12

Class Claims: Real Estate Racism

More than ever before in our nation’s history, white citizens who usually refuse to talk openly about class, occasionally willingly evoke class to deflect attention away from their sustained commitment to discriminatory housing practices that bolster white supremacy. When I began seeking to buy “real estate” in Greenwich Village in New York City, telling the agents (all of whom were white) that I wanted to be in a racially diverse building, as I did not want myself or the folks coming to see me to be subjected to racism, they kept insisting that the issue was not about race but class. If buildings and neighborhoods were all white then that had more to do with class than white supremacy. Of course, whenever property that was available before we showed up and mysteriously sold by the time we arrived (and all the white parties had taken a good look at my black skin), the explanations about class wore thin.

Yet none of the agents were willing to name the reality of racism or white supremacy. Finally, in the West Village, I found a building with eleven flats where there was already a black woman who owned her place. An elderly woman who had been living in the Village for

-131-

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Where We Stand: Class Matters
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Contents vi
  • Where We Stand vii
  • Class Matters 1
  • 1 - Making the Personal Political: Class in the Family 10
  • 2 - Coming to Class Consciousness 24
  • 3 - Class and the Politics of Living Simply 38
  • 4 - Money Hungry 50
  • 5 - The Politics of Greed 63
  • 6 - Being Rich 70
  • 7 - The Me-Me Class: the Young and the Ruthless 80
  • 8 - Class and Race: the New Black Elite 89
  • 9 - Feminism and Class Power 101
  • 10 - White Poverty: the Politics of Invisibility 111
  • 11 - Solidarity with the Poor 121
  • 12 - Class Claims: Real Estate Racism 131
  • 13 - Crossing Class Boundaries 142
  • 14 - Living Without Class Hierarchy 156
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