When A Bumper Sticker Just Isn’t Enough


It has an educational achievement gap at the very bottom of the national pile.

It’s on track to have its worst year for violent crime in a generation.

The gap between haves and have nots is daunting; crossing 394 between Kenwood and the North Side, or driving up Washington from the posh North Loop to Near North, is a little like crossing the Berlin Wall in 1974.

The public class is governing like Lewis Carrol’s Mad Queen is teaching a sophomore-level poli sci “laboratory” experiment – focused on bikeability and ramming trains down horse-and-carriage sized streets and telling the subjects public safety is a “privilege”.

Its downtown is decimated by Covid, its formerly stellar entertainment districts cowed by Covid and jittery from spasms of hooliganism and violence.

It’s ruling class can’t be bothered with any of that, other than chanting it’s all Trump’s fault.

But what can they do?

Virtue-signal about policies that went out of favor sixty years ago:

…where “do something” is the homeowners equivalent of putting a bumpersticker on their car.

For decades some Minnesotans added language to their property deeds barring future sales to people of color.

Two new initiatives hope to raise awareness of these racially restrictive covenants and their impact, get them removed and also raise money to increase Black homeownership in the city. And it starts one lawn sign at a time.

It’s true – these were parts of covenents in deeds, and some deeds may still have some of that language tucked away…

…over seventy years after they became illegal and unenforceable, in 1948.

The article points out, correctly, that at one point those covenants did at one point affect where populations were able and allowed to settle.

And it’s intellectually honest to note that demography takes forever to change organically – Saint Louis Park or Highland Park haven’t been semi-formal “Jewish Ghettoes” since well before World War II, and yet both still retain elements of that history.

It’s also intellectually honest to note that the demography that was forced by the covenants has been reinforced for decades, now, not by property covenants, but by the two-tiered public school system with the lower tier reserved for poor kids; by a social welfare state that uses the inner city as a warehouse for the poor; by welfare policies that have encouraged the breakdown of all families, but with the black family leading the fall.

“It starts……”

And, let’s be honest, stops, unless those wealthy progs want to change the system they own.

Or give their property away.

Otherwise, it’s just another, bigger, more expensive bumper sticker.

19 thoughts on “When A Bumper Sticker Just Isn’t Enough

  1. Americans who survived The Great Depression wanted houses
    They needed loans to buy The American Dream.
    Lenders refused to lend without federal government guarantee.
    Restrictive covenants ensured neighborhoods held their value
    The feds refused to guarantee loans without restrictive covenants
    The feds insisted on restrictive covenants to keep Blacks out
    Developers placed restrictive covenants because it was the only way Americans could get government-backed loans to buy houses.

    Those feds were Democrats — FDR and Truman.

  2. I always thought that racial covenants existed to prevent real estate sharpies from engaging in “block busting.”
    Anyways, no one is stopping these Karens from atonong for their racial guilt by giving their home to a deserving black family.
    Just leave me out of their psychodrama.

  3. I don’t know about you, but a parts sticker (from a part I did not have) on my car added at least 50hp. It is all perception, and these idiots live in a fantasy, pretend world.

  4. Two questions. The first is why couldn’t blacks take advantage of the covenant restrictions to create black neighborhoods that keep white (liberals) out?

    The other is why are covenant restrictions, in and of themselves, bad? Creating and maintaining safe, secure neighborhoods with people who trust, if not know, each other should be considered a good thing, yes? I mean, I visited The Hill in St Louis some years ago and while we were waiting to get into a neighborhood restaurant, a group of neighborhood kids came over and talked to us; they wanted to show us their new puppy. They talked to strangers with no fear or concern. When I asked one of St Louis natives about this, he said, that all the houses around us had eyes on us and those kids and had we done anything untoward to those kids, we’d be sorry. Why is this a bad thing?

  5. jpa:
    That’s hilarious. I remember when I was in high school and because I was a gear head already, you didn’t have a cool car unless you had a bunch of performance parts stickers on it. Further, even if you had 20 stickers on your ride, one of them better be STP.

  6. JDM – the thinking at the time (1930’s) was that allowing Blacks into the neighborhood would result in decreased property values, which would reduce the value of collateral pledged for loans, which would jeapordize the security of loans putting lenders and guarantors at risk.

    The underlying assumption was that Black people have different cultural values than Whites resulting in Blacks failing to maintain their properties to the same standards, lacking the same level of care and attention to detail. Anecdotal evidence for the theory was found in the neglect and decay of predominantly Black neighborhoods.

    Blacks could have instituted “No Whites” restrictive covenants but for what purpose? Whites didn’t want to live in run-down properties in Frogtown or North Minneapolis anyway.

    Not saying the 1930s assumptions were correct, just pointing out their policies were not motivated solely by racial hatred. The same assumptions appear in the Smithsonian’s White Culture chart from 2020.

  7. Actually, JD, we’re in violent agreement – or that I agree with you more than you know. I am aware of the thinking behind the covenant restrictions and I am asking why is that so bad?

    As to the “neglect and decay of predominantly Black neighborhoods”, I just read the histories about Rondo. Sure sounded like middle class blacks doing everything right. And as if the St Paul City Council’s decision to gut the neighborhood wasn’t enough in 1958, they did it again with their Green Line in 2016 (was the SPCC a DFL run operation in both cases?).

  8. I’ve got a few such documents–my grandparents’ grave site was whites only when they bought it, interestingly. It illustrates the difference between left liberals and conservatives/thinking people in my view. Conservatives see those old documents as a picture of how far we’ve come as a society. Left liberals see them as evidence of how racist we still are, despite the fact that they’ve not had any legal force for the past 73 years.

    Or, more pointedly, they put those signs out there to show how virtuous they are, but all of us who do not live in houses that had race restricted covenants are somehow stained by the race covenants of their houses. My head hurts.

  9. A wicked thing, to be sure, but all you needed to support the “no colored” covenant was a desire to preserve the value of your home. The truth was that having a black family move to a white neighborhood lowered the property value of the homes owned by whites. This was a real thing, wrought by market forces, not by overt racism. It was freedom of association in another guise.
    After WW2, when the covenants were declared void, there arose a problem of shady real estate people engaging in “blockbusting.” The wikipedia says this about blockbusting:
    Blockbusting is a business process in which U.S. real estate agents and building developers convince property owners to sell their houses at low prices, which they do by telling house owners that racial minorities will soon move into their neighborhoods in order to instill fear in them. The agents then sell those same houses to black families, who are desperate to escape overcrowded ghettos, at much higher prices.[1] Blockbusting became possible after the legislative and judicial dismantling of legally protected racially segregated real estate practices after World War II. By the 1980s it had mostly disappeared in the United States after changes in law and the real estate market.[2]

    So what are you going to do? Tell people who they can live next to? How much must sell their house for? How much they can pay for a house?
    All of these schemes to achieve extra-legal “equity”between government recognized races results in less liberty and an overbearing government.

  10. Ah nothing sells so well as guilting white liberals. There was a display at Ft. Snelling about the slaves who lived there, property of white officers who served at the fort. I went out there with a Japanese friend of mine. She had been telling me about the empty chair project where Koreans set up an empty chair anytime a Japanese official came to visit. This was to remind them of the many dying “comfort women” who left an empty chair when they died without proper remuneration. Every time. She said Japan was sorry and paid a lot of reparations to Korea but this was getting ridiculous. So when we visited Ft. Snelling and EVERY room had 39 (I think that was the number) of empty shoes or whatever to commemorate the 39 slaves who were at the Fort, she was confused. I told her to think of the empty chair project. She fully understood. When we went to the next room with 39 whatevers to commemorate the 39 slaves, she started to giggle at the ridiculousness of it. Every dang room. This racial covenant thing is the same idea, all the time remind the nation of its sin, constant droning. The proper thing is to start giggling at it. Really? 70 years ago?

  11. Regardless of whether or not those covenants still exist, covert racism is still practiced by home sellers. As I mentioned a couple of months ago during a discussion on real estate, the seller can reject a sale for any reason, at least in Minnesota. They aren’t required to and rarely do disclose their reasons, but one would have to be pretty stupid to admit openly that they rejected a sale based on skin color.

  12. …also raise money to increase Black homeownership in the city.

    Not enough to have the opportunity to buy one, it has to be handed over.

    Gibs us dat.

    jdm asks a perfectly reasonable question. What is wrong with wanting to live among your own people?

  13. covert racism is still practiced by home sellers.

    You can detect racist home sellers at work by the absence of shot spotters, trash and graffiti in the neighborhood.

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  15. Very late comment, but in case anyone is looking back, I just ran across one of these restrictive covenants today. It dates from the deed issued by the developer in 1929 and provides:

    residential purposes only
    house must cost at least $5,000
    30-foot front yard setback
    no mining of sand or gravel
    property cannot be conveyed, mortgaged or leased to any person of Chinese, Japanese, Moorish, Turkish, Negro, Mongolian or African blood or descent.

    The motivation for restrictive covenants wasn’t simply “We Hate Blacks.” It was a primitive attempt at zoning, subdivision, building code and protection of collateral. pledged for construction loans, which were all legitimate business reasons unrelated to any particular race.

    By today’s standards, yes, it’s unenforceable. But the English novelist L.P. Hartley once wrote, ‘The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.’ Worth remembering.

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