Ethics: Would You Rent from a Racist Landlord?

What would you do Wednesday! recently ran an article titled “‘I Put in White Tenants’: The Grim, Racist (and Likely Illegal) Methods of One Brooklyn Landlord.” Consider what you would do if you discovered your landlord was racist like the one in the article in the following scenario.

You recently moved your family into a newly updated neighborhood. A new job brought you to the area along with a good school system for your kids. Plus, the house you decided to rent seemed to be in the safest neighborhood around and there was not much to choose from.

One Saturday morning, three months after moving in, you walk outside and you happen to see a neighbor moving out. Just then, your landlord walks up. Small talk ensures. You note that you had just met the people moving out. They were a nice couple and you are sad to see them go.

Your landlord says, “Yeah, but their move is good for the neighborhood.” Curious, you ask,”What do you mean?” The landlord replies, “Well, if you haven’t noticed, they are black. It’s best they don’t live among us whites. We would have a great neighborhood if I could just get the last few black families to move out.”

How would you reply? Would you keep renting from your racist landlord?

Here I blog…


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tagged as , in Christianity,Church Issues,Culture,ethics

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 astrapto May 30, 2015 at 3:18 pm

Thanks for raising the question. I’d be interested in seeing some ideas for a solution from the author.

2 Grant June 15, 2015 at 1:25 pm

Since he’s not silent about his racism, it could be an opportunity to remind him that Jesus Christ accomplished the inclusion of Gentiles into citizenship with the saints, and even into God’s household. Before that, Gentiles were “strangers and aliens.” How would he like it if it were said that it were good if HE were to move out/be excluded?

Because that’s the just and righteous attitude of God toward sinners, but beyond any possible way or right to hope, God Himself made hope for us. And part of that hope is that all who have it are ONE. That means that unless he believes the Gospel, he’ll be “moved out” of the new heavens and earth while every Christian of another ethnicity inherits it. And if the racist landlord truly believes the Gospel, then he will have to repent for desiring disunity from Christians of other ethnicities (1 John 5:1: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.”).


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