Opinion: To Overcome Segregation in Dallas, Look to the Past

A frank assessment of past policy wrongdoings is necessary to overcome inequality in the city.
November 20, 2018, 10am PST | Camille Fink
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Miguel Solis reflects on segregation in Dallas today and advocates for a broader view of the causes and for more proactive solutions. He references the recent North Texas Regional Housing Assessment, which reports that Dallas has extreme racial and economic segregation. In addition, the city is struggling with a lack of affordable housing, poverty, and inadequate access to quality healthcare, transportation, and educational services.

Solis says focusing on factors like the housing market and banking and real estate industry practices is a mistake. "Rather, racial residential segregation was a direct and intended consequence of state actions at all levels of our government. Explicit racial zoning policies, deeply flawed urban planning, federally subsidized housing and mortgage discrimination, and many other tools were deployed to engineer today's Dallas," he says. 

Solis points to an important first step in changing course: an honest assessment of how Dallas got to where it is today. He urges readers to use Richard Rothstein’s book "The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America" as a guide for the future.

"Rothsteins’s invaluable, unfiltered look at how our government segregated America is a description of specific, man-made decisions that produced today's neighborhoods, and it forecasts what can be done to reverse their effects," says Solis.

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Published on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 in The Dallas Morning News
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