This recent article in the Gothamist highlights some of the glaring ailments of gentrification, white privilege and inner truths of so-called “liberalism”. How a white graffiti artist feels entitled to put up her piece on private property and lash out at the property owners with savior-complex threats of retaliation for not appreciating how her work makes their building “more profitable”. The short article picks up on these themes of gentrification:
-the double standard of white privilege: If Black and Latino kids had done the same act of graffiti, they’d have to worry about police retaliation
-how local economies are often not supported in the gentrification process, helping speed its spread
-the intimidation native (or long-term) residents, and residents of color, may feel in speaking out against the gentrifiers, particularly if they are white and/or are wealthier
-how a simple act of R.E.S.P.E.C.T. on the part of the graffiti artist could have changed this story from the beginning. Ask permission to do it first. And if you didn’t, APOLOGIZE for causing harm and hurt feelings when the owners express it. The story could have changed there, too. Instead the graffiti artist responded with a threat against the owners.
-how “beautification” of a neighborhood, and rising real estate prices do not always work to the benefit of all members of the community (and how beautification is often a code word that goes hand-in-hand with the gentrification process).
-the dangers of the perceived benevolence of white liberalism, that when put into a corner, can express itself in terms of a missionary (James Baldwin) savior complex in which the target community should feel indebted and inferior to.