Gentrification and displacement. This is a topic we need to start thinking and talking about more. This morning, the New York Times published a great article on the topic: “The Neighborhood Is Mostly Black. The Home Buyers Are Mostly White.” They used southeast Raleigh as their case study.
I appreciate how the author, Emily Badger, spent months diving into this topic with both longtime and new leaders in the community. When you read the article, I hope you’ll pay special attention to the voices of Kia Baker (Executive Director of SE Raleigh Promise), Octavia Rainey, and Lonnette WIlliams.
Much of this article harkens back to the teachings of a book a mentor recently lent me, The Color of Law. In it, author Richard Rothstein makes the case that housing segregation is the result of decades of racist housing and economic policies which prevented whites and blacks from living together - rather than our segregation being a result of personal choice. Both this New York Times article and The Color of Law are good places to start our learning and unlearning of how policies can change the value of neighborhoods and lives.
Gentrification and displacement is not an easy topic to cover - it is filled with “yes, ands.” To begin to have the conversation, we have to come to some shared understandings. I think these two resources start to get us there, and hope you’ll take the time to explore them soon.