Rent to a felon...or else

The U.S. Department of Housing has just determined that refusing to rent to a convicted felon may be a violation of the Fair Housing Act, and National Public Radio seems to approve.

Felons are not a protected class (yet) under the Fair Housing Act, but since the American justice system disproportionately affects persons of color, it's racist to deny felons housing.

Note that HUD says may violate the act.  That means all you have to do as a landlord is ignore HUD and then battle it out in court.  Feeling lucky?  Roll the dice: 40% of the federal judiciary has been appointed by Obama.

The NPR article is put together like a musical composition, with statement of theme, variation, and restatement of theme.

Theme: 100 million adults have records and so cannot rent housing.

Variation: Neatly done using the Individual Victim Effect (discussed here).  Briefly, humans are hardwired to relate to single individuals, not to abstract statistics.  In this case, the host introduces a sympathetic victim, a 51-year-old black man who paid his debt to society over 20 years ago and still cannot find a job or housing.  Of course, no mention is made of his education or the skills and experience he could offer to an employer other than burglary and theft.

Restatement of theme: "HUD officials say what's intended, though, with this expanded view of the Fair Housing Act, is to get housing providers to consider whether their policies for those with criminal backgrounds are about keeping communities safe or if they only keep someone out of a home."

It's a binary choice: landlords are motivated by either a (misguided) desire to keep their tenants safe or an irrational spite to prevent persons of color from having a home.  Simple as that.  Return on investment?  On-time collection of rent?  Facilities maintained without excessive damage?  Nope – just two possibilities.  Either bigotry or bigotry.

This is all part of the grievance industry's disparate impact theory: anything that affects the races unequally is racist.  Well, that's what progs say.  In practice, it means anything that disproportionately impacts "persons of color" is racist.  But even that's not quite right: blacks constitute 13% of the U.S. population yet account for 70% of the NFL and 74% of the NBA.  Does anyone remember the Obama administration calling for replacing blacks in the NFL with Asians?

Even the lopsided numbers of blacks in the NFL, with their multimillion-dollar contracts, is another sign of racism – not the good, affirmative action racism, but the evil, bad racism.  You see, blacks may constitute 70% of the NFL, but "nearly 30 percent of white NFL players are kickers, punters, or quarterbacks, all positions that have a much lower chance of being involved in concussion."  See "Football’s War on the Minds of Black Men."  Yes, hiring blacks into the NFL at astronomical salaries is just another insidious plot by whites to keep blacks down.

Progs see the bogeyman of racism everywhere.  Uh-oh, microaggression alert.

Henry Percy is the nom de guerre of a writer in Arizona.  He may be reached at saler.50d[at]