The Color of Law expands upon and provides a national perspective on Rothstein’s recent work that has documented the history of state-sponsored residential segregation, as in his report, The Making of Ferguson.
In the book, Rothstein writes, “We have created a caste system in this country, with African-Americans kept exploited and geographically separate by racially explicit government policies,” he writes. “Although most of these policies are now off the books, they have never been remedied and their effects endure.”
“One of the great strengths of Rothstein’s account is the sheer weight of evidence he marshals. A research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, he quite simply demolishes the notion that government played a minor role in creating the racial ghettos that plague our suburbs and inner cities.”
Writes the NYT, “In his preface, Rothstein writes that America has a constitutional obligation to remedy de jure segregation in housing, and that its story must be told. While the road forward is far from clear, there is no better history of this troubled journey than “The Color of Law.”
Speaking with Terry Gross “The segregation of our metropolitan areas today leads … to stagnant inequality, because families are much less able to be upwardly mobile when they’re living in segregated neighborhoods where opportunity is absent,” Rothstein says. “If we want greater equality in this society, if we want a lowering of the hostility between police and young African-American men, we need to take steps to desegregate.”
Also in May 2017, Ta-Nehisi Coates, national correspondent for The Atlantic interviewed Rothstein.
“Rothstein persuasively debunks many contemporary myths about racial discrimination. He goes after, for instance, the resilient misconception that racial separation was only government policy in the Jim Crow South, and that black entrants into neighborhoods cause white homeowners’ property values to fall. In one powerful section on zoning policies, Rothstein traces how hazardous waste sites were concentrated in segregated black neighborhoods. The episode mirrors the displacement of black families by urban renewal and interstate highway construction in mid-20th century.”
The Color of Law is available online from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, along with other booksellers.