HOUSING DISCRIMINATION IN CALIFORNIA:

RESIDENTIAL SEGREGATION

By Sylvia Tavetian

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS

  • From 1960 until now, what changes have been seen in housing discrimination in Orange County?

  • Which races and identities have experienced the most discrimination?

INTRODUCTION

 

Orange County has always been a conservative area of California. Housing discrimination has been prevalent here because of the racist views of many of the residents. Realtors would refuse to sell to people who weren’t white and racial covenants on the houses restricted people of different races from moving in. Between the 1960s until now, many actions were taken to stop housing discrimination. My artifacts show different laws and acts that were passed to outlaw housing discrimination, court cases from people who were fighting against being discriminated, and rebellions against segregated neighborhoods.

 

Racial Covenant: An agreement placed on a land that restricts some races from being able to buy that land.

HISTORICAL ARTIFACTS

The California Fair Housing Act 1963/The Rumford Act (1963-1968)

QUOTE

"The California Fair Housing Act of 1963, better known as the Rumford Act (AB 1240) because of its sponsor, Assemblyman William Byron Rumford, was one of the most significant and sweeping laws protecting the rights of blacks and other people of color to purchase housing without being subjected to discrimination during the post-World War II period.  It was enacted in in response to weaknesses in earlier fair housing legislation in California; and evolved from a larger civil rights struggle that emerged over the movement to create a permanent Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC) at the state level between 1946 and 1959.” http://www.blackpast.org/aaw/california-fair-housing-act-rumford-act-1963-1968#sthash.NWYnsVLu.dpuf

“Proposition 14 1964

 

California Proposition 14 was on the November 3, 1964 ballot in California as an initiated constitutional amendment, where it was approved. Proposition 14 was later invalidated in the courts as unconstitutional. Proposition 14 was a repeal of the Rumford Fair Housing Act, which the California State Legislature passed in 1963. California Proposition 14, Right to Decline to Sell or Rent Residential Real Estate (1964)”

DESCRIPTION

The California Fair Housing Act, or Rumford Act, was to end racial discrimination in housing. There were some people who were not is support of this, which led to Proposition 14. Proposition 14 was led by the California Real Estate Association. It was to repeal the Rumford Fair Housing Act. It passed with 2-1 votes. Eventually, the Rumford Act passed because Proposition 14 was illegal and went against the 14th Amendment. Even though this was supposed to make housing fair and equal and would make segregation in housing illegal, it still continues, to this day.

Shelley v. Kraemer (1948)

DESCRIPTION

This is case from 1948 was won by Thurgood Marshall. He also won Brown v. Board of Education, which made separate but equal education illegal because it was segregation. This case is from Missouri, but it was a Federal Government agreement, which made it apply to every state. It decided that racial covenants were a violation of the Federal Constitution and could not be used in real estate. This is an important case in housing discrimination.

Watts Rebellion

August 11 - 16, 1965

QUOTE

“While deploring the riots and their use of violence, King was quick to point out that the problems that led to the violence were ‘environmental and not racial. The economic deprivation, social isolation, inadequate housing, and general despair of thousands of Negroes teeming in Northern and Western ghettos are the ready seeds which give birth to tragic expressions of violence’” http://kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/encyclopedia/enc_watts_rebellion_los_angeles_1965/

 

DESCRIPTION

The Watts Rebellion was in response to the arrest of Marquette Frye. He was a 21-year old black male who was arrested for drunk driving in the Watts neighborhood in Los Angeles. He was forcibly arrested and when his family tried to protect him, they were all arrested. This caused riots to start in Watts. These riots show how segregation in neighborhoods can lead to stereotypes and discriminatory treatment from police. Watts did not provide adequate public services for the people. They were already upset from being treated unfairly, and when Marquette Frye was arrested, people got angry.

Cal Gov Code 12955

Enacted 1943

QUOTE

“It shall be unlawful: (a) For the owner of any housing accommodation to discriminate against or harass any person because of the race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status, source of income, disability, or genetic information of that person. (b) For the owner of any housing accommodation to make or to cause to be made any written or oral inquiry concerning the race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status, disability, or genetic information of any person seeking to purchase, rent, or lease any housing accommodation. (c) For any person to make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a housing accommodation that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status, source of income, disability, or genetic information or an intention to make that preference, limitation, or discrimination. (d) For any person subject to the provisions of Section 51 of the Civil Code, as that section applies to housing accommodations, to discriminate against any person on the basis of sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, color, race, religion, ancestry, national origin, familial status, marital status, disability, genetic information, source of income, or on any other basis prohibited by that section. Selection preferences based on age, imposed in connection with a federally approved housing program, do not constitute age discrimination in housing.

(e) For any person, bank, mortgage company or other financial institution that provides financial assistance for the purchase, organization, or construction of any housing accommodation to discriminate against any person or group of persons because of the race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status, source of income, disability, or genetic information in the terms, conditions, or privileges relating to the obtaining or use of that financial assistance.”

 

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=GOV&sectionNum=12955

 

DESCRIPTION

This is Article Two of Title Two from the California Government Code. Title Two was made in 1943, but Article Two was made in 1980. It was last amended in 2011. This article states many important laws such as not denying anyone access in a bank or “financial institution” based on race, gender, religion, etc. However, what is interesting about this document is that it was last amended in 2011, which shows that there are still problems with discrimination in housing.

 

DESCRIPTION

The Watts Rebellion was in response to the arrest of Marquette Frye. He was a 21-year old black male who was arrested for drunk driving in the Watts neighborhood in Los Angeles. He was forcibly arrested and when his family tried to protect him, they were all arrested. This caused riots to start in Watts. These riots show how segregation in neighborhoods can lead to stereotypes and discriminatory treatment from police. Watts did not provide adequate public services for the people. They were already upset from being treated unfairly, and when Marquette Frye was arrested, people got angry.

ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEWS

May 4th, 2017, Orange, CA, Robert Johnson

- “There was only one other country with a higher ratio of discrimination, but Orange County was number two so you can see that Orange County was extremely conservative and very racist” (19:43).

- “Back in the 60s it’d take you ten places to find a house in an integrated neighborhood all white, and I say all white because most people in Orange County were white, and now I would say the reverse is true, you could go to ten places and get ten offers, and maybe one out of ten would discriminate” (39:29).

- “We don’t get as many cases with regard to race anymore because its easier for Black people to find housing on their own, there’s more people that are discriminated against for having children or having handicaps. Handicaps is one of the larger ones” (41:34).

- “Oh I think it will make a difference but were not going to know for a while, I mean Trump’s father was a very typical, people that owned apartments that owned apartments in Chicago, and discriminated all the time, but that was true of most people, I mean most owners discriminated” (56:08).

The first quote talks about when Orange County was voting on Proposition 14. Robert Johnson was telling me how Orange County was 3-1 in favor of Proposition 14, which would stop the Rumford Act. He was saying how racist Orange County was. The second quote is about how in the 60s, it took about ten houses to finally find one that would not discriminate against a race. Now it is about one in ten houses discriminates. The third quote is about how now more houses discriminate against a family that has children against a handicap. Race is not as high up as these are. The fourth quote is about how Donald Trump’s father discriminated against race while he was selling apartments. I asked if with our president, it might show more discrimination in housing and Robert Johnson said that because of his father, we might. These quotes all show how discrimination has changed over the years. They also show how discrimination is still around.

 

ANALYSIS

This interview was interesting because even though it was told from a white male’s perspective, it had many stories and the interviewee had first hand experience. Robert Johnson has worked with many people who were discriminated against when buying a house. He knows the people well and knows about how they were discriminated against. This is what makes the interview a peoples’ history perspective. It includes the stories of those who were part of it. The stories he told show what they did when they were discriminated. Robert Johnson talked about the laws passed and the people who got the laws to pass. This is good because it includes the people that history sometimes does not talk about. It is important to hear the stories of those who see discrimination. This gives us a way to try to understand it and learn about it. He had many stories from his job and from when the Rumford Act and Proposition 14 were being passed. He has the perspective of someone who watched this all happen. The answers all had stories with them which helped me to understand them better. This challenges dominant narratives because he worked with people who were discriminated against. He saw acts get passed that were not going to help discrimination and he saw acts get passed that were going to prevent discrimination. If he had not seen these, he would not have known these people and would not have had the stories to tell me. He has done his work in Orange so it was interesting to learn about the area that we are in. The stories he told me were about housing discrimination in Orange and how the acts that were passed changed Orange. It was so interesting to hear about his work and all that he has done with these people.

CREATIVE ARTIFACT

I have made an arrow out of photographs from housing discrimination protests or signs that show housing discrimination. The arrow shows how we should move forward from housing discrimination. We need to not go back to times when people were discriminated against when buying a house. It is important to remember how we made this illegal and how hard it was to get there. We need to look forward and work to not let anyone be discriminated against when buying a house. Social justice teaching can help society move forward. Students should be taught about this time and why these people felt the way they did. They should be taught about those who were discriminated against and what they did to stop housing discrimination. It is important that they learn about the perspectives of those who were discriminated against so they can understand what these people were seeing.

  • Facebook Clean
  • Twitter Clean
  • Flickr Clean