That's like expecting a report about drink drivers to focus on all the drivers who don't drink and drive, or one on tax evasion to focus on all the businesses paying who don't evade tax. There was never any implication that all letting agents are racist and discriminate against prospective tenants.
It's wrong, and illegal, to discriminate against an entire ethnic group like this. My point is not that all cultures are equal or even that the majority of people within a particular race are decent people, but you cannot discriminate against people because of their race. Landlords have every right to pick one tenant over another but it is unacceptable for them to refuse to show the property to people of a certain race and for letting agents to facilitate that.
Before you dismiss my post completely - there's two ways to tackle the problem. First off, you can just say "it's illegal, you must change it". Will that work? probably not.
Alternatively, you can dig deeper into the problem, and try to understand why
it is happening, as opposed to looking solely at what
is happening. Why
are some letting agents profiling racially? Once we understand why (and please don't just use the "it's just pure racism" argument - there is obviously an underlying problem that the racism is trying, in a confused and stupid way, to solve) then we can look at ways of changing behaviours on all sides to stop whatever ignorant attitudes have caused this to become prevalent in the first place.
what if all the ones they talked to did it ? hard to prove that they talked to more and chose not to show those who didn't though. but that's not the point either, the point is that there's a high number who does do it.
As for your friends "reason", that brings us back to what I was talking about earlier, abused and misunderstood usage for racial profiling. Like the guy in this thread who thought that not only the majority but vast majority of blacks where criminals.
while the percentage may be higher on blacks, it's nowhere near a majority. and without a check of the person and being able to read a person you're just as likely to get a "bad" violent and criminal white person. racial profiling doesn't work for this. it works for customs and police stops sure, but that's an entirely different usage scenario. it's more important to read the person and if necessary do some checks on him/her. The only reason to black a race from renting is racism, pure and simple. Racial profiling doesn't factor in, it makes no sense to use it in this scenario.
Again, we have no statistics about this. If we had statistics such as a break down of damage deposits kept vs returned by the usual profiles such as age, gender, race, socio-economic class, etc, then we'd be in a better position to judge what is going in. My main point is that it's happening for a reason. if we can stomp out that reason, or improve people's understanding of it, then we can stop the problem. However, to improve people's understanding, we need to know why
it's happening. Not just that it is happening, and we don't want it to.