CAR slams Trump in statement on race in real estate

by Meg White

Earlier this month, Chicago Association of Realtors CEO Michelle Mills Clement told Chicago Agent magazine that the association’s leadership team would soon meet to discuss not only the controversy surrounding the use of the word “master” to describe bedrooms and bathrooms in real estate listings, but also the organization’s larger position on racism in the industry. Today, the board of directors, lead by Clement as well as President Maurice Hampton, President-Elect Nykea Pippion McGriff, Treasurer Antje Gehrken, Immediate Past President Tommy Choi and Director Marty Walsh, issued a statement on these topics.

The statement began with an acknowledgment that ending the usage of the word “master” in property descriptions is easy, but that more work remains. “There is no downside to removing a word from real estate vernacular that carries an uncomfortable and racist undertone,” the statement read. “However, focusing on one term is a distraction from the larger and very real issues around race.”

The association went on to say that among those very real issues are the policies of the Trump administration and the language used by the president himself. In particular, the leadership team slammed the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s decision this week to repeal the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule in a way that went significantly farther than the National Association of Realtors’ statement on the move.

“Communities receiving federal dollars were required to take steps to actively promote integration in communities. Now, they’re not,” CAR’s statement read. “We must actively work to identify and dismantle segregationist and racist patterns in housing. Abolishing this rule washes the government’s hands of responsibility to deconstruct what they helped build and ignores the systemic racism in housing opportunity that has ensured Chicago remains one of the most segregated cities in the United States.”

Turning to President Donald Trump, the association quoted his tweet announcing the repeal, which said in part, “I am happy to inform all of the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood!”

The statement asked members to examine the president’s words closely. “Take another look at our president’s tweet. Those powerful words are evidence that changing one word won’t solve the systemic issues in our industry — there is real work to be done, and we can’t do it by ourselves,” the statement read. “Those words are a perfect example of how racism and discrimination flourish. Racism is not just a personal issue. Racism is structural and institutionalized.”

As for solutions, the association outlined several action items for the industry and individual members:

  • Report fair housing violations: “We know these are still happening – we hear from many of you that this is a constant challenge, but unless you report specific violations when they occur, our hands are tied. Help us hold each other accountable.”
  • Promote Black leaders: “There is a startling lack of Black managing brokers and a lack of Black representation in brokerage leadership where Blacks aren’t broker owners.”
  • Encourage diversity of all kinds among the ranks. “Take a look at your staff and teams. As you’re growing, are you making an effort to diversify your circle? … Volunteer to mentor someone who may not look like you. Hire an assistant or partner who can broaden your circle.”
  • Expand training efforts: “Ask every brokerage to mandate unconscious bias training. Unconscious bias is a cancer that is rampant in our society and our industry — training to recognize those biases and actively dismantle and work through them is critical.”
  • Understand the roots of inequality in housing: “In Black communities, properties are undervalued and overtaxed — and research has shown this is deliberate (a great resource on this is the book, ”Color of Law,” by Richard Rothstein). We must tackle the subjectivity and inequality in our current systems that make private property an inadequate vehicle for building Black wealth and equity.”     

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  • Jeffrey L Wiseman says:

    Join the conversation so Chicago Agent can censor?

    No thank you.

  • Brian J Mulhern says:

    The Trump administration has been an embarrassment for our entire country which is a melting pot of immigrants. VOTE in November for
    leadership as America was far greater in 2016, and will IMPROVE when TRUMP gets THUMPED!

  • Thank you for a good article says:

    Thank you for a good article reporting what is going on. Does someone from CA’s staff check for missing spaces between words when you post an article or is it just my browser that is removing spaces between words?

  • Juan Peguero says:

    im extremely proud of this association for taking stand against Trump and his administration.
    Together we stand united

  • Marisa Nova says:

    After the nonsense of looting/property destruction/police disrespect today – which we taxpayers will foot the bill for – can anyone really say Chicago is better since the liberal agenda has been trying to overtake our country…? This goes SO MUCH DEEPER than blaming President Trump for all the ills we are experiencing now.

  • Iver Johnson says:

    Kudos to CAR for calling out The Orange Buffoon for his clearly racist attitudes and policies. The veneer covering the racist attitudes underlying his policies and those of his minions are so thinly veiled as to be no veneer at all. He and his daddy got busted by HUD twice for discrimination at his apartment buildings when Donny was helping daddy. Two consent decrees; they claimed they just hadn’t heard about that Fair Housing thing. Who knew??

  • Luis Huerta says:

    Our Country definitely need a more definitive call to action; when it comes to running & adapting in our current environments where Covid-19 & the discussion of racisms is a debate that should be of the norm in uniting us, instead is dividing us. Our government has failed us in planning ahead before the spread of this pandemic. Our president behavior & course of action with leaving it to the states failed the people with the lack of information and the education needed for the state level to fight this invisible enemy. More regulation is fine, when it is educating and not fining those already struggling trying to earn a living. As the world watches us, our dividedness in leadership and organization afraid of having the real talk. A real conversation about the inability to help home buyers in low to moderate areas is not just a color issue, but my friends an income issue that is not going to be solved with grants or more non-profits helping. When the end results is profits! I’m the first to tell you, I am a capitalist at heart. I support the small business and the entrepreneur willing to take proper risk. In this country; we forgot to use our imagination to create things, new ideas, take risk because the cost of censorship or liabilities. When regulation is used for the greater good and chokes small businesses or entrepreneurs, who did it really help? When a program like section 8 which is a fantastic program but the clients from those programs get certificate to move into high-mobility areas but can not compete because the rules are stacked against them, when market rate renters have tools to negotiate much faster. As simple as a security deposit while negations move forward & If not picked for that rental; has their deposit returned. When the worker from McDonald’s or Track Auto cannot buy a home for $17,000-$60,000 because the cost of doing the loan will cost the bank in processing the paperwork too much. The city’s across America just demo great properties on their list as vacant instead of creating a solution. That is a problem. I ask “Who is the first-time buyer?” Are we really creating opportunity or creating the disfranchised. How do we wake up the sleeping giant in all people to spur the buying engine of the 50’s in 2020 or going forward here in America? where now that same person regardless of income bracket is owning a piece of America & has a reason to go out and spend for services needed in making there home #Findyourdreamhome or neighborhoods great again!

  • Jae says:

    Just like the criminal Mayor of Chicago, the CAR also would rather point the finger at Trump as they worry about being overly woke. Your woke is a joke and the city is too as the criminals loot and pillage.

  • eddie says:

    Our city is being destroyed and this is important? the word master? very sad. pathetic.

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