Unity Lives Here, an Unbelievable Concert – Watch KC’s Talented Musicians Now!
Local and national artists including Monday Driver and Kstylis come together for a concert to unify the real estate community in the Kansas City region against racism and injustice.
Posted by Kansas City Regional Association of REALTORS® on Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Fighting Systemic Racism in Real Estate
By Bobbi Howe – President, Kansas City Regional Association of REALTORS®
As a second-generation REALTOR® and president of the Kansas City Regional Association of REALTORS® (KCRAR), I have the duty and responsibility to bring attention to the ways real estate has contributed to systemic racism and how practices of the past continue to have an impact today.
The book, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein, provides important enlightenment on intentional and unconstitutional residential segregation in the 1940s and ‘50s. During this time, the government-mandated segregation to intentionally undermine the ability of Black families to own homes and build wealth. We’re still seeing the effects of these policies today.
Take for example, Levittown, New York, which is one of the worst examples of segregation in real estate from the mid-20th century. The homes in that town initially sold for about $8,000. Black families could have bought those homes at that time, but they were restricted from doing so.
Today though, those homes sell for $300,000-$400,000 and they are no longer affordable to working-class families. In the ensuing two generations, the white families who moved into those homes gained $200,000-$300,000 in equity appreciation that Black families were restricted from.
The result is that today, nationwide, Black incomes are on average about 60% of white incomes, but Black wealth is only about 5%-7% of white wealth. That enormous difference is almost entirely attributable to the unconstitutional federal housing policy practiced in the mid-20th century. These practices occurred in cities all over the country, including here in Kansas City.
In 1968, the Federal Fair Housing Act was put in place to prohibit discrimination due to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. It remains one of the most important housing laws in the United States. Unfortunately, by the time the Fair Housing Act was passed, the patterns of segregation had been firmly established and have had a systemic impact. REALTORS® have a duty to actively fight racism in our industry, to continue to advocate for fairness and equality for all, and to stand in unity against implicit bias and systemic racism.
In recent weeks, REALTORS® from across the Kansas City region have come together in unity to build the foundation for stronger and more intentional work in our community and beyond. On June 27, KCRAR’s Diversity Committee spearheaded a community clean up event where volunteers spent the day cleaning up a one-mile stretch of Benton Blvd. in Kansas City, Mo. to show support for the Black community. Similar events are being planned for other areas of the city.
On July 1, KCRAR hosted a REALTOR® Unity Concert on Facebook Live, bringing together musicians including local and national artists like saxophonist Chris “CNOTE” Nickens, folk duo Monday Driver and rapper Kstylis for a night of unity, music, education, and inspiration to further ignite the REALTOR® commitment to fighting injustice and inequality. KCRAR and its more than 11,500 REALTOR® members stand with our Black neighbors and vow to continue our efforts to make an impactful and lasting change in our community.