Things That Matter

Latino Couple Looking To Buy A Home Found A Clause That Said They Needed To Be “Wholly Of The White Caucasian Race”

Amid recent conversations about the benefits of affinity housing, the topic of housing discrimination remains relevant as ever. The Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibits discrimination against tenants based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and family status—and while this legislation aims to protect people all over the country, it doesn’t keep discrimination completely at bay. For a Latinx couple seeking to buy a home in Stockton, California, this reality became uncomfortably clear when they saw their Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, & Restrictions (CC&R), a document that outlines the necessary requirements to inhabit a property.

The CC&R for Yolanda Romero and Esai Manzo’s new home claimed that “no persons other than those wholly of the white Caucasian race shall use, occupy or reside upon any part of or within any building located on the above described real property, except servants or domestics of another race employed by or domiciled with a white Caucasian owner or tenant.” Additionally, according to the document, no person who was not “wholly of the white Caucasian” race could purchase the house. So, naturally, the couple second-guessed whether they should move forward with the contract—not because they don’t identify as “Caucasian,” but because they were concerned that their neighbors willingly signed documents with comparable clauses.

It made us second guess our offer,” said Romero. “We were concerned that people in the neighborhood might have signed documents with similar statements.”

credit: NBCNews.com

Before signing the document, the couple consulted their agent to determine whether this stipulation was actually legal. It turns out that the clause dated back to 1947, and racially restrictive housing covenants were outlawed in 1948 as a result of that year’s Shelley vs. Kraemer Supreme Court case. “People worry that it’s still enforceable, and even though it’s not, covenants like these hold symbolic meaning,” Dean of the Cornell University Law School, Eduardo Peñalver, told NBC News. “They can indicate whether someone feels like they’re welcome in a community and serve as a reminder of how pervasive housing discrimination was.”

And according to Peñalver, the Fair Housing Act technically outlaws covenants like the one the couple encountered in their CC&R. So why hadn’t this racially restrictive language been omitted from the document long before Romero and Manzo came into the picture?

We’ve inherited a segregated residential landscape that’s the result of explicit racial discrimination,” Peñalver said. “Though racial discrimination in housing has been outlawed, it manifests itself in more subtle forms and perpetuates the wealth gap and economic inequality.”

A 2012 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development study revealed that Latinx folks seeking to rent learned about 13 percent fewer homes than equally qualified whites; black people learned about 11 percent fewer homes than equally qualified whites; and Asians learned about 10 percent fewer homes than equally qualified whites. When purchasing property, there was no distinguishable difference between Latinx and white buyers, though this was not the case for black and Asian populations, who were shown nearly 18 percent fewer properties than potential white buyers. And the Latinx home ownership numbers have grown immensely in the past several years.

The 2017 State of Hispanic Ownership report confirms that more than 7 million people of Hispanic/Latinx descent owned houses that year—a number 44 times greater than 2016’s metric.

 

credit: Getty Images

The report cites expansion into areas with high Latinx populations as a source of this extreme growth, though it also highlights certain challenges to Latinx home ownership, from lack of affordable housing to “extreme uncertainty over immigration.” 51% percent of Hispanics believe the economy is on the wrong track, and 56% think it would be difficult to get a home mortgage today, but 88% indicate that they are more likely to own a home in the future than to rent—all of which are statistics that support further growth in the realm of Latinx home ownership.

Yet the issue of subversive housing discrimination remains. Many states use CC&Rs, which are officially recorded and filed with the state, and these documents often include outdated and questionable language. Because these covenants are part of the property records, it can be legally challenging to eliminate them entirely—but Peñalver encourages prospective buyers to file a statement with a county recorder or homeowners association (HOA) if they encounter similar clauses in their paperwork. However, this can prove unnecessarily difficult; in the case of Romero and Manzo’s property, the home does not belong to an HOA, so they would have to obtain “unanimous consent of homeowners in the community signing off on a new set of CC&Rs omitting the offensive language.” Even then, the “wholly of the white Caucasian race” clauses would remain in their property records, though the language would be removed from the revised CC&R document.

In the end, the couple proceeded with the purchase of this property, adding to the ever-growing numbers of Latinx homeowners across the U.S. Yet they remain a bit shocked by the whole process, and remind new homebuyers to always read the fine print.

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People Have Taken To The Streets Across The Country In Breonna Taylor Protests

Things That Matter

People Have Taken To The Streets Across The Country In Breonna Taylor Protests

@KRISTENCLARKEJD / TWITTER

Cities across the U.S. are seeing a new wave of unrest following the grand jury’s finding on the Breonna Taylor case. Emotions are high as people protest against the lack of charges against the officers who were involved in Taylor’s death.

Protesters are raising their voices after the decision not to charge all of the officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s death.

Breonna Taylor was shot and killed on March 13 when police raided her apartment. The 26-year-old ER technician was sleeping when the police executed a “no-knock” warrant. However, police had the wrong address and Taylor’s boyfriend, believe their lives were in danger, fired at the police. Taylor was shot and killed in her apartment that night.

Major cities across the country saw major demonstrations spurred by the anger against the justice system.

A grand jury found one officer responsible for wanton endangerment after firing his weapon into neighboring apartments. There were no charges tied directly to Taylor’s death. The lack of charges has angered activists and advocates who are seeking significant police reform to prevent tragedies like this from happening again.

People have become hyper-aware of the issue and are paying attention to the outcomes.

Protest signs in different crowds show that the American people are paying attention. The Black Lives Matter movement became the cause at the forefront of American mentality since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. Floyd’s death sparked national outrage and renewed energy into fighting to stop the disproportionate violence Black men, women, and children face at the hands of police.

Some motorists have turned violent against the protesters.

Video captured in both Denver and Los Angeles show vehicles driving through crowds of protesters. In Denver, the driver claims to have acted in self-defense after protesters surrounded his car. The driver claims that he did not intend to hurt anyone but reacted when protesters shattered his windshield.

In Louisville, police arrested the only Black woman in the Kentucky state legislature for protesting.

State Rep. Attica Scott was arrested for first-degree rioting, which is a class-D felony. The Louisville Metropolitan Police Department arrested 24 people Thursday night while protesting the decision not to charge the officers. Rep. Scott was arrested with other and charged with first-degree rioting and two misdemeanors for unlawful assembly and failure to disperse.

“Our call to action is to continue to make sure that the city of Louisville understands that we will not go away, that we will continue to demand the defunding of police and the dismantling of this police department because it’s corrupt from the inside out, from the bottom to the top,” Scott told NPR before the grand jury decision. “And it cannot continue to function in the way that it does.”

Taylor’s death has mobilized the nation with celebrities and politicians calling for justice.

The fight for racial justice and a systemic change to our justice and policing systems is ongoing. The people are tired of being scared and are taking a stand with their protests.

If you are out there protesting, send us your videos and photos so we can see your activism in action!

READ: Oprah Winfrey Honors Breonna Taylor With Historic O Magazine Cover

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An Abuelo Got A Hurtful Note From Bad Neighbors About His Decorations And Latino Twitter Came Into Comfort Him

Things That Matter

An Abuelo Got A Hurtful Note From Bad Neighbors About His Decorations And Latino Twitter Came Into Comfort Him

@goldenstef / Twitter

We are rarely more defensive than we are for our abuelos. The viejitos have always been there for us and seeing them treated unkindly is just heartbreaking. That is what one Twitter user experienced after her abuelo got a wretched note about his decorations outside his home.

This is the horrid letter left for @goldenstef’s abuelo by undesirable neighbors.

The letter, which is filled with misspelled words, calls the abuelo’s house an example of a “low class Mexican family.” The letter was written anonymously by neighbors and delivered to the abuelo in an attempt to shame him into changing his decorations. One of the most bizarre moments in the letter is when the angry author criticized the homeowner for having too many American flags claiming he isn’t patriotic and can’t fool the neighbors. Like, which one is it people?

The Twitter user followed up with photos of the house to show the decorations their abuelo has out front.

People flooded the Twitter post with comments supporting and sending love to the abuelo. Fellow Latinos are ready to stand with the abuelo and some just want the names of the people behind the letter so they can talk to them. Some people are stunned at how far the author was willing to go out of their way to be mean to an old man who just wants to decorate his home and front yard.

Latino Twitter wants to come together to let the abuelo know that his decorations are adorbs.

We need to come together to give her abuelo all of the wonderful decoration we love. Let’s turn his house and front yard into a showcase of all of the greatness that Latin America has to offer.

People are falling in love with this viejitos yard.

Honestly, this is a great yard. Who wouldn’t want a yard like this? This yard is original and adorable and worth all of the praise that we can muster. Thank you to people like this for making their yards something unique and worth seeing.

@goldenstef wants everyone to know just how much they appreciate the sweet messages about their abuelo’s yard.

It costs nothing to be kind. It is even better when you can be kind about something someone clearly cares so much about. Who cares if someone decorates their lawn a little too much. At least they are having fun with their lives and that is something we all need more of right now.

READ: Latinas Are Sharing Their Most Treasured Memories Of Their Abuelos And It’s Exactly What We Needed This Month

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