Two great articles in this issue of the NYPress:
Armond White examines the similarities in the post-racial strategies of Will Smith and Barack Obama.
It matters that Smith and Obama—the most popular Anglo surname and an immediately, recognizably exotic surname—both are seen as inoffensive and associated with non-threatening ideology. It is the basis of the public confidence each man seeks. Smith’s distance from gangster rap (remember the disses he received as the first Grammy-winning—i.e. “safe”—rap artist?) parallels Obama’s distance from radical, upstart black nationalism, liberation theology and prophetic Christianity.
Kristen Bonardi Rapp experiences racism as a gentrifier in her neighborhood.
Choosing Washington Heights had been easy: It was affordable, and it was in Manhattan. What else did I need to know? As I packed up my old apartment in Boston, I read Washington Heights’ Wikipedia page as if it were scripture. I learned the neighborhood had been a refuge for European Jews in the 1930s and ’40s, who were then displaced by Greeks in the 1960s. By thata time, Washington Heights had become “the Astoria of Manhattan.” In the 1970s, the Greeks, in turn, were displaced by Dominicans, and now Washington Heights has the largest Dominican population outside the Dominican Republic.
Her article reminds me of the reason in which although I love “In the Heights” the musical, I also hate it for the romantic view of Washington Heights it gives to probable ‘gentrifiers’. What makes these people different from the eras of for displacement is that the people moving in are no longer working class people, (not to mention all the other changes they bring to the neighborhood).