Meanwhile, back at the ranch, eeka participates in a bit of blogger drama without meaning to

Last Thursday, John A. Keith, the blogging real-estate agent, made a post about how Copley Square is a bad place because:

If you’ve been through Copley Square, you’ve no doubt been subjected to tens, if not hundreds of drug addicts wandering around.
The area is also popular with homeless people.
And, crazy people.
And, those rotten kids on their skateboards.

I posted a comment sharing some of my feelings about the labels, and also about the ableist implication that a place is bad because it's welcoming to members of our community who have disabilities and/or don't have permanent homes. I also asked if he had taken a survey of these people to see if they identified as having mental illness and/or being homeless, or if these were just assumptions.

Mr. Keith responded with a sort of apology, as any good business person would. He stuck his foot in his mouth though when he clarified that he wasn't talking about people with disabilities, but rather about "nutjobs," and assured me that he had plenty of sympathy for people with mental illness. He ignored the whole issue of the assumptions and of the fact that the vast majority of people who are chronically homeless have disabilities. When I asked him to clarify how exactly these people were standing out as "nutjobs" if they weren't presenting with outward signs of mental illness, he told me he had been perfectly clear, and said I was trying to pick a fight.

I think that publishing ableist viewpoints is really the least of Mr. Keith's problems right now. On Friday, he posted some cryptic remarks relating to an interaction with another blogger and strongly implied that he was shutting down his blog. Hey, maybe he'll reappear with a .emo blog address!

I also feel obligated to point out that while I was poking around on his site, I also found that he is "a graduate of Northeastern University, which borders both the South End and Fenway neighborhoods."

Northeastern's property also borders another neighborhood. We even have homes in our neighborhood, some of which are for sale. Our residents create work for real estate agents!

People with disabilities also hire real estate agents. If anyone is looking for a real estate agent who doesn't make disparaging comments about people with disabilities, I'd be glad to recommend the one I used. Let me know.


Mister Goat said...

Wow, that's really obnoxious. As someone who works with homeless youth--some of whom hang out in Copley Square, the sneers of an obnoxious real estate agent are minor, but annoying. And for him to say that he respects people with disabilities, but not "nutjobs"--as if the latter were some sort of category of people with no issues whose mission is to harass him and his fellow realtors--is just absurdly clueless.

In terms of neighborhoods, do you really want a realtor like that having anything to do with Roxbury? Gotta wonder how much concern he'd have for the people who currently live there. I mean, some of them are poor, and might even be considered nutjobs.

Anonymous said...

Interesting--I went back there to see if the drama had continued, and he's changed the post! All the comments and some of the initial offensive language have disappeared.

I read it when you first wrote this, so I know that you didn't make it up. Maybe this means he realized that he wrote something obnoxious, though a cover-up with no apology isn't too reassuring.

eeka said...

Well, I don't want any ableist classist realtor to have anything to do with selling MY house whenever I eventually do. But really, it's not like I live out in the middle of the Ozarks where there are glaring differences in culture based mainly on economics. There are some poorer areas of Roxbury, but then, there are also areas of Allston and Somerville with the exact same sorts of incomes and home values. There are also ass-expensive areas of Roxbury, and it isn't like the South End only has luxury residences and then across the street in Roxbury our roofs are all falling in. It's one thing to be like "well, I don't know the south end of the city as well and I tend not to be as successful with dealing with those folks, so I stick to a few neighborhoods" and quite another to just suddenly ignore every person and home as soon as the neighborhood shift from Fenway and South End to Mission Hill and Fort Hill.

eeka said...

Yeah, I was pretty pleased he'd retracted it. He does seem like a decent enough guy. It seems he doesn't wholeheartedly stand by ableist and classist views like a total bigot would, but more like he expressed some ingrained views, realized this was offensive, and apologized. I give him credit for that.