Thursday, July 28, 2011

Must Read: "The New Face of Anacostia"


and yes, DC gov still needs to step in to save that house

By now I hope most have seen the Washington Post article that came out online yesterday afternoon as well as the shortened cover story in today's Washington Post Express. Titled "The New Face of Anacostia: Black professionals are leading a charge of gentrification across the neighborhood," the article is a refreshing look at the changes taking place here.

Of course, there is a diversity of colors and creeds moving into the neighborhood, but the article picks up on the reality that the majority of the new and upwardly mobile residents of Anacostia, to this point, are black. Does the race thing really matter? Maybe not. But it at least turns the tables on the otherwise typically very "whites movin' in = gentrification" conversation.

Nice to see this article after such an epic NPR fail earlier in the year...

11 comments:

kiki said...

yeah i'm glad this article happened!

Ange in Anacostia said...

I see it (WaPo coverage) as an ongoing marketing campaign.

Initially, their messaging was all negative all the time about Anacostia (previously misunderstood as ALL of S.E.). Now, the strategy has shifted to all the new--particularly the "new" residents. It's code. The message I got was: Look! It's okay to live there now. A photogenic young woman who could almost be your daughter is building a house there. It's okay to cross the bridge, if you've an inkling.

What's implied is that under the cover of night, people who could possibly be God-fearing, law-abiding, tax payers have dropped out of the sky into Anacostia.

Further, the conversation has typically been shaped with racial and class overtones. Who's moving in: Iinitially, the messaging was adventurous pioneering white folk. Now, it seems there're some acceptable black folk there, too.

And, the color of who's moving in is always paired with the classification of professional or middle-class. Which, I have to add is oh-so funny to me how loosely and opportunistically we use the term middle-class when we're really talking about working class people--which has always been the income population in Anacostia regardless of what color the folk were.

My point: The WaPo sold the city and nation on the "story" that S.E. was full of drug addicts and gun slingers. And, we became a rowdy ghost town with accompanying low prop values, lacking services, and scarce ameneties. Now, with the change in messaging with--the intent of influencing the voting population--the WaPo is one step closer to achieving it's ultimate goal of retiring the Last Emperor.

Anonymous said...

NPR was not a "faill". Why is it so hard for you to accept that you and your blog signify gentrification?! DC was 70% black not even a generation ago and Anacostia was 100 % black and 40% poverty. Anybody that could move did move. Now the neighborhood is whiter and more affluent, and is being gentrified. If it makes you feel better that there are some black gentrifiers and "race doesn't matter" then you tell us why you being white does matter. Because only white privilege would make you blind to to how that effects the people that have been here since Brown v. Board of Education. Study up kid.

The Advoc8te said...

@Anonymous

Blah Blah Blah

(Goes back to living my life --- in Ward 8)

Ann-Marie said...

At the end of the day, people (no matter what race they are) need a place to live. Anacostia is affordable and was a good option for me. Call me a gentrifier if you want to - but, who cares? Also, what is so wrong with wanting more for your neighborhood and yourself? If you don't care about your community, who will?

SN: My immigrant parents, with little education, came to this country with six kids. My mother was a housecleaner and my father was a building maintenance man. We lived in "in Bed Stuy (Brooklyn) on Malcolm X Blvd. during the height of the crack epidemic. My parents scraped enough money together to buy a home and get us out of our dangerous neighborhood. If they could make something of themselves with almost nothing, why can't others do it?

Ann-Marie said...

@ The Advoc8te - I'm with you, girl...

AnacostiaYogi said...

Damned if you do and damned if you don't. What's funny is that people who don't live anywhere near East of the River, nor would they even visit, have so many preconceived notions about what is happening. I really encourage everyone to visit, walk around, talk to people and come to their own conclusions. Anacostia still has a long way to go from realizing its full potential. We still have so many vacant buildings, little access to basic health services, and an education crisis. Can we use our collective financial, intellectual, social capital powers to create DC's first mixed-income, urban, ecologically progressive, diverse neighborhood. Let's stop debating and get on with ensuring that residents aren't drinking oil-laced river water. Let's get on with making it easier for single mom's to work and send their kids to school. Let's move forward with ensuring that families using EBT can purchase fresh veggies within walking distance. Whether we like it or not this means collaboration and innovation from low, middle and high income educated people of all races. Adelante!

AnacostiaQUE said...

I'm just a professional guy from the midwest who found housing affordable here. It's economics... It's also about education.

Ann-Marie said...

@AnacostiaYogi - very true!

Braveheart said...

I temporarily moved out of River East, and I'm homesick now! I can't wait to move back. Call me a gentrifier - I don't care. River East is my home!

Jon said...

"...Her parents left the property about 1996 and went to live in Southwest, near Arena Stage; they kept the Anacostia house, but it sat empty and decaying..." Sounds like this person/family was part of the problem, abandoning a house for 15 years...