Red Lining, Gentrification & Gerrymandering Shaping Grand Rapids

The Civil Rights movement happened, thank goodness…according to text books and laws in the 1960’s. But it’s very clear that the civil rights movement needs to continue moving.

It’s a red tape war, for the most part, at this point. And it’s the laziest most subtle offensive actions taken through employees of institutions. Red lining was a term coined in the 60’s by a community activist named John McKnight.

McKnight was looking back from the 60’s into the pits of the 1930’s when,

“The government-sponsored Home redliningOwner’s Loan Corporation first drafted maps of American communities to sort through which ones were worthy of mortgage lending. Neighborhoods were ranked and color-coded, and the D-rated ones — shunned for their “inharmonious” racial groups — were typically outlined in red,” wrote Emily Bagar for the Washington Post in her article Redling: Still A Thing. 


Redlining is “the practice of denying services, either directly or through selectively raising prices, to residents of certain areas based on the racial or ethnic makeups of those areas.”

As in, those red areas were CREATED on purpose by the MEDIA, GOVERNMENT and FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS. I’m burning red.

Rightfully, people got really angry about these practices that put them at a great, a greater and greater disadvantage. Boiling up in 1967, there was a (a lot of) race riot(s) in Grand Rapids. The spark that time: white officers pulling over black youth in their car and accusing them of stealing it, and eye witnesses say they used excessive force. Is any force necessary?

The news the next day called the youth a “S. Divison Gang” and don’t mention that part, see grievance of first intensity #1 below. An editorial says, “There must be no compromising with the forces of disorder.”

Nearly 50 Years Later…Let Us Name The Force Of Disorder (Systematic Oppression) Appropriately.redlining

That spark started a wildfire…when over 320 arrests were made in 1967 in a 2 day period…July 25th-July 27th 1967…imagine how many families that affected…The news talked about the lack of male role models as the reason for the “inharmonious” youth…sound familiar?…to the 1930’s…to today? School-to-Prison-Pipeline, everyone.

In a block between 131, Wealthy, Lafayette and Hall…still a predominately black residential area…people spoke up for their rights; as known as a riot. Were they heard? Can we hear them, please?

The Kerner Report listed their grievances, an excerpt saying, “Our Nation Is Moving Toward Two Societies, One Black, One White—Separate and Unequal” Read more details here…And here are the grievances.

Critical thinking caps on…Could that be a viable grievance today?

  • First Level of Intensity:

1. Police practices

2. Unemployment and underemployment

3. Inadequate housing

  • Second Level of Intensity:

1. Inadequate education

2. Poor recreational facilities and programs

3. Ineffectiveness of the political structure and grievance mechanisms

  • Third Level of Intensity:

1. Disrespectful white attitudes

2. Discriminatory administration of justice

3. Inadequacy of federal programs

4. Inadequacy of municipal services

5. Discriminatory consumer and credit practices

6. Inadequate welfare programs

Grievances Heard..The Fair Housing Act of 1968…But Not Solved…Progress Is Slow

And Steady. It basically made Red Lining illegal. Read about the Fair Housing Act of 1968 here…

Todd Robinson wrote this book called A City Within A City, which explains a portion of this history in Grand Rapids much better than summarized here.

Jeff Smith, writting for the GRID (Grand Rapids Institute For Information Democracy, said, “The sophistication of Managerial Racism in Grand Rapids allowed those in power to take action that was presented as racial reconciliation, but was just another way on maintaining the White Supremacist power structure.”

Today Managerial Racism, Red Tape Barriers To Opportunity, in Grand Rapids Is Alive and Well…

I’m seeing red. 

Green light: Click Here For FAIR Assistance In Getting Home, Sweet Home. 

Leave a comment