Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors has shared a story blasting the ‘white supremacy’ of the housing market just weeks after her own $3 million property portfolio was shared.
The issues were addressed in an NPR documentary, We Hold These Truths, which looked at how black people have been systematically discriminated against by the real estate industry and government policy over decades.
The report – which focuses on the experiences of black people living in Compton, California, revealed that just 41.8 per cent of black households owned their homes – with that rate barely rising since 1970.
‘Thank you @npr for highlighting the history of racism inside of the housing market and why Black homeownership has always been a way to disrupt white supremacy,’ Cullors wrote on her Instagram.
Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullor has bemoaned the history of racism inside the housing market
In 1970, two years after the Fair Housing Act passed, the national homeownership rate for black households was 41.8%. By 2019, it was 42.3% – just a net increase of 1.2% from five decades earlier.
Experts say reasons for the lower homeownership rate ranges from historic underemployment and low wages to a recession-related foreclosure crisis that hit black communities particularly hard.
But Cullors has not faced such issues getting on the property ladder – after it was revealed she owns four houses in desirable California neighborhoods, often where mainly white people live, worth a total of almost $3 million.
Last month, the 37-year-old, who set up BLM with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi back in 2013, faced scrutiny over her $3 million empire of four homes.
Cullors set up BLM with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi back in 2013. She said she has ‘spent the last week with security’ after her homes were first pictured in the media
She described it as a ‘racist and sexist’ attack by the ‘right-wing media’.
Cullors bought a $1.4 million home in the largely white district of Topanga Canyon, Los Angeles.
In the zip code, 88 per cent of residents are white and 1.8 per cent black, according to the census.
The New York Post also reported that Cullors has also bought three other homes since 2016 at a total cost of around $3 million.
This includes a $415,000 ‘custom ranch’ on 3.2 acres in Conyers, Georgia, with its own pool and airplane hangar.
Additionally, property records show Cullors has also bought two other Los Angeles homes including a three-bedroom home in Inglewood for $510,000 and four-bedroom home in South LA for $590,000.
It emerged last month that Cullors had bought this $1.4 million home in a white area of LA
She has also bought three other homes including this one in Georgia – altogether totaling around $3 million
Cullors grew up in the Van Nuys neighborhood of LA, which she described as ‘impoverished’
Cullors has tried to deflect criticism from some on the left who questioned whether her ownership of four homes contradicts her ideology as a ‘trained Marxist’ as she said she has invested in the properties to provide for her family and sees her wealth ‘as my family’s money, as well.’
In 2015 described herself as a ‘trained Marxist’, and last December elaborated on her views, saying ‘I do believe in Marxism.’
‘I’m working on making sure that people don’t suffer, I’m working to make sure people don’t go hungry,’ she explained in a YouTube video.
Black Lives Matter raked in around $90 million in donations last year but does not release a full accounting of its spending. The organization said Cullors has been paid $120,000 since 2013 but has not received any payment since 2019.
There is also no suggestion that she used BLM funds to pay for her properties.
The $1.4 million home Patrisse Cullors purchased in the Topanga Canyon area of Los Angeles
The light-filled and airy home is just 20 miles from where she grew up, but a world away in style
Cullors branded the focus on her homes and finances as ‘racist and sexist’ and said it was common in the black community for people to invest in properties to provide for their family members.
‘And the fact that the right-wing media is trying to create hysteria around my spending is, frankly, racist and sexist and I also want to say that many of us that end up investing in homes in the black community often invest in homes to take care of their family,’ she said.
‘You can talk to so many black people and black women particularly that take care of their families, take care of their loved ones especially when they’re in a position to.’
The homes she has bought ‘directly support the people that I love and care about’, she said, adding that she is not ‘renting them out in some Airbnb operation.’
‘The way that I live my life is a direct support to black people, including my black family members, first and foremost.
Cullors’ new home has high ceilings and a sliding door leading out to the tree-filled yard
‘For so many black folks who are able to invest in themselves and their communities they choose to invest in their family and that is what I have chosen to do.’
Cullors has become one of the most high-profile campaigners in the US since founding BLM in 2013, with a best-selling memoir, a follow-up on the way, a deal with Warner Bros to produce content, and regularly being paid for speaking engagements.
Her 2018 memoir was a best-seller and her follow-up Abolition is out in October.
She also works as a professor of Social and Environmental Arts at Arizona’s Prescott College.