REAL ESTATE STRATEGIST LORI PACE ON IMMIGRATING WITH HER PARENTS FROM JAMAICA TO THE U.S., AND BEING RAISED IN AFFLUENT WHITE NEIGHBORHOODS.
4 MINUTE READ
by Lori Pace
Following British Commonwealth practices, she was taught not to rock the boat, a mainstay of her reserved, sophisticated mother and father. On the day of George Floyd’s death, however, her eyes were opened to the cost of fitting in. Achieving the American dream and the cost of fitting in.
I decided to escape my reality and unplug for a few hours to exhale, find calm and breathe in the mountains, a black man stopped breathing. The next day, my husband woke up taking a deep breath as he watched and re-watched the video of yet another black man being murdered. This time by a knee, as other men watched like it was a reality show for entertainment. Achieving the American dream and the cost of fitting in.
My husband, Terrence, was TRIGGERED! As his wife and the mother of his children, there was nothing I could do to nurture that wound and make him feel better or safe. In fact, I had to try to understand that kind of anger he could not put into peaceful words. Trying to CALM him down was like putting water on a grease fire.
After a very tense discussion, he had to act like everything was okay and go to work as a commercial real estate broker. Almost EVERY DAY, he has to hold his breath and hope that he is given the opportunity, not only to earn the trust of his colleagues but to make a LIVING.
[He is] Hoping for someone’s permission to earn business in an industry DOMINATED by men, who may never understand the burden of his pretending that it is business as usual.
He is one of the lucky ones who has two other men in his office that look like him that can relate to this “persistence, not resistance.” (Having colleagues who look like you is like finding a needle in a haystack in the Real Estate industry.)
First, he stayed quiet about the bent knee in the National Football League (NFL) because he works in the boys club. He knows who butters his bread. Sports is the thing that “the boys” felt most comfortable discussing. After all, he was an athlete and many of his colleagues felt that was their ONLY common ground. I won’t even get into the analogy of being facedown on the ground.
Mr. Pace learned not to take discussing sports and business personally. Instead of asking to do business with him or join THEM on a pitch or a project they asked him, “Did you play basketball?”This time, Safer-At-Home to conduct business is not about COVID-19; it is because of another bent knee. A KNEE that killed someone who fits my husband’s exact description: “Tall black man, almost like a giant with money in his hand that does not appear to belong to him.”
Well, he woke up again this morning and started making calls like everything was okay when he is not feeling ok at all. But his focus is trying to make money for our family to thrive and not ONLY survive. This morning I listened to him transact business during these times when mentally I know he has had ENOUGH and still he RISES up despite at times feeling like he is being forced to stay down.
Today, I had a new appreciation for his anger, sadness, pride and perseverance as not a father, a husband, or a Broker but a BLACK MAN selling Real Estate while Being BLACK.
How is he able to focus and concentrate? I call this the status of our mental health COMPLICATED being black not just in America but the world.
- Lori Pace is originally from Jamaica. A Thought Leader, Real Estate Strategist, Speaker, Community Leader, and Activist, she curates the International Diversity Difference Experience. She has been actively involved in the Real Estate industry over the last 25 years — Residential and Commercial Real Estate, Urban Planning, Investing, Architecture, Consulting. Her first-hand experience and stories as a successful Realtor and immigrant, providing a unique perspective and lens for differentiating your Business and Brand. She believes in profitable result-driven success breaking through unconscious boundaries and bias. Her authentic ability to engage in using her entertaining and heartfelt superpower will change your PACE professionally and personally beyond your imagination.