Transforming strife into action

by Meg White

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve gotten a lot of notes from corporations recently. They tell me they’re thinking deeply about how to be more inclusive and remove systemic racism from their company and industry structures.

Some of these platitudes are more impactful than others. Maybe it’s because I’ve never really bought into the whole “corporations are people, too” idea, but some of these communications strike me as tone deaf, or worse. Posts such as the Washington Redskins’ “Blackout Tuesday” attempt remind me of the greenwashing that happened once “climate change is real” became a noncontroversial stance to take. In other words, by saying they stand with people of color, it seems some brands believe they absolve themselves from doing the real work that needs to be done to end systemic racism.

So what does this have to do with the tool box of real estate professionals in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is the topic of this issue of Chicago Agent magazine? Well, as we emerge from the multiple traumas that are impacting our city, we have to think about what we’re taking away from the experience. What have we learned, and how are we going to use that knowledge to improve our industry, our neighborhoods and our region? These questions apply to all crises — long-standing structural inequities included. And if we’re going to fail as a society, I’d rather “fail forward” and improve than pretend we aren’t really failing in the first place. Otherwise, we’re just expressing empty platitudes.

We definitely have room for improvement. While Chicago Agent magazine has long been committed to representing the diversity of the Chicagoland real estate community in every issue, I am ready to double down and think more deeply about how we tell stories, and more actively spotlight the voices of people of color in our industry. Please reach out to me with your ideas for how to do that at meg.white@agentpublishing.com.

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