Let’s be honest. When we say our country was founded on the belief that “all men are created equal,” we know that it has been a constant battle to truly extend this sentiment to all men.
When we say American women were allowed the right to vote in 1920 after an arduous movement, we know it has been an uphill battle to realize that for women of color, who faced exclusionary tactics.
When we say the purpose of the Realtors Political Action Committee (RPAC) “is clear: voluntary contributions made by Realtors are used to help elect candidates who understand and support their interests,” we also have to question — does “understand and support their interests” truly extend to people of color and those in protected classes?
In my home state of Georgia, (you know, the place that has a contentious run-off election on Jan. 5, 2021 that will decide the fate of the U.S. Senate), I received a postcard from RealtorsforPerdue.com. I was excited to read it because this was not skewed marketing propaganda from either the Democratic or Republican party but from my “crew” — Realtors.
It outlined that David Perdue is the candidate of choice because of his record on “preventing excessive guarantee fee increases … on homebuyers in order to fund other government programs,” and encouraging “private insurance options for homeowners seeking affordable flood insurance alternatives.” That’s in addition to supporting the Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act.
Hear! Hear! Those are commendable and absolutely paramount to homeownership. But RPAC left some vital things off this mailer. Where is information about Perdue’s viewpoint on policies that affect fair housing and protected classes?
At the very least, there should have been something on Perdue’s stance on the suspension of the AFFH process (which Realtors championed). I flipped over the mailer and even read the fine print. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.
Here’s the thing — there is no perfect candidate. Thus, it’s imperative for the organization that represents us to give us a whole picture. For example, had this postcard included a quick-glance list or grid (for those who say there was only so much space to print) of current issues relevant to different demographics — like redlining, which is still in the news today, fair housing, discrimination and Perdue’s stance on them— I would’ve respected RPAC’s rally cry for us to donate regularly to its efforts to parse out the candidate most aligned with our values.
In other words, RPAC, can you please stop doling out parcels of information that may not truly reflect the varied interests of all Realtors, particularly those of us in protected classes? Please show us all candidates and their individual stances on all things real estate, which again, should include fair housing, protected classes and the topics that outflow.
I have contributed to RPAC each year hesitantly (I never could justify in my heart being a big donor) — and this overlooking of issues related to protected classes is precisely why. And here’s a secret: Many people I’ve spoken to who contribute very little or don’t contribute at all hold the same sentiment.
Many of us don’t care about being on the top of a tantalizing donor list when we can’t come to terms with donating to something that does not overtly illuminate homeownership values relevant to every member, including protected classes.
To really include the interests of protected classes, which represents part of the Realtor membership, would go a long way in helping marginalized members feel RPAC is a safe space (truly working for all) that we should substantially support.