Recall we just learned blacks in Philadelphia view bay windows as a symbol of colonization (whites gentrifying a community their ancestors built then abandoned once black crime became intolerable).
Recall in the community where Martin Luther King was born, white women now jog and walk their dogs on streets where only a decade ago black drug dealers openly sold their wares… all because of gentrification.
This one might top them all. ‘Gone With the Wind’ houses (built by whites) popping up in formerly all-black communities in Raleigh, North Carolina are intimidating long-time black residents. [The Neighborhood Is Mostly Black. The Home Buyers Are Mostly White., NY Times, April 27, 2019]:
RALEIGH, N.C. — In the African-American neighborhoods near downtown Raleigh, the playfully painted doors signal what’s coming. Colored in crimson, in coral, in seafoam, the doors accent newly renovated craftsman cottages and boxy modern homes that have replaced vacant lots.
To longtime residents, the doors mean higher home prices ahead, more investors knocking, more white neighbors.
Here, and in the center of cities across the United States, a kind of demographic change most often associated with gentrifying parts of New York and Washington has been accelerating. White residents are increasingly moving into nonwhite neighborhoods, largely African-American ones.
In America, racial diversity has much more often come to white neighborhoods. Between 1980 and 2000, more than 98 percent of census tracts that grew more diverse did so in that way, as Hispanic, Asian-American and African-American families settled in neighborhoods that were once predominantly white.
But since 2000, according to an analysis of demographic and housing data, the arrival of white residents is now changing nonwhite communities in cities of all sizes, affecting about one in six predominantly African-American census tracts. The pattern, though still modest in scope, is playing out with remarkable consistency across the country — in ways that jolt the mortgage market, the architecture, the value of land itself.
In city after city, a map of racial change shows predominantly minority neighborhoods near downtown growing whiter, while suburban neighborhoods that were once largely white are experiencing an increased share of black, Hispanic and Asian-American residents.
n South Park, a neighborhood with picturesque views of the Raleigh skyline, the white home buyers who have recently moved in have average incomes more than three times that of the typical household already here. Whites, who were largely absent in the neighborhood in 2000, made up 17 percent of the population by 2012. Since then, they’ve gotten nearly nine in 10 of the new mortgages.
In neighborhoods like South Park, white residents are changing not only the racial mix of the community; they are also altering the economics of the real estate beneath everyone.
“That’s what finally came to me — it’s not just the fact that the neighborhoods look different, that people behave differently,” said Kia E. Baker, who grew up in southeast Raleigh and now directs a nonprofit, Southeast Raleigh Promise, that serves the community.
Some of that change can be positive, she said. This realization was not: “Our black bodies literally have less economic value than the body of a white person,” she said. “As soon as a white body moves into the same space that I occupied, all of a sudden this place is more valuable.”
South Park grew up around Shaw University, a historically black college founded in 1865, and in the early 20th century it was home to black professors and doctors trained there, and to dozens of black-owned businesses.
With time, the disinvestment happened here, too: Two major roads severed the neighborhood; absentee landlords came in; a cherished park built in the 1930s began to deteriorate. Middle-class black families who’d previously been excluded from the suburbs began to move there.
Longtime residents who have remained now fear that the area’s sudden reinvention will erase the last remaining signs of its history.
“We don’t want to feel like everything is so bad you’ve got to tear it down,” said Lonnette Williams, 72, who lives in an elegant two-story home built by her godfather’s family in 1922. “We want people to value our neighborhood.”
Her sense of value, however, is different from — and often at odds with — the rising value of real estate. Her own home is appreciating, but that means little to her because she has no intention of selling. She looks at the half-million-dollar modern homes, and to her they detract from the neighborhood’s value.
“ ‘Gone With the Wind’ houses, beach houses, slave houses,” Octavia Rainey calls them. Ms. Rainey, 63, has lived her entire life in a nearby neighborhood, and to her the second-story porches rising around her look too much like overseers’ perches.
White people just can’t win, can they?
Raise property values and the help longtime black owners see appreciation in their domicile investment (which, were white people absent from the equation, the home value would remain stagnant or see depreciation), and black people basically call you slave owners…