Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is facing criticism over a recently resurfaced video clip that shows him blaming the 2008 mortgage and financial crisis on the elimination of a long-standing racist lending policy known as “redlining.” This is Michael Bloomberg speaking to Georgetown University President John DeGioia in 2008.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg: “It probably all started back when there was a lot of pressure on banks to make loans to everyone. 'Redlining,' if you remember, was the term where banks took whole neighborhoods and said, 'People in these neighborhoods are poor. They're not going to be able to pay off their mortgages. Tell them, your salesmen, don’t go into those areas.’ And then Congress got involved, local elected officials, as well, and said, 'Oh, that's not fair. These people should be able to get credit.’ And once you started pushing in that direction, banks started making more and more loans where the credit of the person buying the house wasn’t as good as you would like.”
Historians condemned Bloomberg’s comment as widely inaccurate. As Ta-Nehisi Coates has explained, the long history of discriminatory housing practices, like redlining, actually helped set the stage for the financial crisis — not the elimination of these racist policies. Award-winning author and professor Ibram X. Kendi said the recently resurfaced audio of Bloomberg is “Beyond racist & disqualifying. … Redlining stopped our wealth building. The 2008 crisis led to largest loss of Black wealth in history. This is a double-punch into the historic gut of African Americans.”
Meanwhile, GQ magazine is reporting Bloomberg and his companies have faced nearly 40 sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits brought by 64 women over the past several decades.