Dear White People…
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Title:Dear White People…
This is not political. It never was.
I have over 9k in my network on LinkedIn. I have seen only a handful of posts about BLM, George Floyd, Systemic Racism, White Supremacy, Police Brutality, Criminal Justice Reform, Police Reform, solidarity with protesters… I have seen very few posts about what we can do as a community, as an industry to right these wrongs. I’m not sure if LinkedIn is concealing your posts, or if the posts are just not there. If you have posted, I support you.
If no one reads this because it doesn’t click with the LinkedIn algorithm – I will post it again, and again.
You may say, this is LINKEDIN – it is NOT THE PLACE for POLITICAL POSTS.
You are 100% right.
This is NOT Political, and it never was. The basic human rights of our neighbors, friends, and fellow humans was NEVER political. I am decades late in posting this….and so are you. This is a HUMAN RIGHTS issue, and our industries – Real Estate, Development, Construction are some of the most complicit (at best) or active participants in the White Supremacy Machine.
When it comes to Gentrification, Tenant Abuse, Racial Discrimination, Outward Bigotry in our hiring decisions, outward bigotry on our construction sites, our real estate investors impacts, our developers, ,…..it is bleeding out of us.
Facing this does not have to be bad for business.
Our ability to address this moral issue head on, will undoubtedly produce an outcome that is not counter-intuitive or counterproductive to good business.
I will lose candidates and clients from this post. That is ok. If you do not believe that Black Lives Matter, or if your response to that truth is that Blue Lives Matter or that All Lives Matter, then you DO NOT GET IT. All Lives Cannot Matter until Black Lives Matter. The statistics do not lie. Racism is alive and well, and I hear and I see it in our industry.
Half of you will stop reading here (a quarter of you didn’t get past the first sentence). SLAVERY is the ORIGINAL SIN. There is a massive difference between you being in the US as a descendant of immigrants who traveled here by their own will to make a better life…versus your black friend or neighbor or coworker who is here because their ancestors were brought here against their will, enslaved and abused. That is not an even playing field. That is not an equal footing. And the continual work of the government and the law enforcement complex to oppress these very same people decade after decade..for hundreds of years, is simply an extension of that original sin. Atonement is our only answer. Reparations are not enough. Each white person must look at what they can do personally for their fellow humans – to even the playing field, to empower, to embolden, to befriend, and to love.
Much of this racism in our industry and in our country comes from folks who will age out in the next 10-20 years. That is too long. You need to look at your self in the mirror today. Young people need to speak up. You need to look at your staff. You need to look at your charitable contributions, or lack thereof. You need to look at your clients, and their contributions to either positive change or sustained racial suppression. You need to look at your investors and their implicit racism. I need to do the same.
I am part of this machine.
I have worked with clients who are outwardly racist. I have worked with companies in NYC whose top 20 leadership pics look like they might as well be from Wyoming. I have worked with companies who count on gentrification as a business model. I have worked with companies who are predatory towards black homeowners who have lived in neighborhoods their whole lives. I have worked with clients who ‘go with the white candidate’ for no apparent reason.
I have been lucky enough in my 22 years in this business to align mostly with good companies. And when the market is good, I feel blessed to be able to work with clients who have a strong moral compass, who do the right thing, who look at all humans the same, and will weigh resumes and candidates based on their accomplishments, credentials, and experience over the color of their skin.
Now that we may be a little compressed in the coming months – now that the economy is somewhat uncertain….I hope I have strength to examine my options before serving a company or a client that does not believe in real criminal justice reform, real police reform, real racial injustice solutions, who won’t take responsibility for their part in the white supremacist machine. I say that I hope I have the strength…because if I don’t, then I am weak.
I have a family, a wife and three children. I have real and serious financial obligations that need to be met. But I will no longer meet those obligations by willingly collaborating with individuals, companies, and entities that further the white supremacist agenda.
There is nothing heroic about speaking out. This is a responsibility, and I am LATE.
It shouldn’t have taken a civil uprising for me to understand that I should make posts like this. I shouldn’t have waited for it to be cool.
I will work with Republicans, Democrats, Independents,…I don’t even really want to know what party you belong to. This is not a democratic or republican issue, this is a human rights issue.
Again. This is not political and it never was.
I will still not post POLITICAL posts on LinkedIn. This is not the place for that. But a human rights issue like this intersects completely with the future and sustainability of our industry. We are better when we work together.
Black Rights are Human Rights. Embracing Human Rights IS Good Business and the two have never been mutually exclusive. Even in Real Estate. Let us all think together on how we might continue to be successful and prosperous in our careers while also helping those who have been ignored, suppressed, marginalized, dismissed.
Hire black professionals. Promote black professionals. Examine your own implicit or intrinsic racism. I am starting to do the same.
With love and optimism,