Housing Discrimination Explained by a Comic Strip

A comic strip succeeds in presenting the complex history of redlining and housing discrimination.

1 minute read

September 29, 2017, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Jamie Hibdon and Sarah Mirk have created an online comic strip that illustrates the entire history of housing discrimination in the United States.

The comic strip starts in May 2017 (in case there was any doubt that housing discrimination isn't still prevalent in contemporary America), with an anecdote about how the city of Philadelphia sued the banking giant Wells Fargo over discriminatory mortgage loans. Philadelphia wasn't the only city to sue Wells Fargo earlier this year, as the comic strip notes.

The comic's discussion of contemporary practices soon makes way for an explanation of the historic legacy of housing discrimination. Specifically and clearly, the comic strip tells the story of redlining, which got its start during the Great Depression as a result of the federal government's Home Owners' Loan Corporation.

The conclusion drawn by this clear and colorful example of visualization: racial segregation in American cities didn't happen by accident. "Segregation was systematically created and sustained by federal housing policy."

The comic strip acknowledges its references to a book released in 2017 by historian Richard Rothstein, titled The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America.

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