Gentrification: White where there was no White in Chocolate City.

Swirl or Twist.  That’s what most ice cream, frozen custard, or frozen yogurt places call it when your vanilla and chocolate frozen goodness is twirled together in harmony.  Yummy.

That isn’t Gentrification.  It displaces people and cultures.  Fault should not be laid on the persons staking their claim in areas previous devoid of Caucasian population.  Really, it’s just politics and finance.

I wrote about this a few years back and now TBD (ABC 7/Newschannel8) has quoted me.  I’m flattered.

“I rarely see an African American face enjoying the coffee culture,” Hello, Negro wrote shortly after the shop’s opening. “Maybe the long term residents aren’t into Rishi Tea. Maybe the crackheads hanging out in the LeDroit Park Playground across the street are too amazed at the sight of this former-corner store turned soho style coffee establishment to inquire about the fine pastries. The juxtapositioning is striking. The locals call it LeDroit, they call it ‘Bloomingdale.’”

Honestly, gentrification in Washington, DC as I’ve seen in the last 11 years has been very entertaining to watch.  From avid runners out at the crack of dawn avoiding crack heads (3 months ago, I saw this white guy jogging down Michigan Ave NE barefoot.  No lie.  Crazy.) to white women walking home from the metro late at night in neighborhoods I wouldn’t roller skate through, there is a lot to observe.  I think of it as my own little reality tv show featuring short pieces on gentrification.  We’ll at least there are grocery stores, improved metro stations, and improved housing (that most can’t afford) where there were none.

4 Comments

Filed under african american, black, change, community, culture, d.c., interracial, news, opinion, politics, race, washington dc, white folks

4 Responses to Gentrification: White where there was no White in Chocolate City.

  1. I hear a lot of Black people complaining about Whites and Asians moving into Harlem. Some people feel that Harlem belongs to Black folks, and no one, especially White people, should be living there. I live in Manhattan and have always been open minded about people. I feel that someone should be able to live where they wish and can afford without worrying about race or religion. But it was quckly pointed out to me that as they move in to Harlem, the price of living has increased. And that most Black people who have lived there for years are now unable to afford to. At the same time new stores and apartments are springing up all over Harlem, while it’s history is disapearing. So, who do we blame? Ourselfs? The Goverment? The wealthy Landlords? Or do the Black people of Harlem try to deal with the ever changing future of the neighborhood that they no longer recognize? I listen to what some people say without judgement. I am Black, and see changes constanly going on around me. But with change, i have learned to adapt.

  2. Malcolm X

    If you look at it gentrification started when The Natives were displaced, in America, by The Caucasians. In other words, except for The Natives, we`re all IMMIGRANTS. It`s the same deal with The Palestinians and The Israelis. Of course, The Black man had longed traveled North America, even before The American Indian, but just didn`t settle here. Afterall, The Black man is the original man. But yeah, you can rest assure that, whenever they begin to bring about better housing, better grocery stores, better businesses, etc. gentrification isn`t far behind. The Whites are not going to pour a ton of money into a neighborhood/district to improve Black life…it`s to move us out. That`s just reality.

    We, as Blacks, have never been a priority in this country. And we never will be under this current, oppressive, system. You see, a capitalist system doesn`t cater to the needs of the poor and underclass. It only serves to insure the continued domination of the upperclass. It`s the main purpose for its existence. But not only domestically, but globally as well. All the wars that America is engaged in in The East intertwines with its system of capitalism…it`s simple mathematics. They tell The American people that they`re there for some noble reason to mask their true intentions. America has invaded these areas for two main reasons. Oil and to destroy Islam.

    This started many, many years ago when The Muslim Crusaders drove The Christian Crusaders from their land. At that time it was also about gentrification in the truest sense. America has many code words that speak to the displacement of non-whites that we hear everyday. Terms such as redistric, red zone, urban renewal, etc. They speak in coded language to conceal their evil intentions. Gentrification takes many forms under the disguise of politics and economics. Just look at Harlem for example. There was a time when you couldn`t find a caucasian face there. During the times of The 60s and 70s all you saw were Afros sprayed down with Afro Sheen. Gentrification=White Racism.

    Peace, in the spirit of my “Hero’, Malcolm X

  3. MissHippieGirl

    Gentrification, def per Webster: the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents. When I lived in Virginia’s Tidewater area, the cities of Norfolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, and Hampton all started tearing down parks. Parks = projects = Low/No income apartments. The “promise” was that they would be replaced with affordable single family homes and duplexes. What they didn’t say was affordable for who. The end result of course was that thousands of families were displaced. Yes thousands, these Parks were huge. Many had to move in with other family members until they could find a place that they could afford. What we are dealing with is a culture of if they want it, they rezone it and you have got to get out of the way. Of course the areas look awesome, because of the money that was poured into them. My question is when do we come together to make a change for ourselves. We already know that we are not a priority for city and state goverments. We have to make ourselves a priority and begin to act, instead of reacting. We have been reacting since we were shipped here from various countries of color. I know the old arguement about how we don’t trust each other because of what the culture of slavery did to our sense of community, but that is a cop out now. I believe that we can make welfare, the low income housing stereotypes, and our dependence on a system that does not have our best interest at heart obsolete. Everyone who has “made it” has a responsibility to give back. If you have a business, find a way to hire a kid that otherwise would not be given a fair chance to work. Do what you can for someone else with what you have. If you know how to write a grant proposal, whats stopping you from doing something to improve the community? Help someone open a business. Got a lot of empty abandoned buildings on your block? Get together with your neighbors and put pressure on the owners of those properties to either do something with them or let the community purchase them. Open a co-0p grocery store (usually missing in our neighborhoods). Start community programs for youth so that they can excel. Break the poverty curse. Take responsibility for our futures. Stop waiting for them, lets do this for ourselves.

  4. Pingback: There is something about D.C. « The Chronicles of Travelling Womanists

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