Confessions of a Black Gentrifier When demographic change doesn't involve color

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There weren’t many arrests and fewer convictions, but there was an increase in police presence, and the spike in crime dipped shortly after, in December.

That run of crime, however, revealed to me what may be the biggest gift of the black gentrifier: The ability to fly under the radar. While it can be frustrating to be ignored in conversations about neighborhoods in transition, there’s one major upside. Black gentrifiers typically don’t feel unsafe in our neighborhoods, despite reports of muggings and property crime.

It’s hard, though, to decide whether that feeling is born of naïveté or if it’s grounded in something real. That is, being black, when one is new to a black neighborhood, may be emboldening. Perhaps it’s an extension of how Black Men of a Certain Age will often greet one another when passing on the street, whether they know each other or not; perhaps it’s that feeling of being part of a larger black whole, left over from the 1970s, of being in this—what’s quickly becoming a poorly defined space—together.

Williams says that despite having her car broken into once in Bloomingdale, she never felt unsafe. “It was probably just ignorance, but I remember hearing [through the local e-mail message board] about this group of teenagers that was terrorizing people as they walked around, but either I never saw them, or if I did, they didn’t bother me.”

While MPD’s 3rd District, which includes my neighborhood, has the highest rates of robbery in the city, I feel no more wary in LeDroit Park than I do in Georgetown or Foggy Bottom. It’s not possible to get victim stats broken down by race, though the public outrage meter suggests that in LeDroit and Bloomingdale, it’s not black neighbors getting mugged. But what may be equally likely is that fewer of those black neighbors are tweeting about it, or notifying the neighborhood blogs, or posting outraged messages to e-mail boards.

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Ngongang says the local kids in Columbia Heights call him “‘Big nigga on a bike,’ because I’m the only black dude riding around on a bike.”

He recently stopped to talk to some of those kids, and they showed a stunning self-awareness. They told him, “[White people] should know we don’t fuck with them. We mess with each other.” Ngongang adds, “The fact that a 12-year-old or a 13-year-old understands the cultural dynamics is pretty amazing. They know the cops will shut down this block if a white girl got shot or killed.”

Ngongang judges gentrification in Columbia Heights by a deceptively simple metric: “You can tell by the willingness certain people have to walk around late at night,” he says.

Describing one night on Sherman Avenue when an intoxicated white woman was walking at 3 a.m. with her iPod earbuds in, Ngongang says he guesses that the line of demarcation between “safe” Columbia Heights and “the ‘hood” had shifted from 11th Street NW to Sherman Avenue during the last two years.


The District has changed fast enough in the last few years that even a short time away can leave a neighborhood looking different. Chris Wallace, who grew up in Upper Northwest and Near Northeast, graduated from high school in 1999 and attended Southern University in Louisiana, and those years away from home opened his eyes to changes.

“I’d come home from school and ask ‘when they build that?’” Wallace says, referring to shiny new luxury condos or stores or restaurants.

He returned to the metro area in 2004, and now lives in Columbia Heights in a house that belonged to a family member who used it as a rental property for years. As she grew older, she became unable to manage the property.

“Her tenants stopped paying rent, and effectively became squatters,” he says. “My family kicked them out, and the house sat empty for about three years.”

In early 2009, Wallace began rehabilitating the house—cleaning out drug paraphernalia, piles of dirty clothes left behind by those who broke into the house, and broken glass in the back yard—and moved into the house with his girlfriend in June of last year. (His family is currently embroiled in a tax battle with the city over the years when the house was unoccupied and subjected to a higher vacant property tax, despite the fact that exceptions can be made for homes undergoing renovation.)

Living in Columbia Heights, Wallace feels conflicted. His reception in the neighborhood varies by what he’s wearing. If he changes out of his suit and into sneakers and jeans after heading home from his job as a mortgage loan officer, getting a drink at a local watering hole, now overrun with young professionals, can feel uncomfortable. But it cuts both ways.

“Even the younger people of color in the neighborhood, how, what, or if they speak to me depends on what I’m wearing,” he says.

Our Readers Say

Now THIS is how you write an honest and factual article.

"Kudos" to the writer and to everyone who participated in this article. Everyone's experience is unique but this one totally nailed my experience as a "black gentrifier" in Congress Heights. Great job!
Wonderful piece. We are not one dimensional, no one is. Thanks for the truth telling.
Aisha is a good friend and she speaks the truth! THANK YOU my friend for spilling the numbers, giving your opinion and speaking the truths of city. Working for the Census for 6 months I was able to "see" the numbers!! As a white girl living in LeDroit Park constantly accused of being a gentrifier I just have to laugh at this point. Most people assume I have money, own my home, don't know a thing about the neighborhood or DC and like to make quick judgements--- I live with two black women, (which people think is shocking--- WHY???) receive food stamps, Medicaid, and am just trying to make it like most of the people I know in this area. The rent is one of the lowest I have found in the District and I live close to the Metro--- and without a car it is essential.

In regards to the crime stats in 3D--- your comments are somewhat accurate. Seeing that I am heading up the Neighborhood Watch in LeDroit Park I can definitely speak to the crime stats, the numbers and the generalities of the victims. I too wish the victims race was published because I agree that white folks in general feel less safe than black folks in the neighborhood but unfortunately everyone is getting robbed, mugged, assaulted etc. While Rayful Edmonds is not running the streets anymore the fact is black folks are just as much victims of robberies in the neighborhood on a regular basis through blatant snatchings, home invasions, stolen vehicles etc. And yes, this white girl (me) was grabbed on the corner of 7th and T street I waited for the police for over 45 minutes to make a report-- they never showed up so I left. In fact the reason I got involved in the Neighborhood Watch was because I was tired of calling the police for over a year and not having them show up. I also became a mentor with the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA) who monitors individuals in the District on probation or parole.

In general another aspect that this article could focus on is being from DC or not being from DC. LOL. It's a great conversation that I have when I am at work east of the river daily.

GREAT ARTICLE!!!!
My first glimps of your literary light attracted my attention as I am a follower on twitter and now having read your article on "gentrification", I am more enlightened in recognizing such a literary diamond in the rough.

Awesome and informative reading...

Best Regards

Rev Dr. Carroll
Sovereign Prophet Atse,
Tetragrammaton Theosis Temple



Really enjoyed reading this article. The detailed information was enlightening. As the upwardly mobile increasingly see the value of living in the city, gentrification will be ongoing, and poor folk will likewise continue to be displaced. Great article!
Loved it.
1. You're all immigrants to North America. You've all gentrified, colonized and other wise despoiled tribal lands.

2. In this modern America, people move. Where they move is no one else's business. It's not gentrification...it's called housing oneself and one's family. Gentrification is a myth made up by cranky nosy neighbors.

3. Economies are fluid. Housing markets are fluid. When people are priced out, that a fact of capitalism. If you don't like it, I'm all for trying socialism sans the corruption.

4. Quit whining.
I can take you to a multitude of neighborhoods that are black and proud of it. My neighborhood block in Trinidad is black and we have residents who moved their 60 years ago as 20 year-old newlyweds. What I am noticing is that the grandchildren are moving back to the neighborhoods although their parents have become county residents.

My aunt lives in a neighborhood, where the founder Sheehy Ford was living as the story goes my aunt and uncle were the first black to move to that southeast block. Well they have been there for 61 years and all the whites have moved away with biggest exodous being between 1968-1972. But all of the 16 houses on that block are occupied by black residents and generationally being turned-over.

One white moving into a neighborhood makes it gentrification worthy. I know many blacks are saying where are all of these whites coming from, the biggest question should be amongst the blacks where have all the black been hiding?
LOVED IT!!! Best article I've seen that accurately captures what is happening each of the river
I thought Native American JD's 4 points were worth noting. I am proud to despoil his tribal lands every chance I get. But the last 3 points were actually worthy of praise.

I LOL'd at these two sentences: "Innumerable tiny incidents have added up to me being where I am now. Precious few of them have anything to do with my own innate specialness."

Actually, your innate specialness (a.k.a. your genetic code) determines roughly about half of "where you are now". (IQ, for example, is 55-60% heritable.) The author is at least somewhat gifted (nature!) as a writer to land a cover story at a major metro weekly. To not acknowledge that and to act like it's a product of randomness is folly.

Someday she'll learn, assuming this nation of cowards comes around to Eric Holder's perscription to "discuss race honestly" (which, ironically, is the exact opposite of what Holder really wants).
beautiful.

keep witnessing. keep writing.

peace and blessings!
i have not read the article yet, but i wanted to say, f-ing awesome illustrations!

Really great article. Two things:

1. "Sure. While walking the neighborhood with one’s greyhound, it’s easy to spend much of the time eagerly peering at apartments up for rent, renovations of rotted-out townhouses, and new commercial projects. It isn’t as easy to learn details about the local public schools or the people who send their kids there."

If you want to gain a better understanding of your neighborhood/its history/its situation go out to your civic association and/or ANC meetings. You'll meet neighbors of all shapes, sizes and colors and maybe feel a little more connected to the place you live.

2. I would like to see a follow up piece on the digital divide that exists in many communities around this city.
OMG! This was excellent! This deserves to be in the NY Times! You really hit the nail on the head with somemany aspects of this changing city.

Thank you in particular for this comment "Meanwhile, Moore is sympathetic to the folks who have been living in these neighborhoods for a generation or more: “When we talk about gentrifiers, we talk about someone coming in and making the neighborhood ‘better.’ But a lot of times, people have been fighting, and they’re just tired of fighting.”

I wish you much success.

I'm still in shock when I go to the Takoma Park Shopper's Food Warehouse on New Hampshire Avenue and I see white faces where 2 years before there were only African Americans, Latinos and Africans.
Many people, like myself, move into the District because they are attracted by the diversity. They want to have neighbors representing more than one race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. They crave exposure to different cultures and points of view. While it is certainly premature to proclaim a "post-racial America," there is a significant part of the population that is creating their own post-racial world through the choices they make and the experiences they seek.
I was struck by how many people in this article talked about affordable housing. In the next few years many transit-oriented projects near Metro stops will be available at Rhode Island Avenue and Brookland Metro stops. I see huge apartment rental signs at the New York Avenue Metro and Fort Totten Metro. So, there's plenty of housing people can get of whatever their gentry.

I was in Bethesda Row shopping the other day. I found a few coins on the street. I didn't want to keep them so I gave them to a black man asking for money. As soon as I did that I got some really strange stairs from a white man and his sons who were parking their car in front of a shop on Bethesda row. It shouldn't be a crime to give to the destitute.
@zitam

I wonder if it was that same destitute guy or someone similar who raped and murdered that store clerk in Bethesda row last friday?
As a white resident of Brookland (similar to Bloomingdale in changes) I really thought the writer did a great job (better than any other article I've seen of late) at looking at gentrification. My general perception (and I'd love the author's thoughts on this) is that 95% of my black neighbors are very accepting of my family's presence as long as we share in the general civil compact of saying hello, keeping trash picked up, and in general being a good, thoughtful human. 5% seems resentful or angry and make it known through direct comments. Of this 5%, the majority are teenagers or pre-teens who are not particularly respectful to anyone, so I don't feel especially singled out, although there are a few adults... It was interesting the discussion of safety and I don't know if white residents of Brookland feel more or less safe than its black residents. In Brookland there is crime, but I think the most targeted group is Catholic U students-they are mainly white, but I think it is because they are students not because of race.
Writing from one of the first "gentrification" neighborhoods -- Mount Pleasant -- it's never really been about race, but about class. Wealthy people move in, poor people move out. The high-income newcomers, white or black, have different attitudes about what is appropriate in the neighborhood, and want to change things, and this sometimes causes friction with the long-time residents, whether black or white. Too many of the "gentry" want, naturally, to bring their suburban values to the inner city, unthinkingly imposing them on the longtime residents, and that can be a problem.

Black or white has little to do with it. It's more about income class, and change being imposed on longtime residents, commonly without much respect being paid to those longtime residents. Race gets into the mix mainly because, thanks to historical factors, the higher-income folks moving in tend to be mostly white, and the lower-income folks being pushed out tend to be, in DC, black. But that's entirely secondary to the class factor.
I love this article. There is one aspect missing. Aren't we supposed to share this space called the District of Columbia and show each other mutual respect regardless of color? If this is the case, how did this very public event evolve? Please bear witness if you were in attendance on 2/6/11. On 2/6/11 Bob Marley's Birthday, I ventured to Patty Boom Boom located at 14th & U Streets NW. I thought it was a reggae club and it being Bob Marley's birthday, why not celebrate here. Imagine my surprise after ascending the stairs only to hear "You no good Nigga" "You ain't never going to be nothing". I turn to my right as I am leaving the bar w/ my drink, and on the ENTIRE wall is a sheet hanging and a film depicting a black man getting lashed. I look around the audience and YES I am the only black woman there. Other than the bar tender and the person who took my money at the door, I counted 2 other people of color in the entire building. The reggae band (which showed up much later) ended up being white. As a life long resident of the District, I was struck, hurt, and dumbfounded. I stayed because my cousin had been commissioned to promote a beer company thru an independent contactor and this venue was her job for the night. I did not feel comfortable leaving her as she is younger than me. My question to you all is what part of the game is this?
The most thoughtful article I have read in the City Paper in a long, long time. Thank you.
Shani O. Hilton; reading those commendable comments from “newcomers” are great. However, this aspect of Gentrification has been written several times during the past 15 years –when I bought my first home in Ward 4. The Washington Post had written several articles and if your readers search the past articles they will find that nothing has changed. Your version is alot out of tune from the true reality.


Shani O. Hilton research the history of D.C.. It would have been lovely if you did interview some of D.C. older residents to get some clarification. Your sample of interviews was one-sided and tainted with only the newcomers and professional upstarts. In any society the rich needs the poor to service them...however, there must be a livable place for the poor/low income to live and sustain themselves.

Hilton states.
(3) “...While D.C.’s black majority has never controlled the city’s wealth, a strong black middle class developed during the middle of the last century thanks to federal government hiring. (1) Although these positions were rarely high-level ones, they were dependable jobs with benefits—something hard to come by for people who were often the children of sharecroppers— (2)and they’re what some of us still laughingly refer to as “good gub’mint jobs. “

RESPONSE....
(2) Shani O. Hilton ...I take offense to this joking of only ONE segment of Black residents who benefited from Affirmative Action [as you fail to mention]. Those of high intensity manual labor jobs were able to be hired [with only a high school education] to entry level jobs were Blacks never would have had a chance when the THREE COMMISSIONERS governed D.C. Hilton is really is an insult on Black residents.

(1) Shani O. Hilton...you failed to report the truth. The first black, majority MIDDLE CLASS.
High level jobs were earned and appointed to Blacks in this city...when Marion Barry was MAYOR. D.C.
Experienced their first Black Police chief and First Black fire Chief. More residents were allowed into the D.C. government; my brother after 2 years of college joined the Police academy [which at one time had a hiring cap for Black residents] more D.C. residents filled the D.C. Government payroll then every seen during the Barry/ David Clark/ John Wilson/Frank Smith/Wilhelmina Rolark [all hold-overs who stayed in D.C. after the Civil Rights March of Washington]. These Civil Rights fighters are the ones who took their elected positions as Councilmembers seriously and BROUGHT EQUAL RIGHTS to those Black residents who never had a chance of good living under those THREE COMMISSIONERS.

(3) Never controlled the city’s wealth.. Are you Trying to SHAME BLACK LEADERS- in your statement???
WELL KNOWING THAT THE U.S. CONGRESS CONTROL THE DISTRICT AND our Elected OFFICIALS HAVE TO ANSWER TO THE CONGRESS....why make this sorry POINT???? This is not a failing due of a majority Black city—Congress controls this city.

Hilton...DID YOU forget or are you too NEW to this city??? Do your research on D.C. History. Or; “...if you don’t know...then ask somebody...”

Black residents [for selfish reasons]spitted on the major rule for any SOCIETY....NEVER LEAVE YOUR FINANCIAL BASE!
Crack cocaine introduction to D.C. was not the major reason why the Black middle class made an exodus to Prince Georges County. Many Black middle class [as my Policeman Brother] bought into the “cheap” concept; “...I want more for my money...” That is; a large back yard, single family home and to leave the knuckle-heads in D.C. But, they never thought about what affect would it have on this financial base they were standing on...the homes/jobs in the District of Columbia.

“...D.C. has been largely insulated from the recession...”

Ms. Hilton. Let me enlighten you. Just like Coca-Cola is the major employer in Atlanta, Ga.; the Federal Government is the largest and MAJOR EMPLOYER for D.C. and the Metro area.

The Federal Government never goes BROKE, FILE FOR CHAPTER BANKRUPTCY or close shop and relocate business to China for cheaper labor rates. That is what isolates D.C. and the Metro Area from the plagues and financial crisis that the rest of the country is experiencing.

Shani O Hilton...the irony that you fail to capture is the “Why”. When a capital city is majority White and their elected officials are 90% white- white folks hold the majority of that city’s jobs and they control they city. Maybe, a hand full of Black employees but below the management level of employment.

However, with a past Mayor [Fenty-Black] a majority Black city council and the city still majority Black...why are newcomers and the rich given bicycle lanes, dog parks, new housing [high rise] and the Black residents are still waiting for the affordable housing list to move?

Developers and housing management companies were given subsidies to build and accommodate for newcomers; Harris Teeters and Fresh Fields given TEN YEARS TAX ABATEMENTS ...BUT small Black business did not share in on this benefits.

Shani O Hilton ...your next article [that has not been written by the Wash. Post] show explore the above irony of a majority Black city where the rich and newcomers get the benefits.

Ward Seven during the last several years HAD “THREE” VOTES on the City Council...the most votes that any Ward have had on the council. Chairman Vincent Gray, Kwame Brown –At-Large and Ward 7 Yvette Alexander.

However, with those 3 votes –Ward Seven had not improve jobs, housing or education – a waste of 3 controlling votes on the council. With those 3 councilmembers in their pocket, the Sopranos would have gotten more than the “nothing” the residents of Ward 7 received.

Wake Up ....Trusting Citizens

Calvin H. Gurley
calvin,
read the subtitle of this article and relax a bit.it was written specifically from a certain point of view. hilton did an excellent job with that. you have a perspective? write it up!
It may make me a horrible person but I just skipped over Calvin Hurley's comments. Great article Shani! Some media outlet would be smart to snatch you up ASAP for a full-time writing gig. You have managed to nail the small and large points of this current movement in DC (especially EotR) without pandering or sensationalism. Can't say enough good things about this article -- about to read it again.

I said it once and I will say it again, "the truth can be provocative."
"It may make me a horrible person but I just skipped over Calvin Hurley's comments."

It doesn't make you horrible. When it looked like Calvin had nothing important to say and was more concerned with talking for the sake of talking, I skipped over them too.

This was an excellent piece and it's making for a great discussion. Thanks for sharing, Shani!
@ Jack great point.

@ Calvin great point about "(1) Shani O. Hilton...you failed to report the truth. The first black, majority MIDDLE CLASS. High level jobs were earned and appointed to Blacks in this city...when Marion Barry was MAYOR. D.C.
Experienced their first Black Police chief and First Black fire Chief. More residents were allowed into the D.C. government; my brother after 2 years of college joined the Police academy [which at one time had a hiring cap for Black residents] more D.C. residents filled the D.C. Government payroll then every seen during the Barry/ David Clark/ John Wilson/Frank Smith/Wilhelmina Rolark [all hold-overs who stayed in D.C. after the Civil Rights March of Washington]. These Civil Rights fighters are the ones who took their elected positions as Councilmembers seriously and BROUGHT EQUAL RIGHTS to those Black residents who never had a chance of good living under those THREE COMMISSIONERS."
Shani, I have fowarded this to alot of folks...and so far your a hit!
Thanks so much for writing this! Your perspective has not been well circulated in these parts, and I love how honest you are about your own moral questions, and how your writing invites response, but itsn't purposefully anger-provoking.
Wonderland is a bar that caters to the neighborhood. Not all types of people who live in the neighborhood, granted, but it is nothing if not a neighborhood bar. There may not have been enough white professionals to support a bar like Wonderland in that location 10 years ago, but today there certainly are.

I did a research project on gentrification in CH in 2005, and one of my interviewees lived across the street from the bar. She told me about their opening night (her son was DJing), and how she had been shocked to see the crowd of young white people. She asked him how they had gotten there, and he said "They walked!"

Just as there are businesses in that area that cater to the new neighbors, there are also still those that cater to long-time area residents. As the balance of residents changes, and as opportunities to tap into a sector of the population that has more disposable income increase, those businesses become fewer and farther between. But isn't that the name of business?
I love people of all races and take some pleasure in some of the good things that come with gentrification. But I still feel weird seeing all these new people moving into town. Some are great residents, others look at long-time residents in a scornful way. And I think a lot of it relates to race and racism.
"While MPD’s 3rd District, which includes my neighborhood, has the highest rates of robbery in the city, I feel no more wary in LeDroit Park than I do in Georgetown or Foggy Bottom. It’s not possible to get victim stats broken down by race, though the public outrage meter suggests that in LeDroit and Bloomingdale, it’s not black neighbors getting mugged. But what may be equally likely is that fewer of those black neighbors are tweeting about it, or notifying the neighborhood blogs, or posting outraged messages to e-mail boards."

You make a good point that certain populations may tend to use digital and social media communications for civic engagement or may be more vocal about alerting others about crime through these channels. But I am not convinced that having a dark skin color can serve as a shield from being a victim of crime as you asserted in your article. I have several black gay friends who have been victimized by members of their own racial community and this hostility persists, almost without abatement, along the frontlines of gentrification in DC.

Shani's wonderfully articulated insights are backed up by statistics, at least nationally. Despite pervasive, anecdotal perceptions to the contrary, nationally most gentrification occurs not between white "invaders" and residents of black neighborhoods but between higher income black folks moving into neighborhoods populated by their lower-income brethren. The class tensions in the so-called black community are real, sometimes comical and often tragic. If we are not careful, DC will become like Paris, a place only for high-income people with degrees and yuppie cultural tendencies(yes, like myself, although I prefer Busboys to Starbucks!) Had Mayors Barry, Williams, and Fenty supported inclusionary zoning that mandated that 15-20% of all new developments be affordable/low-income units (as Montgomery County has required for nearly 4 decades), we would be a lot closer to a more humane, truly inclusive city in which both the privileged and the poor have a chance to thrive.
Well now, Newbies....Young, white folks have had more money, more education, more parents who bought more houses, moved up, got mortgages, GI and FHA loans and all the rest of it. So, they had more money, house equity and all that...to pass on to their children. Look at the Shaw neighborhood. In the 1960s, there were many black homeowners but there were also may white slum landlords who owned the houses where the poorest black folks lived.. Marion Street, French and Bates Street. Wasn't the beltway built for all the white folks who moved to the burbs but worked in DC and needed a fast exit? Now, the houses at 7th and Rhode Island Ave, NW and that whole area is basically ...you guessed it white. One can barely get any house for less than half a million. So, yes, but remember the white folks have always had the money and the power! Still do!
Great article. I work at a non-profit in the Watts area of the City of Los Angeles. It's 15 minutes away from everything in LA County, extremely depressed and of course ripe for redevelopment. This article speaks to our greatest concern and ongoing battle, which is how you improve neighborhoods by transforming the people, not transplanting them.

Dissent, your comment is perfectly true and makes good sense: It also underscores exactly what this article is about. Gentrification doesn't happen overnight but over years in time. Anytime you are in a place and see a group of people who's incongruous nature surprises you... Whether that's race, class, or age... There's been a shift and the question no one's answered is where the displaced parties end up.

Truly successful neighborhood redevelopment will transform neighborhoods, not transplant neighbors... I'm hoping it gets here soon!
I thoroughly enjoyed this article, and look forward to reading more of your writings! Very nuanced article.
What a thoughtful article. I'm black, my family has been in D.C. since the 70s (and I grew up here), and now I live in West Philadelphia as a grad student. It's hard knowing you're the connection between one world of great privilege and another of struggle and disadvantage. And I'm really happy that someone was able to explain it so clearly. Thank you!
THANK YOU for this thoughtful article.

I live in the Mission District of San Francisco. DH and I bought a house here in 2003 for many of the same reasons mentioned in the article (affordability, access to transportation, etc.) not to mention that this neighborhood experiences virtually none of the famous SF fog (grin). Since we are white we are evil gentrifiers because "the Mission belongs to Latino/as" (not my words). People are really vicious and nasty about this. We have been told we have no right to live here.

We know (and are friends with) our neighbors, say "hi" (or smile) at people on the street, etc. We'll pass on getting seriously involved in the immediate community though. Disagree with one of the Hispanic coalitions on anything? You are called a racist (or elitist or worse). We do volunteer in "neutral" areas (ie. SF library, cleaning up Golden Gate Park, etc) that benefit everyone.

Gentrification (or "so called gentrification" depending on your POV) is a complex and emotionally charged issue. No neighborhood was perfect until "they" moved in and no group "saved" a neighborhood merely by the grace of their presence. Everyone has/brings baggage; good, bad and, unfortunately, ugly. Being at least polite to each other would be nice (I know, horribly naive). Getting to know each other would be even better. We might have more in common than you think.

Thanks again for such a great piece.
Opt stated; “...read the subtitle of this article and relax a bit.it was written specifically from a certain point of view..”

Opt. The interview with the one Black family that moved to Ward 8 was FINE.

IT was WHEN HILTON MADE A RIGHT TURN and began to wrongly explain one set of “the gob-ment’ Black residents and not fully give the Black middle class EXPERIENCE IN d.c. HER mockery of [that small segment] Black residents was offensive.

Hilton left the Ward 8 family and wrote about newcomers in the Shaw and Bloomingdale and U Street NW by way of the busy intersection of Georgia and Florida avenues.

And, then the Hilton statement; “...rents are cheap..” Ms.Hilton and other readers need to attend any TENAC MEETING at the Sumner School . www.wrathofmcgrath.com

I was on the Mayor Blue Ribbon Commission on Housing and I am very familiar with the housing issues in this city.
"And yes, this white girl (me) was grabbed on the corner of 7th and T street I waited for the police for over 45 minutes to make a report-- they never showed up so I left"

LOL

You are obviously a newbie. I hope you get grabbed again. You filthy gentrifier.
Most perceptive part of this article:

"Ngongang says it’s even more challenging when figuring out how to give back to your new community. He describes watching the State of the Union address at Meridian Pint with bar full of young white progressives who were outraged that it wasn’t liberal enough; he ruefully notes that these are people who can mobilize for Egypt, but probably don’t know that several students have been involved in shootings at nearby Cardozo Senior High School this school year."

Disconnect. Spot on.
Opt stated; “...read the subtitle of this article and relax a bit.it was written specifically from a certain point of view..”

Opt. The interview with the one Black family that moved to Ward 8 was FINE.

IT was WHEN HILTON MADE A RIGHT TURN and began to wrongly explain one set of “the gob-ment’ Black residents and not fully give the Black middle class EXPERIENCE IN d.c. HER mockery of [that small segment] Black residents was offensive.

Hilton left the Ward 8 family and wrote about newcomers in the Shaw and Bloomingdale and U Street NW by way of the busy intersection of Georgia and Florida avenues.

And, then the Hilton statement; “...rents are cheap..” Ms.Hilton and other readers need to attend any TENAC MEETING at the Sumner School . www.wrathofmcgrath.com

I was on the Mayor Blue Ribbon Commission on Housing and I am very familiar with the housing issues in this city.
Funniest comment is by this creatively titled wacko:

Rev Dr. Carroll
Sovereign Prophet Atse,
Tetragrammaton Theosis Temple
DC Natives > Transplant Hipster Beardos

DC Natives > Adults Snowball Fighting

DC Natives > Adults Playing Kickball

DC Natives > Ugly Overpriced Condos

DC Natives > Wanna Be Urban Gentrifiers From The Suburbs

DC Natives > Tranplants Wearing No Pants On The Subway

DC Natives > Transplants With Annoying Disgusting Nasal Voices

DC Natives > Disgusting Transplants Blogging About Their Newfound Urbanness

DC Natives > Disgusting Wanna Be Bettie Page Roller Derby Girls

DC NATIVES > Transplants Who Get Their Asses Kicked By Middle School Children

DC NATIVES > Wanna Be Urban Gentrifying Pieces Of Shit

DC NATIVES > Attention Seeking Transplants Dressing Up As Bananas

Calvin is right on point. Hilton lack of history is very obvious.
Hilton isn't writing a history report. It is the 21st century and she speaks to the present.
I just wanted to say as a long time DC resident (alternatively accused of being a pioneer, hipster, gentrifier, etc) of Columbia Heights I really enjoyed your article. You are a very talented writer and you have done DC some justice. Keep up the good stuff.

And on Wonderland, I cannot go there on the weekends anymore. But I love the week days there.
LOL at your list, Non black DC native. However, we know not all transplants fit those silly stereotypes. Besides, some of us transplants roll our eyes at those mentioned on your list, because in their quest to be so-called cool, edgy, and different, they are actually blandly the same.
oh look, hipsters writing about gentrification....
Ms. Hilton does a great job of reminding us that "gentrification" if taken at it's meaning of "economic class shifts," has little to do with race. Very interesting article.

However gentrification can't be discussed without discussing history greater than just the second half of the 20th century, the fact is every generation wants to lay claim to a place as their own, no matter how irrelevant and short sighted it is.

The term "gentrification" as it is commonly used, is often racism by another name, or class fear. There is no difference between what many lower income black DC residents feel is "gentrification," and what many rural or suburban whites feel when they see blacks and hispanics moving into their small towns. You can call it whatever you want, but more often than not it's racism and class fear under a more PC name.

As a fourth generation DC resident, with family roots in most neighborhoods of this city, and as a white, I am a little more acutely aware of history greater than just the past 40 years. For example, I know the house I currently live in was built in 1880 by a poor German immigrant, who was white, it was home to two generations of whites, then two generations of blacks, and now my family which is mixed. No one race can claim to a place in America, not with our history of transition, flights, migrations, etc. People move from one place to another on the endless waves of financial changes. And it's not just the city, as small towns get more desirable, poor whites and blacks are pushed out for bed and breakfasts and McMansions, it happens everywhere. Every time you stop and think, "this is my city" you should be reminded of the people you displaced to live on your little piece of land, all the way back to the beginning.

Great article!!
@ non black DC native: You seem somewhat tragically bitter? Why so much hate for people just because of their personal styles? There are more important things to hate people for, rather than how they choose to entertain or dress themselves. You may want to look at the deeper root of why you are so bitter towards these "newcomers" (who have always been here BTW).
I am 100% white.

I will gladly join any DC natives of color who are stomping the shit out of disgusting wanna be urban gentrifying pieces of shit.

Race has nothing to do with this.







One of the best articles I have read about gentrification in DC in quite some time. It gives a broad spectrum into what is really going on. I do not believe that the issue is as much Gentrification versus having a bunch of people lying around not doing anything with themselves. I live in SE DC (Congress Heights/Washington Highlands) to be exact make over 80K a year and love the neighborhood that i live in. Yes it has its problems, we have no restaurants, but eventually it will change as many of the other neighborhoods in DC did. Being a parole/probation officer in this city has opened up my eyes to many things. Just like Ngongang said at any given time of the day you can go down the street and see people hanging outside doing absolutely nothing and it is ashame, with so much opportunity in DC people just don't take advantage of it.
I walk into the worst neighborhoods to lock people up with no fear, because you walk with no fear and show some of these kids an example of what they can do with their life. I came from the same disadvantaged homestead as many of them, but I made it out and if I can do it anyone can. I think instead of so many people talking down about certain neighborhoods they should embrace the change, go to the areas and I guarantee you will feel different about them.

Side Note: Regarding robberies/burglaries in the city: many people would not believe it but ward 7 & 8 actually have low incidents of these crimes because people do not rob those who they feel don't have anything...it's a fact that we discuss over here at MPD daily.
Money is power in this society. If you have it...you can live anywhere you want. If you are scraping nickels and dimes together, you are completely fucked. It's always the poor who have to leave communities when the wealthier newcomers drive up the cost of living for everyone else. It's the poor who have to endure miserable, long commutes while the gentrifying class has an easy-breezy couple of stops on the red or green line. Don't you think the working class and service class deserves the same access to affordable, convenient public transportation as the professional class?

Money is power. Power over complete strangers. Power to bless someone with your spending. Power to curse someone who does not benefit from your patronage.

I noticed that the pro-Fenty, pro-gentrification (mostly white) crowd has given a super positive reaction to this article. I guess a little validation feels good once in a while. Pats on the back for a job well done.
@Non black DC native - get a life and a job.

Also, @Jack (comment 20) what exactly are "suburban values" and how do these conflict with the values of people who've been in the city for a while?

Don't most people want crime-free streets, good schools, friendly/watchful neighbors, houses not falling down, access to streets/transit, entertainment options, and a "comfortable" life? I sincerely don't understand what suburban values are vs urban values. Can someone enlighten me?
My partner and I bought a house in Woodridge almost 3 years ago. The neighborhood is majority black, we are white. But what has become the more dominant feature is the age brackets. Our neighborhood is 50% 25-45 and 50% over 60. Many of the younger families have children and we are happy that they are able to play outside without a parent being right there because they know that as a neighborhood, everyone keeps an eye out for everyone else. We bought the house because we loved the neighborhood. It is peaceful, has trees and since we do not have many restaurants it does not have a heavy traffic flow other than rush hours. Our neighbors seem to be happy with us moving in and have been very friendly to us. I hope they feel that we have been the same to them. I don't feel odd being white in a prominently black neighbothood. I hope that our neighbors see us as just the neighbors, not the gay white couple on the block. We are lower middle/middle class and have the same money restraints as our neighbors. For the past three years, we have been treated as any other neighbor, and we are glad for choosing our neighborhood.
"@Non black DC native - get a life and a job."

I have both.

Guess what?

Nobody in my family ever paid over 100k for their homes unlike all of you gentrifying wanna be urban transplant pieces of shit who are paying inflated rents and inflated prices for everything.

DC Natives > Transplant Pieces Of Shit

As a former resident of Le Droit Park, I've seen first-hand gentrification rear its ugly head, and expressing itself as whites displacing blacks. However it is also an issue of blacks who displace other blacks. Particularly along the class lines. Gentrification, its root words is gentry or (genteel) meaning a higher income or higher educated presence in a community. The result almost always is the displacement of lower earning people. In New York, it was largely the Irish & other European people who did not have financial clout.
I was happy to see the latest City Paper " Confessions of a Black Gentrifier" tackle a subject many do not want to touch. That subject would be class, and how people are affected by the callousness of those who want more "educated, higher earning people to populate an area" even when it means displacing you.
In Le Droit park, the issue was very crystal clear when the Civic Association meetings discussed issues like closing down the Gage Eckington school and eventually creating a dog park, being able to walk on the property of the Le Droit apartments and senior citizens homes, when most of them, including blacks along with whites, did not even want to associate with those residents of the apartments.
Or the discussions of not wanting the school to be dark, because of the "element" that will come. Or the refusal to have activities for young teens who needed desperately something to do, like basketball to keep them off the street. The age limits of who would be able to use the proposed recreational facility. Nuisance property, telling on neighbors (always blacks) to make sure those they did not like were "found out" because they were delinquent on their property taxes.
Or the constant harassment of the Elks Lodge which drew large cooperation from the blacks in the neighborhood who wanted the Elks gone for quite some time.
The issues of newcomers apply also to blacks who come into a neighborhood who want things changed to suit them, who do not like their poorer neighbors who probably have history with the area of Le Droit Park, richer than they will ever imagine.
I am also a transplant, I first moved into Blooming dale from homelessness, I spent nearly 5 years in Bloomingdale. I then moved to Le Droit Park, and it was an interesting place, full of drug dealers and the promise of violence. I stayed away from the Park, and alleys. I am from New York.
In the past few years I have seen a snobbery which has expressed itself in class conflicts. If you are not awake and aware, you will swallow the line that it is race only, it is not, however it cuts both ways. Assumptions that is.
I have been approached by those who question my blackness or even my class position because of my speech, what I eat, or drink, or who my friends are. Because I am a social activist, I am around more young whites (and a few veteran older whites) who have been social activists for a very long time, that often puts me outside of the community that looks like me.
What to do? To continue having these extremely important discussions. To not only continue to have dialogue between ourselves in quickly gentrifying communities, but to have these discussions citywide, especially now since so many valuable city services stand to be cut off.
If the services re cut off, we can expect a rise in crime, in all areas of the city
Louise Thundercloud Shaw resident
"Don't most people want crime-free streets, good schools, friendly/watchful neighbors, houses not falling down, access to streets/transit, entertainment options, and a "comfortable" life? I sincerely don't understand what suburban values are vs urban values. Can someone enlighten me?"

You do not understand because you are a wanna-be urban piece of shit. Thats why.

We never had full grown adults taking their pants off while riding on the subways until you stupid wanna be urban fucks started moving here.

You are a bunch of fucking posers. Period.

Nothing interesting or exciting will ever happen in DC again as long as you motherfuckers are living here.

This is why you bearded hipster fucks keep ripping off and stealing from previous decades because you all are not capable of creating anything thats new, original or relevant.

DC NATIVES HATE YOU FUCKING GUTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GO THE FUCK BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"I noticed that the pro-Fenty, pro-gentrification (mostly white) crowd has given a super positive reaction to this article. I guess a little validation feels good once in a while. Pats on the back for a job well done."

Fenty lost.

Transplants often think they know everything about the history of this city when in reality they do not know shit.


Hey, Non black DC native, why don't you go sober up.
beautifully done. i was especially struck by your to-the-point correlation between privilege (i.e. having access to societal privileges) and education. you're absolutely right. education is the solution -- always has been.
In every area where there has been gentrification, there has been an up tick of crime. This is a listing I found on DC in 2008, albeit an older listing, however when one considers why the up tick happened, in the context of those who are on the outside of the equation (poorer DC residents), perhaps even more discussion will happen. We are talking about not just money but privilege and education. Lets not put out of the equation, life experiences. This listing is from Wikipedia

Crime in Washington, D.C.

Crime rates (2008)
Crime type Rate*
Homicide: 23.8 (2009)
Forcible rape: 31.4
Robbery: 701.9
Aggravated assault: 609.8
Violent crime: 1374.5
Burglary: 638.9
Larceny-theft: 3174.4
Motor vehicle theft: 1046.1
Property crime: 4859.3
Notes
* Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.

Source: Metropolitan Police Department: City Annual Stats: 1993-2008


Crime in Washington, D.C. (formally known as the District of Columbia) is directly related to the city's changing demographics, geography, and unique criminal justice system. The District's population reached a peak of 802,178 in 1950. However, shortly thereafter, the city began losing residents and by 1980 Washington had lost one-quarter of its population. In turn, economic recession and decaying neighborhoods led to increases in the crime rate. The population loss to the suburbs also created a new demographic pattern, which divided affluent neighborhoods west of Rock Creek Park from more crime-ridden and blighted areas to the east.
JD, unfortunately during the time when the colonizers came to this land, they had a plan. The plan was never to share this land as our ancestors would have & I will tell you with some knowledge, that if you ask "progressives" to respect tribal sovereigty & return land back, you will get some of the ugliest remarks. Because the entire subject of returning North America or Turtle Island is not only terrifying to these folks, they are unable to see in context of "Discovery" gentrification equals colonialism. You have people who do not like things the way they always were, do not want the original inhabitants around. & if you are like me, both Native and African, you see the garbage all the way around.
Hey, Non black DC native: Were you molested by a "transplant" or something? Did a transplant steal your lunch money? You tool. Stop trolling this thread, your making lifelong DC residents sound like assholes.

Get a grip man, your psycho bitterness towards people who move into this city is bizarre. From the sound of it your a loser, bitter over being surrounded by people who can pay more for a house than you can, and that pretty much sums you up. If that's not that case maybe take the bitter rants towards "transplants" down a notch because that's what everyone assumes.

Just because you never left the town you were raised in doesn't make you a f*cking hero. (and I say this as someone born and raised in DC too). Hurrah for you! You never moved on!
Strong work on this article.
<i> I then moved to Le Droit Park, and it was an interesting place, full of drug dealers and the promise of violence.</i>

The word is not "interesting." The word you are looking for is "dangerous."

<i>The issues of newcomers apply also to blacks who come into a neighborhood who want things changed to suit them</i>

Of course. And we have the social capital and sense of entitlement to get what we want, whereas before, the neighborhood didn't have that, and infrastructure and safety declined. When a neighborhood stagnates because the residents aren't able to improve it, that means that any residents who manage to get on their feet and support themselves are going to leave, immediately. If you want local residents who get good jobs to stay in the neighborhood, you have to make sure the neighborhood is going to be appealing to middle class people.
here's whats really going on: too many people have too much animosity for others in their hearts. that's the issue. not class. not race. it's hate. from all sides. so many of these comments are sad. i don't live like many of you. i can deal with that if you can.
Non black DC Native -- like I said, get a life. You've got some weird prejudices. I've never been on the Metro with my pants off, I don't have a beard, I don't have an iPhone, a hipster bike, a trust fund, or any of the "hipster" qualities that seem to set you off so much.

What I do have is a job, a mortgage, a significantly higher property tax bill than anyone in my neighborhood who inherited their house, and a desire to keep my neighborhood a great place to live.

Let's not forget that a lot of people "pushed out" of the city by gentrification are cashing out. Why don't you take one of these less than 100K houses your family bought, sell it to some stupid loser hipster and take your 300K of profit and buy an entire block in some other urban oasis with fewer white tools?
I thought the City Paper had a new policy against hate speech in comments? I would think that calling people "pieces of shit" would violate that policy and the comment would be removed?

Clearly Non Black DC Native is just trying to be controversial without really bringing anything substantive to the conversation but profanity laced tirades.

This was a good article deserving of articulate, respectful dialogue.

I had to labor to get through this drivel... I'm bored with black people who think they are 'gentrifying' because they are educated, ride a bike, have a dog and live among untraveled black working class or unemployed souls. Her problem is that she has acquired the trappings but feels denied the title. Her mind is so infected with class-ism she thinks she has the power to displace the hopes of her own people by living among them - HILARIOUS. This "blacks are doing it too so it's okay" article just serve to put her ignorance on display and make rich white liberals feel okay with what REAL gentrification has done to this city's working class and black homeowners on fixed income. Either she doesn't know what gentrification is -- or she's confused. The last time I checked, gentrification is not defined as any of these two statements:

"The gentrifier is a person of privilege, and even if she doesn’t have much money, she’s got an education and a network of friends who are striving like she is, and she has the resources to at least try to get what she wants."

"Being a black gentrifier is, in many ways, just like being a white gentrifier. It means doing the best you can with what you have—even if what you have is often more than what your neighbors have. Everyone I interviewed agreed that the priority is finding a reasonably priced, relatively safe place to live, and it’s a bonus if there are a few local bars and coffee shops nearby."
"Ngongang says the local kids in Columbia Heights call him “‘Big nigga on a bike,"

I laffed.
This city is losing is culture. There is no such thing as a "Black Gentrifier" in a predominantly black city. It's a well written article but I'm sad for your cultural awareness. All the neighborhoods mentioned suffered for years.....and years..... And I'm sorry to tell you that you "Black gentrifiers" were not the reason for better police presence,dog parks and even workin street lights. EDUCATE ALL PEOPLE
"And I'm sorry to tell you that you "Black gentrifiers" were not the reason for better police presence,dog parks and even workin street lights. EDUCATE ALL PEOPLE"

I, for the life of me, don't understand the importance of a dog park. People can walk their dogs anywhere! Dogs don't care if they have a place of their own to go, as long as they get the basic needs of food, water, shelter and love. There are a lot of people in these neighborhoods who could benefit from places made for them. Are dogs more important than human beings?
Opt stated; “...read the subtitle of this article and relax a bit.it was written specifically from a certain point of view..”

Opt. The interview with the one Black family that moved to Ward 8 was FINE.

IT IS WHEN HILTON MADE A RIGHT TURN and began to wrongly explain one set of “the gob-ment’ Black residents and not fully give the Black middle class EXPERIENCE IN d.c. HER mockery of Black residents was offensive. And, since you are not Black it shows that you don't care about this mockery of a people.

Hilton left Ward 8 and wrote about newcomers in the Shaw and Bloomingdale and U Street NW by way of the busy intersection of Georgia and Florida avenues.

Hilton ...is attempting to Re-write History. RENTERS ARE NOT HOMEOWNERS.

Those newcomers who rented an English Basement are NOT CONSIDERED “GENTIFIERS” NO WAY. A renter is viewed as someone passing through the neighborhood. The two situations are very different.

They are not buying into the Afro-American neighborhoods. The Black homer owner who rented to the newcomer still maintains ownership of the home. The renter stay is temporary.

Their [renters] presence in the Black neighorhood is not felt the same way....AS A NEWCOMER WHO HAVE PURCHASED, LAYED STAKES AND SET UP TENT in the Black neighborhood. When you purchase you lay claim to that land building and building.

That is when you hear Black folks say; "...well, the white folks are buying up D.C...." refering to homeownership not renting. This rant is never heard from newcomers renting English basements.

And, then the Hilton statements from newcomers; “...rents are cheap..” Ms.Hilton and other readers need to attend any TENAC MEETING at the Sumner School . www.wrathofmcgrath.com. What is cheap rent when Hilton never revealed the interviewer's income?

I was on the Mayor Blue Ribbon Commission on Housing and I am very familiar with the housing issues in this city.

Second submission. I guess the owner of this blog erased the first submission to give a false impression that everyone agrees with Ms. Hilton.
No! Dogs are not more important that human beings. The dog parks are **FOR** the human beings. They are place where we can actually utilize the fruits of our tax revenue and associate with other human beings who don't hate our dogs.
THANK YOU!!!

Snack Free; thank you Mao T. Clemmons and Golden Silence FOR YOUR TRUTH in your RESPONSE…and not drinking the KOOL-AID as SO many of these folks who responded without any conscious thought to Ms. Hilton’s article.

I truly agree with those newly introduced points.

Ms. Hilton has alot of HOMEWORK TO DO...to perfect her news article.
"They are place where we can actually utilize the fruits of our tax revenue and associate with other human beings who don't hate our dogs."

I don't hate dogs---what I hate is this mentality where some people treat their pets better than other people and don't give other people the human decency they deserve.

When I helped with a Food For All delivery in a blighted part of Ward 8 months back, I saw teens sitting on a rusty chain on some rickety fence that was surrounding what looked to be the remains of a park. There was nothing there but yellowed grass, trash, and nothingness. Those kids needed something to do! Meanwhile, we have people rallying the troops for DOG PARKS! You can put all the wine bars, organic grocery stores and other silly conveniences in these neighborhoods all you want, but who is that really benefitting? A lot of these natives aren't trash like people have written them off to be. A lot of them want clean, safe, and friendly neighborhoods like anyone else.
GREAT article. And as a Latina "gentrifier" living in Columbia Heights, I can tell you that I feel the same things. I immersed myself in this article and I was able to relate to every paragraph. You're not alone.
MARI “INCORRECTLY” stated;
“…Hilton isn't writing a history report. It is the 21st century and she speaks to the present. ..”

Mari…are you reading a different article by Hilton????

Or, do you need reading glasses or are you drinking that KOOL-Aid called the POTOMAC PUNCH? You must be punch drunk.

Hilton goes all over the place about Black residents rise into the good ole “gob-ment” jobs.
That is era is in the past MY DEAR!

Mari…did you missed the Hilton point that crack pushed the Black homeowners to the suburbs??? Crack has been around for a long time …and THIS IS THE PAST!

MARI…stop defending Hilton and defending her ill conceived article –unsubstantiated truths about the HISTORY OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

Why Mari? Can't your friend Ms.Hilton be LITTLE OFF TRACK?

Dear folks...we are too old for this childish games. We are out of the dark AGES.. and WE NEED TO CALL A NICKLE - NICKLE.
One again here coe th white folks and their sense of entitlement. WTF would you need a DOG PARK!!! More self indulgent bullshyt. DC was a refuge for blacks who could only go to school here because of rampant racism. One generation of Uncle Toms and all gains are lost. The underlying issue here is the dying black family. Black men have bought into the image of hypersexuality, and think they have too much to offer one woman,or that only women of other races are worthy of them. The result is black families are not being created. Families buy houses. No black families=white folks taking over neighborhoods. Blacks are only 13 percent of the population to begin with. If black men were educated and the culture wasn't off in a ditch, they would understand the destruction they are wreaking on their own. It's truly pathetic.
This is a pretty crappy article. You didn't say much of anything other than the funny mention of the white girl walking down Sherman Ave at 3am. She'll get stuck soon enough though.

This piece falls short really saying anything or making a solid point.
@Renee D --

Look, don't blame all the white folks for the dog parks, a lot of us don't want 'em either.
wonderful article.
as a sixty year black gay male who moved to the area thirty five years ago i can certainly relate to the angst, dismay, and even guilt arising from being in such a situation when one is only trying to make a way for himself in life.
cotonete
Please Keep Writing- The Best, Most Factual, Most Fair Article i have read from any publication in the past year. Thank You!
“Kids aren’t dumb,” he says. “They know that the game is rigged. They live it. The fact is the only successful black men we can point to are outliers. Random circumstances made them what they were.”

This is a disturbing mentality. Obviously educational opportunities *have* to improve, but solely random circumstances made certain folks successful? If everyone thought that way, no one would be successful.
Don't mean to take Mr. Ngongang's quote too literally, just seems a little unfair to generalize everybody who makes good (whatever that means) that way.
Great article! Well written and well observed. Kudos to you for getting it so right. As a former reporter, I am glad to know that smart young people like you are going into journalism. You have a lot of talent.
"Most perceptive part of this article:

"Ngongang says it’s even more challenging when figuring out how to give back to your new community. He describes watching the State of the Union address at Meridian Pint with bar full of young white progressives who were outraged that it wasn’t liberal enough; he ruefully notes that these are people who can mobilize for Egypt, but probably don’t know that several students have been involved in shootings at nearby Cardozo Senior High School this school year."

Disconnect. Spot on."

I would like to see an article about how many affluent, educated blacks -- and DC is full of them -- do community or volunteer work in the communities they are gentrifying. Although this is purely unscientific, I get the impression not many.

"WTF would you need a DOG PARK!!! More self indulgent bullshyt."

Thank you! As I said above, a dog can be walked anywhere, and as long as a dog gets its basic needs it could not care less about having its own park. It disturbs me that people treat their dogs like royalty and treat people like dogs. Even minute things, like someone walking his/her dog and not moving the dog out of the way when I try to get past them on the sidewalk, just shows me that people lack respect for their fellow men and women.
No, blowout, they are too busy over-assimilating. Remember how white folks thought Tiger was so great when he denied his blackness? Black folks knew he was a sell out piece of shyt. He is as black as anybody, and the fukker is still in denial. He is a representation of successful black men. Of course white folks like the over-assimilated. They can tke your shyt that way. DC is becoming a case in point. Black women can't take it that far, because they still aren't considered as beautiful, but black men can pull it off because they dominate white chicks ( especially those with some dough). Hence you have the classic divide and conquer, and at a fraction of the populace, black folks risk losing what it took so long to gain. I blame this on parents not infusing their sons with a sense of loyalty, so that the first white chick who drops her drawers at the drop of a hat, as they do, doesn't fukk their heads up for life. The situation is ridiculous. You don't see the Asian community falling for this bullshyt. Or Africans for that matter.
Speaking truth to a situation which has surged with real and imagined power, is what you did Ms. hilton. as a writer i am sure you know the inherent power of words,as well as the fact there will be those folks who stand at the ready with pic axes shovels and smallpox blankets at the ready. what on earth were all the attacks on you writing and research about after all gentrification has beenh covered many times before. not this way people not by saying what is and what is not. it is much more preferrable to some to not adress the issue for what it is classism not racism and yes the classism crosses racial and ethnic boundaries all the time. in the midst of fighting with the civic association i drew the parrelel of white colonialism with inidigenous peoples of this continent. with gentrification and land grabbing same damned difference to me. whenever i read of mineral land or water rights grabs involving relatives still on the rez i see no difference between gentrification and that issue.
Speaking truth to a situation which has surged with real and imagined power, is what you did Ms. hilton. as a writer i am sure you know the inherent power of words,as well as the fact there will be those folks who stand at the ready with pic axes shovels and smallpox blankets at the ready. what on earth were all the attacks on you writing and research about after all gentrification has beenh covered many times before. not this way people not by saying what is and what is not. it is much more preferrable to some to not adress the issue for what it is classism not racism and yes the classism crosses racial and ethnic boundaries all the time. in the midst of fighting with the civic association i drew the parrelel of white colonialism with inidigenous peoples of this continent. with gentrification and land grabbing same damned difference to me. whenever i read of mineral land or water rights grabs involving relatives still on the rez i see no difference between gentrification and that issue.
Speaking truth to a situation which has surged with real and imagined power, is what you did Ms. hilton. as a writer i am sure you know the inherent power of words,as well as the fact there will be those folks who stand at the ready with pic axes shovels and smallpox blankets at the ready. what on earth were all the attacks on you writing and research about after all gentrification has beenh covered many times before. not this way people not by saying what is and what is not. it is much more preferrable to some to not adress the issue for what it is classism not racism and yes the classism crosses racial and ethnic boundaries all the time. in the midst of fighting with the civic association i drew the parrelel of white colonialism with inidigenous peoples of this continent. with gentrification and land grabbing same damned difference to me. whenever i read of mineral land or water rights grabs involving relatives still on the rez i see no difference between gentrification and that issue.
Not to sounds like a bitter person, but as a black person who isn't necessary a gentrifier, but has a college education and is living in one of the gentrified neighborhoods, I have never felt so unwelcomed in my life. This story notes class as a deterrent, but for my experience, I tend to have to deal with the racial element as well. Every single time I walk through these neighborhoods, I get lumped in by many of the white gentrifiers and seen as a "poor ghetto native" even when I'm wearing a suit to work. I don't know if it's covert racism or if it's snobbishness, but many people here will deny BOTH! I mean, these people won't even admit to being snobby, much less racist. Hell, I feel wayyyy more comfortable and get a lot less "unwanted negro" stares when I'm in nearly all-white places like Clarendon and Ballston.

As for the gentrified neighborhoods in general, I feel that they tend to be the most segregated and racially tense in that there's a lot of diversity, but little interaction takes place between the races. Compare that to most of Northern VA where the minorities have no problem socially interacting and integrating with the whites over there, or Silver Spring and other parts of Montgomery County where it's as equally diverse as it is integrated. If DC's blacks keep up with the bitter attitudes, and DC's whites continue to be pompous and prejudice, a race riot comparable to the LA riots is not out of impossibility.

Not to say that the "Old DC" was any better, but DC gentrification, IMO, is just replacing old worn-out manure with newer fresher manure.
"Hell, I feel wayyyy more comfortable and get a lot less "unwanted negro" stares when I'm in nearly all-white places like Clarendon and Ballston."

Really? I get the opposite. I feel like persona non grata in certain parts of Northern VA. Their attitude seems to be "if it's white, it's all right; if it's black, send it back!".
LMAO! Chris Wallace is misinformed: Locals take cab rides for convenience. On a night out with the guys, Wonderland is only one stop on a night-on-the-town.
I knew someone would call me out on what I just said. Just because NoVA is slightly more conservative (and fiscally conservative at that), you have to paint it as it's somewhere in Bumbtruck, Alabama. I don't see any of you all-so-great liberals reaching out to include fellow "black gentrifies" and including them into your lilly white (plus the token Asian) cliques.
Myphonecrappedoutonmeduplicating uerysorry.iamgladwearetalking.Itwillnotalwaysbepleasantbuttherearesomanyrewardsforgoingthrutheprocess.
I found this to be one of those rare articles about gentrification that gets past the tropes we know so well. As the article evidenced, but didn't necessarily conclude outright, gentrification is more about class than color, yet color becomes the most visible aspect.

I'm an urban planner and gentrification has always been something I've analyzed on a professional level and agonized about on a personal level. On one hand, it's great when more investment and diversity flow into a neighborhood - on the other hand, it's terrible when that investment comes in a tidal wave which wipes out an existing community against their collective will.

What really helped me make sense of it all was looking at the structural causes for gentrification - which I wish this article would have explored more. Gentrification happens because our neighbor hoods are divided. Our neighborhoods are divided due to age-old federal home policies (see redlining and occurs when powerful interest groups such as banks, city government, and developers follow a policy of neglect of an urban area by withholding loans and projects for improvement until the area falls into a state of disrepair and populated by low-income, low-influence groups who are left alone to left develop, improve, and police their community without outside help. Once the decline in value becomes so low that it can undergo wholesale redevelopment, interest groups change policies to redevelop the area for higher-income residents, yielding tremendous profits while the original communities are displaced with little or no regard.

For more info on the structural causes of gentrification, see Neil Smith's "Revanchist City." For an amazing personal perspective see the play "Taking Over."

Email me for more discussion.
"Myphonecrappedoutonmeduplicating..."

And from the looks of it it seems as if your phone's still giving you problems. Technology: Can't live with it, can't live without it.

"I don't see any of you all-so-great liberals reaching out to include fellow "black gentrifies" and including them into your lilly white (plus the token Asian) cliques."

I'm black (hence my comment about feeling like persona non grata in mostly-white Arlington), so that comment better not have been addressed to me! Don't make assumptions.
Great article.

Some other facts: While most newer folks in town don't know it, Dupont Circle up until the mid 1980s was a rough place--like LeDroit and Bloomingdale. In the late 80s you didn't cross 16th St. You see gentrification has been happening in this city for 35 years+--Except for Georgetown and Embassy Row, the whole city has gone through various degrees of gentrification. All this hand wringing is for naught. Neighborhoods change and evolve. Folks move in and folks move out.

Germans and Irish use to live in neighborhoods from the south side of the Mall to the river. All changed. Just a few short years ago the Nats stadium land was occupied by a 1/2 dozen huge gay bars and clubs. Thats all changed.

Cities evolve. DC is no different than any other city. Anyone who thinks otherwise is just not aware of the universe around them. Hanging on to what is, or was, is futile.
And to add to my previous comment, Xanatos, why on earth would you want to hang out with those all-white and all-Asian cliques anyway? That sameness and exclusiveness I see in Arlington doesn't make me want to join in, it makes me want to move! The disdain I, a black woman, get from the popped collar crowd disgusts me. They look their noses down on me because I'm not like them and will never be. I pity those who revel in their homogeneity.
@Mike the "destitute guy" was her co-worker.
@ CALVIN

Great points and greater and thorough analysis!
@ RENEE D

Less is more sweetheart and you are doing too much here!

If you wanna throw brothas under the bus, like sistas always seem to ALWAYS do, you'd better take a look in the mirror! Last time I checked and heard was that simple minded adage..."I don't need NO man"....yeah right, when in fact YOU need us more than ever, just read between the lines in what you typed!

WE all have a responsibility here, you, me, whites...everybody, but you are finger pointing the wrong 1....you got your EQUALITY, your CAREERS/JOBS, CARS, $$$, CREDIT, SINGLE FAMILY HOMES, HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD status, your CAPPACINOS, your TV shows and your INDEPENDENCE....now what?
@ Golden Silence
1) I was referring to the All-White and Token Asian cliques that I constantly see in DC, specifically the "gentrifying" neighborhoods! You're totally mixing up my words. Not that the groups that hang out in Arlington are that diverse, but at least you have token black dudes over there, unlike limousine liberal DC.

2) I will say this. In Washington DC, many of the white gentrifers are willing to open more to black female gentrifiers than black male gentrifiers. When in Arlington, I tend to see black males (even if it's just one dude) as a part of the groups of people who hang out there, as well as more interracial relationships involving black dudes and non-black females. While in DC, I tend to see more black females being welcomed into the all-white cliques, along with seeing more interracial couples involving black women and non-black men than the opposite. I don't see a swarm (nor even a trickle) of interracial couples involving black men in DC, despite all of the "liberal" talk many gentrifiers in DC do. I have to go to either Northern VA or MoCo to just start seeing such. Maybe we should switch places for better results.

3) There are plenty of pop-collar pricks in DC, and not just Georgetown neither. ANd where there isn't the popped collar crowd, there are either elitist yuppie and hipster gentrifiers who are as just as condescending and racist. Just walk around U Street and Columbia Heights for examples.
As a white guy who grew up speaking Mexican Spanish and as an adult participated in the rapid gentrification of a largely Hispanic and African American neighborhood in Southern California, my experience was rather different than that of most white folk who can't "pass" in similar situations.

Since there are plenty of very white-looking Mexicans, and since my accent is very typical of the northern border-region, no one knew who or what I was.

My interaction with my neighbors usually fell into one of two basic patterns: the Mexican immigrant families assumed, because I could understand them and spoke their language, that I was at least part Mexican and would come to me to intervene on their behalf when they had a dispute or disagreement with their black neighbors; my African American neighbors, citing my American-ness as our commonality, would come to me to intervene on their behalf when they had trouble with Spanish-speakers.

In the five years I lived in this area, no one, black or Hispanic, expressed any anger or resentment toward the young white gentrifiers, gay or straight, moving into the neighborhood. (Actually, over time, a number of black and Hispanic single-mothers enlisted their gay male neighbors as proxy "big brothers" in their efforts to keep wayward sons and daughters out of trouble.)

As someone noted above, the renters - black, Hispanic, white, etc. - moved into and out of the neighborhood in such a rapid cycle that their presence and involvement in the neighborhood never amounted to much.

The people who most benefitted from the gentrification seemed to be those black and Hispanic families who'd bought homes long before the neighborhood became trendy and were able to sell them to young white professionals for enormous profits and then move to suburbs popular among middle-class blacks and Hispanics.

By the time I left, it was clear that the neighborhood was going to continue to evolve and change in unexpected ways because the young white families - gay and straight - were starting to have kids and were taking a serious interest in the quality of the nearby public schools.

The problem was that, with the departure of the black and Hispanic home-owning families, the schools started losing significant numbers of students, and the white gentrifiers simply weren't producing enough kids to make up for the loss.

Race isn't the only strong identifier that determines a neighborhood's destiny.

The fertility of a given demographic can have a huge impact on a neighborhood's infrastructure, and the amount of attention that city government pays to its problems and needs.
Not quite DCDude. I'm not mystified by your bullshyt like maybe the white chicks are. Nice move - reach in your pocket for the strereotypical black woman quote- you fukkin Judas. You proved my point.
Gimme a break Toronja, race is the defining factor. I for one don't believe whites are going to just disappear - maybe in Arizona or New Mexico, but that's because they are dedicated to minuscule labor costs, so it's by their own design. Black middle class women are having far less children, for the reasons stated above. The majority of families I see with bunches of kids are white and Hispanic. Half of Hispanic women over 20 have kids but they will never reach the upper wrings of society creating families like that. There will be more wealthy whites which causes a problem when they start trying to bleach neighborhoods.
XANATOS… AND BY THE WAY -

WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO GET THEIR ACCEPTANCE [White newcomers] OF YOU [as being successful and a Buppie]…BY WEARING A BUSINESS SUIT????


XANATOS….how unobservant are YOU. You fail to realize that your Northern Virginia White folks are more Urban and have had work or social relationships with Afro-Americans.

You can’t expect the newcomers to be of the same culture OR ORIENTATED TO BLACK FOLKS as your friendly and accepting Northern VirginiaNS.

Has it every crossed your brain…that newcomers arrived from neighborhoods were "Perhaps" there was no or little interaction with Black folk? BLACK FOLKS DID NOT HANG IN THEIR SOCIAL CIRCLES back HOME OR were present in their past professional work environment back in their HOMETOWN.

No fear even Councilmember Phil Mendleson don't understand D.C. Black residents and only visible during is re-election campaign.

So, when they come [newcomers] to D.C. they cannot relate to you Black Man [in a professional suit] or their Black neighbors!


Point. The Federal Government supplying most White folks with high paying Supervisory jobs MIXED WITH those mid-level Black managers and Black support staff HAVE WORKED AND LEARNED to accept each other in THE OFFICE SETTING

The Federal Government as the Major employer of Both white and Black Metro area folks have been the United Nations by both races learning to work with one another, to learn of each other cultures AND TO THEN CHANGE WHATEVER IDEAS, PREJUDICES OR PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS OF EACH OTHER.

These newcomers [not accepting of you -Xanatos] come from different parts of the country …AND HAVE YET BEEN ORIENTATED TO THE BLACK CULTURE OR NEIGHBORHOODS.

So, Xanatos…don’t expect an understanding or ACCEPTANCE [Even with your Business Suit – you’re a still a Negro in their Eyes] FROM NEWCOMERS BECAUSE THEY have yet to be orientated to Black “D.C.” culture or perhaps they will never be accepting of you.
Mr. Collin Hughes…has POINTED THE FINGER…

and it is a PERFECT HIT!!!!

Mr. Hughes should be respected here because of his EXPERIENCE AS AN URBAN PLANNER.

This is the Failure of Ms. Hilton’s article; minimizing Blacks not having control of a majority Black City; sharecropper Blacks being thankful for the “Fed. Gov’t” for entry level employment [not giving credit to Mayor Barry developing the First Black middle class or benefits of President Lyndon Johnson’s GI Bill –college education and housing down playment programs for Black GI’s].

Contrary to Ms. Hilton mis-informantion; the Fed. Gov't was not the first and only employer for D.C. Black residents to have a decent, living wage job...as many educated and college degree Blacks increased the Black Middle Class in D.C.by way of Mayor Marion Barry and Civil Right Fighters who were elected Councilmembers. You can't give Barry all the credit,remember the Council!

Now, Collin Hughes like Mr. Paul Harvey’s quote; ‘…now, you have heard the “REST OF THE STORY”.

During the David Clarke and Barry era D.C. supplied low or no interest Home Improvement Loans to assist and enable D.C. homeowners to fix-up or repair their homes. Why, Banks denied such loans to D.C. Black residents.

That is Why Ms. Charlene Drew Jarvis [Chairwoman of the D.C. Council Finance Committee] bought D.C. Banks into compliance and destroyed Red-lining in the District.

But as the D.C. Council was losing our beloved Civil Right Fighters elected officials less people minded [withdrawing funds for maintaining housing and social programs] council members filled those elected jobs and pushed more and more of D.C. taxes funds to big business and professional friends – also fulfilling their self interest.

(Ward1)Jim Graham/Frank Smith; (Ward 2)Jack Evans/the late John Wilson; (Ward 6) Nadine Winter/Harold Brazil-Sharon Ambrose; Hilda Mason/Phil Mendleson.
Dear Shani,

The truest things in your article are that DC newcomers frequently are "unaware of the neighborhood's history and dynamics" and that even Black newcomers "don't necessarily have any better insight into what's going on around us than the white folks do." But you, as a journalist should have better insight into what's going on than your article showed. While your article "Confessions of a Black Gentrifier" had some merit as an identity-politics piece, it offered such weird working definitions of "gentrification" and "gentry," such a bizarre cast of case examples and interviewees, and--in the end--such stereotypical images of Black youth and Black men, that I was gobsmacked. Gentrification is not really about "white people being everywhere," although that is one sure sign that gentrification has occurred somewhere previously known as the 'hood. It's not even about making "people feel like they don't belong certain places," although natives in their newly gentrified neighborhoods often feel like that. The very definition of gentrification is the displacement of low income and working class people in order for wealthy power-holders--government, corporate, and private--to renovate and resell to individuals of the upper classes. It results in an increase in property values, but an eradication of culture and a displacement of members of the working class and and the poor. In DC, as in many gentrified places, the process was rough. It was hard on natives, and it happened before you or Ms Aisha Moore even got to DC. It happened while the one DC native you interviewed was in high-school and while he was gone from the city at college.

If your article failed to mention police brutality in neighborhoods where the natives are being encouraged to leave, if it didn't mention unlawful evictions and lawsuits, if it didn't mention vouchers, if it didn't mention elderly people being squeezed out of family homes due to tax increases or corporatization of small business, evaporation of vibrant cultural enclaves, and the rewriting of history itself, it failed. And it did.

Furthermore, "gentrifiers" wouldn't be people like you. "Gentritifers," to use the term correctly, would refer to the corporations and government officials and civil service agencies who made the thing happen. (And you should have interviewed people who SAW how it happened.) You are a home-owner and a new comer. It doesn't even sound--from your description of your origin--that you are "gentry." "Gentry" is a term referring to the elite classes who have massive land ownings. Fred A. Smith and William C Smith, who own God-knows-how-many multi-unit rental properties all over D.C--they are modern-day gentry. If you continue to buy property and prosper from that and pass that on to your children and they onto their children, THEY will be gentry. In addition, Ms Aisha Moore--your article's girlfriend of a homeowner in a neighborhood that has not yet been gentrified (and I know it hasn't, because I live in Anacostia), isn't a gentrifier either. So your comment that she is "as much of a gentrifier as the young white residents unloading moving vans near U street NW every weekend" is wrong on many levels. So really, what the heck were you talking about?

I wish you had taken some of Dr. Cornell West's classes when you were up there at Princeton; then the whole race/class/history-repeating-itself thing wouldn't seem so confusing to you. I too graduated from Howard (back when people were proud to call themselves Black with a capital B), and I am really embarrassed that my alma mater didn't produce a journalist in you that would have done better research into the problem or even into the definitions of the words you used. I know when I was in their MA program as an English student, I couldn't have turned in a paper with as many misassumptions and slants as your article ccontained. I wish the City Paper would bring back Ta-Nehisi Coates, somebody would bring back Black with a capital B, and journalists would offer insightful analyses with historical and etymological and definitional accuracy.

Sincerely, Sarah J. Trembath, English teacher, H.U. Class of 1996
P.S. You should also look at the use of eminent domain and the awarding of construction contracts during D.C.'s gentrification...
I have mixed feelings about posting this as I don't want to give the author any more undue attention than has been given already. I get the whole,"stop crying and get over it, Black People" rap that Hilton is trying to get across. The thing is, it's not that good, not that simple. The other thing is that Hilton tossed out this term "Black Gentrifier" as if it has meaning, and Ms. Moore bought it (as did many). Hilarious (and classic).Now, a term that does get bounced around among us "villagers" you may or may not have heard is "Pilgrim" in all of it historical splendor. It also appears that the author is trying to come to terms with personal identity conflict once you sort through the gobbledygook about innate specialness. I was born in Washington DC in SE. Went to high school in DC, art school in DC and lived in the Shaw area for 15 years before moving back to Anacostia into a home. The 2nd and W St.NW apartment that I moved out of was one of many situations where the developer offered tenants chump change to move, with no real intention on seeing them back. The deal is just like all of the soul was sucked out of Adams Morgan, people see the threat of it happening by the BIG CHAIR. While Ms. Moore and the author were in school, DC was trying to eke out some kind of vibe that made it seem hip (e.g. SOLO, NoMa, Penn Quarter) are you kidding me? The real gentrifiers BOUGHT IT hook line and sinker! So don't look at the Black folks in SE like they're the movie.Perhaps Hilton can really make use of her writing skills and volunteer some hours tutoring fledgling writers at Ballou or Anacostia's afterschool programs. Sounds like it would be therapeutic.
when anyone makes choices that negatively impact others, there are moral and ethical consequences. the consequences can be internal or external,but you can have no action sans reaction. change happens, however change in a neighborhood must include community imput
when anyone makes choices that negatively impact others, there are moral and ethical consequences. the consequences can be internal or external,but you can have no action sans reaction. change happens, however change in a neighborhood must include community imput
when anyone makes choices that negatively impact others, there are moral and ethical consequences. the consequences can be internal or external,but you can have no action sans reaction. change happens, however change in a neighborhood must include community imput
when anyone makes choices that negatively impact others, there are moral and ethical consequences. the consequences can be internal or external,but you can have no action sans reaction. change happens, however change in a neighborhood must include community imput
when anyone makes choices that negatively impact others, there are moral and ethical consequences. the consequences can be internal or external,but you can have no action sans reaction. change happens, however change in a neighborhood must include community imput
when anyone makes choices that negatively impact others, there are moral and ethical consequences. the consequences can be internal or external,but you can have no action sans reaction. change happens, however change in a neighborhood must include community imput
when anyone makes choices that negatively impact others, there are moral and ethical consequences. the consequences can be internal or external,but you can have no action sans reaction. change happens, however change in a neighborhood must include community imput
when anyone makes choices that negatively impact others, there are moral and ethical consequences. the consequences can be internal or external,but you can have no action sans reaction. change happens, however change in a neighborhood must include community imput
when anyone makes choices that negatively impact others, there are moral and ethical consequences. the consequences can be internal or external,but you can have no action sans reaction. change happens, however change in a neighborhood must include community imput
Sarah J. Trembath

I really appreciate and value your experienced and solid critique of Ms Hilton’s article; that the Management/ EDITOR of the City Paper failed to provide for her article before it went to press.

The City Paper owes you for your labor and time.

I strongly believe that the City Paper wants to re-write history so newcomers would be mis-informed on the real history of the District of Columbia and the continuous cycles of gentrification.

Thank you, Ms. Trembath.
REAL COMEDY

Update; some White residents with homes surrounding Potomac Gardens [D.C. Southeast Public Housing] want the 20 years old Public Housing iron gated fence to be removed because it demoralize their homes/home value.

Blacks in public housing have a gated community and now the newcomers and some gentifiers want the fence removed.

Save your breath…I know exactly what you are about to Say.

"If" the iron fence enclosed a White gated community[there at Potomac Gardens] would those same White residents and newcomers request that the iron fence be removed?

History about the iron public housing fence.

My sister was the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in 6B at the time.

The police and residents [both Black and White] were upset with the criminal acts around Potomac Garden and seeing some attackers freely running [at any point] into the Potomac Garden complex. Additionally, the residents felt a safety shield from those residents that lived in the Potomac Gardens.
Sarah Trembath,
I'm really grateful for your analysis and history.

I was wondering, though-- doesn't the middle class have to consent to pay the higher rents hiked up by the gentry in order for gentrification to happen? much as colonization, genocide, etc. has historically been carried out in the most practical sense by "ordinary people," not just rulers?

This article, while it has hit a nerve with new black folks moving into the city, is actually pretty shallow in that it ignores the city's actual history.

The people who like Tyler Perry's minstrel show movies like this article. The folks who think critically and see Tyler Perry's work for what it is - some crap - also see this article for what it, likewise manure.
Ms. Hilton,
Your article was fantastic! It really spoke to my experience as a DC transplant from the south. As a single, hardworking African American male with a Ph.D., I am one of only a small percentage of African Americans that reside in one of those new condo developments in the U street corridor. Your article brought clarity and provided a much needed balance to the gentrification story unfolding here in DC. Thanks for your article. I hope to read more of your work in the near future. Bravo!!! We needed this article. Dr. T.
This was a well-written article. But, it doesnt appear to really be about gentrification. Maybe city living or living in "mixed" communities but not gentrification.

I don't feel as if I know any more about what a black gentrifier is than a white one and maybe that's the point: there is no difference.

I also think we make too much out of gentrification. Sure, for as long as I could remember, getrification happened when whites moved into economically depressed black communties. The end result were decrease in crimes and an increase in good and services. But, that too could be looking at it the wrong way.

As much as We (blacks) moan about gentrification, maybe its time for us to stop focusing on it because at the end of the day, it means nothing and perception matters a lot. There is almost this "I must be a gentrifier too" notion out here but only when convenient.

Anway, nice article but the thesis and conclusion seems a little out of sync.
I enjoyed reading this article and agree with most of it. I worked on the Obama campaign. One thing I find troubling is how it talks about white people moving into black neighborhoods and it being ok for black to say "where did all these white people come from?" and then not being sure its good for the neighborhood. Imagine if a white writer in an article about the suburbs quoted a whole bunch of white people who said; "what are all these black people doing in the suburbs" and the said they "were not sure" if its good for the community. I would call them racists. Overall I think we need to look at the whole situation without all of these general black/white labels/stereotypes that rarely hold weight. The true measure of how racially tolerate we are is when we make conclusions about someones character rather than the color of their skin.
*I, for the life of me, don't understand the importance of a dog park.*

Dogs are not allowed to be off-leash in public. Since most people in DC have small yards, if they have yard at all, the only place their dogs can run around "off leash" is in a dog park. It's a publicly shared amenity to make up for the fact that we have less personally-owned space in DC than we would have in the suburbs.
I am typing on a laptop since the "Smartphone" is appartently not working. I want to thank the City Paper for allowing my comments even when I had trouble. I have thrown out the "Smart phone" since is is problematic.
Ms. Hilton, I wanted to tell you what an important article you have written and wanted to ask if you thought of a few things. I want you to think on some of this as you get barraged by complaints about your ability or knowlege as writer.
1. Have the majority of those people who ramdomly throw racism around, black or white,ever left the DC metro area, & if so, what did they learn when in their travels?
2. Every writer who puts his or her honest feelings and experiences on paper can expect to be skewered, and in even speaking of the classism of gentrification, you will be barraged by both black white and other. You have touched on a subject which bothers those who profit off our being in a perpetual state of our fighting over racism when issue is class, it simply expresses itself as a racial issue more times than not, because of who is affected usually.
3. Some people, irregardless of race will not relearn anything, You can hope that perhaps they might see things for what they are, and are not, however you cannot guarentee that.
4. I would in no way consider you a gentrifier, I would consider you someone who found an affordable house to live in. A gentrifier is someone who intentionally displacing, disrupting the life of a neighborhood, and changing what they want to see to suit them. When we go into a situation that we can afford, and innocent people get hurt, we need to consider how best to give back to that community we are disrupting, in meaningful ways.
5. As to learning about a neighborhood, you learn the neighborhood from its long time residents, not the ANC and certainly not the Civic Associations, unless the Civic Associations and ANC is predominately older people who have seen the neighborhood before ANC/civic associations, re-zoning and the displacement of so many.
6. Some folks are only happy when we fall flat on our faces. If we fall and can laugh on the way back up to our feet, we will have one. Remember that one as a writer and truthteller.
We are powerful people, us truth tellers, and telling the truth always gets stones & spears thrown at us. We simply need to learn ways to protect ourselves.
With my deepest respect
Louise Thundercloud
"I'm not mystified by your bullshyt like maybe the white chicks are. Nice move - reach in your pocket for the strereotypical black woman quote- you fukkin Judas. You proved my point"

Uh Renee, not so fast ANGRY BLACK WOMAN! I would have to say you've validated all stereotypes of yo'self without any help from ME, SMH at your anger, recklessness and BITTERNESS, get a hug today and lose the weave!
Tim you have a confusing and fairy tale conclusion that no Obama campaign worker would 'currently'assert as to measuring racial tolerance.

Did you forget; your Boss our President of the United States is under attack by the Tea Party, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the like...just on the basis of his skin color. Those attacks would never have been thrown at George W.

Measure up that one. There are Blacks that are always the tolerant ones in hoping that racial views would change in this 21st Century. And Tim you are at the front line.
@Calvin I agree and think many people don't give BO a chance bc of who he is rather than what he does. But two wrongs don't make a right. "We must be the change we want to see in the world." I don't care what color the people who live on my street are, I care if they are good neighbors....and think the article does too much labeling.
Tim, hey dude guess what! I worked on the Obama campaign as well. But, er, what exactly does that have to do with this article or the responses to it?

Are you suggesting that discussions about gentrification happened while you were campaigning for Obama.

Or

You prefaced your comment by saying that in order to give the rest of it better credibility.

To your analogy. I'm sure if there were a perceived significant increase in the number of blacks moving into traditional "white" neighborhoods, the neighbors would take notice, even if you don't see an article written about it. They likely discussed during a weekend bike ride.
What is the excitement of Ms. Hilton's drivel? Has her drivel created any jobs? A job is the lifeblood of any community. You people have made Willie Lynch very happy because you are wasting energy on something that will only keep you divided.
Credibility......your analysis of my analogy makes my point. No one would publish an article that spoke of the negative opinions of blacks moving into traditionally white neighborhoods because they would call it racist. But its ok for the author to paint whites moving into traditionally black neighborhoods in a negative light? Seems like a double standard.
Tim- I am on your side 100 percent.

However, be who you are tolerant and an example of a Tolerant Black man in the midst of those who will never change their opinion or the many who were raised in a culture that they are superior.

However, to be tolerant “in order” to initiate change in those whose strongly believe that they are superior has not always change others. Many will take your tolerance of them for weakness.

Remember the Nick Nolte movie “Q&A” with actor Charles Dutton [Det. Chapman]? Nolte is Lt. Brennan.

“… Brennan is something of a legend in the department. A tough, crude, decorated officer, he has a hidden dark side as well as a partnership with certain figures of organized crime. Brennan shoots and kills a small-time Puerto Rican hood and then threatens witnesses to testify that he acted in self-defense…”

The ending scene when Nolte is cornered in his own police station from a shoot out with fellow officers- and what did Nolte tell Charles Dutton [as Dulton tried to appeal to Nolte through the relationship the two of them developed on the police force - to give up his gun]?

Nolte stated; “…Dulton; you are the whitest Black man I ever seen…” And, then Nolte suddenly shot Dulton in cold blood.

A lesson learned…of taking your kindness [tolerance] for weakness.
It was an interesting exploration of gentrification. I really enjoyed Hilton's voice. I judge from the spectrum of comments that there's a need for more prominent forums to address the diverse array of feelings gentrification creates in DC
DCDude - and this is my last response, as you are clearly modeling the disruptive, self-hating behavior plaguing our community- I will even dignify your intraracist nonsense. Go to a library, read about our history, and cease and desist who the modern day Uncle Tom thought process. (And btw women of all races wear weaves dumb ass, but I am not to be counted among them. Walk into a black hair salon. A lot of us don't need them, ya big dummy.)
@ Renee

Big Dummy, WOW, if I were you, I'd watch the incessant, perturbed drivel being served up from a place of misandry that you spew here oon foo foo!!!

The racist here is your monkey ass, runnin' round City Paper blogs with yo' self hatin', aunt jemmima, bullsh*tn ass!

This article had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with your ANGRY, BITTER, EMOTIONALLY BURDENED heffa self or coon opinion!

It's "sistas" (typed LOOSELY) like you who validate this passage...."The foolish woman (RENEE) is clamorous; she is simple, and knoweth nothing" Douay-Rheims Bible

Your allurements here shall cease to be effective, you don't end NOTHING you simple minded child you! Now take your sh*tty ass on before I smack you with THE MISEDUCATION OF THE NEGRO!!

Fool!
I respected the article by Ms Hilton but felt something was missing. Here it is from another blog. (oh, and seDCdude, you are puttin yo hanz on ho hipz and patticipatin in yo own private po'try SLAM! Cept it's precious and lame.)

Ms Hilton kinda dealt with the subjects of her article at one remove, kinda like the man she interviewed. The gentrifiers' neighbors don't count for much.

gentrification involves more than the gentry
This piece in the Washington City Paper by Shani O. Hilton about gentrification and race in DC has been generating a lot of positive vibes. It's a very fraught and deeply important topic; the recent Jalen Rose/Grant Hill affair has hit home once again that the relationship between the advancement of black interests and ideas of black authenticity is a tangled and often contentious one. I will echo the praise for what is present in the article, as it is indeed insightful and honest, but I have a very major reservation.

Where are the interviews with poor people?

This is a several-thousand word article on the relationship between race and socioeconomic class, and about the tensions between old and new residents and poor and rich residents of a city and a neighborhood. Yet in those thousands of words there isn't a single interview with a poor, long-term, black resident. It's a glaring omission.

I don't mean to come down too hard on Hilton, who really has done yeoman's work with a lot of the reporting for the piece. The problem is that she's so unexceptional in this omission: elite media consistently and systematically excludes the voices of the worst off. I don't think that this is intentional; I think it's a result of a confluence of factors involving visibility, accessibility, fear of appearing condescending, and worry about being in physical danger in poor neighborhoods. If we're going to confront these questions responsibly and fairly, the journalistic class has to overcome that.
Comment board is better than the actual article - which was pretty alright itself. @non-blackDCresident: Funny and on-point stereotypes of hipsters aside, you need to get over your rage about Henry Rollins selling out. You've had 20 years to simmer on that shit. @Calvin: I get where you're coming from about the article being one-sided, but she's writing from her experience. They don't pay her to write about the things she doesn't know about. Shani's got a perspective that's representative to a portion of the people. As someone from a fairly similar background who has since left the District, I enjoyed reading this article because it sums up a lot of what I was seeing before I left and shows how it's expanded since I've been gone. I think a lot of people who read it either understand that it comes as a view on a situation from one perspective, and most of those who don't are probably just reading so they can pretend to know what's good in DC to impress their friends. I get how you're frustrated that it's gotten such publicity and it's from a different and, in many ways, contrary perspective than your own, but the beef isn't with Shani Hinton, it's with the editors. If anyone knew how to get the media to tell the story of the District that you're telling, it would get told a lot more often, but it doesn't. Good luck to you in finding a way to tell it to people like me and Hinton. Your posts on this board are a good start.
DCDude, your histrionics are reflective of what we, civil, proud ex-Negroes refer to as "coonin'. Go home to your extra-racial princess so she can lick your wounds and help you feel good about yourself again. The adults here are trying to have a conversation. But well done, Uncle Tom would be proud of the visions of the wild, violent, out of control black male, foaming at the mouth to defend his ivory skinned princess. You, my friend, are a joke. and let it be known, I would happily pimp-smack you back into the reality of what is, and what is not the life of today's black woman.

I feel for whatever family tree you end up soiling, with your particular brand of darkness - pun definetly intended-because some father, over-wrought with white guilt, gives his approval after his daughter has dragged you home, like some whimpering mutt.

And btw, "you Big Dummy" was a catchphrase from Red Foxx, who as brilliant as he was, died broke after his wonderful Asian wife took all of his scrilla. Could be your north star.
this is a good piece critiquing this article.

http://kenyonfarrow.com/2011/03/22/notes-on-a-confession-of-a-so-called-black-gentrifier/

"So if the “gentrifier” can’t be racialized as white but boils down to economics, how come the Black middle-class, despite their income drive property values DOWN when they move into white neighborhoods, even if they make similar or equal amounts of money as the whites in that community? Why is the Black middle-class not as able to live among people of similar economic status who are not Black (in large numbers) even if they so desire to? And if many Black middle-class people choose to live in mixed-income Black communities, what does that say about their experiences with racism even if they have the income and credit to live elsewhere? This has everything to do with race and less to do with income or education."
There's a new white man out here. He's refined. For example, did you know the new white man loves gourmet cheese? You give the meanest white man a piece of cheese and he turns into Mr. Rogers.
Great article. Never thought of myself as a black gentrifier but your article shed alot of light on the reasons why. Wonderful journalism - great job!
Ayy Renee, as much as you would LOVE for me to be who and what YOU want me to be, FORTUNATELY I AM NOT! Just as ALL brothas do not chase white women as you would insist, just as ALL sistas are not and cannot be as delirious and RETARDED as your dusty ass!!!

I AM THE PROUD FATHER OF 5, get THAT...5 BEAUTIFUL BLACK CHILDREN who are spectacular student/athletes and reflect my strength and personal CHOICE in women! You see, you are the type of female mutt that I PREACH to my sons about; BLACK, IGNORANT, ANGRY, DUMB AS HELL, SELF RIGHTEOUS, UNREALISTIC AND basically down right cantankerous!

It sucks to be you, your bed and your friend.....you are the MISERY that loves company! No need to fret, looks like you have a match......Percy Dovetonsils

You are officially a mud duck!
Thank you Mr Gurley!

Hi Rachel, I think it would be so great if the middle class took responsibilty in any of those circumstances, instead of just reaping the benefit and of some truly gangsta social engineering and profiteering and saying, "we don't know anything about all THAT! We just live here...." But as you point out, that's the colonial model.

The Kenyonfarrrow piece posted by Thomas R. sounds really interesting. I'm glad there's dialogue about gentrification in DC because it really was very abusive of DC natives in many many ways, and continues to be. Buying a home is not the same as gentrifying, and I really resent the City Paper just redefining the term and thereby making it benign. There again is the colonial model of mis-educating people and revising history. It's far more insidious than it seems on the surface. Who will tell the true story of what went on in DC and all the other gentrified places in the U.S.?

Tim, I appreciate your concerns about fairness and race-reporting, but when Blacks move into a White neighborhood, it is either simply okay (and therefore not discussed by anyone) or it is connected with this: White flight, redplining, "bringing property values down," "there-goes-the-neighborhood" mentality, and so on. Where I grew up in the Northeast of Philly, Black folks in the prior generation got their houses burned down for trying to move into a White neighborhood. That neighborhood's STILL 96% white 50 years after those burnings. Tim, people make big deal out of race and gentrification not so much because White people are here now, but because of how so many minorities were run out and they way in which folks were run out! Thousands and thousands of renters--regular people, mostly Black--were moved out of their homes in a very short period of time so that wealtiher people could occupy the District. Most of those wealthier people are not natives of DC OR minorities, of course, so their presence is obvious and breeds resentment. When police are pulling Black and Hispanic people over randomly doing car searches and cuffing people and harassing people off the streets, natives often say, "they just want us out of here." (Which is why many middle class and working class Blacks are moving to Anacostia, by the way Shani.) But when Whites come along, there are patrols and crosswalks and posters promoting safety and all kinds of crap that prove to Black citizens that Whites are simply more valuable and desired here in the District. SO it stings, and it pisses people off.

Gentrifiers (not individuals, but the main players like developers and politicians and so on) make it sound like the just solved crime and fixed up houses. But if you look at crime stats in PG County, nothing even got solved by moving people around all willy nilly except that rich people got richer. (Although some renters were paid decently to move out of their units, while others were being illegally kicked out or given vouchers or paid poorly.) If you talke to any Black person about police harassment during the era of getting Blacks out of the neighborhood, you will hear story after story after story of unlawful or overly aggressive action. My husband (a DC native) and I alone could keep you busy for an afternoon with all we've witnessed and been through.

Furthermore, it is kinda crazy that DC residents weren't even getting mail delivered in some cases (i.e., early 1990s Columbia Heights), crimes solved, or trash picked up when DC was Black, but White wealthy residents are treated to mail delivery, trash removal, relatively safe streets, dog parks, bike lanes, and whatever makes them comfortable.

I hope you look into the way gentrification happened here, and see what the word really means when it's operationalized in real life. I wrote a pamphlet on it that I would be happy to give you for free if I could figure out how to get it to you. Any ideas? (I chronicled what I observed happen in the District from the time I got here to go to Howard in 1992 until now and put it in the framework of gentrification and colonialism. My goal was to shed light on the race relations.) If you aren's interested in my piece, you could call TENAC (tenants' rights) and see if anyone there can shed some light on the process of gentrification and how it affected DC residents. There's also an outstanding film on the gentrification of Avalon, NJ. You could maybe find it on the PBS website. It aired on Channel 12 in Philly a few years ago.

A friend of mine--who works in fair housing--gave me this quote on the issue the other day. She said, "I feel like I come up against this a lot where people say, 'gentrification doesn't have to be a bad word.' That's the same as saying, 'forced displacement' doesn't have to be bad. I think that what is happening is that people are mixing up gentrification and development...." That is what Shani and the City Paper did. And the friend who said this is the Director of Affordable Housing Preservation at the Latino Economic Development Corporation in D.C., so she should know! My Pastor--another Philly native who has also been in DC since about around 1990--calls DC a "wealthocracy" now. How it became a wealthocracy is a less-than-comfortable story that the City Paper seems not to want told, since Shani O Hilton can only make the mistakes her editors allow.

I hope that you, Tim and whoever else, take some time to check into what really happened here in the 1990s for the benefit of the rich and upper middle class and yes, for the Whites more than for others. Peace--ST
This article is WHITEWASHED and full of the fake WHITE entitles associated with BLACKS who have NO sense of self, but readily and eagerly do the dirty work of "others"!!

Ironically, nothing has changed in this country or culture which is AMERIKKKAN pride, just dressed up and "toned" down a lil' bit....

Frantz Fanon's WRETCHED OF THE EARTH is, has and always will be relevant...

Bravo Ms. Trembath!
The Kenyon Farrow piece excellent and insightful and on point. Thank you for suggesting it. He called gentrification in NYC "ethnic cleansing." True dat, seDC. Fanon still and always IS. Peace--ST
"Most perceptive part of this article:

"Ngongang says it’s even more challenging when figuring out how to give back to your new community. He describes watching the State of the Union address at Meridian Pint with bar full of young white progressives who were outraged that it wasn’t liberal enough; he ruefully notes that these are people who can mobilize for Egypt, but probably don’t know that several students have been involved in shootings at nearby Cardozo Senior High School this school year."

Disconnect. Spot on."

Yeah, but there haven't been any shootings at Cardozo in years. I know because I'm a transplant who actually pays attention to this shit.

It is amazing and pathetic how many people who live here don't read the Metro section because they feel they are above local issues. Fuck 'em.
Sarah Trembath --

You seem to want to let all new homeowners off the hook for playing their part in gentrification. Of course banks and developers and government are partly responsible, but so are the new people moving into neighborhoods. Any person who's wealthier than the neighborhood they're moving in to is a gentrifier, with all the negative connotations that implies.
As a former longtime resident of Maryland, and sometimes DC, beginning in the early 70s, I can remember the same arguments and discussions about the same issues about the gentrification of Capitol Hill, 17th and R St area, Dupont Circle area, etc.

I always thought that one of the best ways for lower income residents to stay in their historic neighborhoods was for the city (dare I say federal govt?) to offer low interest loans for residents to renovate their houses.
Home Purchasing = Gentrifying wrote: "Any person who's wealthier than the neighborhood they're moving in to is a gentrifier, with all the negative connotations that implies."

This is possibly the stupidest, most simplistic comment here. No economically distressed neighborhood would EVER improve if people in a better financial position never move in.

So you're saying that because I (a white, middle class guy) bought a house that was unoccupied and crumbling in a majority black DC neighborhood 9 years ago, fixed it up, started going to community meetings and volunteering at the local elementary school I am bad person who shouldn't be let "off the hook"?

You, and anyone who believes this, are so wrong it seems pointless to argue with someone who is so narrow-minded and irrational.

This article is fantastic. It's not right and it's not wrong, because "gentrification" isn't about right and wrong, but it does reflect the complexity of the issue in a nuanced, thoughtful way. Kudos to the writer.

Cities and neighborhoods have and will always evolve and change. They are constantly in a state of flux, when the long view is taken. I am not so naive that I don't understand that race and class underlies many of the divisions on our society, but maybe, just maybe, our efforts should focus more on education, justice, and economics and just a bit less less on race.



There is so much I'd like to say about this issue, but it would just make me tired and sad. But, I owned a home at 1009 kenyon street from 1997-2004. I sold at a great time and I saw the future of new stores and shops and property value just getting higher. But what I saw then was the few intrepid gentry ignoring neighbors and for the people who had been there longer than even I, these newly-landed folk were ignoring the history and community that was there before them.

I'm now living in Eckington, the place of my adolescence. And it too is being gentrified. During my recent podcast, I talked about my feelings about kinda being back, how much the neighborhood has changed and how rude the newly-landed are. What I actually questioned was "who taught these people manners?"

My 94 year old grandmother is the sole remaining original homeowner on this block of seaton place, ne. Most afternoons, she likes to sit out on the front porch and sun herself while the sun is high in the sky. She shouts greetings to everyone who passes by. But many more times than not, when it's white folks, with their big dogs passing by, she is ignored. Everyone knows Miss Adele, but the newly-landed can't offer an old lady a passing pleasantry?

It is the seeming obtuseness of the new ones--ignorant and not ever thinking that just because they've been brave enough to move into a black neighborhood that there was something else of value--in property, yes, but more importantly in lives--there before they moved in. It's that "something" that needs to be acknowledged and respected.

The Sunny James Show
The Small Voice in the Nation's Capital
On iTunes at http://bit.ly/9GvhLY

The End of the City in America

The fate of cities across America is fragile many cities are on the edge of insolvency and bankruptcy. The states in which these cities are incorporated in are also facing severe fiscal problems and budgetary shortcomings. It is prudent therefore to have a discussion on a number of issues from regionalism to quality of living in face of these severe financial realities confronting american cities.

Many of these cities because of these dire financial distress provide less services to their residents from fewer police and fire department services to street lights being shuttered to EMS response times being extended and certain calls being ignored completely. The spectrum of a complete shutdown of city services is no longer a script in a science fiction novel but a real time reality for public employees in our cities.

Some residents in city neighborhoods are locking themselves and families in barricaded homes. The very idea of state national guards taking over law enforcement duties in many bankrupted cities across the nation is real and on the agenda of many city planners and state legislatures. The EFM legislation currently unfolding in Lansing many have argued is a blueprint for the takeover of Detroit .

With this new downsized urban centers there has been an increase in vigilante groups, religious cults and people hibernating within their homes only coming out in the day time and rushing to return to home before the night comes to fill the air. When there is despair in the city air it fosters and cultivates paranoia, urban myths, and fear.

In the face of this devolution of american cities across the country it is imperative that strategies and ideas must be developed to confront the end of cities. This examination of cities and life in this new economic and social, political reality however dos not have to be a negative or crisis proposition. Life can be come renewed and reenergize if we have the courage to design a new urban frontier.

Regionalized cities which are the consolidation of other failed cities could create a platform of better services, improved schools and better over all quality of life in the neighborhood that are arteries of life in our urban locations. People simply are no longer loyal to cities and are more interested in their quality of life.

What is driving people living in the new world order is the right to live quality life styles and living conditions that empower good food, safe streets, fresh air, beautiful surroundings, people who want to love life instead of battling decay and decadence.

The equation for a new city maybe the complete destruction and collapse of the old city and its borders and boundaries. People want their lives to be purposeful and meaningful, they don't care who or what government agency is picking up the trash, policing the streets and where the water and lights come from. People want service that work and make their lives more livable.

Designing a new city begins with the objective and desires of those living in the old city and those living outside the city. It may even require that cities no longer be called cities but renamed and redefined as Urban Regions with one police department, one school district, one water board, one energy company, one health department, one park and recreation department...one.....one.....one...
THIS CITY FACES SOME VERY DARK DAYS.
Very Nice Article. Quite impressive statistics.
The Article makes you think that Is our society really as secular as we would like it to be or we have a racist somewhere inside most of us.
Hi all. If any of you have rants/stories to share about how you've experienced gentrification -- no matter what class or race you are -- please stop by http://gentrificationstories.wordpress.com/ and submit your stories and see the type of project I am trying to get going. Your opinions are front page material and we need to get them out of the comment box and out on center stage.
"Just how watered down the District’s chocolate is getting has been a subject of considerable worry over the last decade. "

Who's "worried" and exactly what is it that they are worried about?
He called gentrification in NYC "ethnic cleansing."
*
Then is ghettofication "ethnic cleansing" as well?

With Section 8 moving out of the projects and into surrounding suburbs, the crime is following them to those suburbs as well.

People who don't want to be near crime then have to move out - IF they can afford it.

Is that "ethnic cleansing" as well?
I wrote a blog that I think addresses some of these issues. While many people are looking at the change in demographic as simply a racial problem I would argue that it is 3-pronged (albeit 3 intertwined prongs) of race, class & housing. http://livininthiscrazyworld.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/chocolate-city-no-more/
This is EXCELLENT.

The root issue is CLASS, not RACE.

Those of us who are Black and middle- or upper-class (or just educated, with options in life) need to simply continue to be who we are, with no feelings of guilt, loving to travel, loving animals, wearing the clothes we wear, having the types of convos we have ... and simply be ourselves. The Black poor simply are not the majority of Black folks, but even if the Black poor were, it's CRITICAL that we be comfortable in our own skin so that others of all hues and ages have no choice but to take note of Black diversity.

"Black" is NOT a monolith. How many times do we have to say this? Thinking the lie that we are a monolith serves NO ONE, and certainly not the most vulnerable-aged people who will end up defining themselves by what we present to them about people of their own hue. Again, "Black" is NOT a monolith. Despite what Black "DC is getting too White" scare tacticians say, despite what the media that refuses to acknowledge that this is a class issue and not a race one, despite what misguided folk who need to get out more and stop "defining" "Black" by the worse possible standards might say.

With our true diversity ... look at what can happen. Didn't Dr. Du Bois talk about the Talented Tenth? Whether you think he was elitist or not, there is no denying that this "Black gentrification" can do a LOT toward embedding ourselves back among our people, into class-diverse neighborhoods (much like it was before integration) and we can all lift as we climb.

What a grand idea.

Props for the article.
Yes, we are awesome and diverse! I really enjoyed this article.
I just wish we'd all take a lifetime off of comparing ourselves with others. It would be more effective to get our nails and fingers dirty trying to rebuild what's left of our communities on our own. Just saying...
I love and respect East of the River people the most in this town. They are the most manly if men and if women womanly, resilient, polite, the most maligned for everything Upper NW is ten times more with ten times easier circumstances, the least forgiven, the most forgiving, have the worst things going on from the outside, and have the most going for them on the inside to in appearance not make it look as bad. NY looks down on Philly and east of the river DC when they should be looking up, Philly sometimes might look down on DC but is doing it less and less now that more of DC is in Philly than it seems to be here right now-and in that case, a lot of both Philly and NY will take politeness and classiness for weakness from DC people. Let me tell you this-when housing prices are as high now as in NY in DC and many other things cost more,
general incomes in Anacostia on paper look like those in the badlands, and though there may look to be more opportunities a whole culture from elite blacks and white people who are more likely to have affluence here than in Philly make these opportunities a lot harder to get than you can imagine because of racism, in-race racism that seems to come a lot more from those above on the totem pole than those below in DC, classism that comes a lot more in all cultures from the top than below, and cronyism like nobody can imagine with the denial of it and justification it never should have gotten, you will understand how incredibly strong and decent east of the River people really are though they might look weak in Philly because of a lack of visible anger issues and relatively good manners. However, unlike NY DC people are a lot more caring to do right, disclose once they know they must in very clear terms, and really don't care what anybody thinks of them anywhere-they just are more likely to do right because they should. I'm all for cleaning up slum housing. However, who is replacing those who were there before really aren't any better and if they were honest actually are 10 times worse.
He who accepts blackness, it will make him; he who denies it, it will destroy him (a quote of prophet Isa PBUH cut out of the new testament-it could mean a few different things.)
As Salaam Alaikum Rahmatullah Wa Baraktu
A few things.

1) When a few white people move into a predominantly black area and the existing residents "get nervous" we call that "maintaining racial pride." When a few black people move into a predominantly white area and the existing residents "get nervous" we call that racism. Oh wait....

2) Predominantly white, poor neighborhoods get gentrified as well. It doesn't make the old white people who lose their homes to high taxes and the sudden interest of the city enforcers (who are bombarded with complaints by the new residents) feel better if the yuppies who live next door are white. This logic is bizarre at best and insulting at worst that black people being forced out by black people (or worse, pandered to by black hipsters who think they are still “from the streets” just because they share skin color with someone who is low-income) somehow makes it easier to take.

3) Cities should work to develop policies that encourage class-mixed neighborhoods - it's not fairer for a low income senior to live in a ghetto surrounded by crack addicts than it is for them to be forced out by yuppies. Both options suck. That goes for people of any color.

4) Criminals, slumlords and people who are unwilling to maintain even basic standards with their homes deserve to get forced out, whether it's a farm town or an inner-city neighborhood. They are a blight on their communities; this also goes for people of any color.

5) In a day in age when white people are largely trained from birth to obsess over not being racist (or are smart enough to shut up if they are, with limited exceptions) it’s sad that if you aren’t white it’s okay to dislike anyone not like you and to do it quite openly. Wait…it’s not just okay. It’s ENCOURAGED. What happened to everyone trying to be open-minded and live in harmony?

6) On one hand people complain all the time about this city or that city being more segregated and that's a clear sign of white racism. However, black people choosing to segregate themselves in a middle-class, nice black neighborhood is no different than being forced into an impoverished ghetto, except the landscaping is better. You are still severely limiting your choices in life of who you know and what types of life experience you have.
Loooove b&w too! :) These are spectacular. You are amzaing. Totally in love with the last two. Consider printing them on a HUGE canvas and hang them somewhere at sight.
Personally, I don't think the show will affect our nbiehgorhood in a negative way any more than we (the residents) have done ourselves. Take the time to think back to all the negative things that have happened here way before this show was even a thought in a producer's mind. We have been the ones to give our nbiehgorhood a bad rep. I don't mean ALL of us, but you know what I mean (I hope). I would understand if our nbiehgorhood was in much better shape and our residents had more respect for where they lived and protected it instead of vandalizing it and what not. But this is far from the truth so having a show that shares the same name as our community showing what some or most of us, residents don't agree to be true here, is not something to blame the show for making us look bad. We've done it ourselves. I have great pride in my nbiehgorhood, Lincoln Heights. I was born here and still live here. I have been involved throughout my life in the community. Have volunteered on clean up days since I was a teenager. And I try to be a good example of the positive that is Lincoln Heights. But that doesn't blind me to all the negative that also is Lincoln Heights. So if a show like Lincoln Heights comes on the air and shows what some feel is a negative perception of the real Lincoln Heights, then you really don't know your own nbiehgorhood. I personally know of a couple crack homes in the nbiehgorhood. I grew up with the gang members in my nbiehgorhood. Having them as next door neighbors all my life, I've gotten to know them and know a lot about what's going on' in the hood. So I know that the show won't show half of the real LHTS. If the show was made to show the REAL LHTS then maybe I would be more concerned as to the truth being shown to the rest of the counrty.
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Thanks for validating my thoughts. I moved into such an area, Midway Woods, in Decatur, Ga a stone throw away from Downtown Atlanta. Ive had similar experiences which I've now decided to chronicle on www.midwaywoods.com. I believe a large reason black middle and upper income blacks tend to live in areas below their income level,is because of the toll those little slights have on us on a daily basis. This area was actually a good place the first 5 years, until the whites with kids that couldn't sell their homes due to RE crash didn't want to send their kids to the low performing schools nearby. They attempted to annex Midway Woods into the City of Decatur and that began my distrust and their dislike with me.

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