“A Raisin in the Sun” and Discriminatory Housing Essay


Read the 2013 NY Times article (https://nyti.ms/ZIsXRM) “Discrimination in Housing Against Nonwhites Persists Quietly, U.S. Study Finds” which discusses the present state and persistence of housing discrimination in the United States.

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Shaila Dewan, reporting several studies based on undercover investigations, finds that the United States has yet to achieve real equity in housing. Black couples and white couples seeking properties to rent or buy continue to receive unequal treatment.

According to Shaun Donovan, secretary of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, “Although we’ve come a long way from the days of blatant, in-your-face housing injustice, discrimination still persists.”

Key Question: Do we all have the right to buy a home of our own, wherever we want?

Write a 600-word essay in which you discuss and analyze the following questions. (Use MLA format, signal phrases, and in-text citations.):

(1) What strategy does Lindner use in order to persuade the Youngers to accept the association’s proposal? What is appealing about his argument? What is offensive about his suggestion? How does Walter respond to his efforts? Why do you think Walter responds as he does?

(2)What forms of housing discrimination persist today, according to a recent study discussed in the article? How has housing discrimination changed since 1977? What justifications do you think people use to defend and continue such practices? How would you compare a real estate agent today who doesn’t show an African-American family a house for sale in a white neighborhood with Lindner and the neighborhood association in “Raisin”? How have things changed? How have they remained the same?

(3)How does the social and racial context in which housing discrimination occurs today compare with the circumstances in which the Youngers experience it? Why, for example, do the Youngers want to get out of their apartment and move to a house in Clybourne Park? What specifically about the house and the neighborhood of Clybourne Park is attractive to the Youngers? What does the play suggest are the reasons that they buy a house outside of “their own community”? Do you think people today are still drawn to homes outside of “their own community” for similar reasons?

(4)Walter Younger’s life insurance policy represents a substantial financial windfall for the
Youngers. Mama’s decision to use some of that money to buy a home in Clybourne Park represents the classic realization of the American dream. Use the article on housing discrimination to consider how achieving the American dream by purchasing a home can be complicated by race. Why, according to the article, is it more difficult for some to achieve this dream? And what kinds of long-term economic effects does housing discrimination have, according to the article?

(5)As the article explains, housing discrimination has been the subject of several studies over the years by the federal government through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Why do you think the federal government would study housing discrimination? What do you think is significant about the results of the research? What, if anything, do you think the government should do based on the results?

(6)Why do you think housing discrimination existed in the American past? Why do you think housing discrimination continues today? What do you think the existence of housing discrimination says about contemporary American society? Do you think we all should have the right to buy a home of our own, wherever we want? What do you think should be done to ensure that right?

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