They move out of the urban areas and blow up suburbia, and you Negroes cry "white flight".
Now they are moving back to the cities and you Negroes don't want them around. Folks like Spike believe that "gentrification" is a dirty word. "Here comes whitey. There goes the neighborhood."
Anyway, my man let it be known in no uncertain terms that white folks are changing his beloved Brooklyn, and not for the better.
"Speaking Tuesday night in Brooklyn, blocks away from his company headquarters and his father’s apartment, Spike Lee went off on how the neighborhood has changed. The filmmaker, wearing a Knicks beanie, orange socks, blue Nikes, and "Defend Brooklyn" hoodie, was at Pratt Institute for a lecture in honor of African American History Month, surrounded by locals, when he was nearly asked a question about “the other side” of the gentrification debate. “Let me just kill you right now,” Lee interrupted, “because there was some bullshit article in the New York Times saying ‘the good of gentrification.’” (See: “Argument Over a Brownstone Neighborhood” and New York’s “Is Gentrification All Bad?”)
“I don’t believe that,” said Lee. And for the next seven minutes he explained, with passion, humor, and a fair amount of f-words.
Here’s the thing: I grew up here in Fort Greene. I grew up here in New York. It’s changed. And why does it take an influx of white New Yorkers in the south Bronx, in Harlem, in Bed Stuy, in Crown Heights for the facilities to get better? The garbage wasn’t picked up every motherfuckin’ day when I was living in 165 Washington Park. P.S. 20 was not good. P.S. 11. Rothschild 294. The police weren’t around. When you see white mothers pushing their babies in strollers, three o’clock in the morning on 125th Street, that must tell you something.[Audience member: Can I talk about something?]
[Audience member: And I don’t dispute that … ]
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. And even more. Let me kill you some more.
Not yet.Then comes the motherfuckin’ Christopher Columbus Syndrome. You can’t discover this! We been here. You just can’t come and bogart. There were brothers playing motherfuckin’ African drums in Mount Morris Park for 40 years and now they can’t do it anymore because the new inhabitants said the drums are loud. My father’s a great jazz musician. He bought a house in nineteen-motherfuckin’-sixty-eight, and the motherfuckin’ people moved in last year and called the cops on my father. He’s not — he doesn’t even play electric bass! It’s acoustic! We bought the motherfuckin’ house in nineteen-sixty-motherfuckin’-eight and now you call the cops? In 2013? Get the fuck outta here!
Nah. You can’t do that. You can’t just come in the neighborhood and start bogarting and say, like you’re motherfuckin’ Columbus and kill off the Native Americans. Or what they do in Brazil, what they did to the indigenous people. You have to come with respect. There’s a code. There’s people.
You can’t just — here’s another thing: When Michael Jackson died they wanted to have a party for him in motherfuckin’ Fort Greene Park and all of a sudden the white people in Fort Greene said, “Wait a minute! We can’t have black people having a party for Michael Jackson to celebrate his life. Who’s coming to the neighborhood? They’re gonna leave lots of garbage.” Garbage? Have you seen Fort Greene Park in the morning? It’s like the motherfuckin’ Westminster Dog Show. There’s 20,000 dogs running around. Whoa. So we had to move it to Prospect Park!
I mean, they just move in the neighborhood. You just can’t come in the neighborhood. I’m for democracy and letting everybody live but you gotta have some respect. You can’t just come in when people have a culture that’s been laid down for generations and you come in and now shit gotta change because you’re here? Get the fuck outta here...." [Source]
Lord have mercy! Spike be mad!
Anyway, this is nothing new, this gentrification push back has been going on for awhile now, and it has sparked debates all over the country. Heck "Chocolate City' looks more like Latte City these days.
Here in Philly we have this issue as well. My friend Solomon Jones wrote an excellent article about it a few months back, and I tend to agree with some of his sentiments:
"I for one have never seen that as a fair exchange. When people have lived in a home for decades, investing in their community even as their neighborhood crumbled around them, they should be among the first to benefit when things improve. They shouldn’t be forced to leave."
What do you all think?
Not you, Spike. You have made yourself perfectly clear about this subject.