Things That Matter

Chase Bank Sued For Discriminating Against Black And Latino Customers

In one of its final moves, the Obama administration hit JPMorgan Chase & Co. with a one-two punch in the form of two discrimination lawsuits: one for discriminating against black and Latino mortgage borrowers and another for discriminating against their own female employees.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the largest bank in the nation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., alleging that from 2006 to 2009 it discriminated against African Americans and Latinos by charging them higher mortgage interest rates and fees when compared to “similarly situated white borrowers.”

According to Bloomberg, on average, black borrowers paid $1,126 more in fees while Latinos paid an average of $968 more in fees when compared to white customers.

JPMorgan spokesperson Elizabeth Seymour said, “We’ve agreed to settle these legacy allegations that relate to pricing set by independent brokers. We deny any wrongdoing and remain committed to providing equal access to credit.” They settled on the same day the lawsuit was filed.

The second lawsuit against the bank was filed by the Labor Department and claims that 93 female tech employees were paid lower wages than their non-female counterparts. JPMorgan Chase & Co. isn’t settling in this case and says that they’re looking forward to getting their evidence in front of “a neutral decision maker,” which is just another way of saying, “see you in court.”

Click here to find out more about the lawsuits filed against JPMorgan Chase & Co.


READ: This Bank Was Hoping Wronged Latino Immigrants Couldn’t And Wouldn’t Speak Up

Don’t forget to give that share button below a one-two punch before you go. 

Recruiter Told Oklahoma Students To Line Up By Skin Color And ‘Nappiest’ Hair

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Recruiter Told Oklahoma Students To Line Up By Skin Color And ‘Nappiest’ Hair

KFOR/ Twitter

There’s a lot to learn from college officials and recruiters, including how ignorant the world can be.

According to recent reports, a recruiter for an Oklahoma Christian college was fired after directing students at a high school in Oklahoma to line themselves up by the color of their skin as well as how “nappy” to “straight” their hair was.

During a visit to Harding Charter Preparatory, the unidentified white recruiter had teachers in tears.

According to KFOR-TV, the recruiter from Oklahoma Christian University went to the school last Monday and upset teachers so much that some of them were int ears.

“He was like, ‘Let’s play a little game,’” one 11th-grade student told KFOR-TV in an interview about the recruiter. “He said, ‘Okay everyone, now line up from darkest to lightest skin complexion.’ ”

According to the station, the recruiter never gave an explanation about his request and he also told students to order themselves by kinkiest hair.

“He told us nappiest hair in the back and straighter hair in the front,” another student from the high school told KFOR-TV. “Teachers left. They were crying because they were offended. It’s just horrible.”

Since the incident, the recruiter has been fired from the university.

In a statementto KFORTV, the university confirmed the firing saying “OC admissions leadership did not approve the inappropriate activity in advance and has communicated closely with Harding administration since the visit. Admissions staff are scheduled to visit the academy Monday to apologize to Harding students and staff on behalf of the University.”

In a separate statement about the incident Harding Charter Prep’s principal, Steven Stefanick called the recruiters actions “inappropriate and hurtful” and said that it left everyone “stunned and distraught. “Over the years, we have had a strong relationship with the university and have never encountered events as such,” he wrote in a Facebook statement.

Trump Is Dismantling Obama-Era Rules Prohibiting Discrimination In Federal Housing Policy

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Trump Is Dismantling Obama-Era Rules Prohibiting Discrimination In Federal Housing Policy

Unsplash

There have been a few constants in Donald Trump’s administration that will always be remembered with fear and an uncanny feeling of uneasiness by Latino communities and by immigrants in general. The travel ban imposed on citizens from countries of Muslim majority, the constant raids that ICE has been involved in, family separations at the border, the famous Wall, the pressure that the White House has put on Mexico to stop Central American migrant caravans at the Guatemala-Mexico border… the list is painfully long.

Another constant regarding immigration and the Trump years is POTUS’ seemingly unmovable desire to reverse Barack Obama’s major changes to immigrant rights. Well now, a mere few months from the 2020 presidential campaign, the Trump administration is taking a step that will make Brown and Black populations feel even more vulnerable. 

Trump intends to reverse Barack Obama’s anti-discrimination housing rules.

Credit: Unsplash

This would be a terrible blow for diversity. Obama’s rules blocked banks from denying loans based on race or ethnicity, and cities from segregating people experiencing financial hardship. 

But what are the changes being made by the Trump administration exactly?

Credit: Don Freidberg / Flickr

The changes are being spearheaded by Ben Carson, Housing Secretary and former presidential hopeful. As Politico reports, Carson is “ moving to scrap an Obama policy withholding federal funds from cities if they don’t address segregation”. Politico also emphasized that, additionally, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau “has proposed cutting back on collecting data that helps track discrimination in the mortgage market.”

This basically means that speculators and city planners would have free reign on how neighbourhoods are laid out in terms of racial, financial and cultural background. Investors can benefit projects that cater for outsiders instead of local populations, further contributing to gentrification. Carson has said that Obama’s strengthening of the Fair Housing Law ended up “actually suffocating investment in some of our most distressed neighborhoods.”

The problem is the nature of said investment and whether it forces underprivileged communities out due to escalating prices in real estate, rent and basic commodities. Shaun Donovan, who worked on the Obama administration’s approach to housing, wrote in a New York Times editorial that“housing plays a key role in advancing economic opportunity and closing the wealth gap between people of color and white Americans. African-Americans and Latinos have less than one-tenth and one-eighth, respectively, of the household wealth of white Americans, and homeownership remains the largest source of wealth-building for most families”. Taking this into account, it is fair to say that any changes to how discrimination of prevented will have a considerable impact on the true inclusion of Black and Brown communities and individuals in the American economy. 

Trump officials say these measures are an intention to cut red tape, but they could spell doom for diversity.

Credit: The Bronx Beat

The administration argues that these changes are meant to facilitate a swifter process for developers and for cities, who would be able to bypass obstacles for construction projects. But these obstacles are there for a reason! And this reason is diversity. Democrats and activists are getting up in arms. Lisa Rice, president and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, has said: “They’re trying to eliminate the ability to enforce fair housing. They do not want to promote fair housing. They do not want to eliminate the vestiges of discrimination.”

Historically, U.S. cities have been ghettoized and during the Obama administration some of the policies that allowed this system to be perpetuated were given a second look, and in some cases reversed. 

Changes to Fair Housing Laws could spell even lower levels of homeownership among minorities.

Credit: Pixabay

Activists say that the Trump Administration is ignoring the fact that there is discimination in real estate and housing, and that pretending that race has nothing to do with this is dangerous and irresponsible. And the levels of home ownership among historically vulnerable communities is presenting a downhill trend. As Politico reports:“The white rate [of home ownership] is about 73 percent, compared with a little under 43 percent among black people.”

Legal experts think that the changes proposed by Trump and Carson are undermining the capacity of minorities to actually be able to afford places in their own neighborhoods. Thomas Silverstein of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law,Y told Politico: “I think there’s an effort by this administration to narrow the scope and the sort of meaning of civil rights protections so there’s just a hollowed-out husk of what’s actually protected”.