There is a school of thought that the only way to effect change in addressing stereotypes, prejudice, and other forms of misinformation is to push for a change with the appropriate organizations and institutions that misuse a term.
Tim Williams, President and CEO of 21st Mortgage Corp and former Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Chairman acknowledged that viewpoint in writing to MHProNews in these words.
Many of our friends in the industry, including my friend Tony at MHLivingNews , have questioned why MHI hasn’t made a strong rebuttal response to the PBS story. There are good arguments that we should respond to every story, refute every statistic, and make our case to the public.
It came to the attention of MHProNews recently that nearby Disney in Orlando are using modular units on their Disney Springs property that are inappropriately labeled as “trailers.” To see that full Daily Business News post, see the Related Reports, further below the byline and disclaimers at the end of this post.
MHProNews’ publisher reached out to Disney via two different contact points. Disney confirmed receipt, but have not yet made a formal reply to the issue, which they said could be expected next week.
Three other industry organizations have directly sounded off on this issue to Disney, copying MHProNews in their message. What follows will be all three of those respective organization’s messages.
The View on Disney’s Misuse of the Term ‘Trailer’ from MHARR
The Washington, DC based Manufactured Housing Association for a Regulatory Reform (MHARR) President and CEO, Mark Weiss, JD, sent his own message to Disney. It was short, and to the point. It reads as follows, between the — lines. The photo below was added here to identify the writer.
Tony Kovach at MHProNews, as noted below, is correct, Disney’s use of the term “trailer” in this matter is problematic and offensive to many. Please consider the corrective steps he suggested.
President & CEO
Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)
—MHPO, a Canadian Trade Group Representing Manufactured Home Communities
The link below was drawn to my attention and it demands a response.
By way of introduction, I am the Executive Director of the Manufactured Home Park Owners Alliance of British Columbia (Canada).
Our nearly 400 members provide homes for over 60,000 British Columbia households – seniors, singles, professionals, and young couples embarking on home ownership.
Similar to the USA HUD requirements, all manufactured homes built in Canada are constructed to a federal standard (Z240) that means they are 2×4 or 2×6 construction with strong frames and roofs, full insulation, sheetrock walls – and can accommodate king size beds and jacuzzis!
The terms “trailer” and “trailer parks” are inaccurate and offensive to manufactured home community owners and home owners. Manufactured homes are seldom moved once they are placed on a site in the community. Manufactured home residents are a unique breed in that – unlike in a condo or rental apartment building – they generally know all or many of their neighbours, watch out for each other, care for each others’ homes when a neighbour is on vacation, and hold community events such as bingo nights, potluck dinners, etc.
Every community owner and park owner will be quick to tell you that trailers haul beer and cattle; manufactured homes provide an affordable and desirable home ownership alternative.
Many Canadians enjoy travelog to Disneyland and Disneyworld. Many Canadians live in manufactured homes. In the interests of maintaining Disney’s positive reputation, please request your organization to remove the “T-word” from all manufactured homes.
I would welcome confirmation from you and would be pleased to report to our members in our magazine that Disney has removed this offensive word from their buildings.
. . . . Al Kemp
From New Hampshire, ROC USA Leader Reacts
ROC USA has weighed in on this topic too. As in the above, the Daily Business News on MHProNews is adding Paul Bradley’s photo, which was not in the original message to Disney. Here’s between the — lines is the message today from Paul Bradley, President of ROC USA to Disney.
Dear Disney staff,
What Tony highlights here is a real issue – the stigma associated with factory-built housing, especially HUD-code Manufactured Housing – is inaccurate as well as hurtful to many of your customers.
Case in point: We highlighted a homeowner in a video last Spring who after touring the viewer around her home, she said (something to this effect): “We were excited so we sent out invitations for an Open House. A friend called and said, ‘Why are you having an open house, you only bought a trailer.’”
Take a look, it’s a house and it’s home to her and her family – see video on top left of our homepage at www.rocusa.org. It just happens to be a Manufactured Home.
We and the 79 co-op leaders at our Leadership Institute were so moved by the video that we decided to put up hard earned cash to tackle stigma through a video competition. It’s running right now. We invite Disney to enter! Please share with your staff. https://www.noblenotmobile.com/
Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.
Paul Bradley, President,
The Word to Disney from MHProNews Publisher
Here between the — lines below is how L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, award-winning manufactured home industry veteran and publisher of MHProNews/MHLivingNews addressed Disney.
Disney Springs Media and Guest Relations,
Let me bring to your attention the issue described in the article posted at the link below.
The article should be self explanatory, but briefly. The term “trailer” here is inaccurate, and in the view of thousands of industry professionals, offensive in this context. While it may be ‘common,’ it is still wrong – as the Rev. Donald Tye, Jr. – a veteran of the civil rights movement – aptly explains in the article linked above.
The term used in this manner is likewise a sore point for millions of mobile and manufactured home owners.
I’m cc’ing a few select industry colleagues in this message, to make them aware of this issue, and to hereby advise them that it is being formally brought to Disney’s attention for correction. While we don’t speak for those other organizations, my hunch is that they will look at this vexing matter described in the post linked above in a similar way. A few other business leaders in our industry are also bcc’d.
Please confirm your receipt of this message. Kindly advise me of what remedial steps you plan, and let us know if your comments – which we prefer by email for clarity of thought, accuracy, and ease of transcription – are on or off the record. I’d invite you to “reply all.”
We hope that this instance is merely a case of misinformation or misunderstanding, and that you will take this opportunity to correct the error in an appropriate manner. Either way, we will do a follow up report for our readers, that reflects your reply and hopefully corrective steps. Thank you.
L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach
Connect on LinkedIn:
Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right. – Henry Ford
—It’s the Holidays, So Far, Not Much from Disney, But More is Promised
There has been a message to MHProNews from Disney promising a formal reply sometime next week.
There is another trade group that could weigh in next week, we’ll see. It should be noted that Al Kemp took time away from his Hawaiian vacation to thoughtfully provide the comments above. That said, Al and his office associate advised our publisher that had Kemp been unavailable, the MHPO would still have provided a comment from another association professional.
Put differently, the MHPO – and the others above – all see this as an important issue.
As industry professionals consider the latest new home shipments, it ought to be clear that terminology impacts stigma, our homeowners and potential consumers. This is frankly the kind of thing that a post-production association, such as the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) ought to be dealing with. But heretofore, despite what Tim Williams said above, MHI has done so only sporadically, if at all. We’ll plan to reach out and see if MHI will make an exception, and dive into this Disney issue, or not. Either way, it will be insightful.
This is also the kind of issue that resident home owner groups may also consider taking to heart, because it impacts their residents in a variety of ways.
MHProNews will encourage those noted above to provide their comments on this Disney controversy. Time will tell if Disney is as senstiveto our home owners and industry as they would be toward other minority groups. The Daily Business News on MHProNews will update readers as appropriate. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News , analysis, and commentary.)
NOTICE 2: Readers have periodically reported that they are getting a better experience when reading MHProNews on the Microsoft Edge, or Apple Safari browser than with Google’s Chrome browser. Chrome reportedly manipulates the content of a page more than the other two.
(Related Reports are further below. Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)
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