This Is How You Don’t Talk About Gentrification
Here’s a pro tip: if you’re gentrifying a historically minority neighborhood, don’t be a d*ck about it.
You’re welcome, brown people.
On Tuesday, Reddit user laika_cat uploaded the above photo to the Los Angeles subgroup, along with the headline, “Gentrification in Highland Park has reached new lows, apparently.”
For the unfamiliar, Highland Park is a northeastern neighborhood in Los Angeles that’s very much a Latino part of town. In 2000, Latinos made up more than 70 percent of the population. That was 16 years ago. Nowadays, Highland Park has a reputation of attracting a hipper (read most likely white) and monied (again, white) crowd. As the Los Angeles Weekly declared back in 2012, Highland Park is the new Echo Park, which was also an L.A. neighborhood that went from being historically Latino to hipster (not to be repetitive, but white) crowd.
The sign was hung up by the contracting company in charge of the project, not by the homeowners themselves, who claim that the house has belonged to their family for more than 30 years. That doesn’t matter though. Why? Because…
People are pissed off and tweeting about it.
Nikki AND Jeremy can kiss my ass………………..just rude. https://t.co/iNB0uuzM1T
— Mimi (@mimilovesmojito) March 30, 2016
Can highland park , go back to cholos instead of hipsters ? Id rather get shot than have to see another cafè
— Oscar (@OscarAndresLA) March 30, 2016
— S. Schlachtenhaufen (@Steffen_Schlach) March 26, 2016
It’s easy to see why people are reacting so strongly the the sign. After all, that passive aggressive sign is straight up telling a largely Latino population that they should be thanking white people for improving their neighborhoods. It’s as callous as the gentrification of what’s been taking place in areas like Austin, Tex. Sometimes, gentrification can be deadly, like when it gets to a point where a person of color who grew up in a particular neighborhood becomes an intruder in his/her own hood.
And look, gentrification isn’t entirely bad, especially if it’s done in a manner that is inclusive of the community it’s seeking to improve. Boyle Heights, another Latino heavy neighborhood, is lauded for its gentrification. Let’s do more of this.
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