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Zack Isaacs Headshot

Prejudice Under the Doormat

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Life has imitated art for comedian/radio personality George Wilborn.

Just like Walter Younger -- Sidney Poitier's character in the 1961 film, A Raisin In The Sun, Mr. Wilborn and his family learned that the color of money cannot always stop some folks from looking at the color of their skin.

This week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) filed a complaint against a white couple named Daniel and Adrienne Sabbia, as well as their real estate agent Jeffrey Lowe for violating the Fair Housing Act.

According to HUD's website:

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and handicap (disability)

The couple and their attorney is accused of reneging on an agreement to sell their home for $1.799 million to the African American bidders -- the Wilborns.

This somewhat parallels the actions of "The Clybourne Park Improvement Association", a fictional group of apprehensive white neighbors featured in the film. But unlike the film, it is unknown whether the real-life neighbors of the Sabbias wanted the Wilborn family to stay away, as their on screen counterparts did. Instead, the Sabbias refused to sign the sales contract after making a verbal agreement.

It makes me wonder what lesson can be learned from this. Could the Sabbias have been trying to warn the Wilborns about the racial climate of the neighborhood? That hasn't been proven yet. While some think of the neighborhood, Bridgeport, as a racist place due to the controversial 1997 beating of a black teenager, Lenard Clark -- it is never fair to judge the group on the actions of a few.

But this situation, like many this year, opens up the opportunity for a dialogue on race. It's not an easy dialogue to have, to say the least. Race is a rather emotional topic that can make folks really angry. Oddly enough, when folks aren't upfront about race -- people get pretty angry as well.

You can't sweep prejudice under the doormat. So, let's expose the dirt and move to the best neighborhood of them all.

It's the one that Dr. King made the Blueprint for some 47 years ago.

I'm ready to move. How about you?