Courtesy of Inman News
This January marks Inman’s fifth annual Agent Appreciation Month, which culminates at Inman Connect New York in a celebration of agents at the end of January. Plus, we’re rolling out the coveted Inman Power Player Awards, as well as the New York Power Brokers and MLS Innovators awards.
We are in very interesting times where division seems to be the norm. But I really believe that when it comes to discrimination and hate, a vocal minority is leading the charge.
I say this because GLAAD recently reported that 91 percent of non-LGBTQ Americans agree that LGBTQ people should have the freedom to live their lives and not be discriminated against. Wow. Society has come a long way. But those acceptance levels are not playing out the same way in so many statehouses around the nation.
Things have gotten so bad that the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the leading LGBTQ+ advocacy organization, issued a National State of Emergency for LGBTQ+ Americans last summer after witnessing a dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislation across the nation.
It is not just the LGBTQ+ community that is being attacked. Around the same time, Senate Bill 264 passed in Florida, restricting land ownership for Chinese nationals and opening up many avenues for potential discrimination. This follows the anti-Asian sentiment that grew from COVID and President Trump calling it the “China Virus.”
The Hispanic community is facing all types of discrimination growing out of occurrences at the U.S.-Mexico border, while the Black community continues to suffer from it every day. Women in the workforce are another group that is routinely discriminated against.
I recently came upon a fascinating article in the Asbury Park Press that compared how New Jersey fared in discrimination and hate crimes along with showcasing data from the national scene. It shared that bias incidents reported in New Jersey for 2023 through just October were 2,175, just three cases shy of 2022’s total.
The state also saw its highest number of bias intimidation charges filed in 2022 at 86 and the number is expected to grow. This includes when someone is intimidated or targeted based on their religion, gender, race, sexual orientation, etc., but no crime may have been committed. For example, a Jersey City transgender woman was harassed because of her identity by a group of men, but when she reported it to the police, they felt no crime had been committed.
Other parts of the country are facing turmoil as well. NBC News reports that, in 2022, Los Angeles recorded 609 hate crime incidents, which is a record-high number. Among these incidents, Black, LGBTQ+, Jewish, and Latino people were discriminated heavily. Chicago also saw a similar pattern of absurdly high increase in hate crime reports at 85 percent.
In fact, the FBI reported 11,643 hate crimes in the U.S. in 2022. While most are rooted in racism, hate crimes involve criminal offenses motivated by other instances such as homophobia, transphobia and xenophobia.
If you think none of this matters to those in the real estate industry, you are wrong. Look at the latest report from The U.S. Census Bureau, which shows that non-Hispanic Whites had a homeownership rate of 74.5 percent.
Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) followed at 62.7 percent. Hispanics have a 49.4 percent homeownership rate followed by the Black community at 45.5 percent. UCLA’s Williams Institute reports that the LGBTQ+ homeownership rate is 49.8 percent. Clearly, discrimination is a major factor in limiting access.
That is why I have worked so hard to bring the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance together with the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA), the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) and WomanUp!, to create Stop Hate in Real Estate. An attack on one is an attack on all, and I am incredibly thankful for our partners for taking this momentous stance.
The campaign serves as a platform to unite all real estate professionals, providing resources, education, and support to ensure we can be leaders of change in their communities. We do not have to abide by where the vocal minority is trying to take us.
There are about 1.5 million Realtors. The majority are anti-hate and anti-discrimination. Over the last two years traveling across the country and speaking to thousands of professional peers, it has become apparent that when we actually talk to each other, we find we have more in common than not. Our industry is filled with people who want to find resolution and compromise instead of living in a divided country.
Who is better than those of us in real estate to lay the groundwork for change?
Real estate professionals, with their extensive networks and local influence, are well-equipped to speak out against any hate or attacks on minority communities. We understand fair housing. From redlining to refusal of service, we understand the importance of eliminating biases and creating an industry that truly serves everyone.
I call on all Realtors to take the pledge at StopHateinRealEstate.org an