WATCH: Housing in the post-affirmative action environment

Publish Date: August 03, 2023

Written by Lee Davenport

- Originally published at Inman News - Lee Davenport

Will the partial elimination of affirmative action in elite college admissions eventually impact representation, access and opportunity in the real estate industry? Watch Dr. Lee Davenport’s conversation with Spelman College professor, Dr. Francesina R. Jackson.

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Did you know women make up 62 percent of Realtors, but are woefully underrepresented in firm leadership and management?

Also, did you know according to the 2020 U.S. Census, people of color — in other words, the collective of Black, Indigenous, Asian and Hispanic/Latino/Latine — make up a whopping 38 percent of the U.S. population but are only a measly 13 percent of Realtors?

You may be wondering, “Okay what’s the problem with that?”

Well, historically, under-representation among real estate professionals (like agents, brokers, lenders and appraisers) has meant unfair housing happens — and it often happens unchecked. 

Today is no different

Case in point: Remember the expose by Newsday entitled, “Long Island Divided” that showed steering still happens?

To add insult to injury, since 2020, a laundry list of companies have been hit with fines for “redlining” in this century (to be clear, we are talking about over 50 years after federal fair housing became law). These companies include:

  • Redfin
  • Facebook
  • KeyBank  
  • Trustmark National Bank 
  • City National Bank
  • Park National Bank 
  • Lakeland Bank
  • Trident Mortgage
  • Cadence Bank
  • and there are others, including ESSA Bank & Trust

Collectively, they have paid multiple millions, yet we know fines alone are not the solution.

Such data easily points to the need for a concerted effort from all of us to proactively recruit, hire and develop everyone, especially our underrepresented communities. It also leads to the following points to ponder:

  • Will the partial elimination of affirmative action in elite college admissions eventually impact the representation, access and opportunity of the real estate industry for people of color? For other protected groups? 
  • Is it a non-factor of homeownership or the tipping point, stoking the flames higher of unfair housing?
  • Why is quality professional development – including inspiring fair housing continuing education – needed now more than ever.
  • When did affirmation action in the U.S. begin to include women and people of color?  
  • What can we do to continue to prioritize representation in our associations and firms among both membership and leadership?

To answer these questions and more, I am joined by a leader in higher education, my own professor (I am a graduate of the Diverse Leadership program) from Spelman College, Dr. Francesina R. Jackson.

Take a moment to watch and reflect on our conversation, and let’s keep the conversation going.

Lee Davenport is a licensed real estate broker, trainer and coach. Follow her on YouTube or visit her website.

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