Thursday, May 11, 2006

Fair housing?

Via Liberty Belles comes this post linking to a story in the NY Times about a lawsuit against Craigslist because they allow posts that limit potential roomates and renters.

What the Belles miss is the application of that to Fair Housing laws in general. If you can recognise it's stupid in the Craigslist context, how can you not realise it's stupid in any context?

My wife is the Rockstar Realtor (I am known as 'Jamie Mason's Husband' in Baltimore). She can not answer questions like the following because of fair housing:

Do lots of gay people live in the neighborhood?
Will my children have other kids to play with?
Is this a racially diverse area?
Are there any other Jewish families nearby?
Are many of the people who live here single?

None of those questions should raise any issue, especially when put in context. For example, the gay people question was asked by a gay couple. They were trying to find out how comfortable they might be in an area, and wanted to be able to make an informed descision about where they choose to live. If they ask that question about a neighborhood where all of the residents are married couples with little kids, the gay couple might not be comfortable living there. Who does answering that question hurt?

Frankly, if you don't want to sell your house to a black person, I don't care. You're an idiot racist, but it's your house. If you don't want to live near black people, or gay people, or whomever, who cares? It's not like they'll miss you. I sure as hell don't want any little kids living in my neighborhood (which is why we live near the gay people), why can't I find this out before I move in?

If you can see the folly in the Craigslist issue, go ahead and take the leap and see the folly everywhere.

(By the way, I CAN answer those questions, so feel free to ask me.)

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