A personal perspective that I consider often but especially during the time of Black History Month and Juneteenth, is intersectionality. The experience of being a Black Realtor® and being part of the LGBTQI+ community. This plays a heavy role, especially when considering how to conduct my business throughout multiple avenues. Such as, where I feel comfortable hosting open houses, what areas to practice real estate in, and if a prospective Buyer or Seller chooses to not work with me based off of those 2 very evident characteristics. I can never know for sure if someone denies me the opportunity to assist them in their home buying or selling journey based off these reasons, but I can’t help but wonder how often these characteristics are determining factors in being selected as a client’s Realtor®.
In the end, I am truly fortunate to have been able to assist clients who have instilled their trust in me and the RCB EXPERIENCE regardless of what I look like and for who I am! I am also very thankful to work alongside colleagues throughout the real estate community that have been accepting, supportive, so inspiring to work with and learn from. Due to those facts, in spite of any obstacles placed ahead of me, I will continue to do my very best to flourish in communities that are full of people who do accept me for who I am, and see the value I am able to provide for my clients.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Strength to Love, 1963.
February is Black History Month and it is a time to create space to listen and share. Black History is American History and something we all must learn and better understand.
My hope is that I have a greater view of life and am more rounded because of many friends and family who are from diverse cultures and backgrounds. I just asked my biracial son how many black friends he has. He said, “What? Aren’t we supposed to be friends with everyone?” Yes, son, we sure are! But honestly, I had to tell him that some people say they only have one or two multicultural friends. I know some people who say they are cultured but have never had a black friend over for dinner or been to each others’ houses. In my world, this isn’t what friendship looks like. Let’s pause to think about the importance of having multicultural friendships. Why is this important?
When there isn’t a common background experience, making a new friend can be challenging. Real friendship allows for careful listening, having your views challenged, and understanding that multicultural individuals don’t see things in the same way that I do. When I know, love, and walk alongside, I begin to see, at least a little bit, what life looks like from their angle. This experience is my opportunity to enrich and broaden my understanding of how different people navigate through life.
One way to celebrate Black History Month is to step out of your comfort zone. If you are only with people who look like you, it will be tough to have meaningful relationships with people who don’t look like you. These relationships matter! Even the most well-intentioned, well-meaning white person isn’t going to get the same benefits from researching and reading about race, though you still should do that, as hearing about the personal experiences of someone you respect, admire, care about, and trust. We have a lot of work to do, so why not start with friendship? It will broaden our experiences in life, and we can begin to understand, empathize, and elicit change.