Thursday, March 4, 2010

segregate muslims and asians from other renters

Kudos to Daneisha Davis, a leasing agent who says she was ordered to segregate Islamic and Asian apartment renters from other people.

Ms. Davis and a co-worker, Michelle Williams, used to work for "StoneBridge at Bear Creek Complex" in Euless, Texas, and they've chosen to come forward and expose the organization's apparently racist housing practices:

"If somebody called over the phone inquiring about an apartment, we were told that if they have an accent or a different name that we are supposed to tell them that we didn't have anything available,” said Daneisha Davis, who worked there for a year-and-a-half.

Michelle Williams was Davis’ co-worker. She says Stonebridge’s manager told her, on a regular basis, to turn away potential walk-in renters if they looked Asian or Middle Eastern.

"Make it undesirable for them to want to come back,” is what Williams says she was told. "Even though we were only 80 percent full, or 75 percent full. We had plenty of apartments we could've rented out."

"She referred to them as 'curry people.' And they used curry to cook with, that they smelled bad and they were dirty,” said Davis.

"Wow. Wow. That's unfortunate,” said AbdulNasir Jangda, an Imam at the Islamic Association for the Mid-Cities. “When we start grouping people together, we're creating a very divisive element. How are we supposed to understand and relate and appreciate one another if we can't stand to live next together?"

In January, Davis filed a Federal Fair Housing complaint against Stonebridge, alleging discrimination. The complaint made, via e-mail, was sent on a Saturday.

The next Tuesday, Davis was reassigned to other properties inside the company.

She has since quit and is looking for work. . . .

You can read the rest here


  1. wow.

    and for the record, curry tastes WONDERFUL. Those dumb racist idiots don't know what they're missing out.

  2. Big ups to Daniesha Davis for having the moral courage to stand up for what's right. I want to silence the cynic in me who's observed what's happened to other whistleblowers.

    Yes, I agree with Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist. Curry tastes FANTASTIC! Racist idiots make me wonder if Darwin was wrong.

  3. Yeah, because no non-Asian/non-Middle Eastern people ever use curry. Or smell bad. Or do obnoxious things.

    Kudos to the whistleblower; hopefully she finds somewhere way better to work, and these asshats get raked over the coals.

    Did anyone notice one odd thing though - she only mentioned Asian or Middle Eastern? Did they not have any problems with black people living there? Usually when there's a racist policy like that, it's Whites VS Everyone Else.

  4. Wow, the lady is a hero. She actually lost her job. I pray that she finds work again quickly and that she reaps the rewards of doing the right thing!

  5. Hold the phone, Macon... perhaps the model minority myth is causing some blind spots here.

    Given that this transpired smack dab in the middle of the US, where "Asian" is often exclusive to people of East Asian descent (as opposed to in the UK where it's more often people of South Asian descent), coupled with the COLOSSAL stupidity of that manager, I'm wary of interpreting this rash of hateful idiocy as targeting Muslims exclusively. Because actually reading that article leads one to believe otherwise.

    Again, this all depends on plumbing the FULL depths of that manager's stupidity (to see if she truly conflates Hinduism with Islam, or sushi with dosas, or apples with chainsaws) but I'm not sure such a herculean effort would even be possible.

    And Robin - yes, I did notice, but no, that is NOT necessarily unusual.

    White people have a hard time wrapping their minds around any discrimination that targets specific minorities OTHER than blacks because the white versus black binary is a central tenet of white supremacy. The "model minority (or minorities)" myth is just that, a MYTH. It enables whites to render the oppression of certain groups invisible while simultaneously criminalizing other groups publicly.

    Oh, and it also helps ensure that all us nonwhite people will fight amongst ourselves.

  6. This is so idiotic it makes me sick. The renting "policy", that is. "They cook with curry" as justification for not renting to them? I don't even have anything constructive to add...this is obviously just racist and wrong. Kudos to Davis and Williams for coming forward.

  7. Did anyone notice one odd thing though - she only mentioned Asian or Middle Eastern? Did they not have any problems with black people living there? Usually when there's a racist policy like that, it's Whites VS Everyone Else.

    I noticed. It's something I wonder whenever I hear @ discrimination against a non-black group. I don't know if they rented to black people but I agree with you: if they don't like Asians and Middle Easterners, there's a good chance they didn't like black people either.

  8. When I looked for my first apartment in college, the realtor shared with me a conversation he had with the landlord. When hearing my name the landlord asked if I was going to stink up his hallways with my disgusting cooking. Being a 19 year old college student I didn’t get the gravity of this simple yet ignorant comment and had no idea the intimidation I would face in the future. I grew up with a white mother and really didn't experience racism besides the "hey your mom is white, are you adopted?" comments. Completely threw me for a loop.

  9. Good point, Commie Bastard (and hey welcome back!). I edited accordingly. I seem to have fallen into a focus on Muslims in this story that was promulgated by the news station, WFAA; as a commenter on the station's site wrote in reference to the story there:

    WFAA, Why did you cut up the interview to make it "Muslim " only or mainly?? I know these two women and thats not all the truth. WFAA cut and spliced to make it some type of "muslim" agenda???? Whats up???

  10. I've always found it odd how common those food
    related slurs are, like that scene in do the right thing.
    I guess food is just an easy way to identify someone as different than you. and you can make the leap
    in your mind that if a group of people eats similar food
    they must do everything else the same too and bingo, you have an excuse to discriminate. (sarcasm) how someone can think this way without seeing how it can just as easily apply to them is what I don't get.

  11. My thanks to the worker who reported the illegal activities. The government can't enforce the fair housing laws if no one reports the violations. I hope she gets restitution. She could probably sue...

    It also reminds of of the time in grad school when I took a summer internship out of town and rented my apartment to a Korean family for a couple of months. SEVERAL people warned me that they would be cooking smelly things and I should be aware that my apartment would not be the same when I came back. At the time, I was just puzzled by the remarks. They seem pretty racist in retrospect.

    BTW, my apartment was just the same as I'd left it when I got back. I could barely tell anyone else had lived in the place.

  12. I'm glad this woman exposed them. Housing and loan discrimination are extremely common in this country but whistle blowers are rare. I know whenever I apply for an apartment they warn me about the credit check then act all pleasantly surprised about how high my credit score is. In college I used to assume it was because I as young but now it is becoming clear they just don't expect brown people to have good credit.

  13. This stuff just blows my mind. These people are presumably landlords because they like money - why are they turning away money?! (not that I think money should be anyone's highest value.)

    Good on those women for speaking up!

    A friend of mine in Portland, Maine told me last month that she's heard that the owners of her building try to racially segregate their buildings - steering whites toward particular buildings and black & brown people to others.

  14. Assuming they can now do their jobs in PEACE, I hope the whistleblowers don't go to work somewhere else. Why should they have to go anywhere?! Not only did they not do anything wrong, they are exemplary employees. Meanwhile, I hope the ex-manager can't find a job entailing power over people anywhere. You just don't mess with people's housing, man.

    The woman's problem is... confusing, even for an ism. Muslim, Asian, and curry? Hmmm. Obviously you can be Asian and Muslim, but something tells me "Muslim" is a mistake. Re: not also singling out anyone else, I noticed that too, and my immediate thought was "I bet this town is experiencing an Asian immigration boom"— meaning East and SE and/or South Asia. Lots of black and Latin@ people? They're used to that. Not stoked about! But used to. But now more brown people?? Oh noez!!

    . . .
    Okay, whoa. I decided, y'know what, I'm just gonna look it up. And I was sort of close. According to the Census, percentage-wise, the city of Euless is fully twice as "Asian" (Census def'n) as enclosing Tarrant County, the Dallas/Ft. Worth metro area, and the entire state of Texas— ie: 7.2% versus ~3.5%. Interestingly, it's also half as black, at ~6% vs ~12%. And just a few points whiter, since I'm going there. Latin@ population is is in line at 20%. Google gave me some academic stuff; seems the "Asians" in question are mostly from India. [Duh, perhaps?] Apparently, the Indian pop. of D/FW has been increasing big time for a while. As in, it doubled in the 90s. (In one county, it went up 7x!) Still, we're talking 7%. Relax, lady!

    They could well be predominantly Muslim... but it wouldn't surprise me if this woman is majorly racism-confused, and just assumes brown people from That Other Hemisphere are all "Islamic terr'rists!!1!" Sig. It just takes the cake when people are so racist, they can't even get their racism right. Wrong? Whatever.

  15. @Colin: Presumably they think they'll get/keep more white tenants if they keep PoC out of the apartments. This may actually be true, and it's an important aspect of how racism is systemic rather than individual acts of prejudice and hate.

    We could ask the question: if the attempt to exclude PoC from housing were based purely on a behavioral model for financial prediction, and if the management had no personal dislike for PoC and no other reason to want to exclude PoC from renting, would the exclusion still be racist? Of course.

  16. This was common practice in Southwest Houston 40 years ago just change the name Muslim to black..Somethings just don't change..

  17. @thelady:
    "I know whenever I apply for an apartment they warn me about the credit check then act all pleasantly surprised about how high my credit score is. In college I used to assume it was because I as young but now it is becoming clear they just don't expect brown people to have good credit."

    Oh, is that what that's about?
    Usually at that point I'd be so stoked that the apt was "still available," I wasn't even thinking about it. Although, I guess the weird emphasis on the credit check was making an impression: it didn't take long for me to just start buying my reports ahead of time so I could brandish them right then.

  18. I am not surprised. I had something similar happen to me at an apartment complex in Schaumburg, IL. The manager hated me, and it was from the moment that she saw me. Oh, did I mention that I am a Muslim and that I have a scarf on my head? Yeah, I am, and I do.

    Someone made the comment that they were surprised that there was no mention of discrimination against African Americans. Let me tell you something. Just because someone is discriminating against Muslims does NOT mean that they discriminate against ALL minorities. I have had my fair share of experiences from people who hated Muslims, but had no problems with African Americans or Latinos, or Asians. This is a religiously-based bias, and has nothing to do with ethnicity. I happen to be white, and was not always Muslim. This is how I know for a FACT that it is based on religion, and not the color of your skin.

    Oh, and those people who say that "curry" is smelly, they should smell authentic German cuisine sometime! Phew! (I'm German, btw!)


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