By Umar ben-Ivan Lee
Yesterday before work I read a copy of Metro which is a new yuppie oriented publication aimed at the Sex in the City/I waste my daddy’s money in Manhattan crowd.
It is one of those publications you only read when you are bored on the subway or like me bored waiting for the workday to begin. As I flipped the pages I realized this was a publication not meant for me or the majority of New Yorkers. This is a publication like many others of its kind that is meant for the young and wanna-be young so-called hipsters who populate the city’s endless coffee shops, trendy eateries, m clubs and other odd and/or overpriced places.
What struck my eye was en editorial written in an opinion section that defended gentrification. The article was written by a young man who lived in Crown Heights and stated gentrification was a natural and good thing and that it was too bad some people would be displaced. One thing I did appreciate was the fact the writer was honest and that he told his fellow yuppies and trust-fund babies they should not think they are not part of gentrification — rather they should accept it and that is a very important point.
If you are moving into a predominantly minority area that has been made “safe” by a few earlier white faces and your parents or family money is helping pay your rent you are a gentrifier.
If you are seeking to change the culture of that area like we are seeing in Red Hook, Crown Heights and Bushwick you are a gentrifier and cultural imperialist.
It does not matter if you are a liberal or a leftist; a gentrifier is a gentrifier. Let the white left take responsibility because gentrification has belonged almost exclusively to them.
Gentrifies are a section of the white left that fancy themselves as liberal or even further to the left except when it comes to their own lives and their neighbors and in that case ethnic cleansing is their policy. For them progressive values are limited to gay rights, abortion, white feminism, sexual fetishes, tofu and the need for cities to be reclaimed by whites. They have no place for the needs of the poor, homeless victims of the prison industrial complex, racial justice and other needs in Americas cities.
They will march for the poor of Iraq, and I will march with them, but will call the police in ten seconds if they see two black men talking in front of their home. They will be activists until they are called upon for personal sacrifice and they have a lifestyle short on sacrifice. To them living in a building with interesting architecture is more valuable than affordable housing for the masses.
New York and Americas other great cities have always been home to the poor, working class immigrants and families, but not in the cultural liberal gentrifier’s world. They see a future city that is not child friendly, where they are not burdened to pay for schools for black and Latino children.
They see a city populated by the young, wealthy singles, gay couples and married couples with either no children or one child that the couple probably had in their forties or imported from China because they were too damn lazy to have one the natural way.
An anthropologist once said that the future of Americas cities will look like the apartheid-era South Africa were the wealthy whites, and wanna-be whites as Walter Fauntrouy would say, live in the city and the workers and minorities live in townships outside of the city and come in to serve the wealthy and get the hell out before dark. After all they need someone to serve the latte and tofu, to sell the bottled water, to sweep the floors at the independent book stores, to clean the cum of the floor at art house move theaters and to take care of the elderly and children of the left-elite while they are out catching the latest installment of The Vagina Monologues.
Umar ben-Ivan Lee is a Muslim activist and freelance writer and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org