Only when the monetary project of the agrarian populists failed did Americans settle on the exclusionary system that Baradaran describes. The contrast suggests that designing money is shaping community; it can bring people together or set them at each other’s throats.
The Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Act of 1968 is a shocking example of governmental policies shaping “markets,” or, rather, supporting investors to extract wealth from segregated black communities.
The history of black banking, even for its many failures, holds a unique perspective on property and its contradictions of value. It also contains a deep lesson about how economic strategies generate and are reinforced by affective practices—and how racist economic laws rested on public feelings of their own.
This history of black banks and the economy of segregation reveals how inextricably financial markets are tied to racial exploitation, and how the dominant economy can continue to extract from racially subordinated groups through “color-blind” market mechanisms.