Gentrification is violence. Couched in white supremacy, it is a systemic, intentional process of uprooting communities… [Its] central act of violence is one of erasure.
…“Girls,” for example, reimagines today’s Brooklyn as an entirely white community. Here’s a show that places itself in the epicenter of a gentrifying city with gentrifiers for characters – it is essentially a show about gentrification that refuses to address gentrification. After critics lambasted Season 1 for its lack of diversity, the show brought in Donald Glover to play a black Republican and still managed to avoid the more pressing and relevant question of displacement and racial disparity that the characters are, despite their self-absorption, deeply complicit with. What’s especially frustrating about “Girls” not only dodging the topic entirely but pushing back – often with snark and defensiveness against calls for more diversity – is that it’s a show that seems to want to bring a more nuanced take on the complexities of modern life.
In an appallingly overwritten New York magazine article with the (I guess) provocative title “Is Gentrification All Bad?,” Justin Davidson imagines a first wave of gentrifiers much the way I’ve heard it described again and again: “A trickle of impecunious artists hungry for space and light.” This is the standard, “first it was the artists” narrative of gentrification, albeit a little spruced up, and the unspoken but the understood word here is “white.” Because, really, there have always been artists in the hood. They aren’t necessarily recognized by the academy or using trust funds supplementing coffee shop tips to fund their artistic careers, but they are still, in fact, artists. The presumptive, unspoken “white” in the first round of artists gentrification narrative is itself an erasure of these artists of color.
Gentrification’s insidious violence: The truth about American cities | Salon (via america-wakiewakie)