You have to know someone to live here – disguised discrimination

This  NYT article exposes an interesting method of discrimination which allegedly occurred in the Edgewater Park or Silver Beach Garden neighborhoods of the Bronx.  A lawsuit against Amelia Lewis, Realtor for the Edgewater and Silver co-ops,  claims that she enforced rules which required African American prospective residents to obtain  letters of recommendation from current residents, while no such requirement was asked of white prospectives.

This claim, along with Ms. Lewis’ troubling racial comments, and the fact that only 1% of the 1,100 homes in the combined neighborhoods is occupied by African Americans suggest that the two co-ops engage in racial discrimination as common practice and policy.

Leaving aside the fact that letters were required for the black couple and not for the white, a requirement for letters of recommendation to an all white neighborhood seems discriminatory in and of itself.  In fact, it may not only be discriminatory on the basis of race.  If the white neighborhood is exclusively upper-middle income earners, the requirement of letters may also be discriminatory towards working class first time home buyers.

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