Ray Suarez said the governmentâ€™s decision to interfere in the housing market to increase the number of minority individuals who own homes has failed to achieve its goal, even if it had good intention.
â€œMinorities tend to have lower income and higher unemployment rates than the American family as a whole,â€ said Suarez, a senior correspondent for PBSâ€™s â€œNewsHour.â€
â€œMany of these families did not have the cash flow because of these gaps. The governmentâ€™s solution was to make houses easier to buy,â€ he said.
Suarez gave the keynote speech at CSUâ€™s Diversity Conference Tuesday night, addressing a large audience of CSU students, employees and members of the Fort Collins community.
Following the conference theme, â€œWhat the Recession Revealed,â€ Suarez touched on issues of immigration, housing and employment and how these issues escalated in the recession.
Loan and mortgage companies loosened credit requirements
encouraging minorities to buy either new-and-cheap homes or old-and-challenging homes.
â€œThe problem with this is that these new homes were closer to interstates, while the older homes were similar to what minorities lived in already,â€ he said.
Suarez said that as over-lending posed a problem for people trying to become new homeowners, most of these people lost everything â€“â€“ with â€œblack and brown menâ€ being affected the most when the bubble burst.
â€œSo yes, Bob Marley was right when he said: â€˜When it rains, it rains on every manâ€™s roof,â€™ but what he didnâ€™t say was that every roof is not the same,â€ Suarez said.
Mary Ontiveros, CSUâ€™s vice president for Diversity, said she was delighted at the Diversity Conference Committee choosing Suarez to be the keynote speaker for the event.
â€œI think he did an excellent job in not only talking about the effects of the recession, but also providing outstanding background to support this,â€ Ontiveros said.
Suarez, who has more than 30 years of news experience, started his career as a copy boy, earning just $2 an hour. Earlier in his career, he was the first Latino producer for the ABC Radio Network in New York City.
â€œI am not trying to brag about being the first Latino producer, I just found it shocking that I was the first in New York, a city with a large population of Latinos,â€ Suarez said.
A newsroom, Suarez said, should consist of people who can cover anyone, anywhere and at anytime and added that with the changing environment diversity is a necessary ingredient in the newsroom.
When the recession hit, however, minorities lost a little edge in obtaining newsroom positions, he said.
â€œAmerica is getting more complicated. The newsroom should reflect that,â€ he said.
Chigozie Okocha, a senior political science major who was attending the event as part of a class, said that he found Suarezâ€™s speech very enlightening and brought up topics that mainstream America often looks over.
â€œIn the earlier stages of the recession, there was a lot of talk about immigration issues, but now that most people feel the recession is over, most of that talk has died down,â€ Okocha said.
Diversity reporter Abel Oshevire can be reached at email@example.com.