Tuesday, March 13, 2012

WP: Gentrification Not as Simple as Black & White


I somehow completely missed this recent Washington Post story about the demographic changes on, and around, H Street. It's short, but worthy of a read.


Anonymous said...

Interesting article. Much of the media paints gentrification as a black and white issue. Many of the new gentrifiers in this area are black yet often people assume, largely painted by the media, that if you are black you are resentful of gentrification but if you are white you are the gentrifier. As a black new H streeter,I realize it is much more complicated. The story of the person in the polo jacket that was offered money to shovel his show is a sentiment I often feel by my neighbors unfortunately. Its not all black and white, but really an issue of economics!

Robby said...

I can't help but to read this with a smile and then to look back at your Atlas Flats post. It sort of speaks for itself. Sure not as simple, but not clean either. the funny thing is I feel my most unsafe in areas predominantly white. From Boston to NC, to GA to CT.

I can't help but read this and find it true that things are not simple, but the ending of this article is fake. It isn't neat as a bow, it's messy as a young child with finger paint. Maybe that's why it's great, maybe that's the future of society, outside the lines. Free to be people and not colors.

Although those of us colored seem to not escape the color, and are burdened by it, in a way we may not have been in a DC ten years ago. We join the rest of the nation, perhaps the rest of the world. DC blacks who grew up in the envelope from 1975-2005, unless they lived elsewhere, are not used to the world as it is, and as it will be here.

The mosaic we are moving to is beautiful in the abstract, but there is a losing, and there is still inequality. Being colored still will make you suspect, and more suspect as we march more from DC to America. Or to put it another way, While I embrace my white brothers and sisters, they look over their shoulder for me.

Sesame Street, maybe not.

KellyClarkson said...

This article, it says NOTHING! People are getting along! No wait, some aren't! There's still animosity! No wait, everrrrboday getting along! Stupid sociological nonsense. Change is driven by economics and nothing else. The neighborhood used to be poor and black, now the wealth is rocketing upward and the mix is becoming more white. As this happens, there's resentment as old gets pushed out by new. Yawn. Find a new angle here, this has already been played out.

Boris said...

Maybe you missed the article because it is so forgettable. I guess the point of it is supposed to be that gentrification is not necessarily black and white, and then the article focuses on race anyway. Yawn. I am sure that those of us who live here understand the complexities better than the article's author, and I know for sure most of us could probably go a little deeper than one or two interviews.

The Post is deplorably bad at local coverage. Wouldn't it be great ONCE to learn something we didn't already know about our neighborhood in the Post?

Anonymous said...

During the last mayoral election there was plenty of not so subtle language about "taking our city back" and money being wasted on what "white people want." While I agree there is more shades of grey than what is usually portrayed, there is still an overwhelming sense that it is a black and white issue.

And while I agree it is largely about economics, it still doesn't change the fact that you would not hear as many complaints from old neighborhood residents if young, black professionals moved instead of white ones.

I will leave why it seems to be socially acceptable for black people to openly say they have an issue with white people moving into their neighborhood to another conversation.

Anonymous said...

when I moved into my neighborhood as one of the only white residents, I expected some animosity.

Instead, a handful of my older home-owner neighbors(long term black residents)expressed excitement to see some white people move into their neighborhood, because it meant (in their words) that soon crime will be pushed out, there will be more police response and a possible end to the constant terrorizing they receive from the disrespectful, unsupervised neighborhood teens and drug dealers running the neighborhood.

On top of that, an increase in their home values. They often express a lot of contempt and attitude towards the neighborhood "renters".

I was taken-aback at the reaction, but definitely think it goes to show that not every "old neighborhood" resident has the same feelings about "gentrification" and it has a lot do to with class. Though race is obviously a huge issue, it is much more complicated than "black vs white".

Anonymous said...

if a family tends to their home and their yard and is kind, friendly and respectful to their neighbors, especially their elderly neighbors, why do we care about the color of their skin. black or white or any shade in between, a good neighbor is a good neighbor and a bad neighbor is a bad neighbor. our neighbors who have lived here for years have been gracious and welcoming and have told us they are pleased that the house we moved into and fixed up is no longer the neighborhood crack house (for real)and our yard which was once strewn with trash is no longer our block's primary eyesore. We can't help that we are white. Although I acknowledge that we are relatively new to our neighborhood and understand that our neighbors who have lived here for many years deserve respect and some degree of deference, I also believe that my family should not be identified as interlopers simply because our skin is a bit lighter than our neighbors.

Anonymous said...

^ THIS. I feel exactly the same. Three houses on my block have recently been sold and I can tell you I just hope someone respectful who will care about the community moves in. I could care less what they look like as long as they are good neighbors and won't throw loud parties literally outside my window on a weeknight or deal drugs out of their house...