On My Home Planet

I have an opinion about everything, and here it is for the world to see.

Hating on: morons, self-righteous political extremists, the man-and-baby-hating strain of feminism, CraigsList, yuppies, careerists, white liberal guilt, people devoid of any sense of morals or personal responsbility, and other generally clueless and misguided types who continually piss me off.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Why Gentrification Sucks

Gentrification - n. Misguided attempt on the part of the liberal self-perceived cognoscenti to alleviate their karmas of white guilt, which is misguided because it's actually racist in the premise that poor, dangerous, innercity, nonwhite neighborhoods will start getting better solely because Caucasian yuppiefolk move in.

Not that I don't appreciate liberals' efforts to make my stomach turn (ironically, nausea = toomuchcoffeelady eats less = stays skinny = stays closer to oppressive beauty standards of the evil Western patriarchy = pisses off the feminazis) but if I hear one more self-righteous yuppie jackass brag about the condo they just bought in the "gentrifying" area of such-and-such, and how they're "helping the neighborhood" and "helping the city" simply by gracing a historically poor, nonwhite neighborhood with their presence, I am going to kick their ass.

First of all - Just because something is a good real estate investment, doesn't necessarily make it a good idea or a safe thing to live there. For example, if an area is crime-ridden and poor, and some idiot gets the idea to raze *some* Section 8 housing and displace its residents to it's-their-problem-where to build luxury condos and offices right next door to remaining Section 8 housing, crackhouses, pawnshops, etc... resentment is going to build and eventually erupt in violent crime. Directed, I'll bet any money, against the uppity newcomers that live and work there. Not to mention that until the neighborhood/city cleans up significantly, you'll be putting your kids in private schools just so that they learn to read before they hit puberty.

Second - You're all openminded and hip and want to live in a "diverse" neighborhood, go for it. Knock yourself out. In fact, stay out of the suburbs, where there are already too many people and not enough homes. But don't put in my face every 10 seconds how you're "helping the city" and "enlightening the common folks" by living in a nice pad in the ghetto. As a self-supporting, taxpaying adult in a capitalist country, I am entitled to decide where I live. If the "energy" (traffic, crime, cramping, smell, noise, violence, corruption, rampant STDs, and endless political bullshit) of city life isn't for me, it isn't for me. Doesn't make me some elitist, racist, etc (shame on you, accusing an "oppressed" woman like myself of being an oppressor!) just because I like to see trees and grass outside my window. You're not God and it isn't your place to judge me anyway.

Third - What the eff makes you think that you are really "better" than poor minorities, just because you have light skin and a few more degrees than they? Are you seriously that egotistical and condescending? Are you going to quote Neitzsche at your new neighbors, and that's going to solve all their problems, put food on their tables, get them health insurance and good jobs, keep their kids out of gangs and get them into good colleges and careers? If your house gets broken into, if you get attacked some night coming home from work by some violent gang member, are you going to tell them about the hidden sexual imagery in Shakespeare and expect them to leave you alone? Do you seriously think that the minimum wage jobs created when Starbucks moves into the neighborhood will lift your neighbors out of poverty? Don't tell me for one second that you're going to sit down with your 22 year old single mom of 4 kids neighbor struggling to make ends meet and offer her concrete solutions and assistance on how to improve her lot in life. THAT is helping people. Moving people and their problems from one part of town to another doesn't help for jack.

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7 Comments:

At 5:07 PM, Blogger Lonnie Bruner thinks I'm the coolest...

Whoa, whoa, settle down, Tex. You're getting yourself all worked into a stupor over this.

 
At 5:20 PM, Blogger TooMuchCoffeeLady thinks I'm the coolest...

1 - I'm not remotely close to being a Texan.

2 - Chill. It's all in good fun. ;)

 
At 6:01 PM, Blogger Ibid thinks I'm the coolest...

Nice to see you back.

There's a tipping point from where you're helping the neighborhood to where you're forcing the poor folks out.
At first your tax money goes to schools with no tax base to speak of. People with money are more likely to take care of their yard and house which in turn discourages crime. As much as it sucks, police will patrol more with more middle class than they would have when it was just lower class people.
But once the area starts to pick up and more middle to upper class folk move in the property values go up and the poorer people are forced out.

Me? I bought a place in a poorer neighborhood not because I cared about the locals or the investment. I bought it because that's all I could afford. I keep my yard looking neat, trim the sidewalk cutouts, and spray weed killer in the sidewalk cracks up and down my block. I sit outside and play games with the neighborhood kids until their parents come home. I offer to help with their homework, but no takers yet. I've even bought some allergy meds for one of them who was having some real problems with his eyes last May/June.

But yeah, a lot of people who buy in a "developing" neighborhood need to rationalize that they're doing some good instead of just speculating in real estate. There's more to improving a neighborhood than just buying their land.

 
At 9:59 AM, Blogger Tristrami thinks I'm the coolest...

Yeeeeees. Wanting a city life/short commute + underpaid = buying something semi-affordable in a crappy neighborhood. Which I did, but there's no illusion of being a "gentrifying" force. My community activism is limited to gardening and narcing on the comings and goings of the stash house across the street...Which is now for sale. So perhaps another underpaid, overeducated honkey will buy it and fix it up. Here's hoping.

 
At 10:08 PM, Blogger Chopin Girl thinks I'm the coolest...

Coffee Lady, only you can say it best. I can't stand it when someone at work comes up in my face and says "I love where I live... yeah, there's a lot of crime there, but it's SO diverse! I mean, it's the city!" It's so annoying-- and I really don't care if you are so nice to your black or brown neighbors and I don't care if you say hello to them everyday.. what is THAT supposed to prove? But what ULTIMATELY gets me is that they don't understand why the resentment is even there for the very reasons you point out, Lady. Arrrgh... another day in La-La land, I say....

 
At 1:01 AM, Blogger Lab_FROG thinks I'm the coolest...

Frog Fart! Gentrification is useful for recreating urban areas. If those who do so get their butts' kicked, so what? Good intentions, bad results, but proof as such, equal eventual positive Natural Law / Social Science (w/o the quotes) consequences. In other froggy words, evolution occurs.

 
At 9:57 AM, Anonymous Class factotum thinks I'm the coolest...

I hate diversity. Whatever happened to judging people as individuals? As in "I like my next-door neighbor Melva -- she's nice and her kids are fun," or, "I hate Bubba, he's a jerk who mows his lawn at 7 a.m. on Sunday," as opposed to "Oh, I am such a tolerant person for deigning to live next to people whose skin is not the same color as mine." What a bunch of crap.

 

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