Streams

Black Gentrification

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dax-Devlon Ross, law and justice contributor on WOLDC and the author of Beat of a Different Drum: The Untold Stories of African Americans Forging Their Own Paths in Work and Life, writes about his experience as a "black gentrifier" in his Hamilton Heights neighborhood.

Guests:

Dax-Devlon Ross

Comments [3]

Venetia from Brantford

I was thinking the exact same thing as the previous comment about "Do The Right Thing." What separates a gentrifier from a neighbour? Is it the colour of their skin and their ability to assimilate into the group?

I think that the line between the gentrifier and the neighbour is pretty clear: the neighbour will come into an area try to make improvements by contributing while still understanding the areas history while the gentrifier will move into an area and try to "change" or revitalize the neighbourhood to better suit themselves. Mr. Ross seems fine with associating himself as a gentrifier when he should be thinking of himself as a neighbour. He's not trying to change his community of Hamilton Heights, he's contributing to it.

Feb. 28 2012 09:23 PM
Marcos from the Bronx

"Gentrifiers" are the social forces (or powers, or social classes) which plan and implement the removal of people of a certain class (and/or race, sexual orientation etc) from a certain area. Politicians, high police officials, urban planners, and most importantly land lords may be gentrifiers. People who are seeking housing for themselves are not gentrifiers. It is good for newcomers to an area to try to be in solidarity with those who are marginalized in that community. But, newcomers are not the gentrifiers, usually they're ultimately the same as most working class folk, who must work to survive, and pay rent or a mortgage, in order to have a place to stay.

Feb. 20 2012 10:59 AM
Amy from Manhattan

This discussion reminds me of the scene in Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" where some of the main characters see a white man (wearing some type of clothing w/Larry Byrd's name on it, to underscore the point) walking down their Harlem street & ask why he's there, & he answers, "I just bought that brownstone." Mr. Ross is less likely to face that sort of question from his neighbors because (depending on how he's dressed), as he put it, he can "pass."

Feb. 20 2012 10:56 AM

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