Monday, October 02, 2006

Freedom to live where ever

This weekend I heard that neighbors J and L (and brand new S) are leaving for the wilds of Virginia for a new academic job. I wish them the best, but I'm kinda bummed. I'll miss them.
The more I thought about J&L moving the more I thought about the nature of professional jobs and the sometimes need to up and move somewhere when an offer presents itself. J pointed out that if the University of Florida (go gators!) offered me a job, I would be gone in a heartbeat. True. Part of being able to move away is the freedom to move to somewhere. Sometimes the somewhere is here.
Some of the gentrification tension is with us newcomers who have moved here because of professional opportunities, and there is this small group of people who act like the neighborhood should be set aside for those like them like some nature preserve. Since the late fifties there have been laws to fight segregation and red-lining and to promote diversity in American neighborhoods. I would like to think that wherever my career takes me I will have the freedom to live close to where I work, and if that means living in Shaw, so be it.


At 10/02/2006 12:54 PM, Blogger Scenic Artisan said...

that sounds a bit too American for this country!

At 10/03/2006 9:29 AM, Anonymous sidv said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10/03/2006 10:33 AM, Blogger Mari said...

Sorry sidv but the word you chose... no.
Comments of late have been getting close and sometimes over the edge of my tolerance level.

At 10/03/2006 2:22 PM, Anonymous sidv said...

"Cracker"? I hear it regularly on the streets of Shaw. Mostly from children. Sometimes from old men.

At 10/03/2006 3:29 PM, Blogger Mari said...

Wuss answer- See comment policy

Honest answer- my blog and I found it offensive. I've heard 8 year olds say ni****, mf, f*, b* and strangley, still offensive. and. sad.

At 10/04/2006 11:07 PM, Anonymous sidv said...

Do white folks have a right to use the C word? Or is it reserved exclusively for the use of black folks in a deragtory context when referring to whites walking down the street? Or does this un-PC topic belong under the rug, even though it is a fact of life for many people here?

I don't see how you can write about gentrification without addressing the broad anti-white sentiment that exists around here.

At 10/05/2006 12:19 AM, Blogger Mari said...

You can use whatever language you want to use when talking with your little friends, but this is my house/ blog and if I don't want it here, it ain't gonna be here.
On your second point, I am black and I am not going to try to talk too much about the white experience, because I'm not white. Never have been. I leave some space for my white commenters to mention their experiences. Also that's what Truxtonian is for.... when he posts.
Another thing, somewhere near the bottom of the long explaination of the comment policy that I linked to earlier, is the statement that I'm not here to stomp on anyone's freedom of speech and if this blog doesn't do it for you write your own blog. Get started at

At 10/05/2006 11:24 AM, Anonymous Scotttac said...


How do you like the Gators chances against LSU this weekend?

At 10/05/2006 11:24 AM, Anonymous sidv said...

"Little friends"? Where did that come from?

You write about gentrification and reveal to the world how guilty it makes you feel to be a non-impoverished and educated resident of Shaw. Yet you likely do not experience the full brunt of the resentment against the non-impoverished and educated because of the way you look.

You cannot have a balanced conversation or even an accurate perspective on the topic of gentrification until you recognize and acknowledge the depth and breadth of the ignorance and fear here. And yes, mere words are a part of the issue; they are a symptom of the underlying problem.

Ignoring the words doesn't make the underlying problem go away.

The title of your post is: " Freedom to live where ever". If you are implying that "freedom to live where ever" is NOT a de facto right of all people in this country (presumably because you are black and feel that you would be blocked from moving into certain neighborhoods, even if it is your right) , then you must recognize and accept the fact that that very thing happens when whites move here, or into NE areas like Trinidad.

The fact that it is happening to other people, and not you, doesn't make it any less of a problem.

And your failure to at least pay lip service to the problem in your own forum (this blog; which appeared dedicated to daily life in Shaw, yet it isn't), a forum in which you repeatedly write about the problems associated with gentrification; speaks volumes about the nature of your biases.

My suggestion is to stop feeling guilty about not being impoverished and ignorant. Or at least stop writing about it as if "gentrification" were a dirty word.

At 10/05/2006 4:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you obviously have every right to control what's on your blog mari.

as a white person who has lived in ledroit park for 5 years the racial dynamics have been extremely interesting and enlightening. the first day i owned my house when i was getting out of my car three kids shot by me on bikes and one of them said "get out of here white MF" (they of course chose not to use that abbreviation). which was not the most welcoming greeting of course. However i try to understand where these feelings come from and do what I can to work against them.

In the ensuing years I have made an extra effort to be cordial and greet every person - black, white, hispanic, asian, whatever - that i pass and have actually found, unsurprisingly, the vast majority of black residents to be extremely friendly. Shockingly so, compared to my background of living in rockville and gaithersburg apartments.

Actually, the most interesting thing I've noticed - and its very, very evident - is that white people will tend to not greet me or will not respond to my greeting.

this is the sort of mindset you get into living in apartments in the suburbs; pretending not to notice anyone. I think this is a huge, little-noted contributor to some of the tension under the surface of race relations around here. I often read things where black people express their feeling that white people ignore them and don't seem to want to be part of the community. The interesting thing is that black people are perceiving this, but on the whole white people are just acting like they were taught to do in the faceless suburbs. Its not intentional. I often wish that all the white new arrivals could get an orientation class to help them realize that they are joining a community, that the culture around here is actually very friendly and welcoming, and their apartment-living approach to ignoring their neighbors is terribly misunderstood and contributes to the tension.

anyone else notice this?


At 10/05/2006 4:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

jeez chill out sidv. she's not a journalist covering all aspects of life in shaw, she's relating her experiences and her perspective and she does a great job.


At 10/08/2006 6:04 PM, Blogger Mari said...

Oy vey.
Really. Write your own darned blog. Tell your own story.


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