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.
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.