Be careful of what you write on the net

Some time ago the Washington City Paper mined several years of the Columbia Heights listserv for comments and published them. It did not make the citizens, particularly the newer citizens of the gentrifying neighborhood of Columbia Heights look good, especially with old vs new tensions. Upon reading some posts on a certain Shaw discussion forum makes me cringe a bit and I thought of the City Paper piece.
I do acknowledge everyone’s right to vent. I mean isn’t this blog just me venting? Yet since I have gathered more readers than the 5 or so circle of friends who read the earlier stuff, I am a bit more careful in my venting.
What makes me cringe? Well, I will admit I am a bit classist, it is a sin I comfortably live with most of the time. However when I see something that can be summed up to say “our neighborhood is changing so poor people don’t belong here and they need to go.” I grow uncomfortable and must reassess my own classism.
In some ways I do side with those annoyed with the old timers and the poor. Some in that grouping can be the most annoying and frustrating types. On my own block alone there are a couple of folks, the screamer, DM, and the crackhead who aggravate me and other neighbors and make the block less inviting. Yet, I would never (at least I don’t think I would) bluntly say (with the exception of the crackhead) that they do not belong and need to be pushed out. The crackhead does have to go, simply because of stupid crackhead logic that makes her & her friends a danger (like leaving your crack friend 1/2 dead on sidewalk) and a nuisance. The screamer and DM just need a little behavior modification, like not screaming at your kids for hours and not falling off the wagon. Yet I’ll admit that having them move away is a whole lot easier than waiting and encouraging changes in behavior.
I guess my other fear is that comments made on public boards, or in some electronic form that can be stored and distributed, is that these comments do feed the worst arguments about gentrifiers, even if it does not reflect all who help gentrify a neighborhood. From those who are in anti-gentrification camp, these comments prove that gentrifiers want to kick the poor and the old out of their homes. No really, I don’t want to kick the seniors out, I want their drug dealing grandkids out. The trick is trying to figure out how do that without making innocent people suffer just because they are older or poorer.