Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Are "Gentrifiers" Close-Minded?

Commenter AfroDC made the following comment to my post about Sursum Corda from December of last year:
Wow, it really is amazing to have confirmation about what African-Americans suspected of White people living in our neighborhoods. Your close-mindedness is sad. What's even worst is that you and your "hubby" are two reaons why 500 families will be displaced. The inhabitants of Sursum Corda, yes black and yes, some are drug dealers, weren't given the same opportunities as you or have the luxury to bike through and criticize someone else's neighborhood. Thank you again for confirming this for me, it helps me when we gather at nights to do our "kill-whitey" rituals.
In all honesty, I'm not losing sleep over this comment. I've engaged in this conversation many times before and frankly don't have the energy or time to write a long blogpost to defend myself nor do I think I even need to. But I thought I'd dedicate a post to the comment since I do think it's important that neighborhoods talk about these issues as they inevitably come up on a regular basis and especially whenever change comes into a neighborhood.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

The NY Ave Metro station did not exsist when I bought property about a half mile away from where the station stands now. When I moved in, I had a very "liberal white guilt" perspective on impoverished blacks living in the area. I didn't want to rock the boat or step on any toes - I just wanted to get along.

Then the metro station opened, and I started walking there to ride Metro to work. The McKinley Tech's student body started riding Metro to that station to get to school; including a bunch of thuggish members of that student body.

I'm routinely harrassed by black children and adults on my way to and from that Metro. I'm harassed because I'm white. I've been threatened, called a "cracker" more times than I can count, had black drivers behind the wheel take swipes at me with their cars while I'm crossing the street, received threats about the upcoming presidential election ("You betta not vote for MackCain"), etc. All for merely walking down the street.

When the ATF building starting going up, someone scrawled "White Privilege" on the wall around the construction site. LOL! That epitomizes the ghetto perspective on changes in the neighborhood. That building is now full of non-whites working for the federal government, raking in big salaries, and taking their money home to the suburbs.

My "liberal white guilt" perspective is gone now. I say: Raise Property Taxes. Tear Down The Projects. Change For Change's Sake.

Bye Bye, Ghettofiers. Hello, Gentrifiers.

Anonymous said...

"weren't given the same opportunities as you or have the luxury to bike through and criticize someone else's neighborhood.

You can bike through a dozen different neighborhoods that are a very short distance away from Sursum Corda. I suspect that the residents of "The SC" think that venturing beyond a 500 foot radius of one's subsidized housing unit is something only "rich folks" do, or perhaps it is "acting white".

Anonymous said...

"That epitomizes the ghetto perspective on changes in the neighborhood. "

That particular change (NOMA) was brought about by Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor Williams, and current and previous city councils.

In case no one noticed, all of the above are black, in a city where the majority of the people are black, and where black people control the treasury and the legislature.

Yet when black people put up a new building and kick off some much needed change, it is percieved as "White Privilege". LOL, indeed!

Anonymous said...

Thank you again for confirming this for me, it helps me when we gather at nights to do our "kill-whitey" rituals.

And thank YOU, our African-American friend (it is important to distinguish yourself from Jamaicans, Trinidadians, etc.).

Thank you for confirming how utterly clueless you and your "community" are about the real driving force of change in these neighborhoods. It isn't the owner of this blog passing through an enclave of ignorance, poverty, and violence (which you choose to defend); it is Vincent Orange, Marion Barry, and their ilk that are profiting from gentrification. You know: "African Americans" like yourself.

Thank you for motivating dozens if not hundreds of people to work for accelerated change - working to break up these terrible concentrations of ignorance, poverty, and violence that you seek to preserve based on your racial biases. You are strengthening our resolve, and helping us to gather momentum.

Many, many thanks

Anonymous said...

"White people living in our neighborhoods"

See, we thought y'all wanted integration? Isn't that what y'all been hollerin' about since the 50's?

Oh by the way, your city neighborhoods are typically full of liquor stores, drug dealers, and litter.

Maybe it is time for you to move to PG County with the rest of "your" elite members of "your" community, and leave the slums to "us"?

Anonymous said...

"and leave the slums to "us"?"

Nah, because then they wouldn't be slums any longer. And we can't have that, can we? I mean, it just wouldn't be right.

Anonymous said...

"gather at nights to do our "kill-whitey" rituals"

It may be just a matter of time before "African American" thugs attempt to harass, scare, or otherwise assault the WRONG white dude.

Then, Al and Jessie will come to Washington to March against white oppression of "African Americans" in Eckington. No doubt.

J. said...

I agree wholeheartedly with the person's comment.

Ya'll crackers posting anonymously on the internet are absolutely hilarious, to be honest.

Put some names behind those words, come see me in the streets?

White Man in Eckington - I walk the streets every day said...

Ooooh, oooh, I have a good one!

How about all the black men in DC who don't work and complain about having no access to jobs, yet they are surrounded by hispanic men building hotels, office building, apartment buildings... and even the new rec center at Sursum Corda!

High-Larious!

Hey, remember the Columbia Heights Riot of 1991? Black folks versus Hispanic folks. Who was the cracker in that event? (black folks)

Not J. said...

What if someone managed to work their way out of poverty.... AND they're white? Would you find them despicable? or is being impoverished the only respectable lifestyle in your view?

J., a lot of good people plunked down their life savings (the fruit of years or even decades of labor), to buy homes in YOUR neighborhood long before YOU ever arrived, or before you even heard about Bloomingdale or Eckington. Most did so because these poor, violent, crime-ridden neighorhoods were the only place where they COULD afford to buy a home. (even though the buyers were white)

Now you are anonymously threatening those people via the Internet. Why is that, exactly?

shaw-phobe said...

You see J.;

1991 Riot

When blacks control the police force, the city council, the mayor's office, the treasury AND they are the majority demographic.... then the black folks are the "crackers".

I've been in DC since that riot. Guess what race I identify with?

Open your eyes.

non anonymous said...

you forgot to mention that the majority of the city's employees, including the police, don't live in the city. and they're mostly black.

they take their middle-class income out of the city, to the detriment of the city.

but hey, why try to understand nuance, when hating whitey taxes fewer brain cells?

J. said...

Actually, Not J.

I come from third-world poverty. I used to have to walk one mile to and from a well just to gather water in 5 gallon bucks, so I mean - you really can't tell me much about being white and going through poverty - I've been there and done that, as a white person.

I don't have any problem with that, but we tend to be few and far between.

Lets have an honest conversation about this - the people that moving in and gentrifying communities that are predominately filled with people of color, much less an ENTIRE city that's a minority majority are white people that come from money.

There's no way around that. They're the ones buying brownstones/rowhouses for 800K, when 5 years ago, you couldn't get us to buy for 250.

I mean, I consider myself a pretty realistic person, but I don't think you can deny the negative effects of gentrification.

With that said, i think you can understand why all of the gentrification leaves a sour taste in one's mouth - especially one who has seen their neighbors, friends, and family members pushed out to Germantown, so Chad & Caitlyn can move in for a couple of years while it's a hot bed, then move out. Essentially, abusing the sense of community and culture that has existed in the community since their own childhood.

You can see why the resentment is there, right?

Now, there's also another side to that coin. A major reason we're even at this point is because many people of color saw they could get double, triple, even quadruple what they paid for their house once gentrifiers started moving in. So, they cashed in a flew out to Bowie and Largo, where you can get a little more bang for your buck. So, the onus certainly can't be placed entirely on the gentrifiers that moved in.

..and to be honest, the ones that have been here 5-10 years, I certainly applaud. Those are the ones that interact with the neighbors, the ones who have a stake in the community, the ones who have been supporting local businesses rather than sitting in Windows, leeching their free wi-fi and not purchasing anything but a coffee. I have an appreciation for those folks.

It's the new breed that have truly segregated the dynamics of the community. They are the ones putting up fences, putting up "dog areas" in Crispus Attucks park. They're the ones doing the "Cook Outs" that featuring nothing but gentrifiers.

I mean, again, we have to be honest. They're the ones with money, feeling a sense of entitlement, that are putting these things in motion.

I could have done a much better job laying out my argument in my initial post, but just didn't have the time.

You have to understand though - a lot of the comments above are clearly racist, especially the ones that deal with socio-economic status. They're on some "You negros need us white people to clean up your mess" tip and that doesn't fly with me. ...and the thing is, that's a common thought within the eyes of the gentrifiers.

Anonymous said...

..and to be honest, the ones that have been here 5-10 years, I certainly applaud. Those are the ones that interact with the neighbors, the ones who have a stake in the community, the ones who have been supporting local businesses rather than sitting in Windows, leeching their free wi-fi and not purchasing anything but a coffee. I have an appreciation for those folks.

J., I moved to DC on July 3rd, 1993 as a 26 year old man with very few possessions and not more than a few hundred dollars to my name.

I now own a home near the home that you rent. My question to you is this: How will you differentiate me from the "Chad" that you mention in your post. You know: the distainful "Chad" who is white and has money? I'm white, own a home, and have more than a few hundred dollars in the bank now. I look like a dreaded "gentrifier", no?

My guess (and it is only a guess) is that you will take one look at me and immediately dismiss me based upon my appearance. The fact that you're white appears to be a big chip on your shoulder because you seem to think you're somehow unique and special in a world of "plain vanilla" (again; just an opinion, because I don't know you)

Welcome to the neighborhood. Which, by the way, was originally populated by whites who had their own local customs and culture before it was transformed into something else. Just a fact. A fact that is just as irrelevant in the context of linear time, which is passing us all by; Black and White, as the fact that the neighborhood demographics are changing yet again. All the whites who whined and moaned about blacks moving into this neighborhood are gone and forgotten, no?

I. said...

Washington, DC Demographics:

1990 Population: 606,900 (this is the "Chocolate City" that J. thinks he's living in. He's two decades too late. He should try Atlanta or New Orleans rather than the capital city of the nation he loathes.)

2007 Population: 588,292

Anonymous said...

All of this rhetoric is sad and non productive.
signed
a proud black man in living in DC
BT

MA said...

"All of this rhetoric is sad and non productive."

Agreed.

Signed,

A proud white man living and working in DC.

MA

Anonymous said...

Results of a formal study on the impact of gentrification.

http://americancity.org/daily/entry/922/

Anonymous said...

White Man in Eckington: I find your comment below disgusting and filled with hatred. I am from California and bought a brownstone in the area. I am excited about the idea of young people of every ethnicity moving into the area, because that trend is what keeps any urban neighborhood vibrant. Your judgement of fellow human beings without any acknowledgement of context is ridiculous. Many of the blacks in this city were direct decendents of the slaves that built this city...to mention hispanics who like your white brethren came to this country specifically to make a better life for themselves is a crappy analogy to those who were dragged to this city to work and die as slaves but have served this country honorably (as evidenced by all the wild eyed vets roaming around the streets) yet have faced poor access to credit, capital, and an inferior educational system.

White Man in Eckington--wrote: "How about all the black men in DC who don't work and complain about having no access to jobs, yet they are surrounded by hispanic men building hotels, office building, apartment buildings... and even the new rec center at Sursum Corda!

High-Larious!"

Roll up your sleeves to help make this world a better place. But before you do that, read up. The blacks in this city have been there and done that:

http://www.blackbooksdirect.com/9780762745364.html

oh brother, where art thou? said...

"Roll up your sleeves to help make this world a better place. "

You are basically making assumptions about someone whom you know nothing about. That means you are biased.


To assume that any person doesn't know about the history of blacks in the United States MERELY because they are not black speaks volumes about "close-minded-" ness.


In fact, to use your own words against you: "Your judgement of fellow human beings without any acknowledgement of context is ridiculous."

By the way, anonymous arguments on the internet are futile.

white man in Eckington said...

Dave Chappelle is a Washington native and speaks the truth about the city today.

Interestingly, Mr. Chappelle now lives on a farm in Ohio.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bq0Ce3UqKDs

Anonymous said...

This is a very interesting an honest discourse on the endless aftershocks of slavery in the United States. Cracker derives from cracking the whip on slaves. Let it go.

We need to show respect for each other. This is a changing of the guard where the unemployed section 8 recipient lives side by side with the college educated and well employed employed. Can the two classes live in harmony? It seems not.

In other words, this is not about color. To put a racial label on it is ignorant and shallow. The fact is that black or white we're all Americans and we're all that we have in this world so united we stand or move to another country if you don't like it.

It ain't about your skin color, it's all about the thickness of your wallet and that's the American way and always was.

Anonymous said...

Are urban black folks going to take responsibility for their own lives now that Obama has been elected? Or will they continue to blame things on "whitey"?

Hmm, in Washington DC; international, national, and local politics are now dominated by black people.

The era of excuses has ended. Step up and do the right thing.

Anonymous said...

"Are urban black folks going to take responsibility for their own lives now that Obama has been elected? Or will they continue to blame things on "whitey"?"

See below for your answer:

http://www.inshaw.com/blog/2008/11/stupefying-illogical-criminals.html#comments

Stupefying Illogical Criminals

There was a mugging in the NW corner of the TC this weekend as reported on the TruxtonCircle.Org discussion board. A group of youths violently attacked a couple and their reasoning makes no sense (see below). I’m sorry, I don’t think any under funded city run youth program can redeem these criminals. The unnecessary violence used reveals a deep corruption of spirit, that may reveal a moral poverty in their family life. There are too many kids looking to beat people up. Anyway here's what was reported…

Around 1 a.m. this am at 4th and Rst, NW Three men and a woman were mugged by a group of at least a dozen youths, some on bikes. The agressors threw the woman against a tree and punched one man in the face. Another one had been struck in the leg.
The group of kids were black, all male, from what I gathered, ages 12-17. The victims described them as "highschoolers." They approached the victims from several directions, and initially threw a bottle or can over the heads of the victims. The kids wanted their wallets and phones. One of the victims yelled at kid, causing him to run away, without obtaining the wallet. Another kid said this was "for Obama."


What the....?

Labels: crime

posted by Mari @ 10.11.08
4 Comments:

At 11/10/2008 3:05 PM, Blogger adam said...

I saw the original post on TC, but has anyone heard any feedback from the police on this matter?

At 11/10/2008 4:24 PM, Anonymous SG said...

Hate crime. Why don't we just say it? It's getting bad... if this sort of thing happened to black people, there would be hell to pay (and there should be, no matter who it happened to).

At 11/10/2008 4:26 PM, Anonymous SG said...

TO clarify, I meant if this sort of thing happened where the races were reversed and the white kids had said it was "for McCain", it would be a clear hate crime. This sort of hatred needs to be addressed in an emergency fashion by the Mayor and the DCPS. I know we all think diversity training is BS, but people need to know hate is hate, and that is just is not acceptable. It may be too late for these kids, but not for the youngins still in elementary and middle school.

At 11/10/2008 11:07 PM, Anonymous jimbo said...

Later that night at around 3:30am on our way back home from Town, we crossed paths with a guy on 5th near Q who had a bloodied face. We stopped and considered what to do, turned around and caught up to him to offer him cab fare home, but he seemed out of it and determined to keep going.

We've learned that he's OK having gone to the doctor on Sunday for stitches and an exam. He's got mild trauma but is now OK, but can't remember much of what happened.

This now makes 7 people I know who've gotten mugged in the last year near Shaw, U Street or Columbia Heights. I can't stress enough the importance of being aware of your surroundings or just taking a cab home when you can. It's just not safe in our neck of the woods these days.

Patrice said...

"Are urban black folks going to take responsibility for their own lives now that Obama has been elected? Or will they continue to blame things on "whitey"?"

What a freakin' biggot. Love the generalization that urban black folks don't take responsibility for their own lives... 'nuff said. Merry Christmas America.

Anonymous said...

http://keithiskneedeepinmud.blogspot.com/2007/10/crack-is-whack.html

Anonymous said...

"What a freakin' biggot. Love the generalization that urban black folks don't take responsibility for their own lives... 'nuff said. Merry Christmas America."

Patrice, sounds like you don't know what you're talking about. President-elect Obama has been urging "Responsibility" in precisely that context for a long time.

"Jul 15, 2008 ... Senator Barack Obama continues his message of personal responsibility while addressing the NAACP in Cincinnati."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEFOvQHI1lQ

Happy New Year! Glad to be of service.

Anonymous said...

"WE MUST FIND A SOLUTION, I agreed. But my dearest neighbor, you are taking the short cut to a problem that is embedded in the historical political economic and cultural fabric of a society in which a very small particular group of people built its empire by committing criminal acts. Where should the justice system start to apply your proposed zero tolerance laws? At the White House? US Congress? At Wall Street? or on First Street NW? Who should the police start asking to go home? I think that by "several youths hanging out at the corner" you are suggesting that they should start asking the poor and working class youth in urban areas, mostly poor people of color, standing or walking on a city public street? Is there any one else in your list?"

Anonymous said...

Jesse Jackson's comments in response to Barack Obama's speech to the NAACP, calling for more personal responsibility on the part of black people in the United States:

Jackson: "You see, Barack's, umm, talking down to black people. Makes me want to cut his nuts off."

Now THAT is bigotry!


Jesse Jackson on Obama: 'Wanna Cut His Nuts Off" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aLGkFpsdHo


Hope you had a Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Does it make people feel better to insult one another on the internet?

what does it accomplish beyond fueling hate and backlashes?

Anonymous said...

"Does it make people feel better to insult one another on the internet?"

Does it make people feel better to ask anonymous rhetorical questions on the internet?