Speak Up: Responding to Everyday Bigotry

What Can I Do About Real Estate Racism?

'We Don't Share Your Views'

A New York couple meet their new neighbor shortly after he moves in. The new neighbor opens the conversation with, "You're probably relieved that no one black moved in."

An Oregon man's neighbor informs him he has finally sold his house - describing, in a disapproving voice, the buyer as "a Chinese or Japanese woman married to a white man."

A South Carolina couple in an all-white neighborhood sell their home to an African American family. A neighbor confronts them angrily and asks why they sold the house to black people.

Assert neighborly values. "We know you're new to the neighborhood. Around here, we welcome all kinds of people. And we all look out for each other."

Appeal to basic humanity. When confronted with a bigoted, "Why did you sell your house to those people?" a simple reply is, "Because they're people. They want to buy our house, they can buy our house."

Appeal to allies or the neighborhood association. If you're the target of bigoted conduct and fear for your well-being or safety, let sympathetic neighbors know; ask them to keep an eye (and ear) out for you. Or contact the neighborhood association, which may have policies in place to assist you.

Model neighborly behavior. Extend a hearty welcome to new neighbors, and honor old neighbors. Help to create a neighborhood that values connectedness, rather than exclusion and bias.