Starbucks wants you to know it cares about racial inequality. It cares so much that it’s asking its “partners” — employees, to the layperson — to write the words
“Race Together” on everything you buy to get you to talk about racial equality with your friends this week. This is a good thing — there’s just one problem.
In a series of Facebook posts obtained by ThinkProgress, the senior adviser for policy and communications to Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) posted racial comments and endorsed gentrification of his neighborhood.
Welcome to 103 Hudson Street, a beaten red brick row house on the southeast edge of Chinatown. Just a toss away from the I-93 South lane, two of the apartments have wooden planks crudely fixed in the windows; another two have signs that say, “We Shall Not Be Moved.”
If you lived here, you’d be homeless by now.
Such is the apparent reality for residents of 103 Hudson, which was sold to a private real estate investor last week. Following years of apparently horrid conditions—tenants report that issues ranging from vermin to inadequate heat went unaddressed—they’re now being harassed and pushed out.
With the new owners forcing everybody to relocate to hotels while they do renovations, this afternoon Hudson Street residents, along with about 20 of their friends and allies, rallied to say they refuse to leave. While drivers crept by on the overpass hoping to get home before the blizzard, the Chinatown families said they hope to even have a home when the snow wraps on Wednesday, the deadline for them to be packed and ready to go.
According to supporting housing rights groups, including the Chinese Progressive Association which organized the action, it’s not enough to move tenants into other parts of the city. Even if the relocation is only temporary, which probably isn’t the case since the investor who bought their place has another purchase pending for the neighboring row house.
“I live in Chinatown, I work in Chinatown, I shop in Chinatown,” one resident, Yan Nong Yu, said through an interpreter. The woman fought back tears explaining how her entire world exists within the shrinking Chinatown perimeter, her frozen hand holding a sheet of paper with prepared remarks. “It took 150 years to build Chinatown into what it is today.” Her neighbor jumped in: “We came here when it wasn’t desirable. Before the tourists. Before the developers.”
That was a long time ago. Nowadays there’s development on all sides; at a close distance, the stunning new Ink Block, located on the old Boston Herald property, has a banner advertising new apartments. Behind them is the building where the Dig is located, which is beside another high-end multi-use buildout.
Though some new towers stick their heads out of the skyline, a lot of coming demolition in the chic condominium vortex surfacing on both sides of the Mass Pike here is rather hidden. At least for the time being. On the southbound drive home tonight, commuters couldn’t even see the residents of 103 Hudson protesting.
Last month’s edition of Contexts had a fascinating article by Amin Ghaziani titled Lesbian Geographies. Most of us are familiar with the idea of a “gayborhood,” a neighborhood enclave that attracts gay men. It turns out that lesbians have enclaves, too, but they’re not always the same ones.
The image above shows the frequency of same-sex female couples (top) and same-sex male couples (bottom) in U.S. counties. Census data tracks same-sex couples but not individuals, so the conclusions here are based on couples.
What are the differences between where same-sex female and same-sex male couples live?
First, Same-sex female couples are more likely than their male counterparts to live in rural areas. Ghaziani thinks that “cultural cues regarding masculinity and femininity play a part.” As one interviewee told sociologist Emily Kazyak:
If you’re a flaming gay queen, they’re like, “Oh, you’re a freak, I’m scared of you.” But if you’re a really butch woman and you’re working at a factory, I think [living in the midwest is] a little easier.
If being “butch” is normative for people living in rural environments, lesbians who perform masculinity might fit in better than gay men who don’t.
Second, non-heterosexual women are about three times as likely as non-heterosexual men to be raising a child under 18. Whatever a person’s sexual orientation, parents are more likely to be looking for good schools, safe neighborhoods, and non-postage stamp-sized apartments.
Finally, there’s evidence that gay men price lesbians out. Gay men are notorious for gentrifying neighborhoods, but data shows that lesbians usually get there first. When non-heterosexual men arrive, they accelerate the gentrification, often making it less possible for non-heterosexual women to afford to stay. Thanks to the gender pay gap, times two, women living with women don’t generally make as much money as men living with men.
Or, they might leave because they don’t want to be around so many men. Ghaziani writes:
Gay men are still men, after all, and they are not exempt from the sexism that saturates our society. In reflecting on her experiences in the gay village of Manchester, England, one lesbian described gay men as “quite intimidating. They’re not very welcoming towards women.”
“The problem is that there’s lots of evidence that gentrification doesn’t benefit low-income people. The new arrivals mark the beginning of higher rent and offer no quick promises for better education. By the time the neighborhood has the chance to address these problems, it’s likely that all the people who needed assistance the most will be gone.”
The main objection of the demonstration is to “gentrification”, which
means people who have lived in this area for decades being edged out by
the only people who can afford a place on the Victoria line. But when
you look at the range of the people involved – Anafo, a club promoter
who also has a small business in Brixton market, Arnie, from the direct
action group, London Black Revs, who would like 1,000 people to occupy
Lambeth Town Hall until election day, and Ravi, a private renter in
Dorchester Court, Aurelie Hulse, from the Knights Walk campaign,
it becomes plain that, as Anafo says, “It’s no longer the dreaded ‘g’
word. It’s hyper gentrification – it’s far more aggressive”.
Gentrification as seen through Google Street View: read about Justin Blinder’s Vacated project this week on the Design and Violence blog.
[Justin Blinder (American, b. 1985). 11 Second Avenue, New York, NY (Composite of images from 2011 and 2013, from Google Street View), from the Vacated series. 2013. Google Street View, Adobe Photoshop. Images and video courtesy the artist. Series commissioned by More Art for their Envision NY 2017 project. Vacated was produced with the support of Eyebeam Art and Technology Center]
Gentrification, the rehabilitation of old and degraded neighborhoods as wealthier households move in, is one of the more flagrant manifestations of
the inequalities that mark the early twenty-first century. The phenomenon can hardly go unnoticed: it affects more and more cities, from New York and
San Francisco to the capitals of Europe and now South America, as changing lifestyles and the transformation of commerce brutally reorganise public
space. Racial minorities and the working class today are relegated ever
further into the periphery or, for the very poorest, into the insalubrious interstices of the city. But if concern for this phenomenon is mounting, it’s also
because part of the middle class, spending an ever-greater portion of its
income on housing, is no longer spared from these pressures. The slogan
“the right to the city” seems more timely than ever more in the planet’s great
This drawing illustrates the current gentrification problems we have in San Francisco. Over the last 3 years there has been nothing but demolition of buildings in the Mission and having them replaced with more condo lofts for incoming Techies and Yuppies. Accommodation for the Google Buses with stops at every active area in the Mission which causes great pollution. Renting of a public park. Destruction/ Arson of the apartment complex on Mission and 20th. Outrageous acts of violence by SFPD.
My pride for being born and raised in San Francisco and culture is being crushed by assholes who have absolutely no respect for me or the families who’ve worked their asses off to survive. They walk in with money, landlords raise the rent, evict the people, and make new housing only affordable for the techies.This is our culture, our home, our community, our voice. Involve yourself. Viva la Mission
Another day another dinner. Tonight’s session takes place at Food Market in Hamden. The guys who invited me represent the new Baltimore, which is full of new people, new shops and new restaurants. They wanted to talk about ways I can help them understand Black Baltimore — or what’s left of it. My recent collection of Baltimore writings and talks has made me the go-to guy on issues concerning the Negro culture of our city. Politicians, investors and pretty much anyone with an interest in Baltimore request meetings with me weekly. In most of them, I trade my perspectives for potential opportunities at pricey restaurants I don’t normally frequent.