The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Evanston’s Meager “Reparations”

Mar 29, 2021

The Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois passed a bill to pay out “reparations” to some of its black residents. Black people who lived in Evanston between 1919 and 1969, or the descendants of those who did, or who can prove they experienced housing discrimination after that date, can get grants of up to $25,000 to help with mortgage costs, a down payment, or home improvements.

The Evanston city council admits that discriminatory realtors and the city government forced black residents into a ghetto neighborhood. True enough!

But how will $25,000 housing grants change that? According to Zillow, the average home in Evanston costs $432,000. If it were $25,000 less—“only” $407,000—would homes suddenly be affordable?

In fact, these grants are designed to keep the black population in Evanston—the city council admits as much. If it works, this will mostly mean keeping black residents in that same ghetto neighborhood, where housing is cheaper. These black workers, after all, provide a low-wage workforce for Northwestern University and the businesses that surround it.