Is it racist for a Realtor to only show homes to certain clients ...
... even if they know the property owner is racist too?
The average black person has to hide any semblance of melanin in order for a prior home to be sold. White people generally don’t have that same problem. While it’s recommended to remove enough belongings so that a potential buyer or renter can imagine living there, there’s not that same risk of a lower appraisal (refer to comedian D.L. Hughley’s story as an example) or the offer being turned down altogether.
And for one family (a married couple — African-American man and a Mexican-American woman — along with their adult and teenage kids), the “empty” home they visited wasn’t so empty either. A Realtor brought them to a place that wasn’t exactly staged in such a way to show a comfortable atmosphere. However, there was some questionable “decor”: a Confederate flag mat on the dining room table and several more Confederate flags throughout the rooms, a photo of two uniformed policemen, and a major surprise once they entered the bedroom.
On the bedroom wall was a wooden picture frame — of a KKK application. After seeing something like that, would it be easier to quietly leave that home in Muskegon, Michigan, and never say another word about it? Or, take a photograph and post about it on Facebook? After all, the prior homeowner was a police officer and other (black) potential homeowners could risk seeing this too?
You can listen to the entire episode of “This American Life” to find out what the couple did. (The Realtor cried and said she had no idea the home looked like this. How all the Confederate flags didn’t tip her off is beyond me.)
While I was listening to this story, I kept thinking of my own experience with a Realtor (or real estate agent, because there is a difference) who was in an awkward position with me. However, he knew more than this Michigan couple’s Realtor did. The problem was that I didn’t take the hint.