The Code Mandated Racial Apartheid
The NAR Code of Ethics has changed, but we must never forget its racist past
Did you know that all Realtors are bound by the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics?
LancLiving takes seriously the responsibility of following the current Code of Ethics, which mandates the appropriate treatment of clients and the community, as well as a sense of cooperation with other Realtors.
Yet, we must never forget that for much of the history of the Code of Ethics, Realtors were extolled to help maintain a nationwide apartheid system of racial segregation?
Is Apartheid too strong a word? Consider this reality:
From 1924 to 1950, Article 34 of the Code of Ethics read: “A Realtor should never be instrumental in introducing into a neighborhood a character of property or occupancy, member of any race or nationality, or any individual whose presence will clearly be detrimental to property values in that neighborhood.”
Realtors took this mandate seriously. Realtors who sold houses in white neighborhoods to persons of color, were often booted from local associations for violating the provision.
The National Association of Realtors altered the Code in 1950 to read: “A Realtor should never be instrumental in introducing into a neighborhood a character of property or use which will clearly be detrimental to property values in that neighborhood.”
Racism light, one might say. This provision was in the code until 1974.
Today the Code avoids this racist language, but the National Association of Realtors has done its level best to whitewash this history.
I teach a class about the Code at the Lancaster County Association of Realtors. The class is required for all Realtors to take every few years. NAR provides instructors with a PowerPoint to teach. Not surprisingly, there is no reference to the Code's racist past.
In 2020, after several Realtors were caught making overtly racist statements that often went viral on social media, NAR altered the code to include the language to say, “Realtors should not use harassing speech, epithets or slurs based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”
Yeah, you read it right. 2020!
Here is the 2024 copy of the NAR Code of Ethics:
Here is the 2023 NAR Code of Ethics.
John Spidaliere is the owner and broker of record at LancLiving Realty in Lancaster, PA.