The playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, left, and the visual artist Rashid Johnson collaborated on the latest film adaptation of Richard Wright’s “Native Son,” setting it in present-day Chicago. Credit Gioncarlo Valentine for The New York Times, Featured Image
* A new study examined the profits of landlords across Milwaukee and compared them to landlord profits nationwide.
* They found that for every 10 percent increase in neighborhood poverty, renter exploitation increased by 2.2 percent in Milwaukee and 0.8 percent nationwide. What’s more, for every 10 percent increase in black residents, renter exploitation increased by 0.8 percent for both Milwaukee and the nation.
* This effect ensures that the poor remain poor; since the poor have no choice but to pay rent when they can, any money they could save up is instead siphoned away by landlords.
Anybody who’s ever been in poverty before can tell you: It’s expensive to be poor. Wealthy people can afford to buy high-quality, long-lasting products or to buy other products in bulk. Not true for the poor. With few resources to spare, the impoverished have to buy crappy cars that constantly need repairs and work physically demanding, minimum-wage jobs that can result in expensive healthcare costs. If you’re poor and need a loan, the only one you’re going to get will come with a high interest rate attached, reflecting the lender’s concerns that you won’t pay it back.