In light of recent national events, we have been provided with an opportunity to reflect on how we deal with race in our daily work as mortgage professionals. One area that can have an immediate impact is to eliminate the use of certain terminology that has racist origins.
For example “Grandfathered” or “Grandfather Clause” is a statutory or constitutional device enacted by seven Southern states between 1895 and 1910 to deny suffrage to African Americans. It provided that those who had enjoyed the right to vote prior to 1866 or 1867, or their lineal descendants, would be exempt from educational, property, or tax requirements for voting. Because the former slaves had not been granted the franchise until the adoption of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870, those clauses worked effectively to exclude black people from the vote but assured the franchise to many impoverished and illiterate whites. (source: Encyclopedia Brittanica)
Another example is “Master Bedroom.” In the past, master has been used to describe a man in an authoritative, disciplinarian position such as a school master or slave master. The term ‘master bedroom’ first appeared in the early 20th century to denote that the room was reserved for the master of the household, who almost always was a man.
We may have unintentionally used these terms not knowing their origin. Now is the time to continue our education on those things that have allowed us to be where we are today and to acknowledge the privilege and find ways to move forward as a more inclusive nation.