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Race Discrimination: Applicable Laws

Below is a list of federal laws that prohibit discrimination based on race in a number of settings, and links to the full texts of those laws. (Note: Many states have civil rights laws of their own which mirror those at the federal level, so your state may have its own laws that are very similar to those identified below. In addition, municipalities like cities and counties can enact ordinances and laws related to civil rights.)

  • The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (FindLaw)
    Prohibits creditors from discriminating against credit applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or because an applicant receives income from a public assistance program.
  • U.S. Code Title 42, Chapter 21 -- Civil Rights (FindLaw)
    Title 42, Chapter 21 of the U.S. Code prohibits discrimination against persons based on age, disability, gender, race, national origin, and religion (among other things) in a number of settings -- including education, employment, access to businesses and buildings, federal services, and more. Chapter 21 is where a number of federal acts related to civil rights have been codified -- including the Civil Rights Act of 1866, Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act.
  • Fair Housing Act (FindLaw)
    Prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability.
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965 (FindLaw)
    Prohibits the denial or restriction of the right to vote, and forbids discriminatory voting practices nationwide.
Next Steps
Contact a qualified civil rights attorney
to help you protect your rights.
(e.g., Chicago, IL or 60611)

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