1st and foremost, I thought it would be appropriate to give the definition of gentrification. According to Wikipedia.com the average income increases and average family size decreases in the community, which sometimes results in the eviction of lower-income residents because of increased rents, house prices, and property taxes. Gentrification refers to the displacement that results when wealthier people acquire property in low income and working class communities.
I have seen this personally in action all over DC from Deanwood to Adams Morgan all in the last few years – areas that just recently were mostly black, have changed to the point that it can be said that “Chocolate City” has become more and more “Cookies And Cream”. Not to say that I feel that this is necessarily a bad thing as I have absolutely no problem with people deciding to move to another area to be closer to their jobs, or just for the sake of living somewhere else. That is perfectly fine with me.
A serious issue is the housing condition, apartments that were once “affordable” have been too often converted into condos which cater to more affluent occupants. This segment turns out to be White, which would seem to coincide with the fact that some feel as though Blacks are being targeted for removal from DC and that it is done on purpose. I disagree with that notion since I believe that green is a color more divisive than black or white. What that means is that if you have enough money you can live wherever you want to.
Now truthfully speaking, in Washington, DC and its immediate area as in many large cities in the United States, this is a trend as noted by www.dccentrist.com see below for a picture that illustrates this:
When you take a look at Eric Fischer’s updated racial and ethnic distribution maps and you will see that by-and-large, there remains stark segregation between white and black residents in D.C., meanwhile there are many areas with strong integration patterns in the outlying suburban counties.
The areas with the greatest concentrations of blacks are in blue and red represents whites. You clearly see that blacks are the most prevalent in areas of NE and SE DC as well as PG county to the East and South of the city. While on the contrary, Whites are in NW and Northern VA, there are areas that are quite multicultural in nature such as parts of NW , DC but other than there is much contrast.
I would love to compare this 2010 distribution map with one from 2000, 1990, and even earlier to really show the changes over time.
While I understand that there are those that feel like this is segregation, I disagree with that for the reasons I mentioned above that green is the most important color. DC is a very interesting city indeed for although there are areas on the map that have been historically Caucasian for decades, at one time there were enclaves of Backs in areas such as Georgetown. The one that surprised me the most Tenleytown which was recently nicknamed “Upper Caucasia” by www.washingtoncitypaper.com
Now, I don’t wish to be misunderstood. I have no qualms with people deciding to move to another area no matter what there race is and I do not blame them for the disenfranchised sentiment of African Americans in DC. I blame apathy and pop culture, and why I feel this way will be explored in further posts at a later date.
So, in conclusion, I think that it is imperative that today in the year 2011, we get away from the internal prejudices that we may have about one another. This makes me think of a song from Disney’s Pocahontas that, in part, says: “They’re different from us, which means they must be evil, let us sound the drums of war.”
Here is another picture:
In the words of Rodney King ” Can’t we all just get along”