Racism versus Return

91 Replies

@Grayson Gist Had this same situation when I was shopping for a GC once. Guy used a racial slur to describe some of people in the neighborhood. That was all I needed to hear. Sent him on his way without asking him for a quote or anything. I don’t do business with people like that. I try to do business with people of high moral character which is especially important when you are looking for someone to do business with over the long term. You’re clearly uncomfortable with some of this mans beliefs and I feel like you’d be more comfortable with someone else. Keep shopping. Life isn’t all about dollars and cents.

@Thomas S. Short answer, yes. Without moral and ethical reasoning and purely business reasons, having an allegedly racist president as the contractor would stigmatize the project. While he may win a competitive bid for the project resulting in let's say $50M savings. The loss of revenues because of the stigmatism to the brand would far surpass the savings on the project he was awarded.
@Grayson Gist if you're having a crisis of conscience over something, normally that means there is a right answer and a wrong answer. The right answer will cost you something you perceive as a tangible loss or setback but will give you peaceful resolution, while the wrong answer might be more expedient but will always leave you wondering what if. That's just been my experience in life. I'd like to say that I've always made the right choice but I don't want to add 'liar' to my list of mistakes. :) Good luck!

@Grayson Gist I don’t recommend associating yourself with a racists. The real estate world isn’t as big as people think and word spreads fast. Your reputation is everything when it comes to real estate and doing work with someone you know is a racist could end up bad for you in the long run.

Imagine word gets out about this guy and people find out he did work for you. Then all a sudden rumors about you could spread. This is just a hypothetical situation but something to think about.

In the end, the decision is up to you. It’s easy for people to get on here and say “I would never do work for a racist” or “go spend more money with someone different” when they aren’t the one spending the money.

@Grayson Gist

I personally woulda asked why you feel that way..

racism is a mental condition!

To actually dislike someone for how they where born.. is a serious disappointment on their own individual culture and up bringing..

I can’t change my skin but I can chose who I give my money too a piece of mind is better than a piece of change

Discrimination is illegal. Free speech is a constitutional right, which suggests the freedom to ignore someone else's free speech is also a constitutional right. Where do you draw the line between political correctness and individual opinion?

For example, William Shockley was a co-inventor of the transistor (smartphones would not work without them) and a proponent of eugenics. His company, Shockley Semiconductor, spawned Silicon Valley (he was a tyrant and no one wanted to work for him, so his employees left and started their own competing semiconductor company). Do you boycott everything electronic because one of its founding inventors was a racist ("the fruit of the poisonous tree")? Or do you recognize this one particular person's limitations for what they are and vow not to make his mistakes yourself ("be an exemplary model")?

I've been in corporate meetings where people used racial epithets. I had to work with some of these people every day. It would not have been practical for me to lecture them or refuse to work with them. But I did have control over my own words and deeds, so I ignored their bad words and got on with my job.

Originally posted by @Thomas Moyer :

@Grayson Gist

Im obviously a black guy, and I appreciate your concern about working with someone who is racist. However, business is business, if he does good work and will do it for you for a reasonable price I’d still go with him.

This is something I have to remind myself of daily in the business world. People are who they are and you are trying to accomplish what you are trying to accomplish. Especially if you can’t find anyone else.

However ! I wouldn’t partner with him on anything long term or recommend him to anyone and I would do this all while still praying for him. (But that’s a whole nother conversation lol, we won’t go into the economics of people who look down on minority’s.)

 My favorite post of the thread. Why? Thoughts below:

1. It is easy for any of us to assume we have the moral high road because we're not so blatant in demonstrating our biases and prejudice. This is a business and we all make business decisions all the time. I can't buy that no one here ever passed on a house because it was in a minority neighborhood or happened to find renters they were more comfortable with that just happened to look like themselves. We all have our prejudices and it is easier to see the speck in someone else's eye than the stick in our own.

2. Claiming the high ground and sending the guy on his way, and telling him why, isn't going to make this guy suddenly become introspective. Want to see someone who really makes a difference? Google Daryll Davis. 

I am not saying go out of your way to do business with someone obviously stupid, since even if you felt like that you wouldn't tell a prospective customer those things. If there are other/better options, great. But if he's the only fence builder in town you can miss a great opportunity to change the world by thinking yourself righteous.

@Grayson Gist

Not sure why it matters? We live in a country of free speech, no matter how unpopular. If it bothers you so much, then don’t use him. He is not your friend. He is there simply to do quality work for an agreed price. Why would it matter if he is gay, or if he says something you don’t agree with? I’m sure he doesn’t agree with everything you think either.

@Grayson Gist

For those saying it’s just business.... get better at it... Saying tolerating racism is a part of business is just stupid.

One racist individual can’t be that much cheaper than the competition... quality work can only get so cheap. Stop being lazy and find a better comparable!

Glad to see you found competitors that are in line with his pricing and are hopefully not racist!

At what point do you run out of moral high ground? If you took some time to learn basic Spanish you would hear the same conversation going on, on the other side of the fence. Just saying. You could ask him is he has ever been out bid on a job when he brings up his "racist" views again. Uneducated people usually have a select vocabulary when speaking about others in groups, in my experience. If you ever work with union members you will hear all kinds of this colorful language. Good luck.

we are actually all variations of brown and part of one race human race. so he hates himself, has massive insecurities cause he most likely has no friends and  terms he uses is not real but made up words passed around by other ignorant, hurting and deeply insecure humans with no idea how to connect with other people. be the voice of reason and change for his pathetic hard heart and introduce him to some of your diverse ethnic and cultural friends or neighbors who can befriend him and prove his fears and insecurities false. he is still a human worth investment. if you commit to hiring him put in contract no bigotry allowed while on your property. explain that God made  all light and dark skin tones and they are all precious and beautiful.  

If you go with the racist, you'll be thinking about it for a long time.  It will stay with you, because that choice doesn't align with who you are.  If you find someone else, you'll move on from this more easily.

We learn and grow from real estate, but it doesn't change who we are at the core.

The biggest thing I DIDN"T see in the replies here ( or the ones I read anyway) was it doesn't seem like you know how to negotiate.  Use your best bid and then go to the next two or three lowest one and tell them you would prefer to do business with them but they need them to improve their their price.  Do the same thing you do when negotiating with homeowners.  Ask, is that your best price?  Keep asking.  Write your scope of work with what you require and get it all in writing.  Contractors are very flexible when they want work.  When they have full schedules they will still bid but the bids are high.  They figure they don't need your business but if you are willing to pay THIS price they will do it.

You have the gold so you have the control of the situation.  If you are more motivated than them then YOU LOSE!

On the other subject of racism, choose who you want to do business with.  If you support people like that then they get confirmation that their attitude is acceptable.  If enough people don't do business with them they will change their ways over time or go out of business. 

As the saying goes, Leopards can't change their spots.  People are set in their ways and personalities are developed over the decades.  With a few exceptions, people are who they are.  Choose your business partners and sleep soundly.    

Originally posted by @Grayson Gist :

Hey there,

I want to build a fence around my owner occupied fourplex. I watched a neighbor put up a beautiful 6’ privacy fence and hoped the contractor would put up a sign. They did so I called it. He came out and gave us an estimate of $25 per linear foot, which I thought was high until I got two more estimates.

So we want to go with him, but out of the blue he starts talking about how he has a few rentals and “doesn’t rent to black(people)” and uses “(racial slur) migrant laborers”.

Would you go with the cheapest/strongest contractor or pay more money for moral reasons? I’m really struggling. The right thing and the practical thing aren’t the same in my mind. Thank you!

Gotta add my voice to those who say to find another bid. 

I'll hold my political comments ... 

I put integrity and doing the right thing over money kudos to you! He wouldn't get a dime of mine either! I had a contractor tell me a similar situation as if I wasn't black lol needless to say he didn't get the job.I'm obviously apart of the effected class and I'm sure your aware of how much damage it cost! There's a great book on how American Government has shaped these communities with its laws written by Richard Rothstein called Color Of Law My ancestors could not even qualify for an FHA loan imagine that and in top of that could never move to the burbs and instead had to live in the commercial zone areas. We know how discriminatory practices work let's keep doing better and reverse the wrongs by being on the right side of history!

@Grayson Gist as a person of color and a property owner of 25 rental units, I doubt I'd every run into such an issue. I actually care what my dollars support. The fact that he expresses such views, shows how unprofessional he is. Think about eating at an establishment where food was good for the price, but the people service you were rude to different patrons. Even if it wasn't you or your party, you'd more than likely feel some kind of way eating there. I wouldn't want to be associated with them at all. Business is based on relationships and i wouldn't want any type of relationship with them. Thats why theirs still affirmative action (which may hinder qualifying white men), which we shouldn't have it, but we shouldn't need it either. Best of luck on your build buddy.

Had a nut job like that he was giving me a bid to dig up sewer line .I did not use him simply put what a small mind in such a time .

Three pages of responses and no one has really pointed out the second part of this guy's comments: there is a good chance he is cheaper because his employees are not working here legally. There is an ethical dilemma there too...would you knowingly give your business to a company that is likely breaking immigration laws?

Wow, that's unfortunate! I like to sleep at night, so I'd tell him to "pound sand," and that I'd rather pay twice his fee if it means dealing with a quality person. Good luck!

Originally posted by @Grayson Gist :

Hey there,

I want to build a fence around my owner occupied fourplex. I watched a neighbor put up a beautiful 6’ privacy fence and hoped the contractor would put up a sign. They did so I called it. He came out and gave us an estimate of $25 per linear foot, which I thought was high until I got two more estimates.

So we want to go with him, but out of the blue he starts talking about how he has a few rentals and “doesn’t rent to black(people)” and uses “(racial slur) migrant laborers”.

Would you go with the cheapest/strongest contractor or pay more money for moral reasons? I’m really struggling. The right thing and the practical thing aren’t the same in my mind. Thank you!

Why are you asking random strangers on the internet about a situation regarding YOUR personal morality? This just seems like a goofy virtue signalling thread for everyone to chime in with various "racism bad" and "racists are mean" comments while you echo the same platitudes, and all of your responses so far back that up.  

If someone is telling you they don't rent to black people and they use "(racial slur) migrant laborers" and that bothers you, then the only decision to make is whether YOU value your principles over saving a few bucks. 

You already know what everyone here is going to say anyways. 

Originally posted by @Paul B. :

Three pages of responses and no one has really pointed out the second part of this guy's comments: there is a good chance he is cheaper because his employees are not working here legally. There is an ethical dilemma there too...would you knowingly give your business to a company that is likely breaking immigration laws?

I'm not a lawyer, but if you know someone is breaking the law, you are supposed to turn them in. Otherwise, if you help them, you run the risk of being charged as an accomplice.

If you suspect, but do not know for sure, someone is breaking the law, I'm not sure what you should do. The last thing you want to have happen if you do nothing is the government removes the undocumented workers from the job site and you are left with a partially completed project. But if your suspicion is based prejudice (all racists are crooks, for example) and not something solid, you are no better than the racist.

Warren Buffett has said if you don't know jewelry, know the jeweler. Perhaps if you don't know the workers, know the employer.

I would never do business with an open racist. The fact that he feels comfortable expressing these views around you means he may feel you have similar sentiment. I once hired a property manager and later found out he was and he was fired before he got started. Dude was so screwed up that John Denver wrote a song about him.

Grayson,

I think you already know the right answer.  If you have signed a contract with him, be the better man and honor your contract and never sign another one with him again.  If you haven't signed the contract, move on.  You can always make more money.

Tim

@Grayson Gist from experience as a contractor I’ve worked with people like this and in the end I always end up regretting it. I would say be strong and not work with him. Unless you are prepared to deal with his behavior and words because I’m sure this is only the beginning