Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ugh.



So, I wake up this morning, check the ol' nytimes.com, and right there on the virtual front page is a story about my hometown. "The area around Alberta Street in Portland has become popular with young white couples, forcing many longtime residents to sell their property and move away."

And about the woman in the photo up top, the NY Times writes, "Joan Laufer, 55, a nurse practitioner, said she was not aware of the area's history when she moved there in the fall of 2006. The price was right, and she loved the front porch."

What??? No. Sorry, no. That's a lie. Even if you don't know about Vanport, a neighborhood decades ago that blacks were forced to live in thanks to Portland's old racist housing and real estate restrictions, and how it flooded and caused people to move & establish new neighborhoods like Alberta.... even if you don't know that, you know what Alberta is about. So please don't parade your white guilt around the NY Times and don't act shocked when attending the neighborhood reconciliation meetings, because you KNOW what buying a home in a neighborhood like Alberta adds up to when you're not the only one moving there to take advantage of how cheap it is.

I don't even mind gentrification. Really. Neighborhoods will change. That's what free market will lead to. But I did mind waking up and reading about this obtuse woman who is somehow surprised that moving to this neighborhood might actually make her part of a displacement machine.

Full article is HERE.


When observed in their natural habitat, white people will often camouflage their capital and other resources by hiding in dumpy clothes and hideous shoes...

15 comments:

Simone said...

LOL! I had to read the color to understand the indignation. Alas, this is the state of the country we live in. Change, the kind that offers opportunity for all, is usually very hard to come by.

Look no further than the daily newscasts' jokes about Obama to see that the deep-rooted hatred has gone nowhere, except behind closed doors. If it's one thing we can say about this election is that it exposes "progress" and stunted growth at the same time.

I *Heart* You said...

the percentage of people wearing babies in that bottom photo made me laugh out loud.

kelly said...

i don't see what the big deal is.

Anonymous said...

The first time I bought a house, I was 30 and so overwhelmed by the house itself and so naive about the buying process and the mortgage application and the inspections, appraisals, offers, counteroffers, attorney stuff, etc. that I did NO research into the neighborhood where I bas buying. None. Especially not research into its history. So in that context, yeah, the lady's comments ring true to me, and probably to other youngish, first-time home buyers, esp. those who aren't planning kids and worrying about the neighborhood in terms of schools, etc.

Though this lady is 55...

Anonymous said...

PS: I am not definitely endorsing this level of naivete, by the way.

~M said...

Loved this post. As a side note, I come into contact with just as much diversity (ethnicity and orientation, to name a couple) in the boring, sterile suburb that I live in as I did when I lived in downtown Oakland. Dumb white people are everywhere, I guess.

Kristen said...

Hah! I saw this this morning too. Unintentionally hilarious. Did you see that the same woman who "didn't know" about Alberta also contributed these gems to the discussion?:

"I've learned two things about all you guys already — why the houses aren't fixed up and why you guys are riding around in all these big flashy cars," Ms. Laufer, 55, a nurse practitioner, said.

At one point, she also asked blacks what she should call them — blacks or African-Americans.

An older black woman in the front replied, "People."

Another black woman, toward the back, said, "Donna."


Seriously, that is priceless.

Mary T. said...

It sounds a lot like Northside, the neighborhood where we lived in Cincinnati before we moved West. The difference being, Northside's gentrification has been "about to happen" since the '70s and the people who live there are by and large very aware of the issues with gentrification and work hard at creating a community atmosphere -- there is a community council, a lot of events, and it's very integrated. I think it's one of the neighborhoods that's doing it right. "I should blog it!"

Anonymous said...

I thought that Laufer's quotes in the Times didn't do her any favors.

Balsamfir said...

She sounds dum, but she also sounds like a nonyuppie simply buying a home she can afford, rather than avoiding places because people on the street look different. Her not buying it won't help redlining and lending/borrowing issues, but will devalue the homes/capital people have saved their whole lives to own. Gentrification happens, but not always. Buying on trend to speculate on gentrification is opportunistic, but it doesn't always work. One person I know is stuck in a neighborhood that might have gentrified in the 80's but didn't, and now people of all colors are simply abandoning the homes because the murder rate is so high, not to mention the taxes, fuel, unemployment...

Apt. #34 said...

I'm sure you already read What White People Like but if you don't start now! http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.wordpress.com/

Btw, I was recently in the Alberta neighborhood and ate at Bernie's - and it was good!

Anonymous said...

www.pbs.org/pov/pov2003/flagwars/index.html

Before a full-scale "I Hate My Fellow White Man" thing breaks out here, check out the PBS "Point of View" show about gentrification in Columbus Ohio, called "Flag Wars." It's nicely balanced, I think.

Decorno said...

Apt 34... yep. I actually linked to SWPL in my post... to "gentrification" and also to "being offended...

very funny site.

An Aesthete's Lament said...

I am known for episodes of serious obliviousness ... and I definitely once purchased a property in an area about which I knew next to nothing ... other than that I liked the architecture ... I honestly didn't know more than that ... and the price was right ... oh, the shame ... i have been known to do such things fairly often ...

k said...

i'm born and bred in portland, and thank god for gentrification, that whole area was terrible in the 80's and 90's, it's nice to see it become part of civilization once again.