Gentrification and The Policing of Black Bodies by Calvin Eaton
D’Arreion Toles, of St.Louis just wanted to enter into his luxury apartment for the night. Hilary Brooke Mueller (a white woman) didn’t feel he belonged there and took it upon herself to invade his space, obscure his rights and block his entry to his door.
A back and forth transpired which ended with the police being called and the questioning of a black man’s existence in his own home ensued. Fortunately, this time the story doesn’t end in tragedy.
What does this now viral story have to do with gentrification?
As luxury lofts and skyscraper buildings line a cityscape more than the physical landscape of a city changes. With the physical, the cultural, socioeconomic, and racial landscape changes as well.
As transplants relocate to a now gentrified city, they typically bring their own ideals, judgements, perspectives and sometimes racism along with their pour over coffees and luxury luggage.
Long time minority residents and even new folks of color are quite literally overcome and pushed out of an area that they once dominated. People, norms, and habits that once were part of the cloth of a neighborhood are now seen as foreign, untrendy, and a nuisance. Residents (typically POC) are policed by the new in their own neighborhood and no longer belong in their own home.
D’Arreion’s story could easily be a story in downtown Rochester. In fact his story is the story now popping up weekly in urban districts all across the US. Black bodies living their lives, doing nothing illegal; policed by the white and the privileged in their own neighborhoods.
The questions remain: Who are the gentrified? Who are the gentrifiers? What are their stories? To whom does this space, this space belong.
Read the entire article via NYT:
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