Friday, October 03, 2008

Calling a spade a spade

Mikaela says:
So sorry to have missed the online blow-by-blow session last night for the VP debate! I was listening to the debate while scouring a new house pre-move this weekend. Ugh.

Here's what's been bothering me in the last week in all the discussions of the economic crisis and the debate over the right response to it:

  • Where's the acknowledgment of racist lending practices that seemed to have surfaced and been accepted when the mortgage crisis was first in the news?
Does anyone else remember that? Banks weren't just predatory; individuals didn't just make bad choices, as Sarah Palin echoed last night. Banks were out-and-out racist in their lending practices, only offering minority families dangerous, high-interest loans. Because of the red-lining of many neighborhoods still affordable to minority homebuyers, if a minority family wanted to buy a home -- participate in the American dream -- they really didn't have a choice to just "buy a $100,000 home" that they actually could afford, as Palin so glibly chastised them last night.

It's not just Palin that talks this way but commentators, Congress, really everyone I've heard talk about the "trickle down" economic crisis that we're now in. It's as though we just can't bring ourselves to remember this little detail about our current pickle. It's real. It's systemic. It's about prejudice. It continues.

I feel that so much of the talk about solutions is so far beside the point because we refuse to address one of the key underlying problems. How much of that $700 billion bailout will go to retraining lenders and insurance companies to stop raising rates for families that aren't lilly white? Or rich? Or at the very least, creating provisions for accountability on that score?

These are the real questions; the rest is just beside-the-point sound and fury.