Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home

Anita Hill. Beacon, $25.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-8070-1437-0
Hill (Speaking Truth to Power) addresses the prime mortgage debacle, specifically how "[o]wning a home, and thus acquiring this piece of the American Dream has become increasingly difficult for people of color and single women," and presents an indictment of subprime and predatory lending. Hill looks at the influence of the OYOH (Own Your Own Home) campaigns of the early 1930s and at the role of government and private developers in impeding black home ownership, even as "home became a powerful symbol of race and gender advancement, the great signifier of our belonging and independence." The experiences of two women (one in Los Angeles, the other in Baltimore) link race to both "the gender dynamics of subprime lending practices that enabled the spread of predatory loans" and to law as a "string of lawsuits [are] filed against banks" by civic entities (e.g., Illinois, Baltimore). The unanswered "pivotal question for all of us" remains: "What can our leaders do to ensure that the home remains an integral and achievable part of the American Dream?" Hill calls for a "Home Summit," a public conversation about the housing crisis, its impact on communities, and its effect on achieving equality. Her book, lucid about law, lively with smatterings of history and reminders of cultural markers, may open that conversation. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
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