I want to talk about real estate and racism. I’ve been listening, reading and thinking about what real estate professionals can do. I don’t have all the answers and I will make mistakes along the way, but I’m committed to help close the racial divide in homeownership.

Ours is an industry whose past is rooted in discriminatory policies that hindered the ability of blacks to rent, finance or purchase a home. While many of these policies are no longer in place, they’ve had a lasting impact. Today, the U.S .Census Bureau reports that homeownership among blacks is close to 30 percentage points below that of whites. The report shows that all minorities, particularly Hispanics, significantly lag whites in homeownership as well.

For the majority of Americans, their home is their most valuable asset and one of the most important factors in their ability to accumulate wealth. If a large number of blacks and minorities are unable to buy a home, social and economic disparities will continue to grow.

So, what do we do? I and my fellow real estate professionals need to educate ourselves about housing’s racist past. We must commit to recognize and call out racism in ourselves, each other, our clients and industry partners. We should donate money, time or knowledge to organizations best positioned to help. And we must listen and learn what barriers blacks face in finding a home and start to break them down.

Tom Landry

Realtor; owner, Benchmark Real Estate

Portland

 

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