The culture is in trouble and unless we do something quick, we will lose those few things that make us distinct and recognizable. I’m truly a person who believes that the quicker we can fathom what once belonged to us, through our speech and our neighborhoods, that our culture is being snatched from us while our backs are turned. Gentrification is, in simple terms, the raising of housing and store prices in order to force lower income persons out of an urban city. As shown in a Census Reports, more than 20 percent of cities experienced gentrification from 2000 to now, whereas only 8.6 percent had experienced gentrification between 1990 and 2000.
Wealth in the African American culture, and most other ethnicities in America has been in some way characterized by the moving out of the “urban” areas and purchasing homes in the suburbs. Not understanding that wealth is not completely tied to an area itself, but into the land. No matter what is done on land, whether an apartment or a school, that land will always appreciate in value. In cities where the population is higher, the land is worth more. In most instances, wealth is associated with the amount of land one owns. In “The Gentrification Effect,” an article written by the New York Times, it states that “When Marion Berry was first elected Mayor in DC in 1979 the city was made up of 70 percent blacks,” thus being described as “Chocolate City” due to its large African American population. After his death in November 2014, the African American Population had fallen below 50 percent. In 1983, blacks made up roughly 40% of the population, decreasing by 8 percent since then, blacks have dropped to 32 percent. 24.7 percent of African Americans live at or below the poverty line, which when looked at from a gentrification view point, explains why less blacks live in urban areas, due to the increases in housing prices. In the last year alone, housing prices in urban areas have increased by 11.3 percent.
When you are born, you are born into a culture. Whether defined by state lines or city streets, cultures vary around the country and the world. When we allow gentrification to take place, we give free reign for someone to come in and literally take what we are born with away from us. What bothers me the most is the way we act as a people after the robbery has occurred. How can we be upset at the way things are going, if we ourselves have not prepared for the impact? What happened to black owned businesses? What happened to entire blocks of people who may not be extremely wealthy, but held the deeds to their homes? We cannot be upset at gentrification when we ourselves do not own anything. We can no longer blame the “system” for what we have not worked hard enough to attain. To stop gentrification, we have to become owners of more than just cars and clothes. Let’s start being business owners, let’s start being homeowners and not just apartment leasers. To have a stand in a neighborhood, we have to own in that area. We have to own entire blocks and continue to be a staple in those places.