It’s one of the busiest days of the year, but I wish I had a half-hour of quiet and a good cup of tea to sit down and give the City Paper’s front-page profile of Courtland Milloy the attention it deserves. Milloy infamously earned the ire of my laptop-toting peers when he mocked them by calling them “Myopic little twits” in his Metro column for the Washington Post. While my friends of one hue were outraged that the Post would legitimize a point of view they considered backwards, incendiary and racist, a few friends of another hue quietly maintained that he is the only one publicly representing the point of view of many D.C. residents who are otherwise never heard.
In Milloy’s telling, his barbs at D.C.’s creative-class newbies aren’t about lashing out at them because they’re new. He’s lashing out at them because they’re not. As gentriﬁcation takes hold of Washington and issues of inequality emerge, it’s not enough to take solace in Obama’s post-racial ideal while neighborhoods acquire a new mono-cultured cast. People who move into changing neighborhoods have a responsibility for what’s going on. Or so Milloy, in his role as the crotchety grandfather they never wanted, wants to tell them.
Milloy sees new Washingtonians as the flip-side of a process that, in his view, involves older ones being pushed out. And if the actual truth behind African-American departures is more complicated—plenty of folks, starting with Milloy, decamped voluntarily—he argues that it’s pretty damned egocentric to imagine that everything is sweetness and light.
“Well, I don’t know why people think I have a problem with the influx itself,” he says. “Not to be deliberately provocative, but that is the white view, it’s white-centered. ‘Why are you opposed to us moving in?’ But nothing about, ‘Why are you concerned about the way black people are being kicked out?’
People are being displaced, and sometimes run over roughshod. To me, that’s the issue. But depending on who gets to frame the issue—who gets to pose the question, set the framework—it becomes, you know, what’s wrong with white people moving in?” (Milloy, of course, is also the one setting the framework, at least once a week in the daily paper.) “Bridging those sorts of perceptual divides becomes very challenging,” he continues. “People become pretty, pretty self-centered when it comes to things like that.”
Find the rest, here.