On gentrification

Megan McArdle echoes some of the thoughts I’ve posted on this blog (her neighborhood is in an earlier stage of gentrification than my own, to put it nicely):

Yesterday, I rode the bus for the first time from the stop near my house, and ended up chatting with a lifelong neighborhood resident who has just moved to Arizona, and was back visiting family. We talked about the vagaries of the city bus system, and then after a pause, he said, "You know, you may have heard us talking about you people, how we don’t want you here. A lot of people are saying you all are taking the city from us. Way I feel is, you don’t own a city." He paused and looked around the admittedly somewhat seedy street corner. "Besides, look what we did with it. We had it for forty years, and look what we did with it!"

Ms McArdle was dumbfounded by this statement from a black person, largely because only a racist white person would have said something like this.

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7 Responses to On gentrification

  1. Samson says:

    But the reason we moved into our neighborhood is that we want to live in a place that’s… economically and racially mixed.

    I don’t know what to say about this.

  2. JL says:

    I don’t know what to say about this.

    She’s lying, or rather signaling her status.

    • Samson says:

      Yes, you’re right. The I-believe-in-PC-as-a-means-of-status-signaling concept has a lot of explanatory power.

      Off-the-cuff, I wonder if PC-as-status-signaling (I need an abbreviation…) can be interpreted as an analog of Fisher’s Runaway Selection model?

      Hypothesis: there is actually prejudice and discrimination in the world, and well-educated SWPLs are better able to perceive this, so they adopt PC. PC then becomes a status marker (because SWPLs have a well-developed sense of social justice), which leads more and more of them to adopt it. Pretty soon things spiral out of control and become circular, with SWPLs professing belief in increasingly absurd ideas because doing so is a marker of being a better SWPL.

      I’m not sure I’m on the right track here – it sounds too much like one of Half Sigma’s Half-Baked theories – but it’s a neat thought.

  3. JD says:

    They know perfectly well that they fuck up their own cities. They just don’t want you to express that you too, know they fucked it up. That would be raaaaaaciss.

    • Foseti says:

      And, they don’t want you to fix up their city – which is basically the objection being made against gentrification in DC. Some of these neighborhoods have been (literally) burned out since the ’60s. Twelve months after the white people move in, burned-out buildings start to get replaced and the people that lived there before start to complain. Unbelievable.

  4. […] again.  Here’s six of Foseti’s many posts on the subject in chronological order: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, […]

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