Okay, so this is kind of concerning---federal data shows that last year in Santa Clara County 48% of all the second mortgages that were granted to Latino homeowners making over $135,000 a year were high-interest loans. In comparison only 20% of second-mortgages that were granted to Whites that made that much money or less were high interest.
Please keep in mind that this is Silicon Valley we’re talking about, an area that is not exactly known for overt racism. That’s the problem, it’s not overt, it’s subtle. Even now lenders are claiming that there is no correlation between the interest rate on a loan and the recipient’s race. They say that the interest rates on the loans sited were decided by the credit score of those applying. There’s no real way to verify this since the credit rating of those who got loans in 2004 was not part of the data that was collected by the feds. I might buy the credit rating argument if we were talking about a smaller discrepancy or if Whites with income below $88,000 were getting higher interest rates than Latinos who made $135,000 but that’s not the case. I have a hard time believing that 80% of the White homeowners in the Bay Area have good credit while 48% of their more financially prosperous Latino neighbor’s suffer from a poor credit scores. Something’s rotten in the state of Denmark folks.
We often dismiss racism as a thing of the past or something that only exists in the South. We don’t want to believe that it’s a major factor in the lives of well educated successful people. Sadly that’s not the reality. By the way, in case there are any African American’s who are feeling neglected by this blog please understand; there are so few of us who can afford to buy a home in Silicon Valley that there wasn’t sufficient data available to analyze. However if it makes you feel better it is true that if you were to lump all different kinds of loans together Blacks are almost six times more likely to get a high-interest loan then someone who’s White.
Herbert Hoover’s vice president Charles Curtis claimed that it is virtually impossible to be completely unprejudiced. He was quoted as saying, “Bias and prejudice are attitudes to be kept in hand, not attitudes to be avoided.”
I’d like to think that’s not true but I’m fairly sure that’s wishful thinking on my part. There are some who wonder why so many in the Black community are saying that the situation in New Orleans would have been different if the people who needed to be rescued were White. The reason so many minorities constantly cite discrimination as the basis for almost every social injustice they encounter is that approximately 60% of the time they’re right. Think about it, if you were to go to Vegas and you were told that 60% of the time the roulette ball falls on the number 30 you’d put your money on 30 every single time.
Of course you’d lose 40% of the time and that’s where minorities get themselves into trouble. There are so many real instances of racism that there is no need to fabricate incidents that don’t exist. Sometimes the police are pulling you over because you’re speeding, not because you’re Black, Brown or purple. Every time we scream “It’s because I’m (fill in the appropriate ethnicity)” and it’s not true we end up undermining all the real claims of racism out there. On the other hand the White community should understand that the ball legitimately lands on the racism number 60% of the time so we’re all a little jaded and yeah, we do sometimes see racism when it’s not there just because usually it is there.
I wish I could tell you I had an answer for this problem but if I did I would be running for office not writing chick lit. All I can say is that when the issue of race comes up it might not hurt to consider the above points before you speak, blame, judge or perhaps most importantly vote. And maybe, just maybe we can take our biases in hand and maybe just maybe if we get a firm enough grip we can crush them.
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