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'White bread' is in the eye of the beholder

Posted by Rona Fischman November 19, 2008 02:45 PM

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WSJevons wrote about his quest for a "not white bread" neighborhood.


Thanks for the info*. It is tough to find truly integrated communities in Boston.

Any readers (who are not real estate agents) have thoughts on communities that have a diverse mix of people?

* Is white bread a protected class?

Here's the answer I can give, as a broker. The rest is up to you, readers! Please! No bashing on anyone's race, religion or sexual preference!

These are the protected classes: Race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex (gender), sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status, disability (mental or physical,) age (except elderly retirement communities that meet certain standards.)
There are additional classes in regard to rental housing.

"White bread" is not on the list.

I trust that when WS says “white bread,” he does not just mean Caucasian. I wouldn’t define it that way. You can figure out the "white bread" factor for yourselves, based on your personal definition. Look at the businesses an area supports, what kinds of cars are parked around, what bumper stickers are on the cars, what size is the average home there...There are many things that are not directly related to the color of the skin, the ethnic or religious origins, or who your neighbors choose as life partners. Look around you, the signs are everywhere!

I once had a client who ruled out a town because she saw too many "Mitt Romney" yard signs. Her choice had nothing to do with Mitt's religion, and it was her choice. Is that "white bread" to you?

How do you all define “white bread”? Is it about protected classes? Class? Affluence? Age? The presence of children? Attitude? Availability of local art or music? Places that have hand-craft fairs? Places that have block parties?

Where are the “not white bread” places to live in the city? The suburbs have a reputation for being “white bread.” Where can you find towns that meet your definition of “not white bread.”

And yes, I am staying out of this discussion from this point on. It falls into the category of potential steering. It also is incredibly subjective and therefore could easy be considered giving wrong information. Both are broker no-nos.

So WS is in your hands, readers!

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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