Racism plays a key role in Evicted by Matthew Desmond. He presents it as one of the inevitable consequences of a chronically broken housing system. African Americans tend to be among the poorest members of society, and, therefore, are in greater need of public housing assistance. So the lack of affordable housing has a disproportionately negative impact on them compared with other groups in society.
This makes African Americans more vulnerable to exploitation by unscrupulous landlords, who wield enormous power in this seller's market. The shortage of housing means that potential tenants are often desperate to take any accommodation, no matter how sub-standard. This means that landlords like Sherrena can charge pretty much what they like for what are little more than ratholes.
Desmond presents the housing crisis as both symptom and cause of continued racial division, ensuring that all too many African Americans remain trapped in run-down ghettoes, thus reinforcing Milwaukee's unwanted reputation as one of the most racially-segregated cities in the United States.