Bring on the Hipsters?

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 In an article published by The Economist from 2015, the author enthusiastically exclaims “Bring on the Hipsters!” He rejects the notion that hipsters, or wealthy and educated professionals, are bad for the neighborhoods which they inhabit. He even goes as far to say that gentrification is rare and is a good thing.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Talking about Washington D.C., the author first acknowledges the idea that gentrification might displace people, but he quickly rebuts it by saying that black people have been moving out of the city since the 1980s, before gentrification. He suggests that there’s little evidence to support the idea that gentrification displaces people. How can one be so naive? The 1980s, where black people were supposedly leaving Washingon D.C., was a notorious time period in which the War on Drugs was targeting black men and women. Black-flight occurred because black people feared that their culture was becoming tied to urbanization and felt that they’d be more likely to be targeted for crimes if they continued living in cities; however, only some were lucky enough to do this with their families. Many black communities stayed in the D.C. area, as well as other cities, for simple lack of resources to go elsewhere.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Gentrification does, indeed, displace people. As the author mentions in the beginning of his article, landlords have increasing interest in driving out their poor or minority tenants by raising the prices and appealing to a different population. With different populations comes a different market. Bodegas are replaced with expensive cafes, bars are replaced with clubs, laundromats become infrequent and public space often becomes militarized.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 The author quotes a Brookings Institution think-tank named Stuart Butler who argues that gentrification brings in young professionals who know how to get things done. He claims that, although rent is higher and taxes are ultimately higher, those taxes get redistributed in that neighborhood for better schools and better policing; the higher-quality businesses offer job opportunities and create an economic system that’s good for everyone. While this sounds good in theory, it does not occur in practice. There are niches in which young hipsters, professional hipsters, and the original inhabitants of the neighborhood actually work. Many undocumented immigrants in many gentrifying neighborhoods can’t work in these cafes or record stores; in fact, the people who work there are mostly young hipsters that are not in the white-collar industry. If gentrification was really meant to be good for everyone, bodegas, African hair-braiding salons, bars, and laundromats would all remain in place instead of being replaced by businesses catered primarily toward a particular group.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 The author carefully mentions that other institutionally racist or de jure racist policies have helped shaped the American ghetto, but fails to see how his/her perception of gentrification also perpetuates the problem.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 Articles like this, that contain false or incomplete narratives or history behind a particular issue, are key in shaping people’s opinions about poverty.

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1 Comment

  1. Anonymous Said,

    May 4, 2017 @ 3:00 pm

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