggie Potapchuk, Sally Leiderman, Donna Bivens, and Barbara Major (2005).

Related Resources:  Structural Racism

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

White Supremacy

The idea (ideology) that white people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of white people are superior to People of Color and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions. While most people associate white supremacy with extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis, white supremacy is ever present in our institutional and cultural assumptions that assign value, morality, goodness, and humanity to the white group while casting people and communities of color as worthless (worth less), immoral, bad, and inhuman and “undeserving.” Drawing from critical race theory, the term “white supremacy” also refers to a political or socio-economic system where white people enjoy structural advantage and rights that other racial and ethnic groups do not, both at a collective and an individual level.

SOURCE: “What Is Racism?” − Dismantling Racism Works (dRworks) web workbook.

Related Resources:  System of White Supremacy and White Privilege and Addressing Hate and White Supremacy

Locations: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts and PLAN / Issues