My condescending friends

Within an article on that dead horse of a subject… church parking, Washington Times reporter Tom Knott wrote:

And one other thing: Although it is fashionable in some circles to speak condescendingly of those who gentrify a neighborhood, the alternative is not exactly all that romantic. High-crime areas are not really cool places to live. Bars on the windows of homes and storefronts are not attractive features.

I get it from some coworkers, associates and several drive by commenters on this blog the condescending attitude about living here in Shaw. I know I do bring a little of it on myself with the subtitle “now with more gentrification”. However, we all have our own reasons for being here and I don’t think it was because we love living with bars on the window and displacing poor folks. The condescension does not make me feel guilty or less than. The headaches that come with this place, and enduring the inconveniences, do away with that and make me feel that I’ve earned my right to be here. That and the mortgage.

10 thoughts on “My condescending friends”

  1. Ms. Mari,

    You have a right to live here or *anywhere*. It isn’t something you need to “earn”.

    That kind of thinking is what holds the neighborhood back. It perpetuates the “us” (oldtimers) vs. “them” (newcomers) line of thinking.

    The fact is, more poor people need to move away if the neighborhood is to cease being characterized by poverty. Not exactly a subtle point, but a true one nonetheless.

    –Still thinking of moving away

  2. STOMA,
    I’m not sure about the statement that more poor people need to move away. Retirees tend to fall under the “poor” heading and retirees play a vital role in the life of neighborhoods. Also ‘poor’ can be a temporary state.
    A lot has happened since the 2000 census, but we still will be characterized by it’s data. Regardless I don’t think this is a poor neighborhood. Transitional, yes. Mixed, yes. Personally, and in the lives of some others (no one really likes to talk personal money issues) our financial situation is better than it was 6 years ago. I was “low income” I’m now average. Someone else has moved from poor to working. The people remain, the poverty moves on.

  3. The retail options in the immediate area accurately reflect financial aspect of our neighborhood’s primary demographic.

    Bullet-resistant fast food joints and liqour stores. That’s it. Well, gas stations too, but they are bullet resistant as well. I don’t want a starbucks, but if you haven’t noticed; Big Bear isn’t making any progress.


  4. The point was about what is actually, physically located in the neighborhood in terms of retail options. It wasn’t about what is hypothetically accurate about a bank in Chevy Chase; it is about what really exists in this area. By bringing it up, you come across as unfocused and argumentative. Stick to the facts about this neighborhood.

    I used to live in NYC; 10 years, in fact. Can I still vote for mayor there? Next time I’m up there, I’m going to double park outside my old building. It is my right. I *LIVED* there.


  5. sorry nick I have a low/schizo tolerance for profanity. See the comments policy. Try again and make it PG.

  6. Here’s what puzzles me about the retail options in our part of town. Petworth. Petworth has the same demographic profile but at least one cool restaurant (Domku) and one good bar. It has the same crime problems; the same mix of low-income, working class retirees and families, and upper income gentrifiers. So why is eastern Shaw, Ledroit, Bloomingdale different? It can’t just be demographics.

    Maybe its just luck. Maybe it is that our area is too close to the U corridor. Petworth is rather isolated and so has a captive market that can’t simply go to better developed entertainment hub within walking, short cab distance etc. Maybe it has something to do with the demographics of gentriciation in our area (older gentrifiers?)

  7. ^Somebody claim the above comment. I hate to see something happen to it. And the quickie comment policy, once again…. no anon comments, & no cussing or spitting.

  8. I have lived in my house in this neighborhood, which I refuse to call Shaw — a name for a failed 1960s redevelopment scheme that would have torn down all of the houses in the neighborhood and replaced them with vertical slums — and still get called a “newcomer” at neighborhood meetings by the old school ghettofiers. I have evolved from an urban pioneer, renovator, restorer, newcomer, and now gentrifier. When the ghettofiers go on their rants, I politely inform them that Congress never passed an apartheid law in DC creating black homelands. This is our Nation’s capital and it should be a priviledge, not some race-endowment, to live in the heart of this city. The ghettofiers tried to burn down this city in 1968 and have kept it a ghetto so what gives them the right to keep it that way. Enterprising, hard-working people, willing to put up with all sorts of dysfunction, have faught to bring their houses, their streets, their blocks, their neighborhoods back to civilization. Be proud of what you have accomplished and don’t quake when you’re mau-mau’ed by fuzzy-minded activists and crackheads. Slumboy

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