The National Association of Realtors (NAR) issued an apology during a virtual summit on diversity and inclusion hosted by The Hill, a top political website, and co-sponsored by NAR, 2021 President Charlie Oppler said unequivocally that NAR’s past policies in support of racist practices, including steering, redlining, and creating covenants that prohibited non-white people from living in certain communities, were wrong. [See full apology]
“Discriminatory practices weren’t just tolerated for many years—they were baked into the association’s guiding principles for much of the 20th century. This passage from the Code of Ethics, added in 1924, was revised over the years but not fully repealed until 1974: REALTORS® “should never be instrumental in introducing into a neighborhood … members of any race or nationality, or any individuals whose presence will clearly be detrimental to property values in that neighborhood.”
They also apologized for discriminating against members and for having opposed the Fair Housing Act:
“For decades, REALTORS® excluded members based on race and sex from many associations, and the national association formally opposed the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968.”
The association now has a fair housing action plan. There is also a new fair housing simulation that does an excellent job teaching fair housing and humanizing it.
Age discrimination is consistently left out of NAR policies but I think one day it will also be recognized by the organization.
The apology for our role in housing discrimination and the acknowledgment of how much damage it did is an important first step.
It is also important to note that neither diversity nor affordable housing have a negative impact on property values. Long-held beliefs about property values continue to contribute to housing discrimination.
I am a member of the National Association of Realtors. The term Realtor® is only for members of the NAR and is not a job title.
Also, see Fair housing and deed covenants