Mental Exclusion: Discussions about "Community"

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Not the TV show.

This is very hard for me to put my finger on but it is something I've noticed at community meetings, on listserv threads and the odd flier lying on the sidewalk, it is the definition of community. Sometimes unspoken/unwritten is the hint that the 'community' that needs representation, advocacy, voice does not include people who don't fit a racial type, income level, longevity, age, or residency that does not reflect any boundary recognized by the DC government.

A few instances that come to mind was a couple of years ago regarding Bundy Field. At one BACA meeting a number of persons from the Northwest Co-op over on 5th St (not to be confused with the co-op btwn Q and R actually in the Bates Area) came to speak out against the idea of a dog park at Bundy Field. As one speaker began talking about 'community' it seemed clear her definition excluded me, as I lived on the other side of New Jersey (never mind that they came over to our community meeting) and didn't have children. Her speech also hinted that she was excluding the homeowners and childless dog owners on her own street as well.

I see it in other things as well. With the talk about parking around Big Bear and the Bloomingdale Farmer's Market, where 'community' means me, and those who agree with me, and the outsider is defined as those who disagree and so their residency questioned and proximity dismissed.

I'm tagging this as "gentrification" because I think it is a product of the neighborhood being heterogeneous, of it still being transitional with changing demographics.

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