In cities across the world, vibrant communities of authenticity are being systematically cleansed of all that is good. Entire neighborhoods of color are disappearing, through a cynical process described euphemistically as ‘renewal’ or ‘regeneration’. We should not be afraid to call it by its true name: gentrification.
Defenders of gentrification claim that it involves ‘improving’ and ‘renovating’ districts that are ‘dilapidated’, through investing large sums of money. Buildings are either demolished outright and re-built, or else extensively refurbished. Both the featured image and picture below show the ‘before’ and ‘after’.
The reality is that gentrification is deeply racist; real estate investors re-develop neighborhoods and ‘smarten up’ streets precisely so as to attract ‘affluent’ (read: white, middle-class) people. In turn, people of color, low-income workers, and immigrants are forced to vacate their ‘hoods’.
Investors barely disguise their deep-set racism as one individual admitted about his redevelopment of Bushwick, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights in New York:
“My saying is — again, I’m not racist — every black person has a price. The average price for a black person here in Bed-Stuy is $30,000 dollars. Up over there in East New York, it’s $10,000 dollars. Everyone wants them to leave, not because we don’t like them, it’s just they’re messing up — they bring everything down. Not all of them”
He goes on: “If there’s a black tenant in the house—in every building we have, I put in white tenants. They want to know if black people are going to be living there. So sometimes we have ten apartments and everything is white, and then all of the sudden one tenant comes in with one black roommate, and they don’t like it. They see black people and get all riled up, they call me: “We’re not paying that much money to have black people live in the building.” If it’s white tenants only, it’s clean. I know it’s a little bit racist but it’s not. They’re the ones that are paying and I have to give them what they want. Or I’m not going to get the tenants and the money is not going to be what it is.”
How many times does this stupid investor have to remind us ‘he is not racist’? He is exactly like Joseph Goebbels, convinced that if he repeats his lies enough, we might believe he is actually a progressive. We are not fooled!
It is clear to this author that not only must gentrification be stopped, it must be reversed. The racist investors must be forced to return the ‘improved’ districts back to the condition in which they found them. This means removing the health food stores and overpriced coffee shops with their pretentious ‘barristas’. Out, too, with the hipsters on their slim steel-framed single-speed cycles, the floral decorations on street corners and the sound-proof windows. Bring back the African braiding shop, the fried-chicken/kebab eateries, the pawn and porn shops. And do not forget the boarded-up buildings that allow our youth to express themselves through the medium of street art.
Finally, the racist investors must grovel to the evicted people of color, pay reparations and return them to the vibrant communities of authenticity they so love.