Prejudice is expensive

Last week, I was on-site with a client of mine I haven’t seen in quite some time. My client was complaining to me that she and her husband are planning to move, and the two of them can’t afford a house that’s even as good as the one they’re living in now. They’ve lived in their current house for quite a number of years, but a combination of changing property values and the recent Florida hurricanes, which have made insurance for houses near the coast impossible to obtain at any price, have created a situation where they can’t really get much from their house and moving into a new house of similar size, age, and condition will cost them three times more than their current house is costing them.

The reason they’re moving? They’ve discovered that one of their neighbors down the street runs a porn Web site. It’s “disgusting,” she says, to have to live in the same neighborhood with one of those kinds of people, and “who wants to live in that kind of environment?”

Now, what’s interesting about that, aside from its inherent silliness (“that kind of environment”? What, is he shooting porn flicks in the middle of the street?) is the way I responded emotionally to it–my opinion o fthis particular client as a person immediately dropped through the floor, melted its way through the Earth’s crust, and now sits at the center of the planet’s molten core, where it can’t get any lower unless the earth is swallowed up by the sun. I responded exactly as if she said they’re moving because there are Negroes living in the neighborhood, and “who wants to live in that kind of environment?”

What she probably doesn’t realize, though, is that there’s no neighborhood she can possibly move into where her neighbors aren’t doing things behind closed doors that she disapproves of. The other thing she doesn’t seem to grasp is that the proclivities of her neighbors really don’t have anything to do with her at all, and are None Of Her Business.