Strive for the harder story to tell

Well I’ll probably clean this post up and put in some links about the recent Post articles about H Street and Navy Yard, as well as the tried & true “Shaw is gentrifying/changing” themed articles. Once again the old themes and the stock characters in their typecasted roles. White newcomers are wealthy arrogant jerks who disrespect the downtrodden struggling black old timers, is the easy tale to tell.
I will admit I do see glimpses of the hard stories in the Post. Where there are issues of class, country of origin, education, gender, theology, sexual orientation and age play more a part of story than that great DC standby, race. Maybe to an editor they are less interesting.
The easy story starts with a peaceful middle class African American neighborhood. Ignore the Jews, the Irish, the Germans and those few Italians that everyone tells me were all over the neighborhood (but haven’t seen too much documentation on). Maybe a few hard questions center around the riots, who left and never came back, who stuck it out, who filled in the vacuum, and what did the city government do and where did the govt. fail & succeed?
Then I can ask what are the alternatives? Neighborhoods where the commercial sector has basically flat lined and you can barely even get businesses to even look at the area? Places where your dining options consists of KFC, Micky D’s, Popeyes or some other carry out? Residential sections where there are few buyers and renters have no interest in becoming homeowners?
Here’s the story I know about Shaw: Its been changing for over 100 years. People of different races, countries of origin and financial circumstances move in, and those people moved out and they got replaced by more people. Gentrification has been happening at least since the 80s in fits and starts (do a Proquest search, Washington Post 12/31/79-Present, search “Shaw” [or logan/ bates/ blagden] & “gentrification”). Business growth has been slow, for a variety of reasons, but it has been moving forward. So we tend to get excited when something new pops up. Long after the pages of these stories turn yellow and get stuck in the Post’s pay-to-see archives, people will move in and people will move out and the neighborhood will continue to change.