Two misguided left-wing theories of housing discrimination collide

The Washington Post reports on a suit in federal court alleging that policies instituted by the District of Columbia government to attract younger, more affluent professionals to poor, African-American neighborhoods discriminate against poor and working-class Blacks who have lived there for generations. The city stands accused of breaking up “close-knit” black communities.

The policies challenged were undertaken pursuant to D.C.’s “New Communities” program, initiated to turn aging public housing complexes into mixed-income developments. The idea was to “economically integrate” neighborhoods. With encouragement from and incentives provided by the city, developers and business owners constructed apartment towers, renovated row houses and opened restaurants, coffee houses and bars that catered to a younger, more affluent breed of Washingtonian.

The lawsuit alleges that these policies are “classist, racist, and ageist.” Although the result of the policies so far has been to integrate neighborhoods, the plaintiffs say that the intent was to “re-segregate black communities into white upper class and creative class communities.”

The left, though, supports government action to create mixed-income communities. More than that, it claims that the failure to create them violates fair housing law because it discriminates against Blacks, who are said to need white neighbors and businesses to escape from poverty. That’s the thrust of the Obama administration’s “Affirmative Furthering Fair Housing” rule (AFFH).

Is it race discrimination to break up close-knit black neighborhoods by encouraging an economic and racial mixture? Or is it race discrimination not to promote/mandate the creation of such neighborhoods?

I don’t think both can be race discrimination. Indeed, I don’t think either is. Race discrimination in housing is when people aren’t allowed to buy properties they can afford because of their skin color. Nothing more.