Integration & Gentrification

Posted late because I’ve been trying to tone it down.

Courtland Milloy of the Washington Post has an article in today’s paper about the price of races and classes not being truly integrated outside the workplace and schools. In Milloy’s article the price for white living in segregated neighborhoods is paying too much for substandard housing and the price for African Americans is the lack of economic development. In DC whites congregate in areas west of the park and blacks, the rest of the city, with the odd integrated neighborhoods in the middle. My part of Shaw is one of those odd somewhat integrated neighborhoods.

My version of events of why my little corner is integrated causes great concern on my part about my corner’s ability to remain integrated. Gentrification and the crazy housing prices are why I’m concerned. I can’t say that Blacks are being pushed out, as I have written before, people move around a lot on their own and when one set moves out they can get replaced by a different set. What I will say for Shaw is that you have some people moving out, and new people moving in as the natural ebb and flow of how people live. In addition you have vacant properties and new higher density development coming in, which may increase the numbers of one racial group over another. With higher numbers, when there used to be fewer, if any, it could give the impression that the new group, middle class whites, is pushing out the older poorer and middle class Afro-American residents and changing the complexion of the neighborhood. Whites are not pushing out Black residents, but they may overwhelmingly outnumber the Black residents who weather the gentrification.

I see new developments popping up like mushrooms around U Street, down Florida Ave and all around Shaw. My first thought is “ohmygawd traffic is going to be a nightmare.” But as I write this, I realize that those developments will be typically filled with non-Blacks. Typically. For some odd reason middle class Blacks tend to flee to PG County, so part of me doubts they will fill more than 50% of the mid-rise developments. For poor African Americans, these new developments, unless specifically made affordable, not an option.

I’m afraid Shaw will not be an integrated neighborhood in the future, should Black residents continue to move out (besides voting rights and bigger yards what does PG Co, have that we don’t have?). There should be a balance. The different races should be balanced in that we see each other on a daily basis and get to know each other on a human level. Yet enough of ourselves, no matter who we are, to be ourselves in our own homes.