I’ve been thinking about so many things lately and I just feel like I’m about to burst. The world has gone INSANE. And frankly, I just need to release, so….voila! I'm gonna see if writing a blog helps. You and I (whoever you are) probably won't agree on everything but, hey, you can't please everybody!
So here goes...
I just read an article about how DC is changing its demographics. You know, I’m tired of people seeing only one side of this issue. I’ve been on both sides…well, I’m black so there are actually only so many sides I can be on. To put it bluntly, I’m tired of things changing for the better, but only because of who’s moving in. Didn’t the people who live in the area deserve crime free, clean streets before more affluent (read: white) people started moving in? Now, when I moved into Bed-stuy(do or die baby!)Brooklyn, I was one of those edjumacated (yes this is actually a word...in ebonics) blacks who started a garden in the front yard and tried to literally clean the streets.(I, with a few of my neighbors literally picked up the trash off the block. We even cleaned up the crack house front yard…they kept it clean from then on so we wouldn’t come back LOL) But then, after some time of seeing the police around, a really nice…wait for it…sushi bar moved in not far from me. A SUSHI BAR?! Really?! I like sushi, but in Fort Greene where Biggie lived? In Harlem, a Caviar bar moved in…I really don’t have much more to say about that. All of a sudden, street lights where fixed and roads were repaved, because in what seemed like just a few minutes after all that, white folks started to move in. Now the first newbies were harmless. They were just decent folk who wanted to live good and be a part of the community. But before long, it seemed like a critical mass was reached and I began to really understand what the old folks mean when they use the word "gentrification" : suddenly there was no parking, buildings that didn’t look like they belonged in the same neighborhood started being built. Now, don't get me wrong: it’s great to have all the nice streets, and restaurants and stuff, but the people that sold earlier got tooken (more ebonics, if ya don't know). Those people sold for less and then…these new neighbors have the audacity to have a problem with the weed head sitting in front of the house. Now, those guys just sit and smoke weed and talk shit. They're mostly harmless. All they wanna do is smoke weed. But each of them at one point or another knocked on my window to tell me I needed to move my car (in NYC they have opposite sides parking for street cleaning, a joke in many respects since it cleans nothing and it allows the nyc parking authority to make money giving out tickets for $75 or so). A crackhead once even removed the big stump that I had been digging out of my front garden for a dollar. FOR A DOLLAR! My neighbors, who had lived there for years and years, watched my 1st child grow up and ride her big wheel down the sidewalk. These are salt-of-the-earth people, with their own dignity and purpose. Those whom just moved in should not have any precedence over the original inhabitants just because they have more money, an ipad and/or a new hybrid car.
When I moved back to the DC area, I was astonished (and frankly nauseated) how entire neighborhoods had just flipped COMPLETELY in the time I'd been gone! But by the same token, I like nice restaurants. I like improved transportation. I like interesting bookstores in communities that I like to visit. I work in Petworth, formerly crack central, home of the Black Hole where many a gogo was held, an area where my mother would hate for me to be. It still has quite a few problems, but with the new metro stop, apartments and condos, Craig and Cindy are out walking their dog on the side streets next to Georgia Ave. A few years ago, they would have not even thought that area as worthy to live. There are FLOWERS in the courtyards. Need I say more?
I understand black DC residents distrust of the gentrification happening. In this economy, who can afford to have their property taxed bill hiked up by 200% or 300%, just because they choose to stay and take advantage of the good things happening. Should the good things stop though because some are displaced? What should happen to the people who are displaced by gentrification? Sometimes it feels like there’s a war or something that’s being perpetuated against city inhabitants, in the name of progress. But what kind of progress is it, and who really benefits? Nobody ever has rationale, real discussions about this in our political system because if you do, the big developers who own all the land and are building up everything on Rhode Island Ave and 4th St and near H st, will just stop supporting the person and will move to the next candidate. Life Sucks sometimes.