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Living Big in The Big D

With Tara Deming
Tuesday, July 12, 2016 12:36 PM

Love Thy Neighbor

By: Tara Deming

It's very important to know the neighbor next door and the people down the street and the people in another race. 
-Maya Angelou
 

It’s been an emotional week to say the least. In the past 10 days we’ve seen several black men killed by police officers and police officers ambushed by a sniper in our very own city.  These events, among countless others, have brought the racial divisiveness in the country to a high not blatantly seen for quite some time.  Social media seems to be a tool right now used to further divide us as people. The common factor I see in some of the disagreements on sites such as facebook, is the lack of understanding from certain groups of people.  The flat out denial and or ability to see that racism continues to have a major effect on the lives of minorities. In order to protect my heart, I’ve been trying to stay off of social media and focus my attention normally spent there elsewhere.   While doing some research I came across an article by Dorothy Brown, a professor of Tax Law at Emory University Law School.  In her article she explained that she believed that while home ownership had been an important vehicle in creating a solid middle class, it had not done so for most black homeowners.  Most blacks decide to live in majority minority neighborhoods while most whites live in overwhelmingly white neighborhoods.   Her research shows that homes in majority black neighborhoods do not appreciate as much as homes in overwhelmingly white neighborhoods.  When I read this I couldn’t help but to think about property values for homes in the parts of Dallas that are predominantly minority compared to values in areas that are predominantly white.  As I continued to read I was taken more aback by the fact that research shows the market penalizes integration.  The higher the percentage of blacks in a neighborhood, the less the home is worth even when factors that would normally be variables are controlled.  Ms. Brown brings up data from a 2007 study by sociology professor Gregory D. Squires of George Washington University explaining why most whites avoid racially diverse neighborhoods.  “Evidence indicates that it is the presence of blacks, and not just neighborhood conditions often associated with black neighborhoods (e.g., bad schools, high crime), that accounts for white aversion to such areas. In one survey, whites reported that they would be unlikely to purchase a home that met their requirements in terms of price, number of rooms, and other housing characteristics in a neighborhood with good schools and low crime rates if there was a substantial representation of African Americans.”  How sad.  People who think this way don’t know what they are missing out on.  None of us do when we make generalizations about one another based on preconceived notions.  As a licensed Real Estate professional I know there are certain details I cannot divulge to my clients.  I cannot give out crime statistics or steer people into or away from a neighborhood based on race.  I would like to think no one in my honorable profession is violating state licensing regulations by divulging the information about race in a neighborhood to their clients.  Unfortunately, that would mean those looking to buy are seeking the information themselves.  Whether it’s doing a google search or driving the neighborhood it’s sad to think some see the presence of blacks as a determining factor in whether or not they will purchase a home.  I live in a very diverse neighborhood and I do not like all of my neighbors.  One has dogs that bark all day and night at any sign of movement or noise.  Several people in my family have been approached by her for various reasons.   Another neighbor is probably one of the nicest men I’ve ever met.   One is white one is black. My son is able to play with a diverse group of children in the neighborhood.   I’m happy I was not robbed of the opportunity to make a decision about these people.  I’m proud to a part of a community of people that loved the house more than they cared about the color of the skin of their neighbors. Although I am blessed to be able to experience a racially diverse neighborhood this is not the case for everyone.  And as much as I’d like to run from what is going on I can’t. Racism impacts every aspect of our lives from our interactions on social media to the type of people who become our neighbors.  It’s everywhere and the sooner we face this truth the sooner we can begin to address the issues and bring about change. What that change will look like is yet to be determined.

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