A Letter About My Absence
Jayson Jones
61

Great article. I do agree with your sentiments. In fact, I was a Black gentrifier living off of Cortelyou and Flatbush. (I believe that gentrification is class based but that in America, class is heavily tied to race). That said, I am a more solutions oriented person. I respect your wishes to not to continue going to their parties but how does that help to solve the issue? Now they don’t have to worry about feeling bad taking over the neighborhood now that your presence is gone? Though you don’t own the responsibility of showing up in White gentrified spaces and being that voice, the more Black people who were in that space, the greater their voices would be. Perhaps, could even convince potential gentrifiers to not rent spaces in which local families had been kicked out or where housing costs had been increased specifically due to attract gentrifiers. It would not stop gentrification at whole but at least it would be a start and a more responsible form of gentrification. Could also persuade them to hire Black people who are in need of work and training. Often times, gentrification does bring new unrealized opportunities but the issue is that it is dominated by White employees. I realize that my perspective is very optimistic but I do believe one by one, a movement and change can be started. Permanently leaving these spaces I believe is turning your back on the larger picture.

Sidenote: As it relates to microaggressions, call them out on it respectfully (if you haven’t been doing so previously). I use to be the kid that just awkwardly laughed and let it go but now I acknowledge it, call them out on it, and help them understand why it’s hurtful. More often than not, they will think twice about it the next time they casually offend someone. Hope this may have been helpful.

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