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Legislation in the statehouse would create a pathway for removing racist language from deeds

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Many Michigan homes still have deeds that bear the mark of overt racial segregation - barring non-white people from either owning or living in a home.

Legislation in the statehouse would allow those sections of a deed to be removed.

Deed restrictions based on race, gender, and religion are already unenforceable, but Michigan lawmakers want to give residents a path towards removing them altogether.

Democratic State Representative Sarah Anthony introduced the bill. She said she didn’t realize how many legal documents still had explicitly racist and sexist language.

“This bill would essentially create a process for homeowners who want to get rid of that hateful and harmful language that they now will have a process to remove that type of language from their deeds.”

Anthony said the country’s discriminatory history shouldn’t be forgotten - but that’s not a good reason for keeping them in place on legal documents.

“Having that signage still there continues to remind us of an ugly part of our history and I just feel it’s one step closer to bringing to a more equitable and just society,” she said.

The legislation doesn’t require language be removed from deeds - but offers homeowners a pathway to having it removed if they choose.

“The fact that they are still written in these documents, many folks just don’t want to pass on a legacy to their children and grandchildren of hatred,” Anthony said. “We know there are many deeds across the state and United States that still have this language.”

She said she’s grateful the bill got a hearing - but doesn’t expect it’ll pass before the end of the session.