Dr. Lee Davenport interviews New York Times bestselling author “The Color of the Law,” Richard Rothstein, along with Leah Rothstein, his co-author of the new “Just Action.”
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One of my favorite encapsulating statements from Richard Rothstein’s seminal book on how public policy has shaped American real estate, color of the law Yippee:
“Only if we can develop a widely shared understanding of our shared history will it be practical to consider the steps we might take to meet our commitments.” (p. 198)
I would like to summarize it as knowledge of our collective (national and local) un-The history of fair housing is like taking a 101 class—it’s the introductory phase of being a knowledgeable real estate professional.
There is no shame if you need a 101 refresher on how we got to this place where we need fair housing laws and advocacy. Here is the starting place for a quick review “”There goes the neighborhood’: A history of race and home ownership in the US“
Clearly, 101 classes is a good and necessary start (kudos NAR for making housing equity education a core requirement of recovery), but more needs to be done to achieve a “graduation” where we can declare a job well done as dynamic housing opportunity creators. We have never been just key holders and door openers, but influencers in our communities.
By then, many people will (rightly) have finished reading Color of law or abandon the necessary but short one-off housing fairs and courses that explain the history un-fair housing with the words “Now that I know this, what can I do in my corner of the world?”
That palpable motivation for the audience to do something, anything, to help right the wrongs of the past housing policy and action is a win. Yet this curiosity is the electrifying beginning of this journey, not its culmination. To paraphrase the late Dr. Maya Angela, once we know better, we want to do better – we want to take jthe mouth of the action.
After dipping into Color of law and a history of injustice housing (which is again an introductory 101 course), what should real estate professionals focus on?
Check out this short interview with the guy who literally wrote the book about it, Richard Rothstein, and co-author of his latest book, Just ActionLeah Rothstein.
- “I wasn’t around when it was unfair. housing happened, so why should I be responsible for fixing it?” (Note: Federal Fair Housing Laws have been on the books for 55 years, while the average agent is 56 years old. Half of us in this industry (and that number is probably growing by the day) have had no say in the issue of unfairness housing policy.)
- How real estate firms and local associations can work together in the community.
- One well-known service lawyers offer that real estate firms and associations can adopt to make a big difference in our communities.
- Key ways to overcome the despair and “paralysis of analysis” that some may experience when examining the remaining effects of unfair housing.
I agree with Leah Rothstein who states in this interview, “We’re not short of options, we just have to start.” Let’s do it!
In the meantime, are you interested in a spiritual group that would specifically identify Just Action in your neck of the woods?
This summer only, I will be hosting a free transformational small group cohort, Mastermind of opportunity creators, where you will embark on a journey to learn more about and actively advocate for fair housing. This unique opportunity will not only connect you with like-minded individuals, but also allow you to become an opportunity creator in your community.
Together, we can make a lasting impact in promoting equal access and opportunity to housing for all.