“These stories are about the reparations conversation”: Tony Dokoupil, CBS Mornings co-host, on housing discrimination in New Jersey – WCCO
(CBS Local) – Housing discrimination has been a problem in America for decades, and “CBS Mornings” co-host Tony Dokoupil recently looked at how it impacted the country’s wealth gap. In 1964, CBS News followed Corbett Rachal and his wife, Sallye, a black couple, as they were repeatedly denied housing in Bergen County, New Jersey, one of the most desirable suburbs of New York. This is where Dokoupil’s grandparents bought a house a decade earlier.
CBS News documented in rare hidden camera footage the Rachals repeatedly turned back by real estate agents because they were black. Dokoupil spoke to the couple’s daughter Alicia about how this discrimination affected her family and what her life is like today.
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CBS Local’s Katie Johnston spoke with Dokoupil about the article he did on this important topic for CBS Mornings, what he learned from his research and conversation, and what conversations might look like at the future on repairs.
âIt turns out that there are years and years of research showing that the typical white family has between 8 and 10 times the family wealth than the typical black family,â Dokoupil said. âThen we started doing some stories to explain why. The answer, other than racism’s grand answer, is real estate. It occurred to me once that my family probably benefited from some of these policies. This is what led me to New Jersey and indeed my grandfather’s home county. He raised my dad, aunts and uncles and asked people if they knew what had happened there or if they knew there was awareness and if there was this that was supposed to happen now.
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Dokoupil’s personal connection to this story has allowed him to tap into a much bigger story in the conversation going on in this country about reparations.
âReally, these two stories are about the conversation about repairs,â Dokoupil said. âSometimes it happens politically and there’s a study going on in Congress to see if we need to do something like reparations. It is money for the damage caused by slavery and continued discrimination. The polls are against it nationally and you hear people saying politically that this is ancient history, so what these stories really demonstrate is that when it comes to who has and who has not and it is not ancient history and it continues to this day. Alicia also doesn’t feel comfortable with the idea of ââa wealth transfer, but on the other hand, she recognizes that her family’s financial trajectory has taken a different turn because of what’s happening. went to Bergen County. This is a testament to the general unease Americans feel about how to fend for themselves when it comes to who has what. “
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Watch Dokoupil, Gayle King and Nate Burleson every weekday morning on âCBS Morningsâ from 7 am to 9 am EST on CBS.