Tag Archives: change

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.

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The New American Caste System?

Poor is the new Black.

Now that I have your attention.  What do I mean by that?  America is a society where historically someone (or some group such as women) has to be “the lower caste”.  I have a feeling that the rising number of poor people in America just may become the new “Out” group.  By using the word “caste” I mean to put emphasis on the fact that in the near future people may not be able to raise themselves up out of poverty by their book straps, just as for generations many people in places like India have never escaped the stigma of the caste they were born into.  I wonder if we are seeing the foundations of a society where poor is the new untouchable.

Will race still be a factor in the way groups are divided up in the U.S.?  Sure, but let’s face it, my fellow Negroes.  Many of us are educated enough and make enough money were we don’t have to worry about the daily trials and tribulations faced by our fellow American who live below the poverty line.  Sure, there is still racism to content with.  But you cold, hard, green cash and plastic is accepted as widely as Visa most of the time.  Race is not the main qualifier in the American caste system these days.

However, I’m also not ignoring the fact that many blacks are in the ranks of the poor as well…every ethnic group is. White, Black, Brown, Red, Yellow…Technicolor…doesn’t matter.  If you don’t have money in America, you are in a really tight spot right now.

Ask someone who doesn’t have a job.  Ask a recent grad who’s been looking for work since January.  Ask a Baby Boomer who keeps being told they are over qualified, but they look in the interviewer’s eyes which seem to say, “You’re too old for us to take the chance that you’ll wreak havoc on our insurance policy and we already have too many folks on disability.”

I was just reading this morning that U.S. Income inequality is at its highest level since the Census started tracking it in 1967 (Gini Index).  The number of U.S. households getting food stamps increased by 2 million last year to 11.7 million.  This is the highest number on record.  That means 1 in 10 families are getting government aid to feed themselves.

If we keep going in this direction, how poor you are will determine your place in society more than how Black you are.  A caste system focused on economical attainment is not far-fetched.

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Is it just me or does this “Do away with the 14th Amendment” jazz make you antsy?

On the news last night I noticed a lot of commentators and pundits were discussing the 14th amendment all willy nilly.  Um…was anyone else uncomfortable with the dialogue.  I don’t want to wake up tomorrow and hear that I’m not a citizen.  Don’t follow me…

Background: Anderson Cooper’s show offers the rundown of what’s being tossed about in the halls of Capitol Hill.

Republicans such as Sens. Lindsey Graham, John Kyl and John Cornyn are tripping over themselves to jump on the latest “Dumb Way to Solve the Illegal Immigration Problem” bus by suggesting Congress examine repealing the 14th Amendment, which deals with one way of becoming a U.S. citizen.

The far right has latched onto the idea that the provision in question – which grants citizenship to children born in the U.S. – is being abused by illegal immigrants who choose to come to America to have their children, thus worsening the illegal immigration problem.

Some are even trying to suggest that how it is being used today is counter to the original intent of the Founding Fathers.

Of course, the 14th Amendment was not in the first U.S. Constitution as drawn up by our framers. It was adopted on July 9, 1868, to prevent Southern states from denying citizenship to former slaves and their children, since they didn’t choose to come to America. They were brought here for the purpose of the vicious and dehumanizing free-labor plan that helped build the nation – slavery.

There were no immigration laws as we know them in 1868 so this is just crazy talk.

The problem is enforcement of the existing laws.  The 14th amendment can’t change anything that the government is not going to enforce.  The problem in my opinion is that we have neglected our own immigration laws and the enforcement of them for so long that now the elephant in the room is that there are millions of people who would have to be rounded up for the law to really be followed to the letter.  Many of these people have children who are by law American citizens.  Combine this with the fact that we’ve allowed whole industries to benefit from the labor of persons who are in this country illegally.  If all of the “illegal” aliens were forced to leave, the impact would be felt on various levels of our society.

In addition, NO ONE is going to take away the 14th.  One good reason?  All the Italian, German, Russian, and other european immigrants who came to these shores.  You see, no one is going to want to have to prove that their great, great grandma from England or Cicely became a citizen naturally.  Remember people, we are a nation of foreigners.  The only people who’ve “been” here are the Native Americans.

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Black Vegan: You have considered going Vegetarian or Vegan?

I’m currently exploring veganism as a way to lose weight and improve my health.  My path involves a lot of raw food and excludes a lot of processed food (white flour, white sugar, white rice, etc).  So I was wondering, how many of my fellow African-Americans have embraced or are considering embracing a veggie-centered lifestyle when it comes to what you put in your mouth?  What are your reasons for changing your diet?  How long have you embraced vegetarianism or veganism?  What is making you consider making a change if you haven’t already?

Let me know what you think.

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Gentrification in DC: Can a sista find a decent beauty supply store?

I spent at least an hour yesterday trying to find a decent, open beauty supply store catering to African American women and their hair care needs in NW Washington DC. Couldn’t be found, People!!

Now I know you’re saying, “Sista, why are you blaming gentrification??”. Well, simply put…the clientele has changed thus the products and services available (and the times when they are available too) has changed. That’s what happens with gentrification. Hell, that’s what happens with change. Things change, this is life.

There is a great beauty supply on Georgia Ave near Howard University (was closed) and another across from the Giant on P St NW (closed). Where did I start my search? Columbia Heights (at the Target. They didn’t have what I was looking for and a “black” beauty suppy would.). No beauty supply stores in columbia heights?? Oh, I wonder why. Sisters, let me know if you have any suggestions.

Do I really have to go to PG county to get what I need, really? Where is a Sally’s when you need one. Dag.

Next thing you know i won’t be able to find any Chinese Food (which is good cause I don’t need to eat that), no Soul Food resturants, and no Nail Salons with bright neon colored polish that will do a french tip on your big toe (I think that’s so ghetto…I’m sorry…I really do).  LOL!  I can’t find a beauty supply, but I’ve seen at least 3-5 new wine stores (wine stores…not liquor stores…there is a difference) in the same area of NW I’m talking about here.

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Wassup 2008

I love this!

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