Here’s a refrain you’ll hear a lot in conversations about gentrifications: “Well, it’s really a class issue.” Davidson’s piece manages to avoid any race analysis whatsoever. Of course economics plays a huge role in this. But race and class are inseparably entwined. Rising rents, along with institutionally racist policies like stop-and-frisk, have forced black people to leave New York and urban areas around the country at historic rates. And yes, there are many layers at play: When non-black people of color with class privilege, like myself, move into a historically black and lower-income neighborhood, the white imagination reads our presence as making the area a notch safer for them. The mythology of safety and racial coding regards our presence as a marker of change; the white imagination places higher value on anything it perceives as closer to itself, further from blackness. We become complicit in the scam; the cycle continues.
These power plays – cultural, political, economic, racial — are the mechanics of a city at war with itself. It is a slow, dirty war, steeped in American traditions of racism and capitalism. The participants are often wary, confused, doubtful. Macklemore summarized the attitudes of many young white wealthy newcomers in his fateful text to Kendrick Lamar on Grammy night: “It’s weird and sucks that I robbed you.” But as with Macklemore, being surprised about a system that has been in place for generations is useless. White supremacy is nothing if not predictable."
this is how it always seems to go.
believe survivors until they accuse someone you already liked better. believe survivors until you feel pressured to stop being friends with a rapist and then accuse the survivor of starting drama. believe survivors when its an easy slogan to bandy about.
“The concept is simple. Take a blank sheet with nothing but the basic outline of a pinup girl and illustrate a unique scene around her.”