Friday, November 14, 2014

Dear Media : Please don't rain on our Busboys & Poets parade

Not the sign of the apocalypse. 
Now that the news has officially hit the streets we can all celebrate (or whatever) for what this means for the neighborhood of Anacostia and east of the river DC in general.

For all of us who live east of the river and who have been forced to spend our money outside of our own communities for so long this could be the first of a few significant attempts at economic development, amenities and JOB CREATION in our own ward.

And for those who prefer to see a Busboys and Poets on MLK Avenue as a harbinger of the dreaded "g-word" I can only say:

Talk to me when Ward 8 FINALLY has the most basic of amenities (like more than one grocery story for 70,000+ residents)  and an unemployment rate that isn't hovering around 20%!!!!!

For some reason when west of the river gets another luxury condo, organic grocery store, or movie theater it is just accepted for it is - prosperity. But let the 150,000+ residents east of the river DC get one 15-seat cafe and the sky is falling, gentrification has arrived! Never mind that Ward 7 and Ward 8 have been forced to spend our money outside of our own communities for years because our own options are so limited. 

For east of the river,  a community that has for decades had to suffer the consequences of government neglect and economic segregation let us accept this tiny victory for what it is -- long overdue PROGRESS. An opportunity to spend a tiny fraction of our money in our own community. Can we just see this for what it is right now? A slow ascend to what is still a very far of goal: enjoying the same quantity and quality of retail, amenities, and JOBS that west of the river DC takes for granted. 

So for those that work in the media (and who in general reside west of the river with options we could only dream of) I ask you to try and not succumb to the same old narrative, the same old tired excuse on why anything "good" for our communities can only result in "bad" things happening to us. There is something slightly condescending and classicist (and frankly racist) about the notion that residents of Ward 7 and Ward 8 (who are predominately Black) should be protected from our own success. That we are impossible or desiring and/or deserving "nice things" and the most basic (and I mean basic) attempts at moving the scales in a more balanced position will unequivocally lead to our destruction. 

This ain't the plantation and we should not be confined to the slave quarters. 


Elle @ (Eat.Style.Play) said...

Great write-up, this is so good, and so true.

Darin said...

I nominate the Advoc8te for Deputy Mayor of EOTR. Can I get a second?

Tensey said...

I second. I love your blog

Anonymous said...

I cant second that. I like the blog but def not Deputy Mayor.

ron-g said...

Love it!!! Don't let up on them.

Anonymous said...

Deputy mayor!


Mari said...

Keep up the fight. You are very right, the narrative is racist. You are probably very aware that the media gets helped with people in your community that help with that negative narrative. Those are the poverty pimps and the worthless elected officials who provide the sound bites and quotes.
Face it, it's all to sell to the audiences out in the burbs who like to harbor anti-development sentiments and ignore how much they love developments and pleasant shopping.