Culture, Values, Equality, & Us
We are a small and tight-knit brokerage. I hire based on culture and values. I can teach people how to sell. That’s easy. I can’t teach people how to care.
All of my agents and staff care. We care about each other. We care about you. We care about our society, and we care about our world. We care about individuals and the whole. We are in this for the macro as well as the micro.
One of the most crucial parts of our Mission Statement is that all people are created equal, and nobody is better than another person based on race, color, sex, orientation, ability, or religion. We are all a human family, and we insist on respect for each other like a family. It’s non-negotiable.
We feel this way about our clients, too. Everyone is created the same and will be treated the same. Never not!
Fair Housing is a huge part of our real estate and brokerage culture, and being actively and vocally supportive of what fair housing stands for is also a requirement. No deviation.
I have known a lot of our clients and friends for a long time, and some I have just met. Those who know me well know that I have been passionate (I never use that word! 🙂 ) about social justice for decades, and I expect my agents to be as well. If they are not, they are not a good match for my company.
At BRFP you will find agents and staff who support equal and fair treatment always. Always. And any variation from that is grounds for termination. Fortunately, I have not had to go that route as of yet, but I would not hesitate if need be. There is a huge reason for this, and it is more than my personal preference – although there is that.
historical oppression in real estate
Aside from personal callings, we operate this way pro-actively because Real Estate is a historically oppressive system. Every move we make endorses or moves to dismantle this system.
In 2019 there was a whole lot of money paid out by lenders for as punishment for being found guilty of lending discrimination. Like hundreds of millions. In a year.
Here are just a couple of examples:
and there are so many more.
oppression is alive today
Here is an article that talks about the disparities in loan products costing Black and Latino borrowers millions more than white borrowers. Current.
Last year this extensive and important study was released about illegal and blatant racially motivated discrimination in New York, and it is a lengthy read/watch, but it will make your jaw drop.
Racial discrimination is alive and well in my business. Please, if you click no other real estate links in this post, please click this one in this paragraph above and dive in.
we are not okay with this
This is not a situation that is resolved in the world. There are still so many many issues! Blue Ridge Fine Properties is my Real Estate company, and I have a problem with this aspect of my profession. All of us do.
I believe we all as a society should have a problem with this, so I am not only speaking for myself. I am speaking for our company when I say that we are supportive of an overhaul of the systems as they stand. We support equal rights for all, truly, and not just on paper.
From government-sponsored segregated neighborhoods to redlining, to blockbusting to the aforementioned modern-day lending discrimination, Real Estate has long oppressed non-white people. Thereby excluding them from the process of wealth building through homeownership. And sometimes this was done with Federal laws on the books that dictated the discrimination.
legal is not the same as ethical
YUP! Legal is not the same as ethical, by any stretch. But we all know this, right?
So the Civil War might have ended, and the enslaved people may have been released, but their descendants continue to be actively oppressed. This is factual.
It used to literally be legal to not work with people because of their race not too long ago, and this vibe is not over. Just hop into any industry Social Media page that is public and it doesn’t take long to start seeing it. Some agents still have this kind of archaic outlook, and they have power in this arena. I and a few others can’t report them to their Brokers fast enough. I’m a screenshot machine!
how do we fix this?
So we make money from and actively participate in a historically – and sometimes currently – racist and oppressive system. How do we reconcile this? It’s hard!
It’s hard because it is not all happy stories and forever homes. Sometimes our profession interfaces with terribly oppressive practices that inhibit generational wealth for Black and Brown people. This part is brutal.
And while we didn’t start it, you bet we are doing our darnedest to correct the wrongs that we can. All of us. Each of us. Our company. Our culture.
Generational wealth is built through property ownership, and we cultivate opportunities to assist folks who have not ever had this opportunity due to the systemic racism that exists, and the fallout that is still present from the past legal discrimination. We consider this our obligation, and duty. And it is also part of our Mission Statement.
We want to actively seek opportunities inasmuch as it is appropriate to assist in bridging this gap for folks who have suffered financial and stability oppression through these cruel systems. We keep our eyes open for these chances. It’s important.
level the playing field
Fair Housing has brought us a long way, and this is wonderful. But it is not enough. We have to be actively anti-discrimination. This means that if we see different treatment toward one of our more vulnerable clients by a vendor, another agent, or another person connected to the transaction, we get involved. It’s sometimes not pretty. But it needs to happen.
These are our pledges, and they have been since I began working in this industry.
I have been meaning to put this together for a long time, you know? Glad these historic times gave me a nudge to sit down and write it all out tonight. To tell you all actively where we are coming from with this, and that we pledge to support all folks, and especially those who have been robbed of the opportunities that white folks have had.
We strive to help people create wealth through homeownership, and we especially commit to assisting marginalized people, previously shut out of the process, how to use this tool as a means to financial freedom. We want to level the playing field with our privilege. This is on our collective and individual radar, all of us.
I am hopeful for the changes that I believe are on the horizon right now. This is a really important time, and while I know it is uncomfortable and it may get more uncomfortable before it gets better, I believe it is a long time coming.
I pledge that we will keep pushing. Daily.
recognize our unconscious biases
I’m not going to offer a cute or helpful quote in closing, nothing like that. But I am going to offer some reading suggestions for a couple-few books that have been eye-opening to me and some friends, and ask that we each examine our unconscious biases.
It’s ok to realize that we have unconscious biases. We all do! We are not perfect!
But most of us want to do better, it’s just hard to be told we are wrong or have been mistaken. I know!
learn how to work through them – a reading list
I ask that we move through that resistance, and we can start in the privacy of our own homes by taking a look at any of these books.
Race For Profit, by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (which I need to read and am ordering for myself!)
If you would like to read any of these books or plays, and you have trouble finding them at your library, please email me if affordability is a problem. Send me a title that seems interesting to you, and your address, and I will send.
We can all do better, and strive to be happy, joyous, and free. I wish you all of this and more and stand in solidarity with the struggles for freedom and independence here in the USA, and all struggles around the globe.
Thank you for taking the time. Black Lives Matter.