To my surprise white people actually walk the streets that were once considered 'seriously off limits'. Even I, a big bald black brotha, would not walk in the Trinidad community or on any DC streets where the preconceived possibility of getting harassed or robbed is high. However, our Caucasian counterparts are riding platinum scooters and walking costly full bred dogs (poodles) up and down the street without a care in the world.
Life is safe and good for the residents on S, T, and U Streets. The police officers on mountain bikes make sure of that. The stick-up kid has a suburban locale now. He no longer robs the white tourist near the famous hotel where President Reagan was shot. No. He has finally and completely relocated his self-survival thieving operation to PG County. As a result, the elderly who moved out the city to get some peace have to contend with violent home invasions. ‘Blatant disrespect of the elderly ONLY occurs in the United States.’
Nothing I have typed is new to the DC area or any urban center. The initial seeds of the inevitable, gentrification, were planted in disgraced Marion Barry's city when I was planning to leave America's capital. The new youthful mayor has fully embraced the ‘developments’. Why would he not? It is the responsibility of mayors to ‘clean-up’ the mess. Giuliani did it!
Off to Atlanta I went, and the departure of what once characterized the District of Columbia dwindled away: high crime rates, pervasively visual homelessness, and the abandonment of countless row houses.
To read my words one would think that DC is void of Benning Road carjacking, Pennsylvania Avenue sleeping in the park, and North Capitol property squatting. Not the case. The District still has its long standing issues. Nonetheless, one cannot help but notice the 'improvements’ that gentrification brings. Even here in Atlanta, where the city leaders boast with pride the ethnic and social economic cleansing: only major city in the union without a Housing Authority (projects), are loving the fruits of urban renewal.
After discussing this new and final chapter with a friend while I spent my weekend in my second home I concluded that what's synonymous with improvement or getting better is WHITE. Think about that for a moment...
"If a metropolitan city becomes an improved and safer place to live the way you can tell is if there are more white people becoming residents." –Anonymous DC City Councilman
That is an extremely depressing commentary. It basically says that black folk are incapable of 'making a city better'. I do not necessarily agree with this line of thought - but there must be something truthful/factual about what I am conveying. DC and Atlanta were polluted with murder, litter, and urban squander prior to the whites entering. We cannot dispute this. It is true! With this truth, when will we, black people, begin to take back our communities?
Here is a model:
Miami Gardens, Florida – The state’s largest city with the most African Americans listed as residents. Blacks can do it…if they want it!
Written by Brian E. Payne. Inspired by Go-Go. It has NEVER left DC.