My community was experiencing some conflicts between a renter and an owner that live in townhomes built directly across from one another.
The Renter was a Black Woman with a child and the Owner was a White Man and his family of 4.
The Owner took issues with things they observed going on in or around the renter’s home involving police and also gripes about parking issues.
The Renter complained that she was constantly being racially harassed by the Owner. She claimed she had been experiencing these things since she moved in. She also said that the issues regarding the police activities at her home were a combination of domestic challenges with parental custody as well as racialized treatment by the police force.
The Owner lodged his complaints with the HOA and was then called out by another neighbor in that same portion of the townhome development. A White Woman, also an Owner, brought up the racial essiue explicitly and was very clear that the neighborhood as a whole hadn’t taken the time to get to know this Black Woman and that, in his remarks, the other Owner had used micro-agressions and latent or unconscious racist bias.
The Owner then ran through what I see as a classic White Folk Playbook. He first made the Black Woman a Second Class Neighbor because she was a renter and not an owner. Then he elaborated on his vast history in the community. At that time he claimed a form of victimhood for the claims that his words and actions may b e racist, mentioned his Black Friends, and eventually said “I couldn’t be racist. I’m the least racist person.” so on and so forth.
Lastly, he described how the neighborhood he had lived in so long may no longer be the community he “thought” it was and threatened to sell his home and move elsewhere.
I entered the conversation, speaking directly to the racialized issues I had observed. I also made an attempt to remind them all that they had made no effort to make a personal relationship with this neighbor, and that no one in the conversation, all folks who literally lived next door to this woman, had forged any substantial relationship with this neighbor. I pointed out that it may have a racialized cause and then dismantled the Owners arguments, outlining why his statements were, consciously or unconsciously, inherently racist and unjust.
At that point the HOA President, also a White Man, came to his defense, apologizing for any feelings that he was being labeled a racist and praising his contributions to the neighborhood. They apologized for any offense that was caused and basically ended the conversation for all parties with a typically timed “can’t we all just get along” message. The conversation was effectively dropped after that point.
I should probably mention at this point that the original Owner, accused of racialized harassment by the Renter, was also a member of the HOA Board of Trustees.
This man had been trying to use the HOA a leverage to ask the HOA to reach out to the Owner of the Renters property and make issues for them with their Landlord. Unfortunately for them, the Owner was also a Black Woman. When they tried to take the conversation out of the neighborhoods public sight and work behind the scenes to cause trouble with the Landlord, she effectively shut them down.
The Landlord advised the HOA that they have no business getting involved in the relationship between the ?Her Tenant and the Neighbors. She advised them that if they had legitimate issues that they would have to pursue their issues through legal means. This Black Woman knew that this HOA had no “teeth” and did well to protect her tenants interests.
After the Landlord basically shut them down, The HOA basically just dropped it and tried to pretend like it had never happened… but the damage was done.
To this day, my understanding is that this woman does not have a genuine relationship with any of the neighbors in that area of the development. She was effectively cast as a pariah among her “