We talk about redlining like it’s a thing of the past, but like most of America’s racist systems it hasn’t really gone away—it’s just simply evolved. A Black homeowner in Indianapolis has filed a discrimination complaint after an appraisal on her house increased by $100,000.
All she had to do was remove all traces of her Black identity from her home.
According to Fox 59, Carlette Duffy wanted to get her house appraised last year, hoping that she could use the equity to purchase her grandparents’ home nearby. Duffy thought something was up after she received two appraisals that were basically the same price she paid for the home in 2017. “When I challenged it, it came back that the appraiser said they’re not changing it,” Duffy said.
After hearing Amy Nelson, director of the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI), give a speech about housing discrimination that heavily referenced a New York Times article on the subject, Duffy decided to conduct a test.
“I decided to do exactly what was done in the article,” Duffy told Fox 59. “I took down every photo of my family from my house. … I took every piece of ethnic artwork out, so any African artwork, I took it out. I displayed my degrees, I removed certain books.” Duffy also had one of her white friends sit in on the third appraisal, and she didn’t declare her race to the appraisers at any point during the process.
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After removing all traces of her Blackness, her appraisal magically doubled to over $100,000 more than she was initially offered. “I get choked up even thinking about it now because I was so excited and so happy, and then I was so angry that I had to go through all of that just to be treated fairly,” Duffy told the news outlet.
The discrimination complaint filed by Duffy and the FHCCI asks the Department of Justice to investigate the discrepancies between the appraisals. Nelson told the news outlet that one point of contention in the complaint is that the appraiser used homes in a Black neighborhood a mile from Duffy’s home as opposed to similar homes in her neighborhood when pulling comparable sales.
“Whether or not those comps were fairly selected is something that is the basis of the complaints that we have filed,” Nelson said.
Duffy was able to buy her grandparents’ home with the third appraisal, but it’s fucking sad she had to erase all traces of her Blackness in her home to do so. If white people are so pressed about being called racist, then stop perpetuating racist systems. It’s really that easy.