Getting Comfortable With Conversations on Race and Real Estate

Tips to help brokers tackle the difficult topic of inequality and take action at their own companies.
agent showing home to couple

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3 Takeaways:

  • African American real estate professionals weren’t allowed to join the National Association of REALTORS® until 1961.
  • Fair housing and equitable real estate businesses depend on brokers asking themselves honest questions.
  • Brokers need to consider who’s “in the room” when it comes to real estate.

Do your neck and shoulders tighten when someone mentions race in the context of real estate? Does your fight, flight, or freeze instinct go full throttle when the discussion shifts toward the topic of discrimination and fair housing?

There are ways to get comfortable (not complacent) in discussing difficult issues that allow you to embrace and invite these conversations, particularly on fair housing.

During the John L. Scott Real Estate Industry Forum held Aug. 27, 2020, I tackled the topic of embracing such timely and crucial conversations through the following points:

  • What my Peloton bike has taught me about this moment. (It's not as random as it may sound.)
  • How did we get here? The historical impact racial discrimination has had on homeownership options.
  • What the original “Rosie the Riveter” can teach us about fair housing for all.

Plus, I share several action steps to help you lean into the discomfort of this moment in order to become a champion of fair housing for all, which includes asking yourself the following questions:

  • Who’s in the real estate room?
  • Who’s having trouble getting into the room?
  • Whose presence in the room is under constant threat of erasure?
  • Whose ideas won’t be taken as seriously because they’re not in the majority?

Lastly, I offer you the opportunity to take the four-week J.E.D.I. Challenge. (J.E.D.I. stands for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, as defined by our friends at Compass.)

  • Week 1: What trustworthy publication or email newsletter can I sign up for this week that promotes the American dream of fair homeownership?
  • Week 2: What authoritative class can I sign up to take this week that promotes the American dream of fair homeownership?
  • Week 3: What credible organization can I volunteer with this week to promote the American dream of fair homeownership?
  • Week 4: What ethical conversations can I have today to promote the American dream of fair homeownership?

Watch my segment below with host Emmanuel Fonte, vice president of ultimate client relationships and digital strategies at John L. Scott Real Estate.