“innate charm,” my ass.

A letter I’ve written to Time Out NY in response to a recent article about finding apartments in NYC:

The low-income people of color and immigrants who live in “on-the-verge nabes” (“Apartments 2006,” TONY 552) are being pushed out of these “hot” neighborhoods by a wave of gentrification that TONY seems to be endorsing. The article speaks of neighborhoods like Bushwick being “widely discovered”; however, just as with the “discovery” of the Americas by white Europeans, there are already people there. Your article completely ignores the negative impact that gentrification has on these residents, focusing only on the self-interest of people who can afford the ever-rising rents. While these neighborhoods may seem affordable to some, they are rapidly becoming too expensive for their current residents, who are forced out to make room for the relatively wealthier swarms searching for a good deal.

The “innate charm” of such neighborhoods fades when contrasted with the harsh realities of life for many current residents. Bushwick has some of the highest poverty and unemployment rates in the city, as well as sub-par and landlord-neglected housing. Innate charm, indeed.

The background:

My girlfriend and I subscribe to Time Out NY; I’m not really sure why, given that we barely ever make it to any of the events that they list, nor can we afford to dine at many of the restaurants that they review. It can be good for movie reviews, though. Anyhow – this week’s issue arrived and the cover announced the Apartments 2006 feature; one of the blocks of text read something about giving the scoop on five “on-the-verge” neighborhoods where one could get great deals. Immediately, I knew this couldn’t be good. I flipped open to the article and, lo and behold, those five neighborhoods were much what I expected them to be: East Harlem, Bushwick, Sunset Park, Inwood, and Hunter’s Point. Aside from the last neighborhood (which is in Queens, and I know very little about Queens), I know that all of these areas are populated largely, if not primarily, by low-income people of color, many of whom are Latinos, many of whom are immigrants.

The language used to speak of these neighborhoods was classic, a thorough embracement of gentrification, quite reminiscent of colonialism. Here’s some gems:

About Inwood: “Another gentrification indicator: the emergence of a visible gay population.” Right. Because gentrification by (white) queers is GRRRRRREAT! I mean, they actually speak about gentrification by a “gay population” as a good thing! And, of course, there wasn’t a visible gay population there before, because visibly gay means white and gay, not Latino and gay (unless, you know, there were absolutely no queers living in Inwood before white people moved in.)

About Bushwick: “…or that sit next to hot spots, like Williamsburg’s neighbor to the east, Bushwick (this one’s been widely discovered, so move fast).” Oh yeah, discovered – kind of like america was discovered when the white Europeans arrived, right? Because you can’t fucking discover something if there’s already people there. Back then, it was the Native people who got robbed; now, it’s Latino immigrants who are getting pushed out. Different brown folks, same white folks, same mentality, similar effects.

Also about Bushwick: “By now you’ve surely heard the hype, but even a “Sunday Styles” article can’t spoil this Brooklyn area’s innate charm. Besides the giant lofts that can hold a bunch of friends (and their turntables), there’s more traditional housing stock to be had. Near the Jefferson Street stop on the L, you’ll find industrial infrastructure and family houses—a mix that adds up to a pretty cool vibe (though the area definitely still has dangerous pockets).”

Un-fucking-believable. Has the writer ever been to Bushwick, aside from dashing between one of the L stops and their hipster friends’ lofts – because who else are they talking about with those turntables? Does the writer know anything about Bushwick besides the fact that it’s “cheap” and near Williamsburg? I bet they don’t know these facts about Bushwick, lifted directly from the website of Make the Road By Walking, an awesome organization based in the neighborhood:

  • Over 40 percent of Bushwick residents live below the poverty level, and almost 40 percent rely on means-tested government benefits.
  • Median family income in Bushwick is less than half the national average while the official unemployment rate in Bushwick is over 10 percent, which is more than double the national rate.
  • The percentage of children born into poverty in Bushwick is 75.8 percent, the highest rate in Brooklyn. (as I copied and pasted this statistic I started crying)
  • the high school dropout rate in Bushwick is close to 70 percent.
  • Sixty-five percent of the community is Latino and almost half of these Latinos are legal permanent residents who cannot vote.
  • Bushwick’s housing stock comprises many old and deteriorated buildings, mainly tenements with absentee landlords or tax-foreclosed properties owned by the City. These buildings are contaminated with lead paint, and lead paint violations number 64.4 per thousand children, twice the Brooklyn average.

I lived in Bushwick for two years before moving to my current neighborhood in Brooklyn. And while living there, I agonized about the gentrification that I could see happening around me. Over those two years, I saw more and more white hipsters getting off the L train alongside me and scurrying to and from their lofts. Let me tell you, I saw far more white people within a one block radius of the subway stop than I ever did just a couple more blocks into the neighborhood, as if they were afraid to venture any deeper. And you almost never saw them in the local supermarket right across the street from the lofts, either; most often, they were toting their Whole Foods bags from Manhattan. The more of them I saw getting off at Dekalb over time, the madder I got.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I don’t absolve myself, either. Sure, I’m Latina, as was my roommate at the time. But we were both also college-educated U.S. citizens with white-collar jobs, and no matter what our race or class backgrounds or how little extra money we had, those things made us decidedly more privileged than many of the people in the neighborhood. Our privilege was ultimately most evident in our move out of the neighborhood, both of us to more expensive apartments in “nicer” (read: less poor, lower crime rates, prettier) areas. That’s an option that most of our neighbors didn’t have. Despite the obstacles we face because of our race, our genders, our sexualities, we were both upwardly-mobile in a way that most of our neighbors were not. We left Bushwick for greener pastures; if these folks move out of Bushwick, many of them will have been forced out by rising rents, and many of their destinations will not be any greener.

My roommate and I spent a whole lot of time seething over the very visible evidence of gentrification in our neighborhood. When it’s white folks moving into a primarily POC neighborhood, it can look and feel very much like an invasion, all these white faces popping up where you used to only see brown ones. But we also spent possibly an equal amount of time thinking and talking about our own participation in the gentrification of Bushwick, and how to be more accountable for that culpability. I was as guilty of shopping at Whole Foods as those white hipsters, but I also knew that supporting local businesses was important and tried to shop in the local supermarkets as much as possible. When my white girlfriend moved in with me for a while, I felt intense guilt and inner conflict about basically bringing yet another white person into the neighborhood.

And you know what pissed me off the most? My roommate and I, neither of us being white, neither of us being rich, thought about this shit all the time, and did what little we could about it. But how many of those young white hipsters we saw moving in spent a fucking second worrying about what negative impact they might be having on the community? Did they even have a moment’s hesitation before signing those leases on those “amazingly cheap” lofts they were moving into? Did they try to find out more about their darker-skinned, poorer neighbors, about what they were facing in the neighborhood, about what they could do to somehow help and somehow try to lessen the impact of their own presence? Probably not. That was the kicker. But that’s always the case, isn’t it – people who have less privilege, who experience more oppression on a first-hand basis, are always going to think more, care more, and do more about the oppression of others than folks who don’t experience very much oppression at all.

I know that there are no easy answers here. I know that gentrification seems to sweep across the city like an unstoppable wave. I know that rents in NYC are fucking insane, and that many of those young white folks I saw moving into Bushwick probably don’t have a whole bunch of extra money to spend on rent. But it’s this attitude of entitlement, of selfishness, of ignorance and blindness to what’s happening to people around you, of making up excuses to save a little money – that’s what really pisses me off. I know it can be hard to find affordable housing in NYC. But can you at least try to move somewhere where you won’t be pushing people of color and poor folks out, instead of jumping at the next hot deal? And if you absolutely have to move there, can you at least try to do something to lessen the blow or to work for the people living in the neighborhood? At the very least, can you acknoweldge that you and your ilk are probably screwing a whole lot of people over? Is that too much to ask?

34 Responses to ““innate charm,” my ass.”

  1. 1 Mamita Mala

    Ay thank you for writing this letter. I stopped subscribing to TONY because I couldn’t afford the events and well their over the top hipster gentrified vibe pissed me the fuck off and I went “why am I paying to get stressed”. Pero more importantly is the fact that most people don’t think about the communities, families and businesses they are displacing. I mean I remember back in the day when I used to go sleep over at friend’s house’s in Williamsburg and now that place is barely recognizable with all the hip restuarants and “thrift” shops .

  2. 2 nubian

    and it’s not just in ny (obviously)
    when i lived in san francisco, the gentrified hipster area was the mission district. originally home to poor and low-income people of color(latino’s mostly), they are being pushed out by young vintage wearing pink haired hipsters who walk around with this sense of entitlement and privilege–like they own the place. so all of the people being pushed out are moving out of san francisco proper and into south san francisco–which means further away from their jobs, relatives, friends, childrens schools…etc

    the most fucked up part of it is though that the white hipsters pay no attention to the latino residents, and most of them are happy that they are being forced out–or theydo pay attention to them, it’s for the novely of it all –like, “lets go get a burrito and listen to mariachi music” or something like that.

    it’s really, really sad. it’s also going down in chicago–all young hipsters too. i mean, who is paying their rents?

  3. 3 Jack

    Yeah, I think I’ll soon be joining you as an ex-TONY subscriber for the same reasons.

    I avoid Williamsburg like the plague. My mom grew up there after coming over from PR, she wouldn’t even recognize it now. I wonder what she’d think of it.

  4. 4 Jack

    Yeah, I hate that shit – how hipsters will move into a neighborhood and either completely ignore or exoticize and tokenize the current residents. Like, “oh, isn’t it cool that we live in such an international ‘hood? I love the locals!” Replace “locals” with “natives” and it’s total tourist mentality, except in this case, the tourists aren’t just enjoying the fruits of a land and its people without recognizing their plight; they’re moving in, taking over, and pushing the people out, too.

  5. 5 Rachel

    What, if anything, does lessen the blow, beyond shopping at the corner market? (Not a rhetorical question.) School starts in the fall, and I need to move somewhere affordable where it won’t matter that I don’t own a car. It has occurred to me that finding a place that meets these criteria means I’m about to participate in “gentrifying” a neighborhood, and that that’s a problem.

  6. 6 amanda

    My favorite was the white couple that stopped me (white) while I was trying to kill an ailanthus tree in front of my apartment in Bed Stuy. (I killed it. Without chemicals. If you’ve ever tried, you’ll congratulate me. My landlord was most grateful.)
    Couple: “Hi, do you live around here?”
    Me: “Um, no. I just clobber trees for kicks. Yes I live here. Why?”
    Couple: “We were just wondering what it is like around here.”
    Me: “I haven’t really lived here long. You should talk to Mr Spruell over there, he’s live in the neighborhood a lot longer than me.”
    Couple: “Well, like, do you feel safe here?”
    Me: “Define safe? It has been months since the cops shot anyone nearby.”
    Couple: “Yeah, but do you feel safe here?”
    Me: “Um, I’m white. So the cops don’t really bother me. My apartment isn’t rent stabilized, but I don’t feel super vulnerable because I get along with my landlord.”
    Couple: “That isn’t really what we meant.”
    Me: “I know. Fuck off. The cops and the dealers have a deal. The cops come on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but not on Mondays or Wednesdays. So depending on who scares you more, you can pick when you walk down Franklin.”

    That was pretty much the end of the conversation. Some other yuppie couple bought the condo they’d been looking at. One of them may or may not have been the woman I saw a few weeks ago pushing a stroller, wearing dansko clogs (I have some) and new jeans with a t-shirt that said “Die Yuppie Scum.”

    I’m rambling a little, but I want to point out that home ownership and rent regulation are a really important pieces of the gentrification puzzle. When my landlord in Greenpoint went ballistic, trying to get the whole building out by hook or by crook, it was really fucking hard to find a Spanish speaking tenants rights attorney. My upstairs neighbors, who had a lot more to lose between the three generations in their apartment and the fact that their rent stabilized rent was not something they were going to be able to match anywhere in New York City.

    Ultimately they prevailed and stayed. After my apartment was ransacked (nothing stolen), I broke down and moved, because I could afford to. I don’t think that any of my neighbors would have been able to hang on to their apartments if there hadn’t been two savvy, English speaking activists on the block who could do the legwork to find someone to take up their case and get the landlord to back off. DHCP is supposed to be a resource for tenants, but they aren’t. There is a lot more that privileged folks can do to offset the impact of their residence in a once-low-rent neighborhood, starting with supporting the community organizations that make it possible for people to stay in their rent-regulated apartments.

  7. 7 Tenda

    There’ll be blood in the streets soon enough. That NYU student getting killed uptown was just the beginning. More will come. Stay tuned.

  8. 8 Tenda

    You seem guilty as the very people you deride, Amanda.

  9. 9 Jack

    This conversation continued via email. I asked Tenda if I could post the conversation here and she agreed. Any comments that begin “From Email:” are from that conversation and have been reposted here in their entirety by me.


    I’m a little hesitant to approve this comment. While I’m not exactly a pacifist, I also don’t endorse that kind of individual, random violence. Aside from that, I don’t even think that the death of that NYU student was some sort of response to gentrification; in fact, it seems like his death from running into the street and being hit by a car was accidental.

    I’d be interested in hearing what you’re getting at here, before I approve your comment, if you don’t mind.

    Also, in this day and age, I don’t know if I’d go making what can be construed as threats of violence (even vague) connected to your actual IP address and email address. You really never know who’s monitoring these things.

  10. 10 Tenda


    I’m not advocating violence. I just don’t think it’s a bad thing when it happens. Perhaps because you yourself are responsible for gentrification you haven’t actually come in contact with any real, colored, New Yorkers who are feeling the brunt of gentrification – there’s much more violent antipathy brewing than just me, an enraged Columbia student. I don’t know where you grew up, but having your neighborhood raped by wealthy (middle class to me is wealthy) ex-suburbanite whites is worse than any violence. It’s imperialism, racism, classicism – by the same people that champion ‘liberal’ anti-Bush regime ideals. Yes I’m at this IP, so congratulations on your sleuthing skills, and I couldn’t give a fuck less what anyone thinks. I’ve been going insane recently. I’m 20 years old and have been watching my city deteriorate for the last five years or so, and I broke down and cried yesterday. This city is all I have. And if I can’t afford to live in the place where I grew up I’d rather be dead, or I’d rather have other people dead.

  11. 11 Tenda


    Correction on my response: I assumed at first, having arrived on your blog via google, that you were white, but looking over it again I realized that you are not.

  12. 12 Jack

    I know that I’ve contributed to gentrification – I don’t try to escape that responsibility. I just saw your email about thinking I was white, but even as a Latina, I believe that I can contribute to gentrification because of my class and education background. And I’m not from NYC and do not feel the brunt of gentrification, but that also doesn’t mean that I haven’t “come into contact” with other folks of color, born and raised in NYC, who are experiencing it and who are impacted in a way that I’ll never be. I grew up in Jersey and I’ll never experience gentrification in the way you’re talking about experiencing it, and I won’t front like I do.

    I didn’t do any sleuthing – your IP address came up automatically when I looked at the comment in the blog. And I wasn’t trying to tell you that you should care about what anyone thinks. I guess I said that stuff about connecting those kinds of comments to your real email and IP address because it’s fucking scary, the way people are being surveilled by this regime. Maybe I’m paranoid but I would be careful about anything that anyone might decide is a threat of violence, especially against rich white people, since that’s the people the government cares about most.

    On the other hand, I am in no position to tell you how to express your anger or to tone it down, nor would I ever want to tell anyone who’s living through what you’re describing to do so. So I’m sorry if I came across as doing that.

    I want to go ahead and approve your comment, if that’s still cool with you. I just wanted some clarification first. And actually, I think what you wrote here really explains your comment a lot; maybe we can somehow move this conversation back into the comments on that post, and you can post this stuff up there? Only if you want to, of course, but I think this is important stuff and would be good for other folks to read.

  13. 13 Tenda

    I wouldn’t mind. I’m sorry if I came off as too militant and callous. It was just a little misunderstanding on my behalf, and the fault is all mine. I’m just too confused right now. I go to a school that is largely filled with young well bred whites who view this city as a stage to fulfill their dreams of becoming like Sex and the City stars/starlets, or becoming in some way or the other, ‘hood,’ and making a complete farce out of ethnic communities, placing them on some sort of display, as if the cute minorities are for a sideshow, for some perverse entertainment, to give these young Virginia raised whites tasty food to hide the fact (maybe their guilt?) that they grew up in lily-white suburbs. These, of course, are all generalizations. But I cannot feel anything but anger towards this newfound, overwhelming desire among people my age from outside NYC, to become part of something that represents something that the outsiders have no right to have a claim to – namely, intricate self-sufficient (i.e., ethnic restaurants weren’t established to charge 12 dollars a plate to a Maryland suburbanite so he can be ‘cool’ like the characters in Spike Lee movies) communities established over decades as a result of everything from uneasiness with others of different backgrounds to a desire to recreate the motherland, whatever that may be, on a small scale to combat mass homesickness among immigrants. And this influx of gentrifiers suddenly forces members of this community to pay ridiculous rents to reside in a place – perhaps the ONLY place – in
    this entire strange country that is the United States, that feels like home to them. Suddenly restaurants cannot keep selling cheap ethnic food to the community members, as they have to deal with rising rents. This to me is like imperialists arriving in a weak country, and taxing the ‘natives.’ How this is all a result of simple marketing of the coolness of urbanism, how suddenly the suburbs are out, but the urbs are in, bewilders me. How entire cultures can be subjugated because certain ‘nabes’ are hot is sickening to the stomach. The rich keep getting richer and the poor
    keep getting poorer – and in this case I feel that class and race are inseperable. And call me a racist, but I believe that your Latina status in fact is much much much less of a gentrifying factor than the presence or whites; as an educated minority, you are providing an incentive to others to better themselves, so as to be able to afford, and maintain their neighborhood; but some say that the presence of middle class whites will better a neighborhood: this is untrue, I feel, as the truth is, where there are whites, other whites will feel comfortable to come (to overcome their fear of the colored man), and thus prices will inevitable rise, as everything is geared towards the whites in this society.

    This is my rambling, feel free to post it. Again I apologize for my previous rashness. Note also that I speak as one of
    mixed-ethnicity, part Puerto Rican, part Chinese, and part Italian. I do not generalize ALL whites, however, in my previous statement, as Italian neighborhoods have also experiences gentrification as well.

  14. 14 Jack

    No need for apologies for coming off as “too militant” – I think that your anger is perfectly warranted.

    I really appreciate your points about gentrification destroying communities of people of color (often immigrants) who have struggled to create neighborhoods where they can actually feel at home. That’s an important way to look at it. For me, there’s something really amazing about being able to walk into a Puerto Rican neighborhood and have the sights, sounds, and smells all remind me so much of my family, my culture, my youth. Even though I didn’t grow up in such a neighborhood, it makes me feel at home. It’s terrible to see neighborhoods like that being whitewashed, my culture (and the cultures of other people of color who have created similar communities around the city) being pushed out. Or, at best, the ethnic culture of a neighborhood is kept around in a tokenized, exoticized way like you describe, for the benefit of the white people who are moving in.

    I definitely wouldn’t call you a racist for thinking that my impact on gentrification as a Latina person/person of color is far less damaging than that of a white person. I agree. I just try to understand and take responsibility for the role I do play in gentrification, even if it is a smaller role than others’. I think about how my white-collar job, my higher wages, my college degree make me more desirable to certain landlords and more able to move into certain apartments than other people of color, even though we may share the same race or ethnicity.

  15. 15 Jack

    I’m afraid that I don’t really have the answer to that question about what, if anything, lessens the blow. Sometimes it seems like the only way to truly, substantially lessen one’s participation in gentrification is to just not move into neighborhoods that are at risk of gentrification. Barring that, all one can do is try to make their negative impact as small as possible. Supporting local, community-owned businesses that cater largely to the existing population is definitely one thing to do. Supporting community organizations in the neighorhood, especially economic and racial justice organizations and other groups working to combat the effects of gentrification, is probably an even better way to help (see Amanda’s observations below.)

    I think that, living in NYC, you can live almost anywhere in the city and not have to worry about not having a car. Few people that I know do a lot of driving within the city itself. So I’d encourage you to figure out ways to move into the kinds of neighborhoods that aren’t at risk of becoming gentrified – like neighrborhoods that are already mixed-race and mixed-income and look likely to stay that way, or neighborhoods that have already been gentrified but that you can still manage to afford.

  16. 16 Jack

    Indeed, preserving tenants’ rights and educating people about what their rights are as tenants is crucial work. And I definitely agree about people with class and/or race privilege needing to support community organizations that work against gentrification.

  17. 17 Jack

    I think I agree and disagree with you at once there, Tenda. I disagree in that I think there’s a lot of people who are completely ignorant, either “innocently” or wilfully, of their privilege and their role in gentrification. There are also lots of folks who don’t even attempt to lessen their complicity with gentrification. I think that it’s important for people who are participating in gentrification to recognize what they’re doing and to work against it, for whatever it’s worth.

    Problem is, how much are recognition and attempts to lessen the blow really going to do? In the end, it seems like it’s not going to do much. So that’s where I agree with you. No matter how much someone recognizes their role in gentrification and tries to do something about it, they’re still going to be another white face in a community of color, helping to boost the rents and pave the way for other white folks who will feel “safer” because of their presence.

  18. 18 jill

    out of curoisity, what neighborhoods in NYC would you consider to be “already mixed-race and mixed-income and likely to stay that way”?

    (I found my way here after appreciating your comments on that brooklyn_usa post, and I am interested in the points that are being discussed about lessening the blow.)

  19. 19 jackadandy

    Thanks, Jack, for continuing this conversation so constructively. I’m over 50 so I’ve witnessed waves of gentrification in various places through the years, but right now there is a crescendo that is completely predictable as a result of that ol’ human population growth coupled with Capitalism Uber Alles. More people, fewer places, higher prices.

    I live in a rural desert area in the west that originally was the lands of the Chemhuevi and Cahuilla tribes, before the U.S. government took it from them and gave it to homesteading (mostly white) people. When I moved here it was the equivalent of a mostly deserted rural “slum.” I dug that because it scared off other humans and left me, a few human neighbors, and many nonhuman neighbors in peace. Now, 15 years later, the hipsters from New York and L.A. have “discovered” the area in the latest turn of the colonial wheel, and home prices are quintupling rapidly as long-abandoned cabins are “reclaimed”. Following on their heels will be subdivisions and stupid development; it’s just a matter of time.

    I’ve watched this whole thing come down too many times in too many places to feel special about it, or that the gentrifiers are unique or uniquely evil. This is not cynicism, it’s the sadness that comes at the exhaustion of anger. Because here, those who are going to lose out most aren’t even human; they’re wild creatures, and wildness itself. To my way of measuring, these animals and elements are as valuable to Life as my human neighbors. And they get gentrified out of existence as surely as any of the rest of us.

    All of that said, advocating for your neighborhood and for your neighbors with less access/power/voice is what I do and what we can all do, wherever we happen to fall in the line-up of gentrification responsibility. That, and fighting for somehow a sane end to the insanity of unchecked capitalism. If you’ll pardon me a little sermonizing of the aging activist, the thing that will NOT help in either the short run or the long run is demonizing anyone. Fight them, yes; demonize them, no.

    An old activist’s two cents. For what it’s worth.

  20. 20 Tenda

    I hate to say it, but even being a quarter white, I can say that white people cause so many friggin’ problems. But I keep my chin up through this whole situation. Communities such as the ones that are getting destroyed all over Brooklyn were founded by poor immigrants looking to reestablish some sense of home, and where there are white people, these poor immigrants will not be. They will just establish new communities untainted by rich white people. If they could make them the beautiful places they were in the slums of Brooklyn, they can surely do it anywhere, even if it’s in some abandoned suburb. I’m starting to think that rich white “liberals” have some sort of fascination with poverty and minorities, like it’s their duty to partake in, pity, or claim for themselves. I call it a 21st Century version of the White Man’s Burden. My friend from Virginia, you’re not originally from Brooklyn. You’re not fooling anyone. Any surprise that you went into a neighborhood looking for some tasty minority food but instead the neighborhood looks like the downtown of some Ohio town, with poor minorities serving rich white kids 12 dollar plates of food? Congratulations, you ruined Brooklyn. Brooklyn no longer represents anything; it used to represent being poor, an immigrant, hard working, working class, tough, marginalized. What does it mean to be from Brooklyn? Nothing, anymore. Now it means that you’re some rich white kid looking to hide from his suburban past upbringing. Never in my 20 years of life would I have thought, living in my corner of NYC, that Brooklyn would ever become un-cool. But, alas, it has. Congratulations, my friends! Perhaps you will soon venture into Newark and Camden, looking for that awesome ‘hood’ aspect. Your parents have their homes in the suburbs, you have you homes in these sweet ‘urbs!’ But oh my, where oh where have the colored people gone? You champion diversity, but you destroy their communities, push them to God knows where. Go fuck yourselves, gentrifiers.

  21. 21 amanda

    Of course I am Tenda. I can’t not be.

    But I’m not guilty of moving into a neighborhood blind to the impact my presence there has and without giving some real thought to what I can do to mitigate that impact. And no, I don’t somehow imagine that sitting on my stoop heckling white folks is going to save the community here.

    It goes a lot deeper than tenants rights, Bed Stuy in particular, as an historically black neighborhood, was deeply impacted by redlining that for decades made it impossible for black homeowners to sell their homes or get mortgages. Today, outrageous predatory lending is rampant, resulting in vast numbers of low income homeowners losing their homes to crooks.

    The issue isn’t white kids moving into a neighborhood, so much as low-income communities left vulnerable to real estate speculation that is encouraged by the city. People who have been in a neighborhood for 20 years, who have roots in a community, they should own their homes. The fact that they don’t is a problem, and that is what leaves them vulnerable.

    Am I part of the problem? Yes. Am I the problem? No. Should I go back to the ‘burbs? Sorry, but I was raised in a city that I couldn’t possibly afford to live in today unless I took my gentrification wand with me. There are no ‘burbs for me to go back to.

  22. 22 Jack Alouet

    If you had a million dollars, Tenda, where the hell would you live?

  23. 23 Nik

    Say what you want about hipsters, but at least they won’t mug/rape/kill you for the five dollars in your wallet.

    Also…NOT ONLY WHITE PEOPLE ARE RACIST. The term ‘racist’ applies to ANYONE who judges another human being solely on their race. Stop trying to act like that term can never apply to you. We’re not in elementary school. If you judge someone by their race alone, you’re a racist. That’s it. Simple. No little exceptions or excuses.

  24. 24 andrea

    I am black married to a white man with very light skin children who can pass for white so if i lived uptown and my kids were walking around who are black but look white do they have a right to be chased and killed? That story has nothing to do with gentrification that has to do with some knuckleheads who’s parents raised them wrong….

  25. 25 Jack

    I just want to point out that I agree with you here, as I wrote above – that incident was not about gentrification; and, of course, no one deserves to be chased and killed like that.

  26. 26 Anita

    I’ve been moving to NY for a couple of weeks and what I can tell you it’s really hard to find a decent place to live in NY especially when you are short of money.

  27. 27 Jeremy

    In other words — white poeple, stay the fuck out of our neighborhoods, you make us sick. Once it goes black (or brown), it should NEVER go back even an inch. The logic behind this is nonexistant, unless you’re just an anti-white racist. White people of various ethnicities once lived in nearly every single black or Latino neighborhood — what makes non-whites the end of history? Looking at people as collectives based on the color of their skin (or even the amount of dough in their wallets) is what Hitler did — and we see the results of that.

    I see black and Latino people in my neighborhood in Manhattan all the time — I don’t ever hear about them being called “nigger” or being beat up or shot or robbed for being in the “wrong” neighborhood.

    My partner is Puerto Rican, and DARK, and makes a lot of money. Would his presence in, say, Bushwick create anger? What happens when a Bushwick local starts making some good money — should he move out, sacrifice himself so that the rent doesn’t ever go up on his neighbors?

    Really, I have yet to see solid logic behind this mean bitch’s rantings about “gentrification.” I understand she doesn’t want her hood changed — but then neither did Archie Bunker.

  28. 28 LM

    I came here looking for information about Inwood, and I found a racist blog. What a shame.

  29. 29 White Puerto Rican

    yes…let us blame the world for all the problems; the people who live “on-the-verge nabes”!!! what a easy cop-out. since you injected race to the topic, “angrybrownbutch”, FYI: 80% of the population in Puerto Rico is white!!!

    also, 80% of Puerto Ricans are against your racist rants…just like myself!!! Your issue is not about “Hipsters or Gentrification”, it’s more of you not being happy with yourself; not being a “White Puerto Rican”…but being a brown butch!

    and think about it…after 60 yrs; your so-called low-income people of color are still trapped in all types of social ills (e.g., drugs, dropping out of school, gangs, crime against each other, girls as young as 12/13/14/15/16 yrs old already having kids.) it just speaks volumes!!!

    you also state about the “White Europeans” having a negative impact on the natives who were already in the “Americas”. well FYI…those so-called “White Europeans” were almost 99% “White Spaniards” sailing under the flag of the King & Queen of Spain!!!

    that’s another problem w/you & your kind; you don’t study & never learn about history. Your history comes from street corner hang-outs, low-income high rise projects & drop out hearsay thugs. also if you ever go to Puerto Rico on vacation; & you happen to notice the Island full of so-called “White People”, don’t be alarmed…they probably are “White Puerto Ricans”.

    yes, hard to believe…but remember; in 1492; thousands of “White Spaniards” stayed in Puerto Rico. that alone speaks volumes!!!

    So if you have any issues with “Gentrification” of certain Nebes…freely blame your “White Spanish People of color first…as my Puerto Rican self!!!

  30. 30 Jack

    So, White Puerto Rican, where’d you get those statistics? From verified objective studies, I’m sure. Can you let me know where that study was done that figured out that 80% of Puerto Ricans are against my rants? Thanks!

    But seriously, carajo, what a load of self-hating bullshit. Maybe you do “look white,” maybe you do have predominantly Spanish or other European blood in your heritage, but I’d be willing to be that there’s a lot more African and Taino blood up in that mix, too. You’re just exemplifying the sad internalized racism that tends to plague Puerto Rican and other Latino cultures.
    Oh, and by the way, you’re making some idiotic assumptions about where I learned my history from. I’ve learned it primarily from my family, histories of the island, histories of Puerto Rican independence movements and activism here in the States, and other such sources, including a college course on Puerto Rican and Cuban history. So not only were your assumptions fucked up and classist, they were also completely incorrect. And I’ve been to Puerto Rico and it most certainly wasn’t full of white folks; it was predominantly full of folks who look like me and my family – brown as brown can be.

    In summation, you want to tout some “white Puerto Rican” label or whatever, but your shame and disdain for the full picture of Puerto Rican identity is disgusting and, in truth, labels you as a pendéjo sinvergüenza more than anything else.

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