I’m Afraid to Go House Hunting

I used to watch House Hunters on HGTV all the time. I LOVED seeing the joy in the hunters’ faces as they approached their potential new homes. They’d get out of their vehicles and meet the realtor with smiles on their faces and for the most part, they had the look of oblivion. Of course, the neighborhoods were beautiful. The realtor would talk about the shops and eateries in the area, if that was their “thing” and if the realtor knew the neighborhood very well, they’d give a little history. They would also discuss how great the schools were.

Thinking about some of the episodes makes me happy. The realtors, for the most part, would “tick” every box for me. Except, the list never felt complete and that brought a sense of sadness.

 For a long time, I couldn’t figure out what the lingering sadness was — why do I feel this way?

It wasn’t until my husband and I began the discussion of selling our current home and buying another one that the answer came to me.  You see, when we purchased our first home we only had our one-year old daughter so some of the things that concern me now didn’t concern me back then. Of course, we were thinking about her future and safety. We asked all the right questions: is it a busy/main street? How is traffic? Can we grow in this house? Most importantly, can we afford it? Obviously, all of the answers were affirmative because we purchased our first home.

So much has changed since then…

We now have two children and all they want to do is run wild. They are both looking for their independence.  And like most children, they want to explore our neighborhood. But, there is a problem with that. In our current neighborhood there are Confederate flags, our shed mysteriously caught fire one January morning, and my children have been called “little blackies” by our neighbors. The name-calling incident was a tough blow for me. But at least, right now, I know who my neighbors are. I know those who “like” us and those who don’t.  I know the “safe” places to walk, run, play and bike.  We “know” them and who or what to look out for.

Any neighborhood we would move to, we’d have to start the process all over AGAIN. 

And there you have it….my SADNESS.  

Unfortunately, there are no other families in our neighborhood that look like us. There are no truly diverse neighborhoods in our city or its surrounding suburbs that jumped out at us when we were house-hunting. We looked and looked, we asked around and we came up empty-handed. 

I would love nothing more than to buy a house in a diverse neighborhood. To live in an area that is not only diverse racially and ethnically, BUT also diverse in gender, nationality, culture. That would be a dream come true. I would love to move to a neighborhood where we don’t have to prove to anyone that we aren’t lazy, ignorant, or ghetto. It is my desire to live in a place where my children could run free and we would be accepted for who we are; accepted for the fact that we are also home owners, just like everyone else who lives around us. 

house hunting

I want to be free to choose ANY neighborhood, just like the couples on House Hunters and ONLY worry about the things the House Hunter couples worry about: shops, eateries, schools, etc. You know…the basics. And while, in theory, I am free to choose, I have to constantly weigh the risks (some mentioned above) of any new neighborhood. 

THAT makes me sad and it’s the reason I’m afraid to go house hunting.      

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11 Responses to I’m Afraid to Go House Hunting

  1. Laurie
    Laurie February 15, 2017 at 10:11 am #

    Oh, Andrea, I feel this sooo much! When we moved here from Chicago I was shocked at the lack of diversity. I was also shocked by the fact that people don’t understand what diversity means. I can say that I felt that our neighborhood on the far east side was pretty good due to the proximity of the university, we saw a great deal of diversity at our parks which was very welcome. But in the end I’ve had to bus my daughter a half hour away to get a diverse school, and then the neighborhood it’s in is not in and of itself diverse. We have now purchased a home on the southside, which we like the location but I know it’s not really diverse here either. So, instead we have just determined to persevere in providing our kids opportunities outside of our neighborhood. But, we have that privilege because as a white family we do not share your concerns. I wish you luck in your search and hope that you find a home that can offer you not just a safe neighborhood but a welcoming one.

    • Andréa A. Michel
      Andréa A. Michel February 15, 2017 at 12:26 pm #

      Laurie, thank you so much for your empathy! We, too, have decided to send our children to a diverse school and expose them to other opportunities. I am hopeful that as we raise a new generation of open-minded children, the tides will begin to change. Again, thank you so much!~Andréa

  2. Anne February 18, 2017 at 2:41 pm #

    This made me so sad. I live in The same city that Mister Rogers did and have never experienced that kind of city demographic and it is surprising to see it is still common. Lots of love – your children obviously deserve more respect and I am sure you will raise them to understand that. Thank you for sharing.

    • Andrea Michel
      Andrea Michel February 20, 2017 at 9:18 am #

      Thank you so much, Anne. I don’t think a lot of people realize how things really haven’t changed much from decades ago. Segregation is so real, even though, it may not look exactly the same, it still exists. ~Andréa

  3. Dawn Stone February 20, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

    My heart broke reading this, Andrea. Please know that not all white people are racist! I’m so sorry that people can’t look at another person and not just see a person with a heart. Not someone whose skin is darker than their skin. I wish you and your babies the best.

    • Andréa A. Michel
      Andréa A. Michel February 20, 2017 at 5:30 pm #

      Thank you so much, Dawn. I certainly do not think all White people are racist…I don’t think I’d be able to survive if I felt that way. I don’t attribute one, two, three bad situations to entire groups of people. I try to look at things for what they are. While I am proud to be Black, this is one of the many sad realities of my Blackness. God is in control and I continuously pray that He would guard my heart. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. It means a lot to me. ~Andréa

  4. Chalna February 22, 2017 at 9:22 pm #

    God above, I don’t even have words. I’m a born and raised Texan (I write for Fort Worth Moms Blog) and this has knocked the wind out of me. LITTLE BLACKIES?!?! I could literally throw up right now. How, in 2017, can this possibly be? WHY?? I’ve had to bow my head to pray as we speak because I just don’t know what else to do.

    My first thought was to be thankful that I live here in my great city because I’ve never heard about racism like that around me – and then it hit me like a ton of bricks that maybe I’ve never heard about it because I’m white and therefore quite possibly unaware. The fact that the intrinsic safety of your babies weighs on your heart because of the COLOR OF YOUR SKIN makes me ill and shatters me. I wish I could fix it or stop it or SOMETHING that doesn’t feel so powerless. I will just continue to pray that more parents are getting it right now and that our babies will usher in a change.

    Thank you for sharing this. I needed a reminder that this world is bigger than my own existence. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for friends in my own community that may be dealing with things I didn’t know about.

    • Andréa A. Michel
      Andréa A. Michel February 23, 2017 at 2:50 pm #

      Chalna, thank you so much for your transparency. You are not alone in thinking that racism no longer exists on this level…it does. Your Whiteness affords you the privilege to not see it or recognize it. With that being said, I’m extremely grateful that this caused you to open your eyes; it is the reason I shared my experience. I am also grateful that you want to do something and you’ve already started down that path by becoming more aware (keeping an eye out for friends in my own community that may be dealing with things I didn’t know about). Please feel free to reach out to me if you’d like to discuss further. ~Andréa

  5. Rachel February 22, 2017 at 11:51 pm #

    Thank you for putting words together to share this feeling. It’s complicated and difficult. We, though not from Milwaukee- have struggled to understand our house hunting apprehension.
    Love to you and yours!

    • Andrea A. Michel
      Andrea A. Michel February 26, 2017 at 11:29 am #

      Thank you so much! Your apprehension is real and your feelings are valid. A lot of us feel this way and can’t necessarily articulate it. I’m grateful that this post brings you closer to understanding your feelings. Much love to you and your family also. ~Andréa

  6. Keri August 31, 2017 at 9:40 pm #

    Did you look in Oak Creek? In our neighborhood alone we have Hispanic, African American, Asian, Eastern Indian, Arab and Caucasian families and I don’t think there have been any issues, which I only say because we have a mixed race family and I have never heard any sort of comment and don’t want to speak for others. I definitely appreciate the diversity here. Best of luck to you in your search

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