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The richest girl in town.

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What's going on. [Thursday, Sep. 27th, 2007|12:04 pm]
The richest girl in town.
In the last week or so, I have

- been subjected to "secondary" security screening at SFO that caused me to miss my flight to LAX
- missed meeting a four-week old baby named Eoin and seeing his mama because of my air travel shenanigans
- woken up at 7:30 in the morning on a Saturday to canvass in Pasadena for a marriage equality campaign
- been really busy at work planning for an event in Palm Springs in a week and a half
- seen claudelemonde
- carried a beating heart into a bar in Silverlake
- attended a volunteer award ceremony at the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center
- discovered the wonder that is "The Newsroom"--which "The Office" TOTALLY ripped off
- sat through the first three-hour session of a six-month long study group on gentrification at Just Cause Oakland
- had a long and interesting conversation about the same-gender marriage debate with TDM, during which we largely disagreed but kept smiling the entire time
- fleshed out the outline for an annual report
- possibly booked a gig dancing on Halloween
- gone to a casual games mixer sponsored in part by two of my former employers, which is sort of like going to a party and finding a bunch of my exes there
- begun to process the fact that TDM is moving here on Monday
- watched Java the Mutt charm the pants off of people at work, the Noc Noc, and assorted other locations

And, from freewillastrology.com:
Cancer Horoscope for week of September 27, 2007

Move the furniture around. In fact, why not move some of it right through the front door and out of your life? If we're lucky, this will get you in the mood to launch a purge of everything that no longer belongs under your roof. Maybe you could throw a Simplification Party, complete with an exorcism. Or corral your friends for a haul-it-all-away caravan to the garbage dump. I don't care how you do it, Cancerian. Just get rid of all knick-knacks, wall hangings, funny mirrors, broken dreams, balls and chains, and formerly cute mementos that have lost their cuteness. It's time to liberate your home.

Anyone want a cat?
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2007-09-28 10:31 pm (UTC)

Re: Part 1.

What's the solution, then? How can we have re-integration without pushing out the current residents of color? That's not a rhetorical question--I'm honestly curious what the alternatives are.

Come up with solutions that integrate areas intelligently and don't force out the current residents. Inclusive development is one way, but it doesn't always work--"low-income" units in new apartment buildings often are priced lower per square foot, but the smallest units are used. So, "low-income" units still require a $60K annual income. That's not by accident--developers (and the yuppies to whom their buildings appeal) don't want to live near "low-income" people, even though they're moving into "low-income" neighborhoods.

Well, I am clearly thinking deeply about the consequences of my behavior--that's the reason why I started this discussion.

You're "thinking" about it but still telling me that in the grand scheme of things, it's more important to you that you have a spacious loft behind a gate than to live somewhere where your presence, whether you want it to or not, will contribute to the neighborhood becoming unaffordable for its current inhabitants.

I'm curious, if I were married, with children, and purchasing an old single family dwelling in one of the lower-class neighborhoods in question because it's the only thing near my work & friends that I can afford -- would that make me somehow less culpable?

To me? A little--you'd at least be putting down roots, not paying the mortgage of someone else who probably doesn't want to live in that neighborhood but is totally fine jacking rents to chase out the current population.

However--I'll qualify that by saying that you wouldn't be less culpable if you were taking advantage of one of the people who's experienced foreclosure in the current sub-prime mortgage crisis. And there's plenty of that kind of opportunistic preying going on right now, too.

Or am I still a part of the problem just by nature of the fact that I'm white and not at the poverty level?

Everyone who lives in those neighborhoods isn't a person of color or at the poverty level. But yes, those are factors when you share little with the community in terms of race or ethnicity or culture--which are pretty much doomed once the area gentrifies.

Is the fact that this loft I'm considering moving to a converted factory and not one of these BS new luxury condos being built in low-income neighborhoods make any difference?

Not really. The converted factories come first, the BS luxury condos come later.

It's not as though families were evicted so that I could live in a luxury condo.

Oh, but they will be.

Or is the fact that white people are there at all, doing nice things with their property and in effect upping property values in the neighborhood still part of the problem?

You know, white people are just SO PUT UPON ALL THE TIME, I know. It's bad enough they are the majority of the people living in the nice parts of town--how dare I point out that when they move to the not-so-nice parts because it's a deal, that they force out poorer people and people of color!?

/sarcasm

They do nice things to their property, raise property values, and then bail--making it harder for the people who have been living there to continue to do so. You know this already. You know one way you can fight that is to not be that person.

Telling young white middle-class people to not move to the only areas they can afford is pretty lousy, I think.

Those AREN'T the only areas you can afford, and you know that, too. Come on, now.
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[User Picture]From: mooflyfoof
2007-09-28 10:45 pm (UTC)

Re: Part 1.

You're "thinking" about it but still telling me that in the grand scheme of things, it's more important to you that you have a spacious loft behind a gate than to live somewhere where your presence, whether you want it to or not, will contribute to the neighborhood becoming unaffordable for its current inhabitants.

I guess the fact that I would be contibuting to the local economy by patronizing nearby restaurants & stores means nothing then? My presence would only be a blight on the current residents' existence?

However--I'll qualify that by saying that you wouldn't be less culpable if you were taking advantage of one of the people who's experienced foreclosure in the current sub-prime mortgage crisis.

Fair enough -- that sub-prime mortgage bullshit is really uncool. However, I do have to turn that back around and say that a lot of the responsibility for that can be placed on the shoulders of those who signed up for the sub-prime mortgages w/out doing their research. I'm glad to see that JCO is hoping to start a counseling group to start educating people about the dangers of sub-prime lending.

But yes, those are factors when you share little with the community in terms of race or ethnicity or culture--which are pretty much doomed once the area gentrifies.

So the goal is to retain insular, exclusive neighborhoods with a static culture, not integrated neighborhoods with a dynamic, diverse culture? As already stated, I'm not a fan of neighborhoods that aren't diverse -- be they all white or all black or all Mexican or all rich or all poor or whatever.

Those AREN'T the only areas you can afford, and you know that, too. Come on, now.

Actually, if I wanted to buy a house, they are. There, or the suburbs, which I already stated are highly undesirable to me.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2007-09-28 10:55 pm (UTC)

Re: Part 1.

But living in the suburbs wouldn't displace other people. So, think a little bit about that and where your values lie. You want diversity, but you're willing to displace poor people and people of color to get it.

I'm busy at work and can't continue this right now, but I want you to think about what you're saying.
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[User Picture]From: mooflyfoof
2007-09-28 11:15 pm (UTC)

Re: Part 1.

So all white people should move to the suburbs, where they have to waste gas and time to drive to and from work, and have their children grow up only knowing other white kids and the bland suburban life...? Oh, right, that sounds like a great plan. Read what I've written. I have no desire to displace anyone. I would like nothing more than to be able live in such a neighborhood in harmony with its current residents. I am not going to move to the suburbs in deference to people who cannot afford increased housing prices. I will fight to help them, but I'm not going to give up my home.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2007-09-28 11:47 pm (UTC)

Re: Part 1.

No one's asking you give up your home. You have the ability and the means to live somewhere that isn't going to contribute to someone else having to give up theirs, and you're deciding you don't care. That's fine--but don't ask me to make you feel better about that decision. I'm not here to give you penance.
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[User Picture]From: mooflyfoof
2007-09-28 10:53 pm (UTC)

Re: Part 1.

I just thought of something else: if I can only afford a house in the subburbs or low-income neighborhoods, then similarly those in low-income neighborhoods must be able to afford places in the 'burbs, right? why then aren't they moving to those oh-so-desirable suburbs? Oh that's right, because Oakland is their home, and that would cause them to have to uproot. Not like moving to Tracy would cause me have to uproot or anything.

Suburban America is no more my culture than it is that of those living in low-income urban neighborhoods. We all want to live here where it's diverse and interesting and vibrant.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2007-09-28 10:56 pm (UTC)

Re: Part 1.

You're not FROM Oakland.

And buying property isn't the same as renting.

And no--people of color are still not welcome in most suburbs.

So, what else ya got?
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[User Picture]From: mooflyfoof
2007-09-28 11:06 pm (UTC)

Re: Part 1.

No I'm not FROM Oakland, but I would like to be, and I would like my kids to be. Or maybe not necessarily Oakland, but the Bay Area, for sure. Berkeley or Oakland ideally.

Ok, I can't afford to rent the kind of space I need to engage in the kind of activities I want to do anywhere but those neighborhoods. So the fact that I don't have kids means I'm not allowed to have that much space? Riiiight.

Maybe they would be more welcome if more of them took it upon themselves to move there? Sure, there are still a lot of racist assholes out there, but I grew up in a fairly affluent town (not suburban, but not urban either) and there was a lot of diversity in my high school (black, white, hispanic, asian, east asian, middle eastern, you name it). Maybe I'm just naive but I don't think I ever heard a racial slur uttered the whole time I was there. And there were a lot of not-rich people at my school, too. Frankly I think telling white people to not move to a neighborhood that is lower-income and primarily non-white is a great way to increase interracial tensions.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2007-09-28 11:43 pm (UTC)

Re: Part 1.

Maybe they would be more welcome if more of them took it upon themselves to move there? Sure, there are still a lot of racist assholes out there, but I grew up in a fairly affluent town (not suburban, but not urban either) and there was a lot of diversity in my high school (black, white, hispanic, asian, east asian, middle eastern, you name it). Maybe I'm just naive but I don't think I ever heard a racial slur uttered the whole time I was there. And there were a lot of not-rich people at my school, too. Frankly I think telling white people to not move to a neighborhood that is lower-income and primarily non-white is a great way to increase interracial tensions.

And again: I don't have the time to get into how back-asswards so much of this is and how disappointed I am in you for even saying it. If you go to my memories, you'll find a list of books I love. Start there.
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[User Picture]From: mooflyfoof
2007-09-28 11:52 pm (UTC)

Re: Part 1.

I'll check it out, but I really don't appreciate your condescension.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2007-09-28 11:57 pm (UTC)

Re: Part 1.

And I don't appreciate having to have this conversation.

You clearly don't know what you're talking about, but you're speaking as though you have authority instead of asking questions, or better, looking for the information elsewhere. Can you imagine how tiring this gets for me? It's insulting.

It's not up to people of color living in a white supremacist society to somehow make it less racist. It's not our job.
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[User Picture]From: mooflyfoof
2007-09-29 12:02 am (UTC)

Re: Part 1.

Oh for fuck's sake, I asked like a bazillion questions, and have learned a lot as a result of this conversation. In the same breath you insult me for my ignorance and perpetuate the fact that I, someone who doesn't know anything, can't approach someone like you, who does, about it.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2007-09-29 12:06 am (UTC)

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make 'em think.

No, actually--you've been arguing the same points with me ALL DAY because you haven't gotten the answers you want. THAT'S tiring.

Then, on top of it, there's your awful assumptions about what racism looks like, which blame PoC and poor people for their lot. You mention casually that yeah, okay, there's discrimination, but still seem to think it's their fault, which is really insulting. Having to counter that? TIRING.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2007-09-29 12:11 am (UTC)

A reading list:

Some good essays online:
http://www.livejournal.com/tools/memories.bml?user=fightingwords&keyword=the+invisible+knapsack&filter=all

From my book list (though I'll copy the ones pertinent here):


Non-fiction:

A Taste of Power: A Black Woman's Story - Elaine Brown
Women, Race & Class - Angela Y. Davis
The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics - George Lipsitz
A Small Place - Jamaica Kincaid
Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations - bell hooks
Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center - bell hooks
Killing Rage: Ending Racism - bell hooks
The Fire Next Time - James Baldwin
Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches - Audre Lorde
"Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" and Other Conversations About Race - Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD

Fiction:

Waiting for the Barbarians - J. M. Coetzee
The White Boy Shuffle - Paul Beatty
Maud Martha - Gwendolyn Brooks
Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison

Poetry:

Presenting... Sister NoBlues - Hattie Gossett
City of Coughing and Dead Radiators - Martín Espada
Rebellion is the Circle of a Lover’s Hands - Martín Espada
Poetry Like Bread: Poets of the Political Imagination - Martín Espada (ed.)

http://fightingwords.livejournal.com/439379.html

There are more that aren't on this list--are you on Goodreads?
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[User Picture]From: mooflyfoof
2007-09-29 12:17 am (UTC)

Re: A reading list:

Thank you, I'll look into those. I'm a fairly slow reader so I probably won't ever make it through that list, sadly, but I will do my best to educate myself.

I wasn't before, but I'm on Goodreads now. The email address I used was mooflyfoof@gmail.com.
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