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Ally-ship & Gentrification

Are you really an ally? Or are you just taking up space in predominantly black and brown spaces for the sake of social media?

Black people tend to be disproportionately exposed to traumas in almost all aspects of life. Especially when you factor in the different class levels. Which, is exactly why I can almost guarantee you that not many of us really want white ally-ship to be displayed in the manner some of you choose to do so.

The rise of awareness about the traumas that plague the black community, along with the affects of gentrification, is an important dichotomy to take note of. On one hand there is an amass of support pouring in and loads of work being done to change and minimize the trauma. However, on the other hand, there is an active movement to continue exposure to that trauma. It's bad enough to have to be subjected to hostile situations more frequently than other groups. Adding in a splash of "gee great my new neighbor secretly calls the cops when people are on the stoop" makes it all the worse. Protesting the deli cat, block parties, stoop chillin, and so many more staple parts of our culture and what makes our home so alluring in the first place. The livelihood of the neighborhoods that are being raped by gentrification is in ALL that. The late nights in front of the building, the music playing outside, the kids playing double dutch, tag, and dancing to music is all a large part of our culture. That's what makes those neighborhoods cool. The "cheap" aka affordable meal isn't some fad or trend. Then suddenly you have to answer with those same gentrifiers, and make them more "comfortable" while they are actively engaging in practices that only add to the trauma that black people deal with and “inadvertently” maximize it.

Something I’ve noticed in particular with ally-ship from non blacks and whites alike, is that there’s a tendency to scream and cry about the injustices that the black community face, but it’s mostly to black people. In fact there’s a large group of people who go out of their way, to tag and share these injustices with the black people in their lives. While the intentions may be something along the lines of “HEY! I see what’s happening and it’s not okay”, the reality is that it comes across mostly as them seeking to add gasoline to the fire. Instigating and drumming up the outrage and pain of black people. This is not to say that I don’t know people who are not this way. I have long held friendships with some of the most active and aware people, they know who they are. They don’t enter into a community looking to be the focus and take up space where they don’t belong. Learn ally ship through your white peers. Stop looking to me to justify your weird ally ship.

I’ve minimized my dealings with people like this. While it’s intended to be sweet and a sign of ally ship, it’s actually more annoying than anything. I don’t like being sent injustices after injustices. Especially not when the people that are at the receiving end of said injustice, look a hell of a lot more like me, and my loved ones, than yours. I know that racism is a problem. I’ve known that my whole life. As have many other black people. Share that racism is a problem with your white and non black friends and family. Go do the work in YOUR community. I am tired of being expected to offer some sort of emotional labor for the dale of ~~teaching humanity to be better~~.

I cannot and will not subject myself to it.

I am especially not going to argue with people who don’t see the value of human life, SPECIFICALLY black ones.

This is an observation I’ve made for a few years now on various social media platforms.

People yell and clamor with fake outrage hoping that they’ll rile the next person up enough, to actually make the changes and do the work that needs to be done. All the while celebrating the idea that they played some pivotal role in this “great change” because they tagged their black friend or favorite black celebrity to a social media post.

I much prefer a more active and affirmative ally ship.

One that doesn’t beg for black attention and validation. If you’re going to do the work, be like nike, and just do it.

Don’t hold your black friend’s feeling’s hostage and try to rile them up and fill them with rage at the sight of every injustice, YOU are now listening to.

Black people have been very vocal about the injustices we suffer as a community due to systemic racism and everything that comes with it. We have not been silent as we’ve been slain by police and wrongfully murdered by them, and or the random racist whites. Do not cry to black people about how wrong and unfair the justice system is when you have no intentions to make real change in your community.

These same people tend to LOVE their newly gentrified neighborhoods. They take very little time to actually know the people of the community or the neighborhood history. They come in and think of it as some super cool, trend rising area that they just NEED to be apart of. While dismissing the fact that their very presence is dangerous to the people who have lived there.

Gentrification is not something that should be taken lightly or even celebrated the way that it is.

Gentrification is a clear slap in the face to all of the people who have lived in those communities for years and begged for decent living conditions. These neighborhoods that were intentionally overlooked due to their blackness, are now being bought up and sold or rented to whites and nonwhites, who then get to reap benefits of new neighborhood changes. Changes that wouldn’t have ever happened for the people that originally lived there. In neighborhoods that were never designed to be something that a black person could show pride in. Neighborhoods that the government intentionally pushed to the side and overlooked. Neighborhoods that were plagued with crime because the structure of the community is one at which you were given very few opportunities at legitimate success. The city’s rarely ever use any of their vast resources for real progress in these neighborhoods prior to gentrification. As someone that grew up in Brooklyn, I have a particular disdain towards gentrification. I’ve watched in transform my neighborhood and price my family out of our homes. There are so many families in Brooklyn desperately holding onto the little bits that they have. All the while the landlords and city are doing everything in their collective power to not help those communities.

To those who may fit this mold. Re-evaluate what it is that you think you’re doing. Who are you helping? Where are you placing your outrage? If you do not have the same outrage and visceral desire to share the injustices of gentrification with your white or nonblack friends and family members, then I suggest you rethink your desire to send your black friends videos they may have been avoiding, intentionally.


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