It’s truly a shame that even in the year 2020, the phenomenon of ethnic and racial discrimination can still be observed in almost every single area of life. Take, for instance, the housing market. Even though 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the Fair Housing Act, which was created to help limit discrimination related to landlords, tenants, and housing in the United States, the problem still remains critically relevant.

Various studies conducted in the last ten years suggest that ethnic and racial minorities still receive less favorable treatment than white people when seeking housing. Moreover, research shows that real estate agents and rental housing providers tend to show less available housing options to minorities compared to equally qualified whites. This type of study once again shows us how much work there’s still left to do for us to create a society that’s safe for each and every one of us.

The experience that one Twitter user, abbas96ali, recently had to go through proved this just as well.

P.S. Bored Panda had a chance to ask Abbas some questions, so make sure to scroll down for his answers.

More info: Twitter

Recently, this Twitter user named Abbas Ali shared screenshots of a conversation he had with a landlord who was offering a room for rent

The tweet included two screenshots of the conversation this man had with the landlord and the description said this: “My heart sinks when landlords ask this question because I already know I’m not getting the place then.”

“I think with the BLM protests happening in the US right now we are getting closer to not only raising awareness about racial and ethnic profiling and discrimination but maybe even getting closer to taking institutional steps of reform/abolishment towards ending them,” said Abbas. “However, the rest of the world has yet to catch up and go through such realisations in each of their own countries and regions, recognising their own type of institutionalised racism and discrimination.”

The beginning of this conversation seemed perfectly normal

Image credits: abbas96ali

The man approached the landlord by introducing himself as the potential tenant he’d just spoken to over the phone. The landlord replied and asked Abbas when he would like to come to see the place.

“Depending on which country you go to in the Middle East and what country you belong to/look like you’re from, you’ll have a different experience with such landlords or people. Some of these countries have much more blatant racism and discrimination than others do in this region, but there is a clear hierarchy in all of them. In the case of Dubai, generally, I feel like it’s a much less racist society or at least not as openly discriminatory, but I was warned by my colleagues since I first moved here to not tell them I’m Pakistani when looking for apartments and just to pretend I’m from Kuwait instead,” Abbas told us.

And then this happened

Image credits: abbas96ali

The landlord suggested the time that would work best for him and then asked Abbas a few questions. One of these questions was “Where are you from?”

“I feel like such racist stereotypes and discrimination exists in this part of the world largely because of how institutionalised racism is in the governments and societies that certain people feel like it’s the norm. And this kind of treatment spans all levels of society too, from laws to culture too,” Abbas continued.

For some reason, the landlord felt the need to know the ethnicity of his potential tenant

Image credits: abbas96ali

The man gave all the answers to the landlord’s questions except to the one asking his ethnicity. The landlord replied to the message by asking “where are you from?” once again.

“And even in the case of me simply looking for an apartment using a popular website in Dubai where the site even allows the ad poster to specify a “preferred nationality” for their tenants. And in gulf citizen’s own cultures have deep-rooted racism toward their own nationals too, with microaggressions and discrimination towards people with darker skin colour and people with mixed families or bloodlines, looking down upon or calling “impure” for nationals who have mixed parents or ancestral links to families in other non-Gulf countries,” said Abbas.

After finding out that the man was from Pakistan, the landlord suddenly decided that the room was no longer available

When asked what, in his opinion, we as a society should do to make people more tolerant and rational, Abbas said this: “I think we as a society need to further raise awareness of the racism and discrimination being experienced in this region specifically to help locals and local governments realise the effects of their laws, policies and societies on non-citizens. The discussions and conversations need to be made public and be driven by locals, as opposed to ex-pats because they could still face backlash, punishment or deportation with the current laws and restrictions. And hopefully, this will lead to much needed institutional reform in these countries.”

Image credits: abbas96ali

Apparently, it was already rented… even though just a few hours earlier, the landlord had been inviting this man to come see the place… yeah, right

Image credits: abbas96ali

Abbas ended our conversation by adding that “the pandemic has really accelerated the eventual tipping point for a lot of the ex-pats in this region with hundreds of thousands of people who have already left to return to their home countries in the past few months. They were always considered temporary guests rather than proper working citizens, so the ex-pat populations didn’t really receive much/any support by the government during this economic crisis when they started losing their jobs, and the jobs were the only thing keeping them here.”

Reading this conversation made many Twitter users extremely sad and pissed

Some were pointing out that according to the Fair Housing Act, such actions are absolutely illegal

Unfortunately, the story took place not in the United States, but in Dubai, and the laws there are obviously different

Finally, some internet users related to the story and decided to share their own similar experiences