White people sure love to take stuff, don't they?
Oh, hey white people. Yes, don't worry, I have white friends.
They are relentless. They're like a plague. They're like Iggy Azalea. They just keep coming back and you keep wondering "why"?
They're taking our neighborhoods. They're pretending like they're doing us a favor.
New York, DC, Atlanta, LA, Chicago, San Francisco conveniently are losing their Black, Latino, and Asian populations - along with all the art, music, and warmth that we bring. Our cities are now gaining taxed, city services - like fixed up streets, picked up trash, and fixed streetlights - now that young whites are moving in and displacing us. Our businesses are closing, longtime fixtures are disappearing, and landmarks built with love are vanishing forever.
I don't know why the f*ck this is happening and I wish it would stop happening. Our cities are wonderful, or they were. Now they're filled with every Becky and Tom from Kansas, walking their little dogs and staring through us as if we're the outsiders. Yeah, you, whose grandmother bought her house in this neighborhood 40 years ago, and you, whose uncle built that neighborhood joint for all the kids to hang out at. You're the outsider.
Luckily for Becky and Tom, the heads of our cities want us out, too. They want these young whites in. Those grocery stores and convenience stores being built now could have been there years ago. That lot they're filling in is only a priority in the last few years.
Margaret Kimberley of Commondreams.org says this is happening because young whites bring the money cities want. "Gentrification," Kimberley writes, "the displacement of Black and brown urban residents by more affluent whites – is a function of the same forces that emptied the cities of much of their white populations, generations ago: the movement of capital." [link: http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/05/29/gentrification-and-death-black-communities]
Glenn Millis interviewed Nellie Hester of the Harlem Tenants Council for New American Media. Hester says, "... This is about much more than just gentrification ... [I]t's all but become a matter of public policy, one mandated by the big-time real estate, insurance and finance companies that now govern the economies of cities and truly pull all the strings. Among them, the consensus seems to be that [B]lack people don't have the right to live ... on high-valued, expensive land.” [link: http://newamericamedia.org/2011/08/gentrification-moving-more-blacks-from-cities.php]
White youth in the US disproportionately earn and save more than people of color, but they are quick to forget that they have been boosted by a racist government that has enabled them to do so. And, they probably never learned that that same government has pulled the rug out from Black and Latino people at EVERY turn. While your uncle and your grandmother made do with what they could, their uncles and grandmothers were getting handouts to help them build.
Of course they'll deny this. They like to think they all pull themselves up by themselves, on their own.
I had a fun encounter with one of these white Millennials last year at an economics conference. I was one of the few Blacks in attendance and listened as white leaders pandered to the white audience about how to "solve poverty." This white woman had the misfortune of sitting next to me and introducing herself. So naturally I started talking about gentrification.
"Wow, I wonder what can we do about it?" she asked me.
"I do wonder." I said. "It's a difficult problem. Young white people are moving into the cities and displacing Black people. The governments are helping them do this." She started sweating, agreed with me, and seemed relieved when the speaker called us to silence.
It's inconvenient to young women like her to think about who she's affecting by following her dreams. It's inconvenient to consider the government is pandering directly to people like her, but they are, across the country.
Like in Brooklyn, where city officials are devising plans to put into place "affordable housing" that would price out longtime Black residents. [link: http://atlantablackstar.com/2016/03/27/gentrification-black-people-becoming-outsiders-communities/]
This is not an isolated phenomenon, it's nationwide. From coast to coast I bet y'all are nodding with me.
We need our neighborhoods back but largely, they're already gone.