Re: Do you have a non discrimination policy?
From: Katie Henry (
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2013 21:06:16 -0800 (PST)
A few random thoughts:

Why does your community feel this is necessary now, given that you've been 
established for a while? Are you trying to solve an internal problem? Or appeal 
to potential new members? To me, it's well-intentioned but unenforceable. 

I certainly question putting it in the bylaws. You don't want to do something 
that will scare off the banks. Maybe just have a blanket statement about 
inclusion in the house rules or mission statement or whatever.

In my former community, in the DC area, when we were forming we had a 
significant number of African American members, reflecting the demographics of 
the area. Most of them hated it when we tried to talk about race, including 
type of nondiscrimination language. They didn't think there was a problem and 
didn't want to have attention drawn to themselves so we could assuage our 
liberal white guilt. I'm curious how your members who belong to your protected 
classes feel about this exercise. Was it their idea?

Part I -- I'd lose "legal history." How would you even know someone's legal 
history unless they committed a lurid crime and became a household name? Or 
unless they're listed in a sex-offender registry, in which case do you really 
want them moving in?

Class? What does that mean? 

I don't see any mention of political beliefs. Does that mean Republicans can be 
excluded? A lot of cohousers feel that way and aren't shy about it.

Part II -- What is meant by affirmative action? In terms of finding new 
How will this be implemented? By targeting your outreach activities and 
advertising at these groups? Or by other means, such as cash subsidies? It 
that cohousing communities should be practicing affirmative action to get more 
men! There's no shortage of women in coho.

Contracted labor? This is what got my attention, as the person in charge of 
hiring and supervising workers at my former community. It's hard enough to find 
good electricians, painters, plumbers, etc., without also having to screen for 
sex and ethnicity. And disabled contractors? Okay, not the plumber, but maybe 
the bookkeeper. But how do you find a disabled bookkeeper? And who defines 
underutilization? What does it mean???? And who will do the work of defining 
suitable candidates? Is it a consensus decision? Gaaahhhh!

Anyway, enough rambling. I'll just say that if this was being presented in a 
community where I lived, I'd be okay with Part I -- it seems harmless enough -- 
but I would be violently opposed to Part II.

Katie Henry

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