postmodern hipster colonists suck.

I’ve found myself thinking, talking, and writing a whole lot about gentrification lately. It’s something I’ve thought a great deal about for a long time, but ever since I wrote that letter to Time Out NY, it’s been coming up more than usual. There’s a lot of good conversation going on in the comments of the thread where I originally posted that letter. I encourage folks to check out the discussion.


Yesterday my girlfriend gave me a heads up about an awful post on the Brooklyn USA Livejournal community, which seems chock full of people who are blissfully ignorant of or indifferent to gentrification. This post was entitled “The Gentrification of Pimptropolis,” and was an invitation to what the poster claimed would be the “banginest” party ever to be held in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The poster also declared that, since moving into Bed-Stuy, he was on a mission to gentrify it, and to have “bangin” parties while doing it.

Of course, my head nearly exploded when I read this. So me and a bunch of my friends decided that we’d all post comments to the effect of “gentrification is not a joke. And you suck.” A little comment war ensued, with plenty of people telling us to “take a chill pill” because it was “just a joke” and we shouldn’t be getting all political about it, and that gentrification was actually a good thing because it “renews and rebuilds” neighborhoods. Yeah. Uh huh.

I’d link to the whole mess, but as of this morning, the original poster had deleted the post. He’d never actually responded to any of the comments, so I have no idea what he thought of what all of us were saying. Hopefully it made him rethink making a big, fucked-up joke about something as serious and harfmul as gentrification? One can hope.


In the issue of Time Out that came out after the one in which my letter was printed, there was another letter responding similarly to the Apartments 2006 coverage. The letter was written by Cynthia Kern, a real-estate broker who I know vaguely from some theater stuff that I did a couple of years back. She made many good points that were interesting to hear coming from her, since real-estate agents are often quite complicit with and invested in gentrification. From her letter:

In the inset about Sunset Park, [the author of the article] says that folks should check out the neighborhood because “the real-estate maxim of ‘follow the gay people’ applies dramatically to the evolving Sunset Park.” Follow the gay people? You mean, follow the white lesbians, who make less money on average than straight white folks and gay white men, and who will often move to poorer neighborhoods because that’s where we can afford to live. Many real-estate brokers then use the existence of white faces on a block to indicate that the neighborhood is “safe” and has “changed.” And the historical and cultural integrity of that neighborhood is eventually destroyed as those who’ve lived there for years can’t afford the rents or mortgages anymore because the area has become a “hot deal.”

The next week’s issue featured the first letter written as a rebuttal to mine and Kern’s. Now, I personally have a hard time letting other people have the last word, but since I’m certainly not going to write another letter to TONY, I’ll just respond here.

Paul Brady from Manhattan writes:

I moved to east Harlem a year ago to improve my Spanish, eat some of the city’s most authentic Mexican food and, yes, to find an apartment that I could afford on my modest salary. Does that make me some sort of postmodern hipster colonist?

Yes, Paul Brady, it does. You are, I’m assuming, a white man who has moved into a Latino neighborhood to enjoy their culture, learn their language, and eat their food. You feel entitled to do so, regardless of however your presence might negatively impact the very people whose culture you’re so enjoying. You take what you want from your neighbors and, most likely, give nothing back, at least nothing good. I think that fits the bill of the “postmodern hipster colonist,” as you so aptly put it.

Brady continues:

Perhaps folks who bemoan an influx of new residents – during a time when the city is experiencing the worst “white flight” in its history – should spend less time reading Heart of Darkness and more time enjoying the multicultural vibrancy of Manhattan.

I just love when people pull “facts” out of their ass. New York City is not actually experiencing very much “white flight;” in fact, the upsurge in gentrification has a lot to do with white people coming back to NYC in large numbers. And Manhattan actually experienced far less “white flight” than the outer boroughs, which really counters whatever claim Brady’s trying to make. Are we supposed to be happy that white folks are moving into our neighborhoods? No, Paul Brady, you and yours are not doing anyone a favor – well, not anyone poor or not white, that is.

I’ve never actually read Heart of Darkness, but Wikipedia tells me that it includes much commentary on the evils of colonialism, though critics including Chinua Achebe have criticized the racism prevelant in the novella despite that anti-colonialist viewpoint. But anyhow, it seems like Paul Brady is equally indifferent to the ills of colonialism as he is to the ills of gentrification, and thinks that the rest of us should try to be as indifferent as he is. No thanks, Paul Brady.

As for “enjoying the multicultural vibrancy of Manhattan” – Paul Brady, are you blind? Don’t you realize that the kind of gentrification that you seem to think is no big deal is slowly squeezing the “multicultural vibrancy” that you so celebrate out of NYC? I can see this city becoming more and more monocultural, thanks to people with attitudes like yours. But I guess that doesn’t really matter for you, since that multiculturalism is just a source of spice and entertainment for you and not a real and necessary part of your own life and culture like it is for the Latinos you’re supplanting. Where will you go for your ethnic kicks when you can’t get it in el Barrio any more? Whose neighborhood will you invade next?

Edited to add: Paul Brady speaks! Or types, as it were, in the comments of this thread. And I respond, but of course.

61 Responses to “postmodern hipster colonists suck.”

  1. 1 belledame222

    I’ll comment on the gentrification stuff when I’m less tired and more coherent, but okay, wuz meaning to ask if you were, in fact, the Jack I’d met at WOW some years back. I think I was just kind of trickling out as you were coming in.

  2. 2 Maegan la Mala

    Arrrrgh! Yesterday I was talking about the gentrification issue with some of my friends and how much people don’t get it. How much people don’t understand that people moving in means pushing other people out to the point that families can no longer afford to live in el barrio, bushwick (or shall I say east williamsburg) etc. I will have to endue a move within the next few weeks and I’m scared to freaking death. Let’s see where I end up.

  3. 3 Jack

    Ah, small world, it is! I often run into people who I met at WOW, who saw me on stage at WOW, etc. But I have no idea who you actually are.

  4. 4 Tenda

    Well, I’m actually considering going to Detroit. They could use a larger Latino/Asian population. And White people are, suprisingly, still too scared to move there.

  5. 5 Paul Brady

    Take a look at the data from the most recent censuses. You’ll see that four of the five boroughs have lost white population while all five have gained Hispanic population. (Check the PDF maps here and here.)
    What do I bring to my neighborhood? A person who takes the time to learn Spanish to communicate with my neighbors in their language. A person who shops at local stores and eats at local restaurants owned not by a corporation or distant shareholders but owned by my neighbors. A person who is enraged about the fact that my neighborhood gets short shrift when public services are doled out. A person willing to start a dialogue with my neighbors, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Yemeni or Italian. A person who watches rallies against anti-immigration legislation and sees neighbors instead of bus boys.
    I’m afraid you missed one of the most salient points of my letter—the fact that I had to move here to afford Manhattan rent. You and I are both concerned about being “priced out” of our homes, being unable to afford to live where we want. But you want to tell me where I’m allowed to live? How would you feel if all the boricuas were forced to live in a certain neighborhood? “They are” will be your inevitable reply, but that’s the point. Maybe we have more in common than you think. I’m trying to start a dialogue; you’re trying to start an argument.

  6. 6 brownfemipower

    jack can we link to this in the woc carnival???

  7. 7 Jack

    Of course! Damn, I am so bad at keeping up with the Carnivals, and I think this newest one is one I wanted to contribute to. I need a Carnival reminder widget or something, sheesh!

  8. 8 Tenda

    Sounds like White guilt to me. Go back to where ever you came from. Latinos don’t need your to “start a dialogue” with them, or to patronize their restaurants. They don’t need some glorious white man to see them as human beings rather than busboys. Sounds like the White Man’s Burden to me. You’re just going to wipe out their neighborhood, just like your kind is wiping out Bushwick, Williamsburg, and Bed-Stuy.

  9. 9 brownfemipower

    haha, i help *run* the damn thing, and i had to be told that the carnival is coming up soon!!!! 🙂

    thanks for the permission!!

  10. 10 Jack

    I don’t really understand what you’re getting at with the census info. Yes, NYC has lost some white population, but the population changes of recent years do not equate to white flight. In fact, as far as I’ve learned, Manhattan never really experienced much white flight at all. (See Wikipedia’s entry on white flight for info on this, and how much white flight in american urban centers has been reversed by gentrification.)

    And anyhow, white flight is not a bad thing because it’s sad that there’s less white people around. No, white flight is bad because, when white folks leave areas, the government tends to care less about those areas. Public services, like education, are negatively affected because the neighborhoods are getting less rich and less white. I’d rather see the ill effects of white flight be combatted by an elimination of racism and classism in american government, rather than an influx of more white people.

    So, you think you’re all fair-minded and liberal and righteous, learning to speak Spanish and thinking of your neighbors as humans. So what? When you walk down that block, another white person moving into a Latino neighborhood, all of your liberal good intentions don’t mean a damn thing, not to the Latinos who see you in their neighborhood, nor to the real estate agents who use you and your fellow white people as evidence that the neighborhood is getting safer and is on its way up, nor to the landlord who knows he can charge you more money than the Latinos who maybe used to live in your apartment until they were evicted. So you want to start dialogue with your neighbors? They don’t need dialogue, they need a neighborhood where they feel comfortable at home, they need to be able to stay in that neighborhood without being pushed out so more white folks can move in, they need to be able to preserve their local culture and businesses and not have it be completely whitewashed for the sake of new neighbors like you. And how much are all of your noble liberal ideas worth, really, when you can’t be arsed to admit that, yes, gentrification does have a really horrible effect on many poor folks and people of color, and, yes, you might have some personal responsibility for that? It seems rather convenient, that you’re all Liberal Crusader on this topic, except when it comes to admitting your own responsibility and culpability.

    You moved to El Barrio so that you could stay in Manhattan. Did you ever think that, maybe, just maybe, instead of moving into a Latino neighborhood that’s on the verge of being majorly gentrified, you could have practiced a wee bit of self-sacrifice and moved to, say, Brooklyn or Queens? That’s the thing – gentrification is very much about selfishness. It’s very much about, “Well, I know people will get pushed out, and I know gentrification sucks, but I want a shorter commute, damn it!” Nice for you that you’re privileged enough to get to make that selfish choice for yourself.

    I’m not even trying to tell you where you’re allowed to live. You can live wherever the hell you want, clearly. But do not expect me or anyone else, especially people of color, especially poor folks, especially the people in your neighborhood, to smile in your face and be all happy about it. Do not expect to be absolved of any negative impact your presence might have on your neighborhood. Live where you want, but also take responsibility for your actions and how you might be hurting other people. And maybe even try to do something about it.

    And you say you’re trying to start a dialogue? Doesn’t sound like it to me. Sounds like you basically don’t care about gentrification, don’t acknowledge your own role in it, and want me and everyone else to pat you on the head and tell you what a good white boy you are for speaking Spanish.

  11. 11 Jack


  12. 12 Paul Brady

    I don’t expect you to smile at me when I walk by. I expect you to stop reading so much postcolonial theory that you’re afraid to leave the house for fear of offending someone. Get over yourself.

  13. 13 Jack

    Hah! Way to dialogue, yo. Not actually going to respond to or acknowledge anything I wrote, are you? Somehow, I am not surprised.

    And actually, I’ve read woefully little postcolonial theory, and am rarely afraid of offending anyone, especially folks like you.

  14. 14 Tenda

    White people ruin whatever they touch. That is the sad fact. As much as these “liberals” claim to champion the causes of the poor, benighted colored man, they are, in the end, the same whites that ventured into foreign lands, drew pictures of the “barbarian natives” and saw themselves as doing the natives a favor by simply being there, and being white. We need to do as the Chinese did in the 1500 and 1600s – drive out the “Christians,” who although claiming good intentions and thinking themselves as beneficial to the Chinese, were there for the economic advantage of their home country, comparable, perhaps, to the self-serving Mr. Brady who is looking for a close commute and some good Latin food different from his mama’s Ohio mac and cheese. Mr. Brady, you will never be a New Yorker. You do not know what it means to be ‘urban,’ to have been through a fraction of the shit I’ve been through that has made me a better person, proud of my humble upbringing. You will never, ever, ever “be” from Harlem.

  15. 15 belledame222

    I saw this week’s Time Out cover (“Red Hook has ‘arrived'”) and thought of your posts here, Jack…

  16. 16 Jack

    Yeah, I saw it too. I read the first paragraph, which actually talks about gentrification in a way that might not be totally horrible, but haven’t read any more, not yet at least. Figured I’d take a break. 🙂

  17. 17 Jose Davila

    Hi, I thought before I introduce myself, I congratulate you on a great blog and a great thread. it’s great to see such dialog…I’m a 30 something Puerto Rican born, brown male living in Miami. I lived in South Beach, since way back in 93’ when it was still a retirement community and saw first hand how deadly gentrification can be. My once thriving neighborhood full of immigrants and older residents living on their Social Security checks are now gone. I managed to stay by my bad luck….my father had died and I used the small inheritance to buy a one bedroom in a then bad part of town (Collins Park) Now my neighborhood is all gentrified but me and a few others are still here representing our culture and our people. One thing that I have to add to the debate is how mindless white people are when they move to a minority neighborhood….An example happen last week when I went to Wynwood ( a Puerto Rican neighborhood in mainland Miami that is getting gentrified as we speak) I went there with my Peruvian friend Sandra and stopped at a new “artsy” bar in the middle of “Ël Barrio” “we had some beers when a young twenty-something Harlem raised Boricua , a transplant who had just moved to the Barrio in NYC (I wonder why…could it be because gentrification in NYC ?) Came in, bought a beer and ask the DJ to play some grasp….Reggaeton (Calle 13), Well one of the DJ, said no…just like that he said no and there they are in a Puerto Rican Barrio…He was like we don’t play that kind of music here. Well I happen to really love reggaeton and I told the DJ’s to play that Calle 13 CD and to play it out loud. They played 2 songs to please us and that was it. Then the DJ had the balls to tell me that I “Didn’t look like I would like Reggaeton” because the way I dress…..I’m a writer and dress in thift shop clothes../which are harder to find since white hipsters buy them as a fashion non conformist statement ( I but them because that’s what I can afford) …I told him that he was in a Boricua Barrio and that he should at least attempt to learn our ways. I don’t know what to do, it seems like some white people seem to think that they are entitled to come back to their hoods…….And that’s the rub of gentrification, white people believe that they can come back and reclaim what once was theirs, with no regard to whomever is living there. What are we going to do? And what will happen to Spanish Harlem? The one thing that has worked well was what we Boricuas did in Chicago’s Humboldt Park, we avoided gentrification by putting the largest PR flag in the world and by letting all the hipster trash know that they where not welcome en el Barrio and trust me they never came back, so look it up..
    Love, The Miami Boricua.Boy

  18. 18 sparkle

    I agree that gentrification is very destructive, but why blame its rise on people like Paul Brady, who seems to respect and enjoy other cultures? It’s not the presence of individual white people that hurts communities like the one you are describing–it’s institutional racism, including the examples you have described of landlords charging higher rent to white renters and real estate agents considering white people as evidence of a safe neighborhood. Why is it his fault if other people react to his presence that way despite his good intentions? Why antagonize him rather than enlist him in the fight against such racist practices, which is a fight he seems sympathetic to?

    Isn’t saying white people shouldn’t move into minority neghborhoods just another way of advocating segregation? The danger of gentrification is very real, but that doesn’t mean that everyone should live only among people of their own race, or that a white person who moves into a minority community is automatically a negative presence–especially if he respects the culture and the people, and wants to get to know them rather than surrounding himself with other white people. I don’t think he should get some sort of special gold star for seeing his neighbors as human, but he shouldn’t be denigrated for it either.

  19. 19 sparkle

    Only people of color can be real New Yorkers? What?

  20. 20 D

    t’s not the presence of individual white people that hurts communities like the one you are describing–

    When the merest ‘threat’ to the safety of those individual white people, real or imagined, means that young black and brown people will be harassed, victimized, and worse by the police, you can be absolutely sure that it matters. Find out more about gentrification’s effects in Fort Greene.

  21. 21 D

    Don’t you realize that the kind of gentrification that you seem to think is no big deal is slowly squeezing the “multicultural vibrancy” that you so celebrate out of NYC?

    Wordy mac word. “multicultural vibrancy” for a lot of these people merely means enough POC around to perform at concerts, cook ‘exotic’ food in [white owned] restaurants, have sex with, and otherwise provide window dressing for the urban shopping mall that is now NYC. Anything else just doesnt matter.

  22. 22 Jack

    Hey, Jose – thanks for writing. Always good to hear from other Boricuas. That story you wrote about the DJ in your neighborhood not wanting to play “that kind of music” – I think it’s really typical of the kind of cultural supremacy that goes on in gentrification, where the culture of people of color in a neighborhood is gradually replaced and displaced by white culture.

    That Humboldt Park tip… that’s a good idea… 🙂

  23. 23 Jack

    Wordy mac word – I like that. Wordy mac word on what you wrote, too. 🙂

  24. 24 LOLA

    for such a “liberal” city I find the most racist, non-welcoming people are the Puerto Ricans, And it is proven just by reading these posts, I cannot believe it. As a Spaniard, Native American, and German, I’m pretty sad. This is not a “white” issue or a ” dark” issue. This is an issue with EVERYONE integrating. New York has always been filled with changes, and you know what? people just deal, like they have for over 100 years. You think just because people that are not Puerto Rican don’t have shit happen to them? or they are not “URBAN” well what the fuck. I got news for you. OPEN YOUR EYES.

  25. 25 LOLA

    You sound like a rascist.

  26. 26 Jack Alouet

    You can construct a thread about gentrification being bad that has a lot of resonance. You can also construct one that says that sometimes communities need to be improved. And that’s not a coded word for “bring in white people”. That’s simply to say that, for example, certain blocks in Harlem are bombed out. And, sometimes those bombed out blocks are opportunities for developers to make money and for people to live in a nice place.

    And you know what? It’s 2006 and we all want to make money, live in a place that is a good value, be safe, and (to a lesser extent) is an interesting community. That’s just fact. If you don’t think that’s true, ask yourself these four questions and see what you say:
    Do you want to make money?
    Do you want to get a good deal on rent?
    Do you want to be safe?
    Do you want to live somewhere you find interesting?

    I mean, I’m in an interracial relationship. White/black. Under the logic that people should decide for themselves whether it is “right” to live in some places, where the hell should we live? Harlem – where it’s fine for blacks to live but not whites – or Wyoming – vice versa?

  27. 27 Miami Boricua

    Wow Lola , so I guess is about you and the rest of us just dont count. As for Puerto Ricans being the most racist, how can a” Mestiso Race” be the most racists? Racism is a problem that all ethnic groups share, its an evil that destroys the human spirit.

    No one is better than anyone else and no group is more racist than the other, some groups however make up the rules because they belong to the ruling class and as such, bear some responsibility for their history.


  28. 28 Anonymous

    What frustrates me about this thread is how self-righteous many of the entries are… on both sides… To the best of my knowledge I don’t believe anyone on here has been voted in as the spokesperson for poor people, POCs, White people, women, etc. I don’t really see anyone being honest about his/her individual contribution to the problem. (Yes, that includes you, Jack.) The Blame Game can go on and on forever. It’s not helpful. The “I’m a Better Spokesperson for ___ Game” can go on forever too. You can talk about how there is an ideal representative for any population, but that only works on a theoretical level. Once you begin to discuss a specific situation, you have to get down to discussing each person individually.

    Also…. Sure, you can argue that a neighborhood should remain homogeneous with regards to a specific community or sub-community, but how helpful is that? What are the actual goals here? That everyone have access to affordable and safe housing? If so, then blasting a White person for wanting to move into an area just isn’t productive. Time is better spent educating (not screaming) and collaborating. I’m not saying that there need to be White saviors who come in help POCs and poor people work on the problem… But honest dialogue with people who have the same goal is invaluable.

    Racism, classism, sexism, etc. will not end until people start becoming vulnerable and collaborating to find solutions. How do you expect the nation to work through its racist, classist, sexist, etc. etc. policies and history without 1) being honest about who you are and what you bring to the table (and I don’t mean selectively admitting identities when it’s beneficial to you) and 2) engaging the very people who have power and privilege in a non-combative way. Everyone needs to acknowledge all of their identities whether they be oppressed or privileged (or the more common mix of both).

    Now, don’t get me wrong. There is a time to scream, to picket, to cause an uproar. But this method needs to be used selectively or it loses its power. And there is never a time that self-righteousness is going to be useful. It is obnoxious and alienating. It prevents dialogue and burns bridges. I came to this blog looking for intelligent discussion but it’s hiding under immature, self-serving, holier-than-thou speech.

    Here’s to hoping that conservatives and radical leftists alike will move past being so self-righteous and will become vulnerable enough to meet the other side where they are standing. Here’s to humilty.

  29. 29 Tenda

    A neighborhood ain’t interesting if it’s all white people living there. Doesnt’ matter if there’s a subway and a sushi shop every other block. It’s just a suburb with taller buildings.

  30. 30 delux

    Anyone else find it hilarious that POC are being ordered to become ‘vulnerable’?

  31. 31 delux

    This is why so many poc are rethinking whether or not there is truly any value in integration for them, i think.

  32. 32 Frowner

    Hi there,

    Maybe things are different in New York…

    I live in Minneapolis. I’m a white person in a mostly non-white neighborhood. I have a lot of doubts about my own motives, although right now the choice is to live here or move out of the city, which would mean owning a car, which I can’t afford and don’t want to do. But yeah, I think it’s pretty screwed up that I share a nice apartment with one other person, have a fairly secure job in okay conditions (pay is low, but decent benefits, no heavy lifting, chance to learn stuff, etc) while most of my neighbors work a lot harder for a lot less and have a lot more people per apartment. The joke around here is “follow the punks” for gentrification…first punks, then artists, then students, then white middle class GLBT people, then yuppies…
    The only thing I can say in my defence is that I love my neighborhood. Not because it’s “vibrant” but because white neighborhoods in this city suck. Everyone is inside all the time, it’s mostly yuppy twenty- and thirty-somethings and poverty-pimp non-profit directors and human services people, everyone drives stupid cars and is really proud that they own a bike which they ride on weekends, people make lots of money and think they’re progressive because they cut a check to Amnesty International once a year…they’re awful! They’re awful people with terrible, hypocritical values, and I don’t want to pay lots and lots of money PLUS live with people I don’t like PLUS have a huge bike commute to work. But you know what? I agree that white people ruin everything they touch. I’ve seen lots of white “radicals” and I believe it. Honestly, I’m not moving to a fancy white neighborhood, because I’m afraid I’d turn into them–pat myself on the back for how “liberal” I was while never seeing a person of color except maybe as a subordinate at work, and hence being able to lie to myself about our society.
    It might be different in New York, because there’s a lot more public transit and a lot more neighborhoods to choose from, though. If there were any white working-class neighborhoods with apartments (this is a city where the apartments are pretty much only in the core and they’re mostly yuppie or working class POC neighborhoods..the working class semi-integrated/mostly white neighborhoods are almost all single family homes and not much rental)…I think you’re right, morally I should be going to one of those stupid horrible neighborhoods and trying to uplift the other white people. I hate that thought so much, though.

  33. 33 Radfem

    Very interesting article and comments thread.

    My city has a project on the agenda tomorrow, which is gentrification on an expressway, of about one-square mile of a neighborhood. I’ve got friends who live there who rent and they had no idea what was happening. Why? because the city and its high-priced out-of-state consultant only met with rental property managers.

    Basically, it’s part of a shrinking neighborhood of Black and Latino residents, mostly working-class and poorer than that, including many new immigrants that’s being eliminated by calling these residents “undesirable” residents to be replaced by “desirable” tenants(read, White and Asian-American university students including frat/sorority houses)

    Lots of photos of “blight”(code redevelopment word for let’s take your property) when most of the traffic, street conditions are caused by the city’s neglect in terms of improving aging infrastructure(roads, street lights) and traffic issues caused by high-density, high-cost projects going up in a already-on-the-gentrfication-expressway bloc of the neighborhood to the South.

    People will fight it, but the backroom deals are already made way before the city discusses it at official semi-public meetings.

  34. 34 Radfem

    Yes, it passed in concept, which means it was going to happen before the official vote.

    Everyone who mentioned the “G” word was promptly chastized. No surprise there.

  35. 35 xtymc

    So, what are some of the solutions? How does someone take responsibility for their privledge? How does someone help solve problems that are this complex, while taking into account their identity and where they come from? I hear more anger and finger-pointing than solutions, and I’m interested in knowing what they would be.

    Right now I live in Detroit, and the situation is drastically different. While there is gentrification going on in some of the last remaining commercialized portions of the city it remains one of the most segregated and dessimated cities in the world. The problems that we have seem completely insurmountable. Our infant mortality rate is through the roof, public services are long past crumbling–45,000 people a year are having their water shut off and the mayor wants to privatize everything, the environmental justice issues are staggering, there are hardly any jobs and no effective public transportation, and until very very recently there were hardly any grocery stores operating in the city. Urban folk literally had very little access to food and had to shop at liquor stores and fastfood chains. The city is losing thousands of residents (at this point residents means mostly POC) each year. Insurance redlining and other economic penalties make it massively more expensive to live in the city. When you cross 8 mile your car insurance almost quadruples.

    How do we help the surrounding suburbs understand that it DOES matter that our urban center is falling apart while making sure that people living in city are the ones who are given the tools and the political voice to start dealing with these issues. I’m not saying that we don’t know how to start fixing these problems, I’m saying we don’t have the political voice. (just to clarify). So, how does that process work? I guess what I’m saying is that it seems like everyone has to be involved in the solution. How do we help save Detroit while working against gentrification and adressing such ingrained social problems?

    Is it possible to develop and nuture mixed income neighborhoods? Is it possible to work towards truly culturally diverse neighborhoods without giving one particular lifestyle/income level/gender association/racial identity/nationality more of an economic and political voice? Is the answer the exclusion of “privledged” people? If so, is that possible given our current political/economic structure? Is there a way to engage in solutions that empower everyone? Is a certain amount of exclusion necessary, and what does that look like?

  36. 36 AmixJ

    I may be moving to Bushwick (closer to Bed-Stuy and Brownsville)so was doing some research and found your blog and a posting of yours elsewhere. For the most part I like what you have to say. I will be moving to Bushwick from “Clinton Hill” and pretty much hate that I’ll be running into the same nonsense. (Albeit, some of CH nonsense is perpetrated by educated black folk like myself. More angering.)

    My bone to pick with you are your use of the phrase “ignorant and indifferent to gentrification” along with calling hipsters colonists. Colonialism and colonization are not by-products of the efforts ignorant or indifferent people. It happens because people knowingly and willingly seek opportunities and resources for themselves and are clear that they must take them from others. The history of colonialism (and gentrification for that matter) is just too long for anyone to continue to believe that these are simply well-meaning young people trying to make a way for themselves.

    To this new population neighborhoods like Bushwick are considered a tabula raza and the people in them nothing more than removable obstacles to a standard of living they feel they’re entitled to. Very few, if any, of them take up the issue of affordable housing and protection of renters’ rights–both of which would go a long way in ensuring that everyone in New York could have decent housing. Instead, they take advantage of the city’s neglect and disdain for it’s poor and residents of color by offering to pay rents above what they know those residents can afford.

    So, as much as I admire you for taking this issue on in the face of the criticism you have received, it may be time to stop letting people off the hook by acknowledged that their “ignorance and indifference” are simply veiled excuses for them to invade and conquer.

  37. 37 flows

    I think the problem is the structural/economic element of gentrification is not being discussed adequately. Gentrification operates according to economic flows, not to patronizing authenticity seekers. Class and race are intertwined in america, but the dynamics of gentrification are fundamentally economic. Manhattan is an island, so it has limited space and there is a high demand for apartments. Supply demand. Holding indivduals, artists, students etc. personally accountable is unrealistic. Even if a few people were to do the ‘right’ thing and not move into a new neighberhood
    ( where would they move again?) enough people would eventually. Or a major real estate deal would be made- look at the columbia development plan 125th to 133th hasn’t been gentrified on its own, so a shit load of money and political clout is going to do it all at once. The whole point is that gentrification can not be ccombated on the level of the individual. Instead laws regulations or social action must be iniated to obstruct or redirect these flows. Directing anger at well-meaning (or even not so well meaning individuals) might be unfair, but more importantly its uneffective. It is like getting really angry at the US soliders currently colinizing IRAQ. yeah ultimately these soliders are making personal choices to participate in invasion and murder, but if you look at their backgrounds, most infantry are low income and their choices are fucking limited. For every person who decides not to sign up there are three who will- or effectivly be forced to. It’s about flows.

  38. 38 samantha

    Word, my ass. I think Tenda is full of hate. I think Tenda sees a white face and automatically presumes the worst, not even bothering to acknowledge a kernel of good intention inside that person–sounds like the dehumanization of racist stereotypes, no? I think racism is evil and widespread, but that responding in kind with blanket generalizations and knee-jerk hate is an abdication of personal responsibility. Anger is justified. So is an open mind.

  39. 39 andwhysee

    I don’t if you remember, but there was a time when parts of East Harlem were off limits to Latinos. Cultural exclusion based on race is wrong. Period.

  40. 40 ok

    Here’s the great gentrification dlilemma. Yes you’ve kept the hipsters out of HUmboldt Park, but have you looked around humbildt park lately?

    It’s dirty, there’s trash everywhere, and there is little new business.

    I’m staying with friends in East Harlem now and several new small businesses have opened to cater to the hipsters. The owners of these businesses–locals–are very happy indeed.

    In Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, I surveyed business owners about the building of Borders that local anti0gentrification groups opposed. Not one of those woners was opposed. And these were small businesses. I also talked to local residents. They were all in favor. So who’s speaking for whom?

    Everything in moderation, I say.

  41. 41 Eric

    I know I’m rather late to the party, but this whole gentrification debate just underscores the point that in a city of renters, neighborhoods are fluid- it doesn’t matter what the current occupants want. You can point to non-white gentrifying neighborhoods all you want and scream about how racist and colonial it is until you’ve passed out, but it happens to working-class white neighborhoods, too. Look at the Lower East Side, or Williamsburg, or the Village. Look at solidly white, middle-class, and homeowning Astoria, which is described as “up-and-coming” apparently because it doesn’t have a vintage clothing store on every corner and apartments populated by trust-fund hipsters.

    The only true defense against gentrification is to own your home. Honestly, I would worry less about the white people moving in and devote your energy towards enabling people of color to buy or strengthening renters’ rights.

  42. 42 john

    This whole gentrification thing is good. I’m black and I own. It’s sad to say it but the city only takes care of those who stand with each other. The “black” community does not do that in the hood. I’ve lived in the Stuy for 4 years and love it but not the people who don’t take advantage of what they have. They just don’t care about their enviorment. If it takes gentrfication for people to pay attention then I’m all for it. “white power!” (dave chappelle voice).

  43. 43 Lilly

    You are extremely ignorant. It is because of people like you that there is so much racial tension in this city, even with all its’ diversity. Basically you’re saying we should stay segregated. I am a white 22 year old female living in the Bronx that was forced to live on my own since 19 years old. I didn’t come here to “speak Spanish and eat rice and beans”. I came here because it is affordable and very close to the city. I have many friends in the Bronx. I shop at the local stores, therefore putting money into its economy. Do not blame the white faces moving into your neighborhood for the higher rents. Blame the government for opressing you, not providing more affordable housing for middle income families and not giving enough money to your schools. Or blame yourself for not getting an education and raising yourself above the hurdles that America has placed before you. Because I personally know several Hispanic families that sit back all day (the heads of the families have alcohol and/or drug problems) collecting government checks and using food stamps. God forbid they actually look for a job, or go back to school to better themselves. They choose to remain ignorant. And don’t gimme that, “But I have no money for an education!” The government will pay your full tuition, especially if you are Hispanic and definitely if you are poor. Do you like me stereotyping you? You don’t, do you. Well I don’t like you stereotyping me, either.
    I actually plan on moving to lower Spanish Harlem because it is a little safer and closer to the city. I was recently the victim of a violent crime on my way home from work near where I live and want to move because of it. It’s not like I wanna go there to be a pioneer. I wanna go there because it’s more affordable and close to my job. I make good money for my age and am in college. I pay my own tuition because financial aid won’t cover me since I’m not extremely poor. I am also forced to pay for food, rent, doctors’ bills, clothes, and everything else. After all of that, I am left poor. I do not rely on the government or Medicaid to do pay that for me, and even if I wanted to I wouldn’t be able to. So after all my hard work, I am left almost as poor as the welfare cases. Even growing up dirt poor, my parents had too much pride to go to the government. At age 37 with three kids and working, my father went to college and law school and become a lawyer. My mom didn’t sit home on her butt and complain, she went to work. Dad didn’t even take financial aid, instead he took loans. You shouldn’t mind us moving in. Tax dollars from middle class white people like us pay for a lot of your peoples’ welfare checks!
    Now I’m not saying that all Hispanics are like that. But before finding faults with us white people, maybe you should take a look in the mirror.
    Are you speaking English right now? How dare you! That’s a white language! (That’s your logic)
    I admit that I was harsh. Basically I’m trying to say it’s the government’s fault for not regulating rents and for not doing anything when good hardworking Hispanic families in your area are kicked out cuz their place is gona be turned into a condo. It wasn’t me. If it was up to me, all neighborhoods would be mixed and we would all learn to live with eachother. It would also greatly reduce crime. But unfortunately, people are making a big hype about gentrification and a real estate boom so the rent goes up and we all lose. Don’t worry, we’re not going to take over your neighborhoods. What we will do is move there because it is affordable, spend money into the local stores and restaurants therefore improving the economy. Then we will get beaten up in your neighborhood because even though we were minding our own business, we are white. And you know, I personally brought the slaves over here from Africa. And I personally invaded Puerto Rico and told your people that they were now part of the US, but they still coudln’t vote. News flash: not all white people are filthy rich like many would like to believe. I’m not gonna move to Brooklyn or Queens and travel farther to work and risk my life for those extra minutes just cuz u don’t want me in your neighborhood. I’m not the source of your problems, honey, the real estate market is and the government is for not regulating rents. Why don’t you take all that pent up anger and rally in City Hall? Oh, you’re too lazy to drag your butt over there? That’s what I thought.

  44. 44 conor

    Yeah jose paseo boricua business is just BOOMING Even KFC closed

  45. 45 Hypatia

    I completely agree. Much of the emphasis on race and authenticity in these blogs seems to me unhelpful. Yes, of course race matters. But ultimately, economics matters. When you’re poor for whatever reason, you’re going to live where you can live most pleasantly, and that goes for overeducated white kids as much as anyone else. Unless the focus is shifted from guilt-tripping guilty liberals to giving people of color the economic and political clout to stake out and defend the cultural integrity of neighborhoods they care about, things are not going to change. I am, as it happens, a white liberal of the sometimes guilty variety, though on this issue I’m fairly clean, living in the “white part” of an egregeously segregated city. I also run a good scam, and have wicked cheap rent, which is the rent I can afford. But I have to say, living in a segregated city (New Haven, CT) sucks. It sucks for me as a white person, and it seems to suck for a lot of the people of color I’ve talked to. The racism in this town is out of control, and who does that help? There has to be ways to get beyond the impasses here. I don’t know that that might entail, but I imagine that it might involve things like “The Dialogue Project” (an awesome New Haven non-profit that runs dialogues around race and police violence, among other things), living wage statues, local and national restructuring of health care, restructuring the tax system, getting more people of color into the middle class, and more people of color into the country so as to make the minorities a majority.
    I’m all for guilt tripping white liberals, but do so in a way that might actually make a difference.

  46. 46 Hypatia

    Hmmm. . . the Horatio Alger/pull yourself up by your bootstraps myth (because it is a myth structurally, even if it worked for Lilly’s family) that Lilly is propagating is, of course, one of the main issues working against class awareness and class-based orgainizing in these damn united states. Not to mention the racist logic that it can inspire, as we see an example here. But Lilly’s description of living where she can afford to live describes many working and soon to be upwardly mobile people. So again, I want to emphasize the point that gentrification can’t be combatted through guilt-tripping. It’s got to address basic economic realities.

  47. 47 natounyc

    And what of the front page article of the Village Voice (June 27,07), “The Second Battle of Bushwick?” I’ve read through this whole thread from May 06 to April 07.

    I went to work today disturbed by the aforementioned article, by gentrification, and when I told my supervisor about what was irking me, she told me the story of how her family living down by union square, in rent-stabilized apartments barely held onto their apt by going to court and in doing so the end owed 15,000 in legal fees.

    God dammit, it makes me want to leave the city right now, but like elsewhere the situation is mighty familiar, in the city–rent is high and gentrification is overtured in redlining blocks and blighting of all sorts of varietals. I believe in social action, and I want to get involved in the fight, I am disgusted by the high-rise luxury condos I see left and right.
    If we can’t envision it, it will not be. I cannot see mixed income neighborhoods, why is that? Zoning? real estate?, ailing poorly-funded school systems? There is a lot of degradation in knowing that people in power, conscious of the effect of their policies and actions, go ahead because of what? I couldn’t tell you. This is the end of the empire of the US, the myth of the land of milk & honey has long gone been shredded to bits. The opinion of how America is governed– locally and nationally– is at a debasingly low-point.

    I am glad to have found this Blog and to have found so many voices. I hope to hear more. I was born in flushing, queens, I was moved out of the city to have a good education in the suburbs, and therefore i grew up in a vastly white small town, one of homogeneity and streamlining heterosexuality. I am a first generation American, my family comes from a minority in the Middle East.

    I am looking for action, not entertainment, not multi-cultural vibrancy. I am looking for change, not acquiescence. I abhor politics sometimes, by that I mean I am an artist, I seek change through making accessible the voice of the people (whichever people this may be; for me in this case, it would be the oppressed, those who lack even the privilege to fight for the place where they raised their family, where they have lived for 25+ years), which can be expressed/demanded through art.


    Queer Boricua:

    I am embarrassed by you and for you. By fighting what you foolishly call gentrification (although by throwing around that word people will keep reading) in horrendous places like Mott Haven, Bed-Stuy, and East New York, you are doing an extreme disservice to yourself, your future, your family, and your community.

    As a Boricua myself, I was raised in Mott Haven (aka South Bronx) and have no delusions about the number of problems that this community endured, and continues to endure. You seem to paint these ghetto neighborhoods as something to be glorified, proud of, cherished, enjoyed, respected, or worthy of “saving”. These neighborhoods are rampant with drugs, crime, extreme poverty, and an entrenched ghetto culture. It was the direct lack of investment (capital and human) that propelled these neighborhoods into this chaotic and unnatural state, and I am flabbergasted to read how these same residents ( like yourself) fight tooth and nail to maintain the neighborhoods in this disastrously detrimental state by using scary words like “gentrification,” ‘priced out”, “white people are coming,” and the like, to rally the troops to their cause.

    I continue to live in this neighborhood, however I am now labeled as an “evil gentrifier” by my own neighborhood “friends”..why? I have renovated my building, I speak properly, I dress respectably, and I present myself as an educated, intelligent person. The culture and neighborhoods that you claim needs to be preserved (saving from the evil white man) are the same neighborhoods and cultures that only place value on ignorance, violence, and thuggery. Why must these communities continue to fear, despise, and fight those that are different, especially white people? What exactly are we saving here? The horrendous public schools? The gargantuan subsidized housing hell holes? The filth on the streets? The rampant violence?

    These communities are in desperate need of revitalization, investment, and human capital. If you believe there is some sort of social fabric that maintains these communities, you are sorely mistaken. This is a community, to its own detriment, that has foolishly relied on government handouts and services. The days of true community leaders are long gone and dead. The social fabric was torn to shreds long ago, with deep social, psychological, and interpersonal dysfunction the norm rather than the exception.

    I am utterly shocked and disappointed that you openly fight the massive investment that these neighborhoods require. Using fear and scare tactics to keep these people, and neighborhoods, in these conditions so that you and your cohorts can have cheap rent, is morally reprehensible, offensive, and disgusting. Your parents came here and sacrificed so much to provide a better life for you, and now you fight to keep things ghetto, dysfunctional, and segregated. I should hope your parents are not alive to see what these once vibrant neighborhoods have become, and that you are now fighting to keep them that way.


  49. 49 Jack

    I’m confused as to why you think i want these neighborhoods to remain in the states of devastation and decay in which they now exist. I don’t. I too see the drugs, crime and poverty; I too see the horrendous public schools, the substandard housing, and the filthy streets. I too want those things to change.

    However, where you and I differ is that I want those things to change, I want these neighborhoods to be revitalized, to attract substantial investment and care from the city, in ways that actually benefit the other Boricuas, other Latinos, other people of color, other low-income folks that live in these neighborhoods. You seem to be blaming those people for all of the problems that exist in those neighborhoods. I don’t, because I recognize the systems of racism, classism, and oppression that lead to the disastrous symptoms that you describe. I’m not trying to remove personal agency here, but do you think that people who resort to drugs and crime and violence do so because they like it, or are just lazy, or are just bad people? If so, you’re no better than the white people who impute such things on our people. It’s sadly difficult to maintain a healthy, peaceful, crime-free lifestyle when you’re given almost no other choices, few ways out, just because of the color of your skin, the culture you’re born into, and the money that your parents and their parents before them didn’t have. Yeah, some people manage to escape this cycle of destitution and self-destruction, but others don’t. You’re right about the social fabric being torn – it has been torn up, through racism, through classism. But do we punish the victims of that oppression? No, I don’t think so. We work to repair the social fabric without punishing people who have been damaged.

    And on the segregation bit – don’t you think that when these communities get white washed after all of the people of color get pushed out, that’s just another form of segregation?

    The solution is not to clear low-income folks and people of color out of these communities to “improve” them. Improve them for whom, exactly? Mostly richer and whiter folks, with the few brown and black folks who make the cut thrown in? No, I want these neighborhoods to be revitalized for the people who are living there now. Don’t you think that if housing was improved and yet remained affordable, public schools functioned more like institutions of education than institutions of incarceration, and people were given opportunities to make decent money and improve their lives in legitimate ways, the crime and violence that you describe would decrease? Let’s fight the root causes instead of blaming people for the resultant symptoms.


    Queer Boricua:

    I believe you missed the essential points of my prior comment, however I will clarify more for you and your readers.

    1-In no way did I mention, imply, or assume, that the root cause of the obvious and entrenched problems of these neighborhoods are due solely to their residents, or any one entity, action, or policy, in fact. Nor do I assert that ever was the case. In my comment, I stated quite directly that it was the lack of investment (capital and human) that propelled these communities into the chaotic, ignorant, and powerless state in which they have languished for the better part of thirty (30) years. By lack of capital investment, I specifically mean the lack of any public and private investment (including detrimental public policies), and by lack of human investment, I specifically mean the extreme segregation, and fundamental loss of family values, education, and culture.

    2-I acknowledge the historic effect of classism, racism, and privilege, and I understand how the continuing presence of these societal ills plays a role in everyone’s lives, including white people. As a lifelong resident of Mott Haven, I am one of the many unlucky benefactors of those discriminatory policies, beliefs, and actions. I do not, as you may believe, assert that the residents of these neighborhoods resort to drugs and violence because they just enjoy it. I do believe, however, the culture of laziness, violence, and the breakdown of accepted societal norms, is worn as a badge of honor and promoted as a viable lifestyle, none of which will change without the reintroduction of mainstream society at some level.

    3-I agree that any revitalization of these neighborhoods should not purposely and intentionally force the removal of its current residents. However, the reality of the implementation of this renewed investment (capital and human) will be the eventual change of the racial and demographic makeup of these communities FOR THE BETTER.
    Public and private investors will not revitalize a community (rehabilitate a building, open a new restaurant, provide more retail or community services, all of which would improve the lives of its current residents), if the neighborhood cannot, or will not, support such change. By supporting such change, I mean provide the monetary means to support the improvements. What investor would purchase a 12 unit building, for example, rehabilitate it for hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, and then maintain rents as is, or raise them from $400 to $425? Private investors will not make such poor decisions, and the city is no longer in the business of building massive subsidized, hell holes.

    You want better housing, for example, but cannot, or refuse, to pay the rent that MUST come with these improvements, then housing will not be rehabilitated and such neighborhoods, as Mott Haven, will continue to languish in their current state of disrepair, disarray, and utter chaos. In order to garner the kinds of changes that you and others in the community desire, there must be the monetary means to support such investment! The only way to then support the improvements to the community that you desire, is to pay for it, either by its current residents, or by catering to new residents that will pay for it.

    The bottom line is, you do not have the right, in this country, to live where you want, at the price you set. You cannot have “affordable housing” (whatever that means) if that means a public or private investor must shoulder all of the costs for your convenience. This sense of entitlement is a root problem for these neighborhoods, the residents of which have been lavished with numerous subsidy programs such as Section 8, Welfare, Food Stamps, that perpetuates this lifestyle, mindset and ghetto culture. The culture of I deserve, I want, I expect, will always lose to I earned.

    As a result, the more you fight what you call “gentrification,” the more these neighborhoods languish in their current, untenable states. Whereas you see this as an attack on the community, I, as a longtime resident, see the investment (capital and human) as a long overdue breath of fresh air, with the promise of new residents, new ideas, and experiences. And isn’t that what this city is all about?


  51. 51 natounyc

    RE: Queer Boriqua

    I am not exactly sure 1). who you are responding to, 2). nor do I really understand your need to be so condescending in your tone and in your response. Maybe I should have gone a little more in depth on what I mean by “fight” and what I mean by “change.”

    I didn’t know my words could be so laden with assumption, but alas here we are, and I am slightly sickened that you have a BLOG and you write, more like you rant, but you employ no respect with your words.

    Anyway—if I try to ignore the condescension and lack of tact, I can say this—
    I meant the fight that social action incurs, as in, not trying to fight gentrification or support it per say, but the ‘community in question’, although it is unable to fund its own renovations and improvements as you say, due to the disenfranchised state of affairs as they already stand– people not making a living wage, people discriminated against based on class, race, color, country of origin, sexuality, what have you, the ‘isms’ will never end.

    Who said anything about fighting gentrification? I want to work first at the underlying root issues belied by gentrification or rather, made more obvious through the visible political and social repercussions thereof. No where in my comment did I say I was a person looking for cheap rent, or preserving the situations where cheap rent exists or in other words hoping to fight gentrification itself. My desire is in giving a voice to the people who are debased to a point where they become unheard, where their voice vanishes because they don’t have the buck to foot the bill. There is something amuck with the capitalist-consumer culture that feeds the ignorance and lack of principle (of which you speak of) for all people, high or low class, where we are not asked to question, rather we are asked to eat, take, covet, want more, waste more, buy, buy, buy.

    The issues at hand are much more deep-rooted than that, you and I both know that, and you and I both are not evil for knowing that and for living in NY where we (I’ll speak for myself here) can afford to. It is rather through grassroots’ initiatives I believe people can directly affect change that is inclusive, not exclusive. Yes, revitalization, yes improvement, yes at a cost— I can’t afford it either, why do you think I am living in a place you call the ghetto. Just so I can keep living there, please. I am being confronted by a reality I choose to live with/deal with by way of coming to New York City, a reality that many choose to forgo or shield themselves from, by living in places where there is no diversity, where differences are not welcomed, but rather subject to a perpetuated mainstream ideal that everyone is the same.

    The whole reason I wrote anything in the first place is because I want to deal with it, do something, not just remain powerless or inert and let the powers that be continue bull-dozing and reconstructing communities. I want to be informed and I want to at least hope to be a part of bringing justice to this issue, I am hearing too many stories where social justice is forgotten, beleaguered, sidelined. This is what I am saying NO MORE TO. No more fantastic, eye-catching written pieces in the Village Voice every 30 years about gentrification, without taking it a step further, taking some sort of action personally to better understand the situation for the communities involved, and if I am a part of it (which I believe we all are) doing something about it.


  52. 52 natounyc

    Sorry in my last posting, I thought A True Boriqua was writing in response to what I last wrote. I am new to this whole blog communication game, so please forgive me for being rash in my response.



    Re: natounyc

    Your apology is graciously accepted, as I am new to this blog as well. No worries. I too apologize for sounding condescending, as it is not my intention. I am 100% invested (emotionally, physically, mentally) in neighborhoods like Mott Haven, so I suspect that my posts are assertive, to say the least.

    Unfortunately, for reasons that will not be revealed to me or those blogging here, the ANGRY-BROWN-BUTCH has taken down all but one of my posts. Maybe it’s because she is unnerved by a Mott Haven resident who disagrees with her opinions; maybe it’s because she does not want someone with valid points countering her hate-filled and ignorant commentary; maybe there is only room for one angry-brown person on this board; maybe she is just annoyed at my recurring posts that go against her angry diatribes; or maybe she just doesn’t like me or what I stand for.

    I thought this was a forum for the ANGRY-BROWN-BUTCH to express her opinions to the world, fight her causes, and also allow others to express themselves as well (this is a blog after all). But I guess it’s only for those who are not angry-brown people who share a different view.

    As a longtime resident of the neighborhoods she purports to care so much about, I would think my posts would be encouraged, valued, and integral.


  54. 54 Yinsurgent

    We’ve recently had some minor vandalism at a coffee shop that is instrumental in colonizing the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Garfield.
    The reaction of the ‘brave urban pioneers’ was predictable yet disturbing.
    I don’t know how New Yorkers deal with it.

  55. 55 Dotiqua

    As a brown homeowner living in a minority neighborhood in L.A., I would welcome middle class folks of any color or creed. Why? Property values. I’ve sweated blood for 20 years to buy my house and I’d like it to be worth something when I’m ready to sell it. The simple math is that if poor people are all grouped together, everyone in the hood suffers because the tax base won’t support decent schools, hospitals or even street repair. The obvious answer is to mix low income housing in with middle and upper middle class housing like they’re trying to do in Downtown L.A. right now. A 100% poor and brown neighborhood is nothing to be proud of.

  56. 56 Dude

    “King Of The Hill” episode about hipsters gentrification:

  57. 57 Ana

    I’m from Melbourne (Australia) and I’m a high school student. A lot of people in my year level, and younger, are becoming hipsters, they’re almost everywhere in my neighbourhood. They’re wrecking it. My area used to be pretty pure, and wanker free, but it’ll never be the same.
    As a guitarist who’s trying to find peope to play in a band with, it’s depressing to not be able to find any musicians, but come across thousands of people who preach their encyclopaedic knowledge of bands no one gives a shit about. WHO THE HELL CALLS A BAND “Dirty On Purpose”, or “The Band That Knew Too Much”?
    It’s terrible to hear so much about NYC getting the life sucked out of it in slow motion, by these hipster bastards. I hear a lot of mid-western American folks flock in there to become hipsters and “immerse themselves in multiculturalism”. That is so typical white person.

  58. 58 Marina

    Not sure what the point of posting this is 2 1/2 years later other than to quiet my mind but . . .
    To Paul Brady: “What do I bring to my neighborhood? A person who takes the time to learn Spanish to communicate with my neighbors in their language…A person who watches rallies against anti-immigration legislation and sees neighbors instead of bus boys.” Are you saying that you have to live near people who look different than you to see them as people? White people are such modernists, they make the mistake that they must intimately know other cultures before they can see them as people. Why? Other cultures have respected you from afar both in and outside of the US. (and that is truly postmodern)
    To Lilly:
    It sounds like you just made “friends” with these Hispanics so you could talk shit on how they supposedly don’t work. Hipster whites are so uprooted from community that think they are “friends” with anyone they talk to twice. If you are my friend, you know my middle name and you’ve met my mom.
    White people assume a freedom from history that no one else is free to assume. Anyone who thinks race isn’t an issue hasn’t been asked by a tourist if they speak English 10 blocks from the hospital where they were born. Salt in the wound: I’m half white . . . (“Not I sold out my people but they me.” -Gloria Anzaldua) See, the daily interactions where I am asked about my race or worse, assumptions are made for me means I am NOT free from history, so why should you be free from the fact that yes, your family did benefit financially from the redlining of the 1949 Federal Fair Housing Act, or hey, maybe it was your parents who made our parents so suspicious of white people. How are we supposed to think that fades in a generation? (look, as a mixed person I’m on both sides of this but I’m letting my crazy speak)
    White women are so quick to compare being a woman to being a racialized minority these days, so let’s do that: imagine a man tried to move into a sorority or female boarding house? One part of the current Fair Housing Law says that a single woman can “discriminate” against having a male roommate because of the possibility for sexual harassment. Shouldn’t a historically oppressed racial minority community then be able to “discriminate” against having a large white population dropped in its center because of the possibility for racial misunderstandings and crowding out of local businesses. Oh wait, now you wanna say it’s different? (I thought bitch was the new black?)

    Thank you (red and black lumber)Jack for this enlightening discussion. I may disagree with some of you but I thank you all for at least thinking about this issue. I think it is really hard for people to understand what a racialized person feels and I say this because I remember not understanding the deep pain of racism when I was growing up because as a child I tried to/succeeded in passing as full white in many ways. But dig deeper and try to understand your fellow Americans and their need for close knit communities. You come to the city because you say you need a vibrant community, so can’t you understand then how hard someone would fight for the one they had created?

    This article, while it does not address the immorality of gentrification, is well written and does see it as a greater economic trend:

  1. 1 AngryBrownButch » Blog Archive » doozies
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