Monday, September 7, 2009


So... Zafatista has this great blog entry about her double consciousness in the hood and gentrification in Brooklyn that everyone should read. And gentrification has been on my mind a lot recently. Well, it's always on my mind since I see consistently see it and its ill consequences all around me. When I head to the Lower East Side and see the slew of bars where white men who just finished pissing in front of people's homes go to party, I become enraged that my hood is now the trendy party town and that eyesore hotels have displaced my people. I want to tell people, "My dad's brother was killed on that rooftop by gang members. Look at this place now. Neighborhoods can only be nice for folks with money it seems. How will all of my people be able to afford living here to enjoy the L.E.S.'s new brown garbage cans and new bright track and soccer field without worrying about stability and strength. When I see that the F train, which has always stood for "Effed up" train in my book is brand new and full of white people who actually get off at 2nd Avenue, I'm surprised. Then, of course, there's the times I'm chilling in Harlem in Manhattan or near Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, and I can't recognize the places because there are new condos and buildings with modern architecture. But where are my people going to be? Where do we go? To other gang and drug-dealing infested areas, to places we can afford a little better but are more run-down and dirty. And the cycle begins again.

This man I met yesterday spoke at great lengths about why gentrification is a good thing. My friends and I were enraged. How could he say such a thing? we thought. How could he really not understand the distinction between development from which all people can benefit and gentrification, which clearly indicates that one socioeconomic class is more valued over the other. Clearly, this topic is far more complex than I am getting into here, but how is it that a person of color can speak about the American dream and how people are just poor-minded and that's what makes and keeps them poor and how people just use the government and that's why gentrification is good is something that I find so hard to answer. 

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