Wednesday, April 06, 2011

RP: Neighborhood Change


Richard over at Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space has an interesting piece fully titled Gentrification, Neighborhood Change, and Wacked Discourse. It's partly a response to the recent Census news that DC's Black majority is slipping away (i.e. the District is becoming more racially diverse), and news coverage on the topics. Definitely worth a read. Oh, and if you missed Is Commercial District Revitalization Racist? you should read that one too.

UPDATE 12:03

Reader "Rayful Edmond" suggests a quick read of Clutch Magazine's The Great White Scare Coming to a City Near You. I agree, and don't forget the recent City Paper article Confessions of a Black Gentrifier.


Rayful Edmond said...

"There are plenty of indicators that gentrification has descended not just in overwhelmingly Black southeast but colored communities all over the District, like locusts on Pharaoh’s property, primed and prepped to squeeze every Africanism by its throat and shake the ‘hood ‘til the ‘hood ain’t even the ‘hood no more."

Anonymous said...

The Clutch Mag article is pretty good, though I'm confused on what her main point is. Is she mad that Blacks are leaving their communities or that Whites are moving in, or both? Whichever it is, she needs to get real, demographic shifts happen all the time. While I loved my neighborhood growing up and will always have fond memories of it, I want my daughter to go out and explore the world and see if she finds another place that she can create her own

ro said...

Is that clutch article satire?

Anonymous said...

The author writes well but is horribly misinformed. Bottom like, if you dont like the color of the people moving into your neighborhood, you are a racist.

Trinidad Resident/White Person said...

I resent the implication in this Clutch article and other places that all the white people moving in are soulless J Crew automatons that will only stay here long enough to destroy the fabric of the community before moving on to the next trendy area. I suspect most of us have moved to places like H St and Trinidad because we prefer to live in DC and were looking for an area we could afford when we decided to buy.

Anonymous said...

Keep H Street Irish!

Anonymous said...

I agree with white person.

The only reason I bought in the Trinidad area was because it was the only affordable place left in the city that was within a reasonable distance to the capitol.

This applies both to home owners and renters. Not only are home prices somewhat more affordable compared to other neighborhoods but also rents are pretty damn cheap too. For those who don't like living in dark basements or tiny studio/1 bedroom apartments, Trinidad offers 2 or 3 bedroom rowhouses with private parking starting at around $1,500-$1,700. You would never find those prices in Capitol Hill or other affluent neighborhoods.

Anonymous said...

I think people need a history lesson on DC. A lot of neighborhoods that are now being "gentrified by whites" were once white neighborhoods that were gentrified by blacks. For example, in the 1940s & ’50s Anacostia was a white neighborhood and Georgetown was a black neighborhood. Eastern High School was a predominately white school as well. It's the ebb and flow of the economy and urbanization/suburbunization.

This place is messed up... said...

Another picture with all whites in it -- just like the Taylors picture from a few weeks ago. Things they are a changin'.

MJ said...

Is that clutch article satire?

The solution to gentrification? Eat hipster babies.

most of the comments on the Clutch article are better than the article itself.

Anonymous said...

I am terribly upset that people are moving in, cleaning up the garbage filled streets, opening new businesses, and creating an increasingly non-violent place to live.

I yearn for the days of drug dealers on every street corner, murders every night, and vacant storefronts.

How could we all be so stupid to let these newcomers move in and destroy the neighborhood we have done such a great job keeping presentable and livable.

I say we burn it all down (again)!

ro said...

i think you're on to something anon. The only logical solution to this ``problem'' is to never ever encourage economic development in predominantly black neighborhoods. Everyone knows black people don't buy organic produce, ride bikes, go to dog parks or long for a better quality of life. That would only destroy my ``Africanism.'' Gotta keep it real, yo.

ro said...

That Clutch article does raise some intriguing issues. Is it mandatory for gay couples to wear matching flip flops? Are all white women named Becky? If I go jogging, does that mean I'm technically not black? How exactly do you sashay? I know how to saunter and I'm pretty good at waddling, but never learned to sashay.

inked said...

@this place is messed up,
that's only an all white photo if you only count the people in the foreground. Granted it's a little hard to tell from the photo, but there are actually also Asians and Blacks in that shot.

Hillman said...

Actually, all white women are named Heather. And their boyfriends are Austin.

The Clutch article was pretty sad to read. Particularly the comments section.

A whole bunch of people who have undoubtedly seen racism in their lives seem to have no problem dishing it out as well.

Makes me more sad than anything.

Matthew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jefferson Twilight said...

All I know, is it's getting harder for me to hunt down blaculas in the area. They're all in PG county now and it's giving me the blue balls in my blood eye. I like to keep my commute green, but I got to go where the blacktion is. And, no, it's not that I only hunt "African-American vampires." Sometimes I hunt British vampires. They don't have "African-Americans" in England, so I hunt blaculas! Look, man. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I specialize in hunting black vampires. I don't know what the p.c. name for that is.

Anonymous said...

Well as they used to say in the Hyde Park nieghborhood in Chicago "its blacks and whites standing arm in arm united against the lower classes".

ro said...

Great news for those of you struggling to adapt to your new neighborhood, I plan to open my new Africanism-oriented school of etiquette on H St. called the Chocolate Factory. Looking for experienced speech therapists and historians. No Irish need apply.

inked said...

why must you always exclude my people. Hmm, maybe you could hire some of these guys

ren8 said...

i think its the easy route for white people to get all defensive about black people bitching about gentrification. when you say stuff like "anacostia used to be white" and " I am terribly upset that people are moving in, cleaning up the garbage filled streets", you are COMPLETELY missing the point. do you even care what another persons perspective is?

the comments in the clutch article touch on some very real feelings, even if you don't understand them.

yet, i bet ya'll understand it when people bitch about frat boys hanging at your favorite bar. or the influx of republicans. but that's different, right?

Kenny G said...

@ro for mayor of Swampoodle!

Anonymous said...

@ren8: Why did you assume that the person who noted about the history of DC and the ever-changing fact of neighborhoods was white? Also, why did you see that comment as "bitching"? Maybe you're the one missing the point.

Hillman said...


I see the point you are making, but comparing some casual complaining about frat boys at a local bar isn't really on par with saying people of a certain color shouldn't move into your neighborhood.

I for one do care about the perspective of others.

But I lose a lot of that empathy when I hear someone say I shouldn't be in a certain neighborhood because of the color of my skin.

Hillman said...

The Clutch article comments were useful in one regard.

Several posters asked why so few black people bought their homes back in the 80s and 90s, when you could get these places for a song.

To me one interesting undercurrent in this is the renter versus owner debate.

Owning a home is hard work, and it comes with risk.

But it also gives you the guarantee that you can never be forced out of your home or neighborhood.

I lose some empathy for people that can no longer afford their rent when I find out they had ample opportunity to buy and chose not to, for decades.

Of course, some people would not be able to buy, for some reason.

But many were able and chose not to.

For decades.

When your mortgage would have been less than your rent. Particularly if you were willing to take a place with a basement apartment for rental income. Or if you bought a small condo, like many do today.

When I moved here in 96 my mortgage on a very nice 2 BR with a huge yard and offstreet parking (after my basement apartment tenant paid her rent) was around $500 a month.

If you take the easy way out and rent, sometimes that decision bites you in the butt.

Anonymous said...

Several posters asked why so few black people bought their homes back in the 80s and 90s, when you could get these places for a song.

If I were a cynic, I'd say the majority were saving their money, dreaming of a 4BR/4BA house in PG County.

ren8 said...

anon 6:28,

it did come off as an assumption of race. i didn't mean to say it that way. you are correct. i apologize for that. i meant to jab at any that would say something like that, regardless of color. i use the term bitching, because thats what it sounds like to me, i know that is highly subjective. i call it like i see it.
what point do you think i'm missing?

GOP? On my H St.? said...


I understand the sentiments expressed in the clutch comments sections very well. And I find them vile, resentful, and plainly racist, like the unsubtle tone of the article itself. If the races were flipped in this case, you would be the one deploring the racist attitudes, and rightly so. Plus, I happen to be a unicorn-like Conservative living here in the H St 'hood. I'd like to believe that I'm welcome to read and enjoy Frozen Tropics too. This isn't Russia, is it Danny? Or does tolerance of viewpoints only extend within prescribed boundaries?

Ty said...

No one likes a tattletale, Danny..except of course, me.