Gene Slater, "Free to Discriminate: How Realtors Conspired to Segregate Housing and Divide America" (Heyday Books, 2021)

39:48
 
Share
 

Manage episode 302249682 series 2421427
By Marshall Poe. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Gene Slater's book Free to Discriminate: How Realtors Conspired to Segregate Housing and Divide America (Heyday Books, 2021) uncovers realtors' definitive role in segregating America and shaping modern conservative thought. Gene Slater follows this story from inside the realtor profession, drawing on many industry documents that have remained unexamined until now. His book traces the increasingly aggressive ways realtors justified their practices, how they successfully weaponized the word "freedom" for their cause, and how conservative politicians have drawn directly from realtors' rhetoric for the past several decades. Much of this story takes place in California, and Slater demonstrates why one of the very first all-white neighborhoods was in Berkeley, and why the state was the perfect place for Ronald Reagan's political ascension.

The hinge point in this history is Proposition 14, a largely forgotten but monumentally important 1964 ballot initiative. Created and promoted by California realtors, the proposition sought to uphold housing discrimination permanently in the state's constitution, and a vast majority of Californians voted for it. This vote had explosive consequences--ones that still inform our deepest political divisions today--and a true reckoning with the history of American racism requires a closer look at the events leading up to it. Freedom to Discriminate shatters preconceptions about American segregation, and it connects many seemingly disparate aspects of the nation's history in a novel and galvanizing way.

Stephen Pimpare is director of the Public Service & Nonprofit Leadership program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/public-policy

968 episodes