I live my life with the mentality I would hurt myself before I would ever intentionally hurt anyone.
So when a Colleague got upset with me for correcting an error made in a very recent Facebook post, I found myself examining how I could have conducted myself better?
I came to the conclusion with the help of a couple real estate Educators advice, who I encouraged to review the post as a possible teaching tool, I could have elected to communicate my concern with this Colleague less publicly initially.
The post was about their being pleased with how low their real estate taxes are in their community. They boast it was due to the Conservative Republican Leadership. The Colleague in the next paragraph invited Conservative Republicans to move to their community for this very reason.
I immediately went to protective mode responding with a recommendation to review the Fair-Housing Laws regarding this statement. I encourage them to consider rephrasing or deleting the post.
The immediate response I got back from my Colleague was their writing me they were very insulted I would imply they made violating comments. They even quoted me a portion of the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics Article 10 stating:
“Article 10 REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (Amended 1/14)”
Before I was allowed to explain where they may have errored, they abruptly either blocked me or de-friended me from making any further comments. I really hope they were smart enough to delete the post.
I promptly went to the Multiple Listing System to look up their contact information. Feeling bad for the fallout, I sent them a text suggesting they review Article 10-3 which states:
“Standard of Practice 10-3 REALTORS® shall not print, display or circulate any statement or advertisement with respect to selling or renting of a property that indicates any preference, limitations or discrimination based Standard of Practice 10-2 When not involved in the sale or lease of a residence, REALTORS® may provide demographic information related to a property, transaction or professional assignment to a party if such demographic information is (a) deemed by the REALTOR® to be needed to assist with or complete, in a manner consistent with Article 10, a real estate transaction or professional assignment and (b) is obtained or derived from a recognized, reliable, independent, and impartial source. The source of such information and any additions, deletions, modifications, interpretations, or other changes shall be disclosed in reasonable detail. (Adopted 1/05, Renumbered 1/06). (Adopted 1/94, Renumbered 1/05 and 1/06, Amended 1/14)”
When this Colleague text back their words had not violated in any way against any race, color religion, or sex, they had forgotten the other categories of Familial Status and National Origin. Inviting Conservative Republicans to move to their community could be interpreted has connected with either Familial Status and/or National Origin as it relates to a possible violation of Article 10-3 consideration.
The sad part is stating the low taxes is the result of good fiscal responsibility of Conservative Republican Leadership could also be interpreted as giving demographic information as it relates to Article 10-2 stating:
“Standard of Practice 10-2 When not involved in the sale or lease of a residence, REALTORS® may provide demographic information related to a property, transaction or professional assignment to a party if such demographic information is (a) deemed by the REALTOR® to be needed to assist with or complete, in a manner consistent with Article 10, a real estate transaction or professional assignment and (b) is obtained or derived from a recognized, reliable, independent, and impartial source. The source of such information and any additions, deletions, modifications, interpretations, or other changes shall be disclosed in reasonable detail. (Adopted 1/05, Renumbered 1/06)”
The problem with their comments were they were written by a Realtor who stands to gain profit from selling homes or generating referrals based upon promoting the community to a specific demographic population.
The Colleague wrote in their text response after I explained I was just trying to protect them from a costly mistake because I have served on numerous Fair-Housing Panels helping to educate our Colleagues about these mistakes often innocently made, they too prompty wrote they were very familiar with Article 10-3, plus they felt I only made the comments because I did not like them, and they further felt I was using my influence with the Realtor Association to intimidate them. Indeed, the furthest intention on my part.
I reaffirmed I like them and was protecting them.
I did find it interesting how quickly they got angry with me.
If the shoe was on the other foot, I would have wrote hey thanks for caring about me. I will review what you suggest.
In this present political climate where it appears Bigotry is being more tolerated, the sad result is tolerated Bigotry produces blind ignorance. When this Colleague got so angry with me so fast, I immediately placed myself in their shoes to understand why the anger?
I understood right away they did not intentionally meant to insult, discriminate, or promote segregation. In their mind they were simply boasting about good fiscal responsibility in good government practice.
What they failed to recognize is communication is communication whether intended or not. They did not think about the possibility of the recipient reading their statement picturing in their mind watching the Republican convention and the Democratic convention on television. The Populations attending those conventions were vastly different.
Inviting Conservative Republicans to move to their community could be easily interpreted as incorporating un-inviting possible other races, colors, religions, sex, handicap, sexual orientations, or gender identities.
Fair Housing complaints are very hard to defend, especially when making the argument it was not the intention to un-invite other populations when inviting Conservative Republicans to move to their neighborhood.
What I really should have gotten from this Colleague was a sincere thanks followed up by an apology for caring enough to show them how they so easily got caught up in their blind bigotry.
Here is the real deal, when people take the time to assess their own bigotry they find they really do know their bigotry better than they know their own body odor.
I could have so easily filed a complaint with Professional Standards and/or Grievance Departments with the Local, State, and National Realtor Associations, as well as, with the Licensing regulator with the State where they reside and the other State where they are licensed.
I could have caused all Hell to break lose on them by simply asking in my complaint “if I do not proclaim to be a Conservative Republican I am uninvited to move to their community?”
I could have kept my comments to myself and just filed an unidentified complaint for the unacceptable post.
Because I care and believe they never considered the full implications of their actions, which by the way was the last comment they made to me in our texts, I felt their mistake did not merit my causing them to go through the agony of a possible severe and very costly reprimand.
So much more good can result from this being a teaching exercise. We as Realtors must always be willing to deal with our own bigotry, being very sensitive of it showing up in the form of our being interpreted in ways we never imagined.
We must keep a filter on how we think about anyone different from us. More importantly, even those similar. The second paragraph of Article 10 states:
“REALTORS®, in their real estate employment practices, shall not discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (Amended 1/14)”
We must remember even when communicating in social media where we feel a liberty to give an applause or an invitation as it relates to real estate, we are obligated to question our own hearts as to our real attitudes about any of those protective classes Article 10 was written for us to order our proper conduct.
Everyone reading this far, I am encouraging you to make it a mandate to search your own heart about even an ounce of bigotry residing there. It must be dealt with because there is an old saying I have found to be very true “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” or in this story “the fingers typed.” Better yet the mouth and the fingers can get you in a whole boatload of trouble when you do not deal with the abundance of bigotry in your heart!
Colleagues, the price you will pay for not dealing with the ignorance honestly residing within you heart, before a complaint is made, you will find yourself suddenly and shockingly “blindsided!”
Well, let me put it this way, I do not wish the outcome of such a complaint on even my very loving dear Mama. Speaking of her I can remember her telling me growing-up to always avoid even the appearance of Evil!
APRIL IS FAIR-HOUSING MONTH.
Funny how I would have this experience during Fair-Housing Month of all Months!