"Sad, tired, worried, cautiously optimistic, repulsed, searching for hope." America is still raging in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, and those who are black are feeling intense pain and unreserved anger. And if the above testimony is any indication, commercial real estate’s black workforce feels much the same way. The racial inequalities that pervade real estate are stark, well-documented and have existed for generations. Promises to do better have been made by white real estate leaders before, and those promises have yet to be fulfilled. But in the days since Floyd was killed, Bisnow spoke to dozens of black real estate executives across the U.S. and UK — and while they tell us they are wary of a fresh round of new promises and public messages of support — pessimism does not reign. There is hope amid the rage.
That said, the time for talk is over and real action must be delivered now.
Bisnow granted anonymity to many of these men and women to honestly address what they are experiencing right now: What it feels like to be black in America and also work in a multi-trillion-dollar industry that is severely unequal on racial lines. They also lay out how they feel CRE should move forward from here.
“Right now, I’m feeling a mixture of anger, frustration, hope and just exhaustion.”
“Diversifying CRE has got to be a deliberate, strategic and intentional effort. Simply relying on the industry to diversify organically will not cut it.”
“I’m optimistic that the industry leaders desire to change, given the broad-based public outcry of the last few weeks. However, I’m pessimistic that they will ultimately have the courage to do the hard work to change the systemic exclusionary corporate structures and environment that they themselves have created.”