facebooktwitterRSS
- Advertisement -
  • Most Commentedmost commented up
  • Most Emailedmost emailed up
  • Popularmost popular up
- Advertisement -
 

« News Home

Blacks face hurdles



Published: Wed, April 10, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Lewis W. DIUGUID

Kansas City Star

In a voice that seemed like a cry to the heavens, an older African-American friend asked: “What advanced age does a black man have to reach to receive nondiscriminatory treatment?”

Recently, he had been unfairly treated like a suspect. His experience keeps recurring for blacks. It happens in racial profiling traffic stops, when store employees appear to disproportionately follow black customers, and when restaurants seat blacks in less desirable spots by the kitchen or exterior doors or hotels assign them noisy rooms by elevators. All instances exceed happenstance.

Finance companies and banks do it, too. A disproportionate share of blacks got sucked into sub-prime mortgages for home purchases, resulting in many foreclosures. A disproportionate number of blacks also are “unbanked” with no bank accounts. Many use payday and title loan joints, which charge high fees to cash checks and outrageous interest rates on loans.

Routine transactions

It’s no wonder that employees at two bank branches that I normally don’t frequent made me think of my friend’s refrain when I stopped by for routine transactions.

In one case I was rushing to the airport to get a friend. I made what I thought would be a quick stop at a bank. The teller was nice enough and offered to help when I searched for slips on a counter to fill out and take to her.

First she said she had the withdrawal forms that I was looking for. “No,” I responded. “I’m actually looking for deposit slips.”

“I can help you with your checking account,” she said eagerly. “Actually,” I said, “it’s for a money market account.”

She looked surprised. But she took the cash I gave her, my driver’s license and had me fill out a special form before my account was credited and I could go. So much for trust and a quick stop.

Certainly banks have to be careful because of identity theft and thieves making deposits so they can return to clean out an unsuspecting customer’s account. I wrote it off to that bank’s personnel not knowing me.

Weirdness

But the weirdness happened again at another bank close to a school where I was to speak. Dressed in a suit and tie I went in with a check to make a savings deposit and get cash back for expenses. I took the appropriate slips to a male bank teller and offered my driver’s license. He was a nice guy and asked how I pronounced my name and its origin. I smiled, pronounced it and explained that it’s Scottish. He went away and came back with his supervisor, who asked the same questions. I gave the same answers. “Have you ever been in this branch before?” the manager asked.

“Maybe once,” I responded, adding that I mostly go to a branch downtown. Clearly the two thought something was fishy. It was obvious they were unfamiliar with an African-American man adding to an account.

I know now why many black friends bank online or not at all.

My banking experience pointed out that African-Americans frequently have to explain themselves to whites who too often embrace stereotypes rather than accept us as everyday people shopping, going to work, paying taxes, raising our children and being good citizens.

Lewis W. Diuguid is a member of The Kansas City Star’s editorial board. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.


News
Opinion
Entertainment
Sports
Marketplace
Classifieds
Records
Discussions
Community
Help
Forms
Neighbors

HomeTerms of UsePrivacy StatementAdvertiseStaff DirectoryHelp
© 2014 Vindy.com. All rights reserved. A service of The Vindicator.
107 Vindicator Square. Youngstown, OH 44503

Phone Main: 330.747.1471 • Interactive Advertising: 330.740.2955 • Classified Advertising: 330.746.6565
Sponsored Links: Vindy Wheels | Vindy Jobs | Vindy Homes | Pittsburgh International Airport