by James A. Bacon
Oh, brother, here we go again… Of the 14,700 mortgage applications submitted by black Virginians last year, 11.9% were turned down, reports the Virginia Mercury. By contrast, of the 70,400 applications from non-Hispanic whites, only 5% were rejected. The difference in acceptance rates cannot be attributed solely to differences in income, says the online publication. Racial disparities in loan denial rates exist at almost every income level.
The Mercury article does not state explicitly that the gap in rejection rates is attributable to racism, bias or discrimination, but it frames the issue as if it is. The article provides this assessment from Alex Guzmán, director of fair housing for the nonprofit group Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia:
In light of the protests triggered by the death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, the latest [Home Mortgage Disclosure Act] numbers take on added meaning because “homeownership is probably the most powerful way to rectify the racial wealth gap.”
And this from Bruce Whitehurst, president of the Virginia Bankers Association:
Speaking for myself as a non-Hispanic White, we have to think a lot more about why the differences are there. I just think we’re at this place where we need to address the structural issues. And I think it’s fair for anyone in the Black community to say, ‘What took you so long to figure out what we’ve known for a long time?’”
As always with racial disparities = racial discrimination stories, there is a lot less to these numbers than meets the eye. Indeed, if there is a guilty party involved, it is the media, in this case the Virginia Mercury, which cherry picks data to push a left-wing Oppression Narrative that can serve only to inflame African-Americans’ sense of grievance and victimhood, and, thereby, discourage blacks from seeking mortgage financing! Continue reading