Sunday, October 05, 2003

Gentrification and me issue 1

I have been collecting a bunch of websites that talk about gentrification. What I hope to do, since I know a few people besides myself look at this site is talk about what is covered. My own feelings are mixed. I am part of the gentrification process simply based on my income (now and future), education and home improvement status. However I do have some sympathy for groups threatened by the changes. As an African-American I do feel bad about the fact that I moved into a predominately black neighborhood that is becoming more of a white neighborhood.

First, my favorite I'm the Enemy a Salon article where the author aknowleges that she's part of the San Francisco gentrification problem, but in away points out the problems of some of the people organizing against gentrification. Maybe I like it because I identify with the author. Although I am not a long term resident. For a while I was poor and (I am still) Black, the same type of folks who are being pushed out of gentrifying areas. The author works in the Arts field, where artists are known for being poor and starving. I work in the library/museum field, not known for being a high paying line of work. Like the author, I figured out how to cash in on my talents (okay a lot of it luck) and save up and buy a house before prices got insane. The author is describing and anti-gentrification meeting, one of several she has attended. The question become who is the "they" , the enemy, that is spoken of in the meetings? The "they" described seem a lot like her, despite the other attendee's assurances that no, she's different. Another problem the "poor people". She describes how some minorities, as the anti-yuppie argument can get race based, have cashed in. A Salvadoran who bought when the prices were rock bottom sold for a nice profit. This is something that is hinted at, but which I thought about after reading this was the tendency of white anti-gentrifiers to turn the minority population, who are typically hurt by this, into their 'noble savages'. Nobel savages are your Tontos, your Fridays, or other moral dark skinned character who is put down by white society but is good and uncorrupted by the bad white man's ways. The author points out that given the chance, the Salvadoran in this case, lusts and chases after the same thing the big bad yuppie does and the noble savages, in this case the Salvadorians, given a chance will gladly move into the yuppie middle class. It is the white bohemians who have chosen a more imporverished lifestyle and who are seemingly trying to impose it on their non-white neighbors.

Gentrification: Gen....What?
Kim Tate is the author and teenager in this article about the changes in her neighborhood. In this her family is selling the house in a gentrifying neighborhood. She seems to be trying to make sense of what is going on around her. Her view of the changes are slightly negative. I say slightly because it lack some of the very angry rhetoric I've seen on other sites. To be any angrier might condemn her parents for even daring to sell their house. There is sadness, but also the same sort of sadness you might find from any teen reflecting on leaving their home. A good thing is at the end of the article there are resources for folks in the Atlanta metro region who are threatened by gentrification.


At 5/01/2008 1:02 PM, Blogger Adam said...

The problem to me seems to be that the Regan conservative ethics have manifested into a sort of alliance between government and big buisness. While gentrification is obviously good, the government, such as that of Atlanta, are allowing commercial developers have a field day in areas that used to be occupied by the working poor. It is very clear that both the government and the developers benfit from this relationship. I do not believe, however, that the upper class residents moving into the city are really to blame. After all, this is a free country and you should be able to buy a home. The issue is that the right of these people to buy a home, is infringing on the right of others to live in one. Honestly, I believe that we should rebuild all of the torn down housing projects, but not make them pleasent luxurious places, that cost the taxpayers more money. I think that with a welfare program that gives recipients food stamps and basic housing, and one that doent hand out checks and actually requires people to work, is what we need. Anyway, in short, the problem is that our society saw the flaws in "urban decay", so as a result is taking an overreactionary response, not adressing the issues, but simply moving them out to the boondocks. -Adam P.

At 5/05/2008 10:25 PM, Blogger Making Life Easier said...

Hi I wasn't sure where to post this but I created a blog for LeDroit Park/Bloomingdale & Shaw to talk about our issues & to search for solutions, please come
Louise Thunderclud

At 5/05/2008 10:28 PM, Blogger Making Life Easier said...

Your obervations are good ones adam, but the botto line in this country is how can we make more & more money. many of the gentrifiers who are money greedy are people of color so this is an issue of greed plain & simple. I think that from my own experience your very good & sane ideas would be shut down becase folks are not going to be profits driven this way but results driven to help others become more self-suficient.
This society is based on dependency, it makes the rich richer, gives em someone to blame when folks mug others or do desperate thing to get more of what someone else has, so then they can make more money ka ching!
So how to sell this idea


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