Recently, W. Kamau Bell’s “United Shades of America” on CNN talked about gentrification destroying the African American community in Portland. While Bell and the TV show Portlandia tried to make light of it, the city is becoming known as the whitest large city in America. Like many large metropolitan areas, Portland had a history of redlined neighborhoods, but there had been some progress. Then, after the year 2000, many long time residents noticed an increasing lack of diversity. Apparently the new arrivals drove up real estate prices by buying large McMansions in the suburbs and rental investments in poor neighborhoods. The increasing rents forced people out, and destroyed one the things that made the city unique.
It is happening in the San Francisco Bay area too. A woman from Oakland gave me what she called her diversity test. She thinks the facts of everyday life are an indicator. Is the person you wake up next to different from you? Is your family? Is your neighborhood? Is your school? Is your workplace?
Copyright 2016 DJ Cline All rights reserved.