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So, all real estate agents know (or sure as hell should know) discrimination in housing based on race is illegal. Any real estate agent with any sense of right and wrong should know that discrimination in any venue is also immoral. This is 2011. There have been enough court cases over the years to cement the fact that even if you are a racist pig, you can not discriminate. The National Association of Realtors trumpets the fact that all of their members sign a pledge to be ethical.
I don't think my experience over the better part of the last decade is unusual. Racist are alive and well and a big part of the housing market. I have had many buyers of one race inquire about the presence of another race in a neighborhood. I have followed the politically correct line of directing the individual to outside sources that may provide them with the information they are seeking. One thing I have learned, it seems that people like to live in communities where their particular race is the majority. I have to offer a caveat, the younger generation is more balanced and more concerned with the things that should matter...i.e. commuting time, access to public transportation, etc.
Now to be honest, I have fired clients because of their particular feelings about other races. I have returned to my office and effectively dumped some clients after they shared a pejorative term about another race. I have been a manager and had to counsel agents regarding their belief that a landlord can limit a home to one race. I even lost a battle and an agent when they refused to follow the law.
The sticky situation comes up when you are already representing someone and out of the clear blue they ask you...
Is she black?
This happens. You are knee deep in representation. You are in the middle of a transaction. So what do you do? I calmly explain that if you are asking if the applicant has good credit, I can get you the credit report. If you are asking has the applicant paid their rent in the past, I can get you that information as well as the condition that they left their prior home. The fact that you are asking me "Is she black?", concerns me. Because the color of a person has nothing to do with their credit, if they paid rent on time in the past or the condition they left their prior home. The whole conversation leaves me feeling ill. It is one thing to accept the fact that racist pigs are alive and well today. It really feels very slimy to think that you are dealing with one.
I will be the first to honestly admit that real estate is slow. I certainly would love to represent more clients. I have references. I have experience. I just don't have much tolerance for closet racists. I would rather go become a greeter at Wal mart than have to deal with them. Forgive the negative tone, but one phone conversation can really bring me down.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.