Wednesday, April 04, 2007

My car was egged today

Of course, my initial thought was, "Hmmm, someone doesn't want me in this neighborhood." It could have been coincidental, but I don't think so. I'm a white person in a black neighborhood. I symbolize the disruption of the neighborhood. The gentry, the rich whites, who could live anywhere, are buying up property that was once affordable, forcing long time residents out. I believe in John Perkin's three R's: relocation, redistribution and reconciliation, but I don't think community members are all that jazzed that I am here. Relocation, gentrification, how do we live with that angst?


Paul said...

Huh. Yeah, you know, the other day I was leaving the Men's Center and some kid I never saw before followed me really close and when I got to my car he spit on it and walked away. I was like, "...what was that about?" It's a little different than what happened to you, because I don't think it was a gentrification thing...I felt really discouraged nonetheless because I didn't know why this unprovoked thing happened, but Judy reminded me that Satan is always at work against us in one way or another, trying to get us down, trying to discourage us, trying to get our attention off of ministry.

Keri Wyatt Kent said...

Help me understand. You've lived in the neighborhood for a decade or more. You're there helping people, people who are saying to you, "it's so unfair that we are judged by the color of our skin instead of the content of our character." (or something like that) Then those same people egg your car because of the color of your skin, ignoring the character you've demonstated for years? isn't that sort of a double standard?
I'm just trying to make sense of this, but it doesn't make sense to me.

Arloa Sutter said...

No Keri, I have only lived in this neighborhood for a year and most of my neighbors don't know me or what I stand for. I am only imagining that it was due to race. I don't know that. But I think when blacks move to all white neighborhoods they would assume the same thing if someone threw an egg at their car. Is it paranoia or real? I don't know.

But I do know that there is legitimate fear that as whites move into a community the rents and the real estate taxes will go up making it unaffordable for long time residents to stay here. That's the down side of gentrification. So when new condos are built, their windows get broken and things on the job site are vandalized, etc.

I only hope that my neighbors will grow to trust that I am not here to turn a quick buck and that I am working toward what Bob Lupton has labeled Gentrification with Justice. In the mean time I want to make sure that I really am a positive influence in the neighborhood and that I care about what happens to my neighbors.

Keri Wyatt Kent said...

Thanks, Arloa, for helping to educate me on a very complicated issue. I have so much to learn...
Bob's article is excellent, explains the dilemma of gentrification so well. I'm going to post a link to it on my blog!
I am praying that you will be an amazing influence on your neighborhood.