Interesting article that puts an interesting spin on the debate. Particularly resonant for me as I am always conscious when moving to a neighborhood that I will often be part of that first but invisible wave (of young black professionals that are non-native NYers) that can often herald demographic changes (especially socioeconomic changes) or what we sometimes imprecisely collapse into the term gentrification.
I was part of that wave in Prospect Heights and clearly now in Crown Heights- so much so that the neighborhood I first moved into looks nothing like it does now. Though the article puts a new spin on the debate- I was hoping that the gentrifiers (whether black or white) wouldnt be portrayed as thoughtless and entitled folk who dont care about the impact they have on the community that is receiving them. Outside of one thoughtful young man in the article named Derek- I felt many of those featured had the same attitude as the folks who moved into my old 'hood and thus made it a less desirable place for me to live. Also while the article tries to draw the conflict of gentrification as black professional newcomer vs. black middle class or poor oldtimer- the article is weakened by the fact that there arent prominent voices of black middle class oldtimers or poor black oldtimers sharing how they feel about the neighborhood changing.
Would love to hear what folks think of this article.This is especially timely as we are looking at the recent census figures and what they say about population shifts in Brooklyn.
Confessions of a Black Gentrifier: When demographic change doesn't involve color
By Shani O. Hilton on March 18, 2011
If you ask Aisha Moore about gentrification, her first inclination is to scoff.
Moore, a black resident of Congress Heights, says her Ward 8 street is “100 percent black” and that’s not likely to change soon.
“Nobody leaves,” she jokes. “On my block, if new people bought a house, it’s because an old lady died.”
Yet Moore isn’t from D.C. and has only lived in the city since 2002, after she finished an undergraduate degree at the University of California at Berkeley. In 2004, her boyfriend bought a house in Congress Heights and she moved in with him in 2009.
Which, by every metric except one—skin color—makes her as much of a gentrifier as the young white residents unloading moving vans near U Street NW every weekend. As we talk, Moore says she’s frustrated by the dozens of stories that feature handwringing over D.C. becoming “less black,” because they paint an incomplete picture.