Gentrification takes place when middle and upper-income people move into low-income communities, which ushers in economic change, reinvestment and development. Jumping back a few weeks ago, a discussion took place on DCentric when we pondered a more specific kind of gentrification: gentefication, which is when low-income, immigrant Latino neighborhoods are gentrified by second-generation, well-to-do Latinos.
So we wondered: is gentrification much different when gentrifiers aren’t white, so much so that it requires its own term?
Alex Baca tweeted that having a separate word for this kind of gentrification is unnecessary:
But others argued that gentrification by non-whites does have different implications for neighborhoods. Commenter Gente Negra, wrote:
I have witnesses this phenomena in Orlando, and Miami, in which upper class and affluent African Americans are revitalizing [sp] formerly blighted areas which were once Historically African American communities. In the Orlando Parramore district they have relocated FAMU (an HBCU) Law School, renovated an African American history Museum, built a mixed income housing complex, and relocated the Orlando Magic stadium. Unlike the case when city developers destroyed the Parramore in Orlando, and Overtown in Miami, with I-4 and I-95 respectively. This new form of gentrification and [African American] led gentrification seems to be more sensitive to the preservation of the historical nature of the surrounding areas.
In D.C., gentrification by whites hasn’t necessarily come at the cost of completely wiping out a neighborhood’s history. In some instances, the renewed investment has helped to preserve it. For example, the historic Howard Theatre in Shaw is being renovated at the same time the neighborhood is being gentrified. Honoring a neighborhood’s history can also come with smaller gestures; on H Street NE, restauranteur Joe Englert named one of his restaurants Granville Moore’s as a nod to the building’s former occupant, a renowned African American doctor in the 1950s. Englert told the Washington Post that knowing the building’s history gives “the neighborhood a depth and it shows that these main streets didn’t just spring from the head of Zeus.”
But what kind of impact does paying such homage to the past have on longtime residents, some of whom may be getting priced out of their neighborhoods? Another DCentric commenter wrote:
From my understanding, gentrification is simply the revitalization of a neighborhood by newcomers. Displacement refers to outpricing and removal of formerly entrenched communities. Thus, I don’t consider supposed gentrification in Anacostia to be of the same, much hated ilk as that in other parts of the city. Sure, wealthier blacks are moving in, but has business followed? Where is the redevelopment? Who is being “kicked out” because of their presence? Exclusionary gentrification is associated with whites because its businesses cater solely to white people, unfortunately. Anacostia is not a gentrified neighborhood. I would agree that “gentrification” by blacks and Latinos requires its own terminology.
Are middle class businesses [SP] geared towards whites that much different from middle class businesses geared towards African Americans? Sure, they each tend to go to different nightclubs, barbershops, and hair salons, but they both go to the same upscale eateries, grocery shops, and clothing stores that underclass residents have been priced out of.
What’s your take: what does gentrification by non-whites look like? Is gentrification all the same, no matter the race of the gentrifier?