Things to think about

There is a fine line between moving into a poor, violent neighborhood and being the outside middle class invaders and moving into a poor, violent neighborhood and being part of the positive changes that affect the tone of a community.

There is a fine line between wanting to be in a neighborhood that is racially diverse, and moving into a mostly brown neighborhood and being perceived as an outsider.

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~ by realsupergirl on August 2, 2006.

4 Responses to “Things to think about”

  1. Yep, and it’s even harder in a city like Boston that’s like a giant TV dinner tray.

    Racism and classism here is just crazy compared to anywhere else I’ve lived. I don’t necessarily mean racism as in “people being racist” and harboring hostile/superior views, but I mean the societal effects of the place being quite segregated by race, class, ethnicity, etc. It AMAZES me that someone can work in a business downtown and not ever have met anyone from X neighborhood. Even with the people who work downtown, there are businesses full of employees and consumers all from the same neighborhood. Or that there are people who live on my street, 2 blocks from the T and 9 minutes from downtown, who go “into Boston” once a year if that. And just people’s ignorance in general of neighborhoods that are a few minutes from them and can easily be visited without a car. People in all groups feeling like they aren’t welcome in certain neighborhoods or scenes.

    Hmm…there’s even a line within the “gentrification” category. You know, like, buying a house where you’re on the high end of the income in the area and being able to repaint your house and have some nice shrubs and devote time to the neighborhood association is a good thing. Buying a house where you’re quite above the average income, totally pimping it out to the point that you alienate the neighbors, never spending any time hanging out in your neighborhod, and then reselling it for a lot more money is bad gentrification. Or even worse, opening up a business with an atmosphere where the people who live in that neighborhood are clearly not the targeted audience.

  2. Oh, I’d call it more two sides of the same coin. Even if you have the best of intentions and work to get to know your neighbors and build community, etc., one of the legacies of institutionalized racism may mean that other middle-class white people will see your being there as a sign that the neighborhood is now a safe place for them to live. And, as the neighborhood continues to change and the mostly brown, mostly poor people are forced out by rising property values, some of them will perceive you as part of the new mass of outside, middle-class invaders. And, if you’ve done the work of building community, some of them will know that you moved to the neighborhood because you wanted to have racially diverse neighbors and that you are working along side them to improve the place you live.

    That’s my theory, anyway. I hope I’m right, because that’s what I’m trying to do, and I can’t figure out how else to have a shot at bringing my son up among racially diverse people in one of the whitest cities in America.

  3. I can’t figure out how else to have a shot at bringing my son up among racially diverse people in one of the whitest cities in America.

    Lloyd Center, man. My freshman year at Reed, my closest friend was David Morales, who came from South Central L.A.. I came from San Antonio. We were both shocked at how white Portland was. Not knowing anything about the city, we started going to Lloyd Center Mall because it was the one place we could get to easily by bus where we could find brown people.

  4. i’d like to talk more about this
    in person

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