Welcome to the brave new world of enforceable goodthink.
The National Association of REALTORS® will now be policing the private speech of its members.
The newly Woke National Association of REALTORS® has long had requirements that you behave in a professional manner while on the job.
"The recommendations propose a new Standard of Practice, 10-5, that states: ‘REALTORS® must not use harassing speech, hate speech, epithets, or slurs based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity."
Sure, a list like that can be problematic, but at least now it only applies TO YOUR ENTIRE LIFE.
"Additionally, the recommendations propose changes to professional standards policy to expand the Code of Ethics' applicability to all of a REALTOR®'s activities, not just those that are real estate–related."
Their speech codes no longer only apply to real-estate related activity but also to everything-related activity as well. What if your activities include being active in your church and your faith is at odds with current progressive orthodoxy?
Why, it's almost as if the NAR's rules prohibiting discrimination against someone for their religious beliefs themselves discriminate against people for their religious beliefs. This suggests the motive here might be something other than being anti-discriminatory.
Which reminds me, you know why the NAR is really excited about these new rules?
"We have this amazing ad campaign that says ‘That's Who We R,' " Difanis said, which includes being leaders and role models in the community, ‘and this is who we need to be.'"
Whatever it takes to get that "SOLD!" sign!
Of course, we all have to remember that this is not a government or state actor enforcing a law. It's merely a private organization with great cache, they are America's largest trade association after all. They hold enormous sway over state licensing boards requiring that you behave in a manner they prefer ALL the time. If you don't comply with the new speech codes, you risk being reported as a bigot to your state licensing board which determines whether or not you can continue to work as a real estate agent.
"As a result, associations would be required to share with the state real estate licensing authority final ethics decisions holding REALTORS® in violation of the Code of Ethics in instances where there is reason to believe the public trust, as expanded by the proposed revision, may have been violated."
But it's not like that's censorship or anything.
That would be wrong.
"Discussions started in the wake of nationwide social unrest after the death of George Floyd and after local, state, and national REALTOR® associations fielded an ‘unprecedented' number of complaints about members posting hate speech on social media."
Work as a real estate agent? Watch what you say because they can search your social media accounts going back three years should there ever be an alleged infraction.
But this is not censorship, okay? Stop thinking that.
Hmm, maybe we can discipline you for that, too.
Speaking freely has suddenly become really problematic. After all, what is a "slur?" The definitions of words are a lot more fluid than they used to be. Remember a month ago when "sexual preference" was okay? Yeah, it's not anymore.
Looks like we'll have to write you up!
This was addressed in their handy FAQ:
"Doesn't this mean that if I post my opinion online and someone doesn't agree with it, that I can lose my membership and be forced out of the business?"
"As with any alleged Code violation, ethics complaints alleging a violation of Article 10 as interpreted by the proposed Standard of Practice 10-5 will be processed consistent with the local or state association's professional standards enforcement process, which affords all parties a full and fair opportunity to present their case, defend themselves, provide evidence and witnesses, and be represented by counsel."
And it is my understanding that lawyers aren't at all expensive and that simply being accused of something rarely creates a lasting stigma on your reputation.
"Additionally, membership in an association of REALTORS® is voluntary,...
Exactly, totally voluntary. Sure, they trademarked the term "realtor," but whatever.
"...and any discipline imposed does not automatically impact an individual's ability to hold a real estate license."
Of course not. I'm sure there would rarely be any consequences should your state licensing board receive an ethics-violation referral from the not-at-all powerful National Association of REALTORS®.
"The National Association of REALTORS® is one of the most politically powerful trade associations in the nation. The Association not only keeps its members well informed about laws and regulations affecting the industry, but also shapes the formulation of those policies through professional lobbying, grassroots activism, and supporting the election of pro-REALTOR® local candidates through the REALTORS® Political Action Committee."
The NAR also expanded the definition of "Public Trust."
"At present, the definition of ‘public trust' includes demonstrated misappropriation of client or customer funds or property, willful discrimination, or fraud resulting in substantial economic harm."
"Willful," as in you intended to do it.
"This recommendation would expand the definition to include all discrimination against the protected classes under Article 10, and all fraud."
There's that word again. "All." All discrimination even if you didn't mean to, or knew you were. This leaves whether or not discrimination took place up to every thin-skinned, perpetually aggrieved client with a chip on his or her (or xers?) shoulder.
It doesn't matter.
"The Board made these changes effective immediately."
Better get on your toes now! How, exactly? They'll tell you that later.
"NAR has produced training and resource materials to assist leaders with understanding and implementing the changes and will be rolling those out in the coming weeks."
That's comforting. In the meantime just speak as little as possible and show that nice couple the master bed...
I'm afraid we might have to write you up for that one. And of course investigate the past three years of your social media accounts. That should be fun!
I'll leave you with one other thought.
This is a picture from the first page of NAR's website as of this writing.
And this is a picture from the site exactly one month before the death of George Floyd.
Notice a difference in the predominant hue of the happy members?
Remember, whatever they are accusing you of, they themselves are guilty.