As a proud D.C. resident, it griddles my pancakes from time to time when I see what is little more than blatant racist douchitude get a platform in the otherwise respectable Washington Post. What I'm talking about specifically is where thoughtful concern about the economics of "gentrification" gives way to what is blatant race-hatred that would fit in better with David Duke's line of thinking.
Let's take this article as a case in point. The writer actually says he doesn't know what's worse--the time when D.C. had so many murders it was nicknamed "Dodge City" or the fact that there is now a hipster bar on U Street that holds the same name. Hmm, let me think--many, many indiscriminate murders or a hipster bar? Tough call! While I'm pondering that, I'll try and decide what's worse--a restaurant that offers "artisinal cheese" or an epidemic of rapes and mutilations? It's like they're both equally bad!
The rest of the article adds bigotry to its stew of stupid--it laments that the white invaders are now appropriating the black culture of the city. Oh, horrors! I know how offended I feel when non-Italians open up pizza joints. Let's go burn down a Dominos! It was founded by an Irishman! (In fairness, I won't try selling corned beef in cabbage. We're good then?)
Consider how the article would read if you simply reversed the races. "Does it matter that the owners of the new establishments aren't white? Maybe." Does it matter that the writer of this piece just penned unapologetic bigotry? Maybe!
Now, the main point the author is trying to make--that the new joints opening up in the "hip" areas lack a lot of the city's old authenticity--is a fair one, even while overused. Even the hipsters that the author mocks would be the first to say they'd prefer the city when it was more "real", which I suppose means back when you could find a stabbing when you needed one. But the resentment regarding the race of the "interlopers" adds ugliness to an otherwise unremarkable piece. The racial mix of this city--as well as many others--should be a benefit of living here.
It's fine to discuss the unintended consequences of rich folks (white or otherwise) moving into a neighborhood. While the increased tax base and lower crime rate associated with rich newcomers is a plus, the higher rents and higher prices at the shops that cater to them can put the squeeze on the poorer residents. But this sense of a city losing its "authetic" nature because of racial influx sounds just as ugly coming from a black writer in 2012 as it did from white writers fifty years ago.
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