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Credit Checks, Like Stop and Frisk, Hurt Minorities Most

The debate over the NYPD's controversial stop and frisk policy is an important reminder about the unjust reality young male African American men face. Stop and frisk has been thrust back into the media with new findings by the NYCLU that in 2003, the NYPD stopped 266 people for every gun recovered, but in 2011, cops had to stop 879 New Yorkers to recover a single gun

While stop and frisk is a high-profile and particularly egregious form of discrimination, there are other serious and unfair practices that garner far less public attention. One issue that receives far too little attention is the the problem of racial disparity in credit checks. As Amy Traub, author of "Discrediting America," explained:

The reality is that employment credit checks disproportionately impact Latinos and African Americans, whose credit histories have suffered as a result of discrimination in lending, housing and employment itself. Employment credit checks can perpetuate and amplify this historic injustice. For this reason organizations including the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, National Council of La Raza, and the NAACP have taken repeated stands against employment credit checks. 

Credit checks are a proven form of discrimination. Bank of America, for example, was excluding a significantly higher proportion of African-American candidates (11.5 percent) because of the credit check than white candidates (6.6 percent). Kaplan is facing a similar charge in a pending case.

The courts, like minority rights groups, are beginning to see take on this problem. The time has come to put the pressure on legislators to question credit checks, like they're questioning stop and frisk. Neither is justifiable and both should be abolished.