I was disheartened but not surprised to read about the Baltimore family that was denied a home refinancing loan as the result of a racially biased lowball appraisal (“Johns Hopkins professors sue real estate appraisal company over low valuation of Homeland property,” Aug. 19). Sadly, Baltimore, probably like many other cities, has a history dating back to the Great Depression of using “redlining” practices to identify typically black urban neighborhoods in which lenders were unlikely to provide mortgage financing.
“Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City,” a well-researched book by Antero Pietila, a former reporter and editorial writer for The Baltimore Sun, clearly documented how bigotry shaped Baltimore’s neighborhoods and not for the better. Unfortunately, discriminatory practices continue to disadvantage Black individuals in Baltimore and the U.S. For example, home buyers in predominantly Black communities pay higher mortgage interest rates than those in predominantly white communities and those living in predominantly Black neighborhoods also pay significantly higher risk-adjusted auto insurance premiums.
For anyone who would like to claim that systemic racism is no longer a problem in our country, reading the article about the Hopkins professors’ lawsuit provides a well-needed reality check.
— Beryl Rosenstein, M.D., Pikesville
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