Like all of you, over the past few weeks, I’ve been watching and learning about the systemic racism that runs deep in our county.
It feels like an awakening is happening.
And although my education on this subject has only just begun, I’ve realized very quickly that this moment is not just about police violence against black people, but the fact that white privilege and racism is built into every structure that supports the foundation of our country—everything from healthcare, to schooling, to housing, even decades after the Civil Rights Act and The Fair Housing Act were passed.
I didn’t realize racism’s fingers were still in so many places so deeply, until now. Right there, that’s my white privilege.
The big question now is how do we create lasting, systemic change after the donations have been given, after the protests die down, and after the social media posts end?
I heard things like fill out the Census and vote at every election, especially the local ones. Check and check. Got it.
But, I was still personally left with this numb feeling like that it didn’t seem like enough.
And then I read something Lizzo retweeted, and I don’t know who to attribute the original quote to, I believe it was @Lindss_tastic, but it said,
Resistance is NOT a one lane highway. Maybe your lane is protesting, maybe your lane is organizing, maybe your lane is counseling, maybe your lane is art activism, maybe your lane is surviving the day. Do NOT feel guilty for not occupying every lane. We need all of them.
That made me think about how, as a real estate agent, my lane can be housing.
As real estate agents, shouldn’t we all become more aware of the racism and white privilege that still, to this day, plays such a significant role in access to and inequality in housing?
Maybe if we become more aware, we could start to consciously unravel the threads of racism in our industry?
And, shouldn’t we also focus on making sure we are building anti-racist real estate businesses too?
I am not yet in a position to teach about these topics or drive any kind of action-oriented call for change, because I am still learning, unlearning and becoming educated myself.
My intention today to simply bring awareness and attention the most basic level, and to share some of the resources I have found in this first phase of learning, with you, my fellow real estate agents.
My hope is from there, we can find ways to make long lasting changes in our real estate business and in the real estate industry.
And, lastly, because, this moment is so crucial and important that turning away, pretending it’s not happening, being compliant or complacent or choosing to be silent no longer feel like options.
So, let’s shine some light on how racism is still alive in the real estate industry today and then let’s talk about what we, as real estate agents, can start doing to effect change in our industry.
As recently as only one or two generations ago, depending on your age, black people were not able to get loans or buy homes in certain neighborhoods, including in the very neighborhoods they lived.
A new movie that illustrates what it was like back then is on Apple TV right now called The Banker. Watch it.
We all have learned and seen historical racism and perhaps, like me, you naively thought the passage of the Civil Rights Act and The Fair Housing Act, created equality when it comes to housing, loans, and the ability to create wealth in real estate.
Not only because the “African American families that were prohibited from buying homes in the suburbs in the 1940s and ‘50s and even in the 1960s by the Federal Housing Administration gained none of the equity appreciation that whites gained,” says Richard Rothstein author of Color of Law, but also because the effects of pre-1960s redlining are still being felt, particularly by black families today, 50 years later.
A significant gap still exists between black and white families specifically in terms of access to homeownership.
Just last week, Redfin published a study called Redlining’s Legacy of Inequality: $212,000 Less Home Equity, Low Homeownership Rates For Black Families.
- Redlining, though outlawed in the 1960s, remains a major factor in today’s wealth gap between Black and white families
- The typical homeowner in a neighborhood that was redlined for mortgage lending by the federal government has gained 52% less—or $212,023 less—in personal wealth generated by property value increases than one in a greenlined neighborhood over the last 40 years
- Black homeowners are nearly five times more likely to own in a formerly redlined neighborhood than in a greenlined neighborhood, resulting in diminished home equity and overall economic inequality for Black families.
- That has had a lingering effect on their children and grandchildren, who don’t have the same economic opportunities as their white counterparts
Want to go even deeper on the subject of racism in today’s housing market? I recommend:
- The Center for American Progress’ report released in July 2019: Racial Disparities in Home Appreciation: Implications of the Racially Segmented Housing Market for African Americans’ Equity Building and the Enforcement of Fair Housing Policies.
- Anything written by Nikole Hannah-Jones, but here are a few articles to start with:
Bottom Line: Systematic racism, especially in housing, leads to a racial divide in wealth. Yes, even now. Not only do Black Lives Matter but Black Wealth Matters and homeownership is key to building wealth and closing the equity gap.
The Role of White Privilege
When I first heard that term, I ignorantly thought it didn’t apply to me. My parents were the first in their families to go to college, my dad having grown up on a farm in rural Maryland, and my mom is first generation Italian American and didn’t even speak English until she went to elementary school.
We lived a very middle class existence and worked really hard for everything we had. Surely, the white privilege category didn’t apply to me.
But then someone explained it this way and I finally understood that, in fact, it did apply to me.
They said, white privilege is not about affluence. It’s not about lack of hard work. It’s not about struggle or lack of struggle. It’s not about being rich.
It’s about being white. That the color of my skin, because it’s white, means I have privilege.
It’s about the system that exists to push white people forward and hold black people where they are.
They explained white privilege is like swimming with the current and the black experience is like swimming upstream.
That explanation made me think back to when I bought my first home at the age of 24 and all the things along the way that happened to make that possible for me—from my education to the job I got after college to seeing my parents own homes and growing up in a “good” school district. Each one of those circumstances easily leading to the next.
That’s white privilege.
I think about how selling that first home created enough equity for me to move out of a terrible personal situation I needed to move on from.
I think about all the people who don’t have that luxury. That’s white privilege.
Those are just two small examples, but being willing to admit that white privilege exists and that I benefited from it, perhaps begins to dismantle it. Because if I’m willing to admit it exists, then I have to also admit that equality doesn’t.
Bottom Line: The playing field is still not equal today, and it never has been. That needs to change. Housing is one of the places it needs to change the most.
What Can Real Estate Agents Do?
Racism in housing, the industry we chose to work in, exists in a very structured, systemic and lasting way today and change is necessary on many levels.
So the question is — are we finally willing to face the reality and actually do something about it?
Where will we go from here?
It’s one thing to understand the situation, it’s another to actually change it.
But, here’s the thing…we can’t unravel decades of overt and unconscious racism and undo injustice, inequality and housing discrimination in one sitting.
This is not about attending a fair housing webinar. Or watching a particular movie. Or reading a few articles or books.
There is no list of “The Top 5 Ways Not To Be A Racist Real Estate Agent” that we can all check off and make sure we’re okay.
This is a commitment to life-long awareness and action.
So, where do we start, as real estate agents?
By no means do I think these initial steps will completely solve the issue, but here are some places to start creating change in your real estate businesses:
- Continuous Education
We announced the Agent Grad School Summer Book Club back on June 1st and we’ll be adding three more books to the summer reading list:
Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America By Richard Rothstein
The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation by Natalie Y. Moore
I will be reaching out to each author and other experts who will hopefully be willing to have a book club discussion about these books between now and the end of our summer book club.
If you’d like to be part of that book club discussion, please reach out to me at jennifer@AgentGradSchool.com, I’d love to have you be part of the conversation!
2. Consciously Create Anti-Racist Real Estate Businesses
Several small business mentors that I look up to held a town hall called “Reimagining Small Business: A Town Hall to Listen, Learn & Commit To Building Equitable, Anti-racist Organizations”
During the two hour town hall, they outlined specific ways that small business owners (yes, that includes us real estate agents!) can fight racism and build a better world. You can access the replay here.
The “big ask” of the town hall was to commit to building equitable, anti-racist small businesses by signing The Anti-racist Small Business Pledge.
I signed and I am committed. Yes, it will take some extra work, time and money to understand how to bring that commitment to fruition, but like any business goal, I’ll education myself, hire experts to help me and put things in place to achieve the goal I’ve set out to reach. It’s worth it.
Another resource I recommend Understanding Racism 101 By Brit Barron. You can learn more about that here.
3. Commit to Always Use Our Expertise to Change People’s Lives for The Better
Believe it or not, our choice to be a real estate agent can help create change and even help fight racism if we let it.
We can use this vocation as a bridge to help others who could be homeowners, but may face roadblocks, and with your guidance and expertise, find a way to make their homeownership dreams come true.
We can educate people and teach them how to overcome the obstacles that stand in between where they are and where they want to be.
We can help create wealth through homeownership for generations where no pathway to wealth existed before.
We can help someone become the first member of their family to be a homeowner, making what seemed impossible, a reality.
We can focus on truly helping people make their dreams come true, and not just focus on our commission check.
We can make it our mission to find people who believe in the idea that responsible homeownership changes lives for the better, but just don’t know how or think it’s not possible for them.
We can show someone how to remove the obstacles they think are standing in their way, one by one, because you know how and you know what owning a home can create in their life.
As real estate agents, we can do so much if we stop just focusing on how many houses we sell or our commissions checks, but start focusing on truly helping people that need it.
We have the opportunity to do that.
You could think of your real estate career as a mission. A mission to help create wealth for people who have never seen it.
Yes, that’s harder than helping people who easily can buy a house; but if it was easy for everyone to buy a house, then we’d be out of job.
So, seek out those challenges. Seek out people who truly want to become homeowners and truly need your help to make that happen.
Make it your mission to create possibility where maybe no possibility existed before. Do that for others and you’ll get it in your own life too.
I’ll do my best to help you do that every way I know how.
Here are a few ways I can think of right now to start:
1.) Support Anti-Redlining Initiatives Like Inclusionary Zoning. Be an advocate, activist and ally when it comes to inclusionary zoning units in your community.
2.). Take on one or two pro bono real estate transactions per year to help someone who wants to purchase an affordable dwelling unit. Many times, there is no budget for a real estate agent to be involved in these types of transactions, but be involved anyway and represent a buyer who must go through these oftentimes complicated programs to become a homeowner and do it pro bono. Walk them through the steps, help guide them and show them what’s possible as you would another client, but do it pro bono. You could be changing the wealth trajectory of an entire family and generations to come.
3.) Lower Your Commission to Help A Non-Profit Sell Affordable Dwelling Units. Outside of government agencies that have inclusionary zoning or affordable dwelling units, there are nonprofit organizations that create affordable housing that you could also help.
You can find nonprofit organizations in your community that are helping to make homeownership an opportunity for everyone, and reach out to see how you can work with them.
One in particular I worked with is called City First Homes. This is a nonprofit organization that creates and preserves quality housing that remains affordable for generations through land trusts.
I worked closely with this organization for years in many ways—giving seminars, served on steering committees, but I also represented them as their agent and sold their properties for a reduced commission. I felt like it was just another way I could help them achieve their mission, one I strongly believed in as well.
4.) Support black-owned banks. Learn more about the black-owned banks that can help your clients buy homes. Here’s a great resource to learn more.
These suggestions are just a beginning.
I’d love to hear what your thoughts are and what more we could all do to change the racism that still exists in the real estate industry and how we can consciously build successful, non-racist real estate businesses.
This is a long-standing conversation that I hope we can continue to discuss and make progress on together.
I welcome your thoughts, suggestions, insights and recommendations.
To your success,
P.S. Want to learn more about this topic and what you can do in your own business to be anti-racist? Check out our follow-up episode called What Every Agent Can Do To Address Racism in the Real Estate Industry.
Welcome to this episode of Confessions of a Top Producing Real Estate Agent I’m your host. Jennifer Myers listen in, as I share exactly what I did to go from not being able to sell a house for years to becoming one of the top 1% of agents in the U S even opening my own brokerage full of agents helped me serve all the clients that were coming my way. I taught those agents the same strategies I use in date two became top producing agents. Now through this podcast, and Agent, Grad School dot com. I’m sharing those same modern marketing and business strategies with you. Most of which I learned from looking outside of the real estate industry, no fluff, no theory, no outdated sales techniques or paying for leads, or just the exact steps to get you the real estate business you’ve always wanted.
And the life outside your business, you’ve always wanted to let’s make it happen and dive into today’s a bit Let’s dive right in today. Cause I think this is an important topic that I want real estate agents to be thinking about and discussing, and also think about as they’re building successful businesses. And that is Racism The Racism in our country and specifically how Racism plays a role in that in the industry that we chose, which is housing and real estate.
So like all of you over the past few weeks, I’ve been watching and learning and trying to understand what is going on in our country and truly trying to understand how deep systemic and structural racism runs in our country. And you know, it is full of emotion, frustration, tears, you know, happiness and play. In times when I feel like it’s a slight justices have been served, but it really is an emotional rollercoaster, not just for me, but for, you know, many people in this country. But overall it feels like a change in the right thing to be talking about and a change that needs to happen in our, in our country.
And more than anything, it feels like an awakening is happening. And although my education on this subject has only just begun. I’ve realized very quickly that this moment in time is not just about police violence against black people, but the fact that white privilege and racism is truly built into every structure that supports the foundation of our country. Everything from healthcare to schooling, to housing, which is the industry we all chose as real estate agents and that it still exists in a very deep way, even decades after things like the civil rights act and the fair housing act were passed, this is not necessarily a fair housing issue that we’re talking about.
It goes way deeper than that. And I don’t, if before this, you know, the lab, you know, with it like a month before this recording, I don’t know that I realized just how deep and how many places that Racism figure fingers were still kind of how deep they were in our country. And I recognize that that right there is my white privilege. And question now is how do we create lasting systemic change after this movement kind of dies down because my biggest fear and all of this is like, this is just, you know, I think we’re all worried about this thing of, you know, we’ve been here before we’ve had protests before we’ve had kind of these police incidences and then it seems to die down and it just kind of keeps bumping up, bumping up.
And so I think a big question now is how do we create lasting systemic, structural deep changes after Penn of the hype wears down? Yeah. After these initial rounds of donations have been given after the protests have died down and after, you know, when people kind of go back to posting about what they normally post about on social media, how do we continue to make change and not forget that this is something that really needs our attention? It needs to change in a deep way in our country. And just some of the things I, you know, I won’t share everything here, but one of the things that as I’ve been trying to learn and unlearn about Racism in our country and how it can be changed from places and leaders like the NAACP among other groups, there was two consistent things that I heard over and over again.
And one was the importance of making sure that you fill out the census, which I have done this year. I was really proud to get to spend The. It really did not take that long. I was dreading it. And then when I actually sit down to do it, it didn’t take more than about a half hour, but how important filling out the census is to kind of how that all trickles down into voting districts and such. And I think, you know, I always understood the importance of voting, but I don’t think I understood how truly important it was. It is to vote at even the very, like the local level than the tiny elections is not the big presidential elections, but the elections that maybe I just need to learn more about who’s running and what they really stand for on the local level.
So that obviously is an education and it’s great. And I got it, but as I kept thinking and seeing what was going on, I just still personally felt like I had this numbing feeling like that just doesn’t seem like enough. It doesn’t feel right like enough to actually create the change that I think is necessary. And yeah, it was kind of, kind of bumming me out. Like, what else can we do? There’s just seems to be, there’s more that needs to get done and so much that needs to get done. So where do we start and how do I affect change in the small ways that I can just being one person? And then I rent something Lizzo retreat we retweeted.
And I think the original, I did a little research and I think the original quote by was by a poet on Twitter and her, I think it’s called lens tastic. She said something profound. And she said, resistance is not a one lane highway. Maybe your lane is protesting. Maybe your lane is organizing. Maybe your lane is counseling. Maybe your lane is art activism, which is my husband’s. Maybe your lane is surviving the day, which I feel like we all need every now and then it’s just to survive the day. But the quotes ended by saying, do not feel guilty for not occupying every lane.
We need all of them. And seeing that quote made me think about how as a real estate agent, my lane, the lane I could choose maybe should be housing, or at least could be housing. And it got me thinking that as real estate agents and that’s who listens to this podcast and who I interact with on a daily basis, but as a real city isn’t should a real estate agent. Shouldn’t we all become more aware of the racism and the white privilege that still to this day plays a very significant role in access to and creating inequality in housing even today. And maybe I thought, if we become more aware as an industry, we could start to consciously unravel the threads of Racism not only in our industry as a whole, but perhaps in our interactions with clients in our, in our end, in our businesses as a whole.
And so that got me also thinking, you know, how my job for you as real estate agents is helping you build a successful business. And I do believe that building a anti-racist real estate business is an important piece of having a successful real estate agent, a successful real estate business as well. And so one focus then I am looking to, to add to the curriculum that we teach here at Agent grad school is how to build an anti-racist real estate business. And so, you know, stay tuned as I continue to learn and find ways to do that for myself. I’ll share those ways with you as well. And although I’m not in a position today to teach about these topics or drive any kind of real clear action oriented call for change, because I’m still doing my part to learn and unlearn and become educated myself.
My intention today with this podcast is simply to bring awareness and attention on the most basic level and share some of the resources I have found in my first several weeks of, of trying to understand this in a, in a larger perspective, and just share that, that information with you, my fellow real estate agents. And so my hope is from there that we can find ways to make some long lasting changes, especially in our real estate businesses and in the real estate industry. And, you know, I just felt like this moment, even though I am not going to do this perfectly, and I certainly am not an expert on this subject that I just couldn’t stay silent because this moment just feels like something that we need to talk about, even if it’s not talked about perfectly.
And it’s important to turn towards the fact that racism still exists very much so in the real estate industry and our job is not, we can’t keep pretending that it’s, that it’s not happening as real estate agents. You know, we really cannot be compliant or complacent or be silent about the fact that it exists in our industry still very much to this day. And so my goal with this podcast today is to shine some light on how Racism still is alive in the real estate industry. And talk about what we as real estate agents can do to start effecting change in our industry.
I think the only way to start having that conversation is really look at the historical kind of where we, we, we are coming from certain by this is definitely not a complete, I mean, I feel like I’d wanna write a book about history of racism in real estate, but just like a quick recap. So that we’re caught up is knowing that this is not a historical problem. This is a today problem, but how did we get here? So as recently as only one or two generations ago, depending on your age, black people were not able to get loans or buy houses in certain neighborhoods, including in the very neighborhoods that they lived. I mean, that is shocking enough, but there are profound and lasting effects that, that have to this day.
But a movie that really illustrates, I watched this the other night and I just w I was like shocked, but also like, it’s like, you know, that it happened, but until you really see how that affects people and so many different ways, but a great movie that I think illustrates this from a historical perspective that is also entertaining to watch is called the banker. And it has Samuel L. Jackson, as well as some other really great actors. And it’s on Apple TV right now. So if you subscribe, you can get it for free, but I highly recommend that you watch it and learn just how difficult, like only 50 years ago it was to simply be denied the ability to generate wealth through real estate, just because of the color of your skin.
And so I think we’ve all kind of heard of the historical Racism and learned about it in class. And, and my biggest thing was I didn’t realize how the effects are of that Racism back 50 years ago are still having a, a impact on today’s. Yeah. Generations, I guess I naively thought that the passage of things like the civil rights act of the fair housing act suddenly created equality when it came to housing and loans in the ability to create wealth in real estate. And that couldn’t be farther from the truth. It didn’t do that. I mean, yes, it did create some progress, but it did not create equality.
There is a great book that I highly recommended. In fact, I’m adding it to our summer reading list called the color of law by Richard Rothstein in that there was a movie I think called, Oh, I forgot the name of it. But in that movie, he mentioned, it’s like a documentary about this topic of Racism in real estate. And in that movie, he says not only because the African men African-American families that were prohibited from buying homes in the suburbs, in the forties and fifties, and even in the sixties, by the federal housing administration, not only did they not gain any of that equity appreciation that whites gained, which obviously has an effect on the next generation, but the issue is also that the efforts of that red lining that existed in the 1970s that did get outlawed eventually in the seventies are still being felt particularly by black families today, 50 years later.
So that is by no means a complete historical account of how we got here, but let’s just kind of jump to today. And the fact that a significant gap still exists between black and white families specifically in terms of access to homeownership. In fact, just last week, Redfin published a study called red linings legacy of inequality. And it found that in areas that were previously redlined, that there was 202, 200 a day, 12, a thousand less home equity in those houses and in those neighborhoods and how low ownership rates are still unfortunately prevalent for mostly for black families.
And so here’s just some key takeaways of what that report showed. And I have a link at Agent Grad School dot com. If you go to the podcast episode page for this podcast, there’s a ton of helpful links that I really hope that you will dive even deeper than I feel like I, you know, I could at all encapsulate in this podcast, but some key takeaways from that study, where are the following redlining though? Outlawed in the 1960s remains a major factor in today’s wealth gap between black and white families. The typical homeowner in a neighborhood that was redlined for mortgage lending by the federal government has gained 50 to less equity. And specifically the study shows $212,000 less in personal wealth generated by property value increases than one in a green line neighborhood over the last 40 years.
I mean, that right there tells you these redlining principles that were outlawed in the seventies. I mean, it’s still carrying through today. The study also found that black homeowners are nearly five times more likely to own in a formerly redlined neighborhood than a green line neighborhood resulting in diminished home equity and overall economic equality for black families. And that, that has a lingering effect on children and grandchildren who don’t have the same economic opportunities as their white counterparts hearts. And again, in this, in the, in the past page, on Agent Grad School dot com there’s I have links to all sorts, lots of other articles that are just, just, it’s just crazy to think that this is still happening.
So a couple I’ll just mention a couple of them here. There was a report released by the center for American progress in July, 2019, it was called racial disparities in home appreciation implications of the racially segmented housing market for African-American’s equity building and the enforcement of fair housing policies. Another one by Forbes was released June 3rd, 2020. I look at housing inequality and racism in the U S another one that NPR did in December, 2013, a battle for fair housing, still raging, but mostly forgotten. The Washington post did an article on June 13th, 2020.
And it was mainly about coronavirus, but how the systemic racism is widening the wealth gap because of that, this Coronavirus pandemic that we’re featuring. And it talks about how home ownership is one key to that wealth gap and why it’s so wide. And then another article by the Washington post, the black white economic divide is as wide as it was in 1968. And again, points to home ownership as being the big reason. And that was released, that was published on June 4th, 2020, and then an expert that I found through my initial research that I just think she is just this, like the smartest person, all I want to do is like talk to her.
And her name is Nicole Hannah Jones. And she writes about Racism when it comes to healthcare and housing and especially schools as well. But there’s a couple of articles she wrote specifically about housing that I highly recommend looking at it. And again, I have links to all this on our podcast page for this podcast episode. Here’s just a couple I linked to, but she does great work in this, in this department though. She’s an article called the race racial housing crisis in America. Another one called one of the biggest banks in the country is being sued for racial discrimination. Another one is, is the federal government finally going to do something about housing discrimination and last but not least living apart, how the government betrayed at landmark civil rights law and all of these are very recent articles.
And so, as I was reading through these articles, really showing that the federal government has not supported the fair housing laws in this country and, and what that kind of means for access to housing to black families. So I really do hope that you link to these articles and link more because, you know, I don’t want to keep going through what these authors and these articles so eloquently point to, but the bottom line is systemic racism, structural racism especially exists in housing. And because of that, it leads to a racial divide in wealth.
And, and yes, even now today, which is just the most shocking part for me. And not only do black lives matter, but black wealth matters also because I heard somebody say in one of the things I was reading, you know, what, what good are the civil rights? If we don’t have the wealth to back those up and take advantage of those civil rights and all of these articles, point to how home ownership is key to building wealth and closing that equity gap. So it’s our responsibility as real estate agents to support black home ownership and all the ways that we can.
And I just want em for a moment touch on the concept of white privilege, because when I first heard that term, I ignorantly thought that it didn’t apply to me because I thought, Oh, I’m not, I might be white, but I’m certainly not privileged. And, you know, I thought, well, I had lived, I grew up in a middle-class family. You know, my parents were the first to graduate from college. You know, we never had kind of more than we needed, but we had what we needed kind of thing. And so I thought, well, white privilege doesn’t privilege. Doesn’t doesn’t apply to me. But then someone explained it to me this way. And I finally understood that. In fact, it did apply to me. They said white privilege is not about a fluence.
It’s not about lack of hard work. It’s not about struggle or lack of struggle. It’s not about being rich. It’s about being white and that the color of my skin, because it’s white means I have privilege. They went on to explain that it’s about the system that exists to push people, white people forward in our society and hold black people where they are. And then they said, you know, think of white privilege, right? White privilege is like swimming with the current. And the black experience is like swimming upstream. And I finally Understood after hearing that description, that white pole bridge did in fact apply to me.
And then it made me think about all the instances where my white privilege kind of pushed me downstream. I thought back to when I bought my first home at the age of 24 and all of the things that had to happen to make that possible for me, from my education to the job I got after college, to seeing my parents own homes and growing up in quote unquote, a good school district, each one of those circumstances easily led to the next and that right there for my experience, because I am white is my white privilege is a white privilege. And then I think about how I was able to get out of a pretty terrible personal situation than I needed to get out of by selling that home And How a lot of people don’t have that opportunity or that luxury and how that is white privilege.
And so those are just two small examples of, you know, what, what being willing to admit that white privilege exists and that I benefit benefited from it. And perhaps if I am willing to admit that it exists, then I feel like I also have to admit that equality doesn’t. And so when it comes to that term about white privilege, it’s not about the word privilege. It’s about the word white. And the bottom line is that the playing field is not equal even today. And it has never been. And that is what needs to change. And housing is one of those places. It needs to change the most. And so I think that leads to a question of like, okay, well, what am I as, as a real estate agent supposed to do about it?
And I think first and foremost, just knowing that Racism in housing, the industry that we chose to work in exists in a very structured, systemic and lasting way to this day. And it needs change on many, many levels that I don’t know necessarily that every single real estate agent is going to be able to solve, but we need to at least know that it exists. And so if we’re finally willing to face that reality, I think that is what begins the process of actually change and doing something about it. It’s, you know, I think the hard part is it’s one thing to understand that that situation, the situation exists today in our industry, but how do we actually change it?
And I think the thing that we all have to remember is that this is not something unraveling decades of overt and unconscious racism and, you know, undoing injustice and inequality and housing discrimination. We can’t unravel that and that in one setting and that this is not about attending another fair housing webinar are watching a movie or reading books or reading articles, even though I think it’s important to start there. That’s not where at the beginning, it’s not the end. And, you know, I can’t release some kind of Podcast the top five ways not to be a racist real estate agent because that something like that just isn’t going to exist.
It’s not a box you can just check off, it’s a lifelong commitment to awareness and action and understanding. And so, you know, where can we start? And please know that this is by no means, you know, where this is really truly an initial conversation, but I have a F three ways that I think we can just start the conversation and we can continue the conversation together here. Not only on this Podcast, but inside Agent, Grad, School, it’s, it’s a curriculum that, that I am looking to build out this year.
So, yeah, first and foremost, we announced just a couple of weeks ago on June 1st, we announced the Agent Agent Grad School summer book club. And I want to add a few books to that summer reading list. And there’s actually three books in particular that I think are really, I hope I haven’t read them yet. So they’re on my list. And my hope is that by the end of the summer, I can read all three bucks, hopefully. Yeah. Ken as well. And we can have a book club conversation about this concept of, you know, how the effects of Racism both today and historically are still affecting the real estate industry. So the three books that I’m adding to the summer book club Agent Grad School summer book club is race for profit, how banks and the real estate industry undermined black homeowners and the color of law.
I forgotten of how our government segregated America and last but not least the South side, a portrait of Chicago and America, American segregation. So I’m going to reach out to each one of those authors. I’m sure they’re so busy, you know, who knows if they’ll have time for a book club conversation with a little me, but I would love for that to happen. I’m going to reach out to each one of them, and I’m hoping they can, you know, shine some light on how real estate agents can understand this in today’s industry and how we might go about changing it. And I’d love for you to be part of that book club discussion as well. So reach out to me at Jennifer at Agent Grad School dot com and we’ll see what we can put together on that, but just know that probably be towards the end of our summer book clubs.
So towards labor day, just to give everybody enough time to read the books for hopefully me enough time to schedule a book club conversation with one of these authors or another expert that can talk about Racism in housing and what we can do about it. A second thing you can do is commit to consciously creating an anti-racist real estate business. So I got this idea and, you know, committed to this myself from several small business mentors that I look up to, they held a town hall called re-imagining small business, a town hall to listen, learn, and commit to building equitable anti-racist organizations.
It was a fascinating to our town hall that outlined specific ways that business owners, and yes, that includes all us real estate agents can fight Racism and build a better world. I have linked to the replay on the Agent Grad School dot com a website for the Podcast page for this episode. So look there, scroll down towards the bottom and you’ll see that a replay link. Now, the big ask of this town hall was to commit as small business owners to building equitable anti-racist small businesses and to sign the anti-racist small business pledge. So I read through it and at first I was like, wow, can I really commit to this?
But I want to commit to it. So I did, I signed and I committed to it, and I realized that it’s going to take some extra work and time and money to understand how to bring that commitment to fruition. Not only in my real estate business, but here in Agent grad school and also in the curriculum that we have here at Agent grad school. But, you know, like any business goal, I’ll educate myself, I will hire experts to help me and put things in place to achieve this goal that I’ve set just like any other business goal. And I feel like it’s worth it. So I have given a link on this Podcast page to the pledge. If you want to look at that and also sign it for your real estate business.
And then another initial resource I recommend is called understanding Racism one Oh one by Britt Baron. And I linked to that resource as well on the Podcast page on Agent Grad School dot com and then last but not least, no, I just think it’s important to recommit as a real estate agent to always use our expertise, to change people’s lives for the better, and to focus, not just on selling houses or, you know, but, but really that our choice to be a real estate agent can help perhaps fight Racism if we let it. And I know that’s a big request and it might think like, how can I fight Racism with my real estate business?
The way I look at it, as you know, we can use this vocation as a bridge to help others who could hopefully be homeowners, but maybe they face extra roadblocks. And with your guidance and expertise, maybe they can find a way to make their home ownership, dreams come true, that we can educate people and teach them how to overcome obstacles that stand in between where they are and where they want to be when it comes to building wealth through real estate that maybe our goal it could be to help someone become the first member of their family to be a homeowner. And how I know making that, what seemed impossible, a reality for them, the, how we can really focus on truly helping people make their dreams come true.
And not just focusing on our commission check or selling another house, you know, that we could look at it, businesses having a mission to find people who believe in the idea of responsible well, the ownership, but just don’t know how to make that happen or think maybe it’s impossible for them that we can be the one to show people how to remove those obstacles that they think are standing in their way, one by one, because you know how to do it. You know, how to help people become homeowners and know, you know, what owning a home can, can create in somebody life. And as real estate agents, you know, we just stopped focusing so much on how many houses we sell and our commission checks that we can really start focusing on truly helping people that Nita in a way that maybe we haven’t before, because we have the option opportunity to do that.
And, and we could think of our real estate careers as a mission to help create wealth for people who’ve never or seen it. And yeah, that’s a lot harder than helping somebody. You could easily qualify to buy a house or who can easily qualify to buy a really expensive house, but if it was easy for everyone to buy a house, then we’d be out of a job. So I, you know, I urge you to seek out those challenges and seek out people who truly want to become homeowners and truly need your help to make that happen. And think about home ownership as a mission to create possibility. Maybe no possibility existed before, like historically.
And if you start doing that for others, you’re going to get that same thing in return in your own life. And through this Podcast and through Agent, Grad, School, I’ll do my best as I learn how to do that in a, in a better way. I’ll, I’ll do my best to share those resources and those houses who’s with you. And here’s just three quick ideas on how you might be able to start and kind of illustrate what I’m talking about here. Number one, you know, inclusionary zoning, as far as what I can read is a, is a, is like a pro anti-racist way of supporting anti redlining initiatives. And so be an advocate and an activist and an ally when it comes to inclusionary zoning, unit’s in your community, there’s all sorts of ways you can get involved with that, whether it’s, you know, little tiny things like maybe if you know, developers who are required to do inclusionary zoning.
I know in my area, all developers, if they’re building a building, aren’t required to set a few units aside for inclusionary zoning. And sometimes they kind of like poo it, like they have to sell them for no profit and things like that. But, you know, dive in and be excited about that and kind of share that excitement with your developers and how they’re giving somebody an opportunity, even though it’s being sold at costs, like it’s still worthwhile. So that’s one thing. And so find ways to support inclusionary, zonings and anti red lining. And yeah, in your community. Another way is I know my business, I would always take one or two pro bono real estate transactions per year.
And specifically for people who wanted to purchase an affordable, well, the unit. So in my experience, there are some great bubble dwelling or lottery system, or like there’s there’s government agencies that I guess facilitate affordable dwelling units, affordable housing for purchase. Yes. And I think every city in the nation, or at least one that’s near your area, but for me specifically, those government agencies did not have the budget to pay a buyer Agent. And so buyers work huh. Left to their own devices and having to navigate like buying their first home and all of these affordable, affordable housing programs.
And it was just really complicated and really frustrating. And I noticed that a lot of buyers kind of just would like, I dunno, like lose steam. And so in a way, anytime I had a buyer come to me that I thought qualified for these transactions, you know, of course I would tell them about it. And second, you know, even if a commission wasn’t involved, I still wanted to be involved and represent them in the process. Now, obviously I get that. Not everyone can do that. And you know, we still have to make a living, but even for inexperienced agents, I mean, this is a great way to get some experience about how to help first time home buyers and how to learn about affordable housing and, and, you know, loan programs that can help first time home buyers. So it could be an education for you as well.
So do as many as you can, but that’s why I’m saying, you know, we can all fit one or two pro bono cases. He says in the, in our business every single year, and then the last but not least another one way is maybe you could find a nonprofit that sells affordable dwelling units and w you know, represent them as the seller’s agent and lower your commission. So I’ll just give you my personal example. I realized that outside of just government agencies that have inclusionary zoning or affordable dwelling units, that there are a lot of nonprofit organizations that create affordable housing for homeowners. And so one in particular that I worked with in my city was called city first homes.
It’s a nonprofit organization that Chris creates and preserves quality housing that remains affordable through for generations through what’s called land trusts. And I worked closely with this organization for many years, I would give seminars, I served on steering committees, and I also represented them as their agent and sold their properties for a reduced commission, because I wanted to, I felt like it was a way that I could kind of support their mission and support their organization and, and, and kind of do it at essentially a little over my cost. So that’s just another example of something you could do to really kind of support this idea of closing the wealth gap in real estate.
Now, these three ideas and reading a couple bucks, like I said, is not going to completely eliminate Racism in real estate, but these are just the initial things that I’m thinking of, just opening our mind and opening kind of the awareness that this is happening. And there are things that we can, we can do about it. And I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s like sometimes I can’t see how to kind of get through the whole path. All I can say is like, what’s the right next step and the right next step for me, when, when I was seeing what was going on and wanting to share something with other real estate agents through this podcast was I just want to share what I’ve been learning. I just want to share the ideas that I have and see where it goes. And then maybe together we can kind of, once we’re there, we can find the next step and the next step.
So these suggestions and this information I’m sharing with you in this one, Pat Podcast is just the beginning. I’d really love to hear from you on your thoughts and what more we, you think we could all do to change the Racism. That’s still very much exists in the real estate industry. And I also want to be thinking about, and working towards how to consciously build successful and non-racist real estate businesses at the same time. So this is a standing conversation that I hope that we can continue. And I hope this is just a beginning of, so I’d love to hear from you. I welcome your thoughts, your suggestions, and your insights and recommendations. You can always reach out to me. And if you want to get the links to any of the things, resources, resources, articles, books that I spoke to the pledge, the anti-racist small business pledge, any of that that I spoke about in this episode, but Agent, Grad School dot com click on the podcast link, and then just go to the Addressing Racism in Real Estate episode, and you’ll see everything that you need there.
Thank you so much for being here. Thank you for listening to this episode and starting to think about how we can all work together to change how racism is affecting our country even now. And we will somehow figure out a way how to move forward from here. So thank you for being here and I’ll see you on the next episode of Confessions of a Top Producing Real Estate Agent see you then. Thank you so much for listening to today’s episode. Remember change happens when you take, so apply what you learned today to your own real estate business. If this episode has helped you subscribe, leave a review and share it with all your real estate agent friends, and as always, if you want even more great resources to create the real estate business you’ve always wanted, and to have the life you want outside your business to head over to Agent Grad School dot com and sign up for the free weekly trainings, you’ll get free classes, discounts, and other goodies that only go out to real estate agents on that email list.
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