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There’s More to Be Angry About Than Just Jim Cramer

I know, I know; everyone’s talking about the Jon Stewart-Jim Cramer confrontation Thursday night. Yes, it was entertaining, and yes, Stewart made some great points about financial journalism’s failures. But I’d like to move on now. There’s so much more to be angry about over this crisis than just Jim Cramer and CNBC.

For example, here’s this, a report from The Associated Press on how the NAACP is suing Wells Fargo and HSBC, alleging the two banks steered black borrowers into higher-cost subprime loans, even when they had credit scores identical to their white counterparts.

Class-action lawsuits were to be filed against the banks Friday in federal court in Los Angeles, Austin Tighe, co-lead counsel for the , told The Associated Press.

Black homebuyers have been 3 1/2 times more likely to receive a than white borrowers, and six times more likely to get a subprime rate when refinancing, Tighe said. Blacks still were disproportionately steered into subprime loans when their , income and down payment were equal to those of white homebuyers, he said.

And here’s one borrower’s experience, according to The Associated Press:

Amara Weaver of Milwaukee bought her first home in 1984, receiving a 6.25 percent fixed-rate mortgage. She says she had a steady job as a human resources director for a , never missed a mortgage payment and maintained excellent credit.

In 2004, she wanted to buy the house next door for her son to live in. She said the bank promised her a low for a $40,000 loan, but at the closing, when reading the fine print, she noticed that the rate was actually 11 percent.

“I was blown away,” said Weaver, an NAACP member. “I didn’t have any choice (but to sign). … It made me feel violated.”

Similar NAACP lawsuits are pending against a dozen other .

It’s not something that happened on a cable TV show. It’s harsh reality. The most troubling and overlooked aspect of the foreclosure crisis has been the discriminatory and most likely illegal behavior of many lenders in targeting minorities for high-cost loans. The damage done will be felt for decades.

Steering minorities into abusive loans isn’t fodder for entertainment. It probably won’t be dissected and excerpted all over the Internet. It’s just exactly what it seems — a tragedy. And maybe someday it will get the attention it deserves.

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