Economic identity

A comment I got here annoyed me, in the same way that being called white annoys me. I’m an African American, but a pale one, so the attack on my identity, as I see it, irks me. Same thing with the discussions of gentrification and neighborhood change, there is a string of thought that fails to see a neighborhood’s residents in terms of grades of economic diversity. Instead it is the rich, that being anyone not in subsidized housing or elderly on a fixed income, and poor, and very little in between.
Sometime back I got an inquiry from a journalism student, who asked about neighbors couching it it terms of poor neighbors vs rich ones. The more I learn about my neighbors the more I know what I don’t know about them. I can guess whose house is a Section 8, whose retired and on a fixed income, but knowing if someone is on food stamps or other forms of state assistance, I don’t know and really it isn’t any of my business. Same thing for other neighbors who have jobs and careers, So-in-So works for the government, Theotherguy works as IT, She is a freelance graphics artist, Blahblah is an Asst. Director at a non-profit, and Whatshername does something (I’m not sure what) at Pepco. Are these people rich? Wealthy? Not likely. But they are more apt to be ‘wealthier’ or ‘richer’ than neighbors who are unskilled workers or persons starting out in their careers or others for whom employment is problematic. Anywhere else in America So-in-So, Theotherguy and the rest are just middle class people living on a cul-de-sac, here, we become fabulously wealthy.
The money to buy our homes comes from savings, sometimes family members, recently deceased grandparents, and raiding the old 401K for the deposit. The renovation money from 2nd mortgages, building loans, family, savings and once again raiding that 401K. We turn to same resources the rest of middle class America does. Because we’re next door or down the street from people whose economic state is more dire or more obviously distressed, the side by side comparison makes it look like two extremes. Rich and poor.