Missouri Resident Receives Anonymous Letter Claiming Her Black Lives Matter Sign Will Drive Down Property Value

Illustration for article titled Missouri Resident Receives Anonymous Letter Claiming Her Black Lives Matter Sign Will Drive Down Property Value
Screenshot: KSDK 5

Somewhere in this fine nation of ours, someone is worried that racists won’t be able to find a welcoming neighborhood to live in.

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A woman in Webster Groves, Mo., committed a simple offense: She put a Black Lives Matter sign in front of her house. In response, an anonymous person sent a letter explaining signs like hers drive down property value as people with different viewpoints might take offense and decide to decline to move into a neighborhood where people who…*checks notes*...care about Black lives may live. After sharing the letter on social media, the woman found out that she wasn’t the only one to receive it.

Courtney Schaefer, the recipient of this warning to white people who care about non-white things, recently spoke to KSDK 5 about her experience.

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From KSDK:

Late last month, she received a letter in the mail addressed to “Resident” with her address upside-down on the envelope.

“We, your neighbors, appreciate that you have strong political and social viewpoints and wish to communicate to others via your yard sign,” Schaefer read.

The two-sided letter went on to explain that homes are not “made to be billboards for your opinions” and telling her family to “save your political viewpoint for insider your home.”

“Thank you in advance for caring enough about the people you live side-by-side, especially with different viewpoints, to remove your sign,” Schaefer read. “ Signed, your neighbors.”

Schaefer said for “the briefest second” she wondered if one of her neighbors had sent the letter, but that quickly went away after she realized none of the other people in her neighborhood had received letters for their signs.

She posted about the letter on social media, where someone sent her a link a story about a family in Oregon that received a letter with the same wording.

Now, because the person or persons who sent these letters sent them anonymously, I can only speculate as to the race of those responsible. But I don’t engage in speculation. If I did, I would probably assume this was a person of the khaki shorts-during-the-winter variety. If I was the type to make assumptions, which I’m not, I would tell you that the author of this letter has definitely complained that the movie White Men Can’t Jump is racially insensitive and responds to news articles about white people in blackface by asking, “What about the movie White Chicks?”

Instead, I’ll just tell you to take everything the author wrote with a grain of salt...because that’s all they season their food with anyway. (Dammit. Well, at least I tried.)

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“It’s a campaign of hate,” Schaefer said. “They are trying to instill uncertainty which leads to fear. I think what that letter says is that Black people wouldn’t be welcome here, and I don’t think that’s true.”

But let’s be real: According to KSDK, Webster Groves is 90 percent white and less than 6 percent Black. The person who sent that letter isn’t worried about Black residents. Considering the fact that the same letter was sent to someone in Oregon as well, this person probably doesn’t even live in Webster Groves. More than likely, the sender of this letter just doesn’t like seeing support for BLM.

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The letter also claims that the signs hurt property value and drive down interest in homes in the neighborhood. Susan Schiff, who told KSDK that she’s been selling homes in Webster Groves for 35 years, said that is a big-ass white lie.

“The reality is prices are up,” Schiff said. “The number of sales are up year-to-date from last year to this year. If anything, I’m seeing a bump.”

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Fortunately, Schaefer isn’t buying into the bullshit and will continue displaying her BLM sign.

“I happen to work in Jennings,” Schaefer said. “Michael Brown went to my school and actually had lunch with one of the teachers I worked with, so it’s very close to what I do and how I feel. It was natural.”

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“There are folks here who feel very strongly about Black Lives Matter, but we still have issues,” she continued.” We still have a long way to go.”

The moral of this story is simple: White fragility is a hell of a drug.

That is, if they are white...which they definitely are...or at least, that’s what I would say if I was a speculating man...which I’m clearly not.

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

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DISCUSSION

Also think of what a “TRUMP/PENCE” sign in someone’s front yard does to their neighbors’s property values. If you were looking at a house with intent to buy and when you went down the street to look at it there was a Trump sign on the front lawn of a house on the block, wouldn’t you be thinking, “Jesus, I don’t know about this place, who needs one of those drooling Qanon followers next door?” If there were two or more houses with Trump signs, I wouldn’t even slow down.