News They’re Doing Something About Gentrification in Portland
posted by May 29 at 9:24 AMon
They’re talking about it.
“I’ve been really upset by what I perceive to be Portland’s blind spot in its progressivism,” said Khaela Maricich, a local artist and musician. “They think they live in the best city in the country, but it’s all about saving the environment and things like that. It’s not really about social issues. It’s upper-middle-class progressivism, really.”
Ms. Maricich, 33, who is white, spoke after attending this month’s meeting of Portland’s Restorative Listening Project.
The goal of the project, which is sponsored by the city’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement, is to have white people better understand the effect gentrification can have on the city’s longtime black and other-minority neighborhoods by having minority residents tell what it is like to be on the receiving end.
So… white liberal guilt is now a public utility in Portland. The article goes on to list some steps guilty white gentrifiers can take to soothe their troubled consciences. Whites moving into Portland’s only black neighborhood—which is rapidly become Portland’s newest integrated neighborhood—need, according to the head of the Restorative Listening Project, to “make the commitment that the harm stops with us.” And how can guilty white gentrifiers do that? By refusing to buy homes in Portland’s black neighborhood? By moving back out of Portland’s black neighborhood and taking their pasty-faced babies and their wide-ass strollers and their overpriced coffee shops with them? Nope.
Once armed with a broader perspective, said Judith Mowry, the project’s leader, whites should “make the commitment that the harm stops with us.” That might mean that whites appeal to the city to help black businesses or complain to companies that put fliers on the doors of black property owners encouraging them to sell.
Oh, gee. Wag a finger at the city and harass real estate companies that approach current property owners in the neighborhood about selling—the same real estate companies that sold you your house. Why not toss in a couple of Hail Mary’s?
You know what? White people in the 60s and 70s that didn’t want to live in racially mixed neighborhoods fled urban areas for the suburbs. It was called “white flight” and guilty white liberals everywhere agreed that white people sucked. Now white people are willing to live in racially mixed neighborhoods and it’s called gentrification and guilty white liberals everywhere agree that white people suck.
Sorry, guilty white liberals, but white people can’t suck for fleeing racially mixed neighborhoods back then and then suck for moving into racially mixed neighborhoods now.
And you have to get pretty far into the piece to get to this detail:
Though the black population has declined in some black areas [of Portland], including Northeast, it has increased somewhat in the city as a whole. Some blacks have left Northeast by choice, moving to other neighborhoods or the suburbs, and some bought and sold property in the area to their advantage.
So there are more black people living in Portland now—although their numbers overall are small—they’re just not concentrated in one neighborhood. There used to be a word for the concentration of blacks in certain areas of cities: segregation. And there was a word for blacks and whites (and people of other races) living in racially mixed neighborhoods: integration. Guilty white liberals used to be opposed to segregation and for integration. What changed?