Realtor Receives Hate Mail From Another Realtor, All Because of a December 2007 ActiveRain Post
On Saturday, I opened the mail at my Madeline Island real estate office, as I would any other day.
To my surprise, I had received an anonymous, one-page typewritten letter from California. The sender had printed "Winchester, CA" in the upper-left corner of the envelope, but the postmark was from San Bernardino. My address was printed exactly as it appears on my ActiveRain profile.
This was no ordinary letter. It was hate mail.
[Envelope containing anonymous hate letter sent from San Bernardino Post Office on August 30]
The author of this little poison pen letter calls herself "Darlene" (if indeed the letter was written by a female). Darlene identifies herself as a "realtor". And Darlene is a hater.
Darlene is irate over the proposal to amend Article Ten of the Realtor Code of Ethics to prohibit discrimination against LGBT consumers. You see, in Darlene's world, she believes Realtors should be allowed the discretion to selectively discriminate against various groups of consumers. In other words, this would mean tossing out Article Ten of the Realtor Code of Ethics.
"Darlene" writes, "So we realtors are to be forced to work with those who, in our opinions, are contributing to the rapid decay of America". She goes on to state that "only the protected classes have rights".
Oddly, there is a good dose of Darlene's own peculiar brand of religion thrown into this hate letter. Darlene threatens the recipients of her letter with Sodom and Gomorrah. She lectures on "God's rules" and throws in the not-so-veiled threat that "you will all have to answer for what you are now doing one day". In whatever Bible Darlene happens to be reading, it is apparently permissible to send anonymous and obscene comments and threats via hate mail to those who don't share your beliefs.
I'm not the only person who received a copy of this letter. Darlene claims to have mailed copies of her hate-filled rant to NAR General Counsel Laurie Janik, Realtor Magazine, NAR Professional Standards Committee Chair Linda Page and Michigan Representative John Conyers. Apparently, "Darlene" isn't very smart, as it is a Federal crime to use the U.S. Postal Service to send anonymous hate mails, especially to a member of Congress. If in fact she did that, I imagine a copy of this letter has already been forwarded to the FBI and perhaps a few other law enforcement agencies. The enforcement division at HUD probably has a copy by now as well.
What started "Darlene" off on her rant?
Darlene quotes from this July-August 2010 Realtor Magazine article in which I was interviewed by Editor-in-Chief Stacey Moncrieff. In that article, I made the statement that "The entire process made me proud to be a REALTOR", referring to the NAR committee process by which the proposal to amend Article Ten of the Realtor Code of Ethics was submitted to the NAR Equal Opportunity - Cultural Diversity Committee, then brought before NAR Professional Standards Committee and then to a NAR Board vote.
You see, in Darlene's world, freedom of speech is for her, not for anyone with views that differ from hers.
It's ironic that the sequence of events which triggered all this began, as Stacey Moncrieff mentioned in her Realtor Magazine article, with a December 2007 post on my Madeline Island Real Estate Blog, in which I wrote "Tell NAR It's Time To Rewrite Article 10 of the Code of Ethics". That ActiveRain post played a part in drafting the proposal which originated in the Wisconsin Realtors Association Equal Opportunity in Housing committee and was then picked up by the NAR Equal Opportunity Committee in November 2009.
Of course, Darlene didn't send out nearly enough copies of her letter. You see, there were hundreds and hundreds of Realtors from all over the United States who participated in this effort, including the Wisconsin Realtors Association, the NAR Equal Opportunity - Cultural Diversity Committee, the NAR Professional Standards Committee, the NAR Board and the National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP). Darlene would run out of paper and envelopes long before she could send that many hate mails. A hate-monger's work is never done.
Darlene also writes, "For obvious reasons, I will not be signing my name - I need this work". Afraid she might be fired by her company, Darlene chooses to remain underground and to nurture her grudges as she practices real estate, at least until someone catches her denying equal housing rights to a consumer. So Darlene has joined the ranks of intolerant cowards who hide behind anonymous hate letters and who use those hate letters in a vain attempt to bully and intimidate others.
I'm reminded of a great post on ActiveRain by my friend Randy Prothero (July 30, 2010) where he wrote, "If you do not feel you can treat people equally, find another line of work."
So "Darlene" or whatever your real name might be, you may need your job in real estate but the real estate industry doesn't need YOU. No one in the Realtor community is going to give you the right to pursue your personal grudges and selectively discriminate against others in your practice. Our job is to serve the public.
[Excerpt from anonymous hate mail received at our Wisconsin real estate office]