By Brian Copeland
I grew up in a hometown notorious for its horrible discriminatory history. In 1956, the high school was bombed when 12 students of color were desegregated into the school. Today, I look back on such acts and honestly cannot believe they happened. It seems like some goofy urban myth that someone would want to discriminate.
Today, from our country’s dramatic and rocky diversity history, we now find ourselves having to pass “rules,” “guidelines” and laws about how we should treat each other. While obviously we still have a long ways to go as a nation, the REALTOR(R) Party took a huge step at the Midyear meetings in D.C. to show this organization’s dedication to diversity and equal housing. I sat in my chair on the professional standards committee and watched a huge room of diverse people unanimously vote to add equal protection for sexual orientation to our Standards of Practice. There was no partisan bickering. There was no drama. There was no dissent. There was only a roll of applause when the chair announced it passed.
I could not be prouder to say I’m a REALTOR(R) today. Our organization took a step ahead of national policy and set the tone for others to follow. As YPN, many honestly don’t understand why we have to have these kind of words in our practice. I’m proud to say that sitting on the YPN Advisory Bward, hanging out with the “mindset” and being part of the amazing YPN culture, I never hear of, see or read anything that would raise a flag. As a former congressional race employee and growing up in the South, I’ve always heard “back door” discussions about races, genders, sexual orientation and the like; however, YPNers don’t seem to get it. YPNers are clueless. YPNers simply aren’t in the loop. What a wonderful compliment to be paid to our group!
We don’t seem to understand these issues, because we are a new mindset. One that says that we can’t imagine a day ever when someone wouldn’t be allowed to rent an apartment through a REALTOR(R) because of their familial status. One that is blind to a moment when someone would deny homeownership to a person of color. One that is appalled to hear a broker say, “We don’t want to do business with gay people, nor do we want them in our company.” (Side note: Yes, this was said in a broker class I took 1.5 years ago in a small group exercise.)
YPNers, I’m so proud to be a part of you. REALTOR(R) Party, I’m so proud to be a part of you. As one member of Professional Standards said yesterday, “I wish we could just say ‘no discrimination.’” I’d take it to the next level and say, “I tearfully pray for the day when documents needed to spell out how we treat discrimination issues are museum artifacts, reminders of a day long gone.”