After a black woman received two low-balled appraisals for her home, her friend’s white husband played the owner, and the appraised value doubled.
Appraisal increased when black woman owner became a white man
One can fight outward racism overtly. After all, it is easy to see. When one uses an epithet or affects a violent act based on ethnicity, it is easily seen. Systemic racism is very different and much harder to eradicate.
NPR reported the story as follows.
Carlette Duffy’s tidy, three-bedroom home is in a historic Black neighborhood in Indianapolis. It has been completely renovated and sits across the street from a park and lush greenspace. She bought it four years ago for $100,000.
“My house is my forever home,” Duffy said. “I love my neighborhood. I love my home.”
With a hot housing market and low interest rates, Duffy wanted to refinance her mortgage to help fix up her late grandmother’s home right around the corner.
“It was more so about my family and carrying this legacy on in my family,” Duffy said, “and hopefully rehab that house to then pass down to my daughter and my grandbaby.”
The first appraisal came back at $125,000 and she was shocked. After an independent market analysis estimated her home at $187,000, she tried again.
“Then to get the second one and it’s $15,000 lower just a few months later, I just could not fathom,” Duffy said. “There was just a nagging voice in my head that was saying that there is something wrong, there’s something wrong.”
Duffy wanted to put her theory to the test. When she applied for refinancing with a new lender she left her race and gender off the application. One of her friend’s husbands, who is white, agreed to stand in during the third appraisal. Before he did, she took out everything that might indicate her race and left her home. She got another shock when she got that appraisal back.
“I scrolled so fast and I was just like holding my breath scrolling to that number,” Duffy said, “I don’t even want to read it just yet. I just want to see the number.”
The number, $259,000. More than double the original appraisal.
“I was so happy, but then it just sinks in,” Duffy said. “It sinks in, that what was devaluing my home was me.”
You buy a car. Your interest rate is higher than your white brother or sister with a similar income and credit score. You apply for a job, but the manager’s implicit bias devalues the attributes that matter. Your daughter is discouraged from joining advance placement programs—an attempt to dissuade you from purchasing a home in a particular area. You make a business deal online, and when it is time to sign the contract, and you meet in person, there is a change in heart, and the other party backs out of the deal on pretenses. You go to a bank for a loan, and you are immediately discouraged from even filling out an application. I could go on and on.
Every single one of those statements has been my reality. And that is just a small subset. Systemic racism is built in as a culture. It is only eradicated when confronted head-on.
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