The Link Between Capitalism, Oppression, and Eviction

My paper topic for this class is the link between capitalist systems and racism and how each can be used to fuel the other. While writing my paper, I saw a connection between this topic and a book that I read for my Poverty Studies class. The book Evicted by Matthew Desmond follows the lives of several people in poverty who particularly struggle with finding housing and being evicted. Desmond points out in the book that these struggles disproportionately affect African-American women and children. One of the reasons so many people in America today struggle with getting affordable housing and are being evicted is because of how the housing system and market function in America. A report from 2021 calculates that Americans making approximately 54,336 dollars per year paid 41% of their salary in rent (“One Year After Eviction Moratorium Ends, Renters Face Affordability Crisis” – Natalie Campisi). Paying over 30% of your income in rent labels you as cost-burdened, which means a large majority of Americans, particularly African-American women, are cost-burdened. This is a flawed system because it is much more difficult to escape poverty when rent is so high, and the evictions that are common because of this make it even more challenging. As well, the jobs that people in poverty have, particularly the jobs of African-American women in poverty, do not supply them with enough income to pay for their rent on top of other expenses. These jobs also have a higher turnover rate and a greater risk of becoming automated, so the people who need reliable income the most are actually the ones most likely to lose their job. Another reason women struggle more than men with eviction is that more women than men have children to take care of. Landlords often associate children with disturbances such as noise complaints, raising the risk of them being evicted. As well, taking care of children means there is less income to spend on rent, increasing the likelihood of eviction. There are also particular laws in place that negatively affect people in poverty when it comes to housing and evictions. Nuisance Ordinances are laws that make it so that police will stop coming to houses if they call too many times. This makes it so that these people do not want to call the police, even though they face increased levels of domestic violence. Making their situation even worse, these laws make it so that the police being called too many times to a particular house can be grounds for eviction. This is an unfair law since these people are being incentivized to not use public resources to stop violence in their homes because they fear eviction. This means African-American women will end up getting less help with domestic violence simply because of certain laws. These laws together, in more areas than just housing, keep people of color in poverty. It’s important that more people are made aware of these laws and how they negatively affect certain groups of people. 

Works Cited

Campisi, Natalie. “One Year after Eviction Moratorium Ends, Renters Face Affordability Crisis.” 

Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 26 Aug. 2022,,price%20growth%20and%20inflation%20cleave%20at%20already-low%20wages. 

Desmond, Matthew. Evicted. Crown/Archetype, 2016. 

Baldassari, Molly SolomonErin, et al. “Why Black Women Are More Likely to Face Eviction.” 

KQED, 21 Feb. 2022,