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“We’re moving out, they’re moving in.”

a harsh reality

For me growing up in a predominantly Black neighborhood, I have seen over the recent years a lot of major changes. And the most obvious shift has been the demographics of people moving in as we are moving out. The Black community has taken a shift where I was at a McDonald’s the other night and saw two teenage White girls who lived up the street. And this was deep into my Harlem community. It’s a sight that you wouldn’t have seen ten years ago. But now you are starting to see the shift. And more and more Black families are moving higher up in Manhattan. And with the shift you are noticing a lot of us moving out because of affordability not because of the ethnic move into Harlem.

we’re hurt as well

We observe the Black gentrification move, but there is a White shift in mostly White neighborhoods as well. When looking at Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, which at one point was mainly Italian families now a major Chinese American community. So you think to yourself, are these White men and women being pushed out, coming to Black areas, where we are now being pushed out. Because our communities are environments where you would never see White men and women. Now their teenage children walk around as late as midnight and 2:00 a.m. So there is a silent moving out of White community as well. But as Black people, it’s hard to focus on that aspect of another communities life hen your own community is taking on a different look.

it ain’t your color is cash

Is it about the skin color or is it about how much you got in the bank? Because living in Harlem, the families moving in are middle class white men and women, in addition to some upper middle class as well. So basically, I’m saying that even if upper middle class Black people moved into Black neighborhoods, it would force other Black people out the community. It’s just that in the case of now, the people are mostly White. But this isn’t a trend that’s stopping because the cost of living is cheaper in the Black neighborhoods.

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“What happens when identity has to be recreated?”

Two years from now will be the year 2019, which will mark the 400 year period since the first Africans were brought to America. So much between then and now has happened, and the question now remains. How far have Black people come in America and how far do we still need to go? Let’s take a look in the past for just a moment. Imagine, each person, coming from their respective tribes, with their respective cultures. Being dragged to a new land, not knowing what was in store once you got there. Trying to understand why looking out into the sea you can’t find the river banks from which you came to return back home. And now you’re in this new place for life, with people you don’t know.

Fast forward to today, where we have been for almost 400 years. But, we have really only had rights since about the early 1970’s. That means African Americans have been experiencing freedom for roughly 45 – 50 years. You america, architecture, famousmight say, how so? Well, freedom allows you to vote, which we couldn’t do until coming into the 1970’s from the 1960’s. Freedom says you can go to any school you want to attend. But in the 1970’s and even as early as the 1980’s institutions were resistant in letting Blacks attend. Freedom grants you housing wherever you want to live, which is even more recent than the right to vote. Freedom grants the privilege to marry who you want without question. Laws on books forbid interracial marriage in various states in this country. The only progressive environment that has moved with more pace has been sports and the United States Armed Forces.

But what still needs to happen. Because we have poor education in inner city communities. There is a disproportionate number of violent crimes and a breakdown of the family. What’s interesting is that this is more of a recent phenomenon. If you look into the past, two parent households were the norm in the Black community. Black people had close nit communities, crime was nearly nonexistent, and overall morale was in tack. So what does that mean, we have to back track and lose our rights again to have control over our communities. Is there some sort of trade off, “You go back to segregation and then life will change.” Or is it more simple than that?

For example, I look at Chicago, a city that is plagued with crime, and also my father’s place of birth. And he has stated that it is a mixture of heavy Whtie and Black Police Car on Roadgang recruitment and lack of establishment by the law because of politicians not doing their jobs. It has been a rogue city for quite some time and with more and more schools closing, yet children are not being placed in other districts, problems are going to really climb. Which brings me to my next question. If schools are closing and countless kids are left in these inner city areas without a school home, should we start to home school as a community? Should Black people disregard the public school system in cities like Chicago? I mean, they’re shutting them down anyways, why not.

And that is the lead in to my next question, What is in the future? America is changing more and more everyday, and if we are not prepared issues will worsen. And not really on just a racial side, but economic. In today’s society, there is still not adequate access in poor areas to a lot of opportunities. Or is it? Black people are one of the largest demographics of smart phone users. That is a tool for learning all on it’s own. Which brings me to the next phase, putting yourself in the know. Those who are willing to put themselves in the know can and will elevate no matter what their economic circumstance or ethnic background. Having that mobile device means you do now have access to a lot of opportunities.

You may say how so? Well, this is not your mother and father or grandparents generation. Google search engine and YouTube has allowed access to what was once the unknown the know. For example, I Black Samsung Tablet on Google Pagelearned to write screenplays, my books, setup my website, and build social media all through tutorials on YouTube and searching through Google. So if we are big smart phone users, then we have the access in hand. All it takes is the attempt to sit and learn. Open yourself up to the opportunities that lie ahead. So, in the end, we have to do something. Life is getting harder by the day; and not just for us, everyone. Adjusting to the major technological shifts that will happen is a must in succeeding in life. If you are not bent on learning and broadening your base, then that America dream you want will no be anywhere within your sights. 

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“Where do the new residents go?”

As a New York City resident, I have been seeing the moves made by those in real estate to gentrify properties throughout the city. More so in low income areas of the city. The buildings are renovated and the rent is increased. Increased to a point where so many people can’t afford to live there. Then, they are forced to move into other areas that they can afford. But this is not just a New York City phenomenon, this is a national concern. And why is it a cause for concern? Well because it leaves hundreds or even thousands of families destitute. And where are they to move; into other low income areas. What are some potential drawbacks of this?

Like I said before, I live in New York City, but I am originally from the Midwest. And for me, growing up in the Southern Wisconsin area, about 45 minutes out of Chicago, I see it in that city. And it is something that has actually contributed to the high crime rates. When the housing projects were torn down in Chicago, people from them were thrust back into the communities. But along with them came the criminal element. Gangs and drug dealers introduced themselves into communities that already were plagued with drug and gang problems. What happened next? The gangs already established are now competing with the new entering gangs.

And this is one of the drawbacks of the introduction of gentrification. It’s what I see happening in New York City. When the old gangs are moved out, let’s say in parts of Brooklyn, where do they go. They don’t leave town or stop gang banging, they move into the next best place, usually to another borough. So if they leave Brooklyn most likely they’re going to Queens. But with Queens being built just as fast and Staten Island so far away, they move into Upper Harlem and The Bronx. So what will happen over the years to come, is a sharp rise in rapes, robberies, and murders in Upper Harlem and The Bronx. And why do I say Upper Harlem, because Lower parts of Harlem are even becoming too expensive to live.

But is it all bad when it comes to gentrification? And when I ask this question, I am not speaking in reference of those moving families out. I am talking about the opportunities that may present itself in the new poor communities. Because the great thing about NYC or other major metropolitan cities are the diverse people. If so much diversity is pumped into Upper Harlem and The Bronx, there is money to be made from the community through each other. Just think, from approximately 150th from east to west all the way up into the South Bronx. African Americans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, various groups from the continent of Africa, Cubans, Colombians, Mexicans, Jamaicans, Haitians, Trinidadians, Barbados, and Bahamians. Imagine the restaurants, the nightclubs, and even the schools.

The opportunities are endless, and with so much culture in a given area, tourists will now flock to these places. There’s no culture in Times Square, few on Upper West Side, few in lower Manhattan, even fewer will exist in Brooklyn and Queens; while Staten Island is too far away. And with other ethnic groups having people within them finding it hard to economically sustain, you’ll introduce more groups. Russians, Serbians, Armenians, Chinese, Greeks, Middle Eastern groups, and Indians. Upper Harlem and The Bronx will become New York City’s cultural epicenter. You see, in the end, poor people are hurt by gentrification. But there is good thing that can come of this move. Something that the people looking to move you out won’t gain from. And that is getting all these groups to work as a collective. Poverty can become prosperity if the poor work together. If not, an opportunity will be missed. 

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