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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Wednesday questions

Post your questions by noon on Wednesday. Remember to include some context with your question to connect it directly to the language and points from the article by Bianca Spriggs.

15 comments:

  1. Sarah Williams, the woman whose retired parents are living on a fixed income on Bellaire Avenue (next door to West 6th Brewing), speaks with a clarity that is near impossible to argue against, but hers is the kind of voice too often absent from the conversations of those who she speaks of as agents of the disparaging kind of gentrification. Though she notes that "from their perspective, they came in to help and are cleaning up," that doesn't make it any easier for people in her situation to engage in a trusting, thoughtful conversation with people who she realizes are, in some ways, well-meaning. What can be done to better facilitate meaningful dialogue between everyone involved? I suspect this is a matter of trust and how difficult it is to build trust after years of "systematic disenfranchisement," but I still wonder if there are things we could be doing more effectively?

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  2. I really love Tanya Torp's statements, values, and practices that were revealed in this article. And I also think ending the article with her comments was very important, and very well done.

    I think Tanya's suggestion to not be afraid of addressing gentrification head on is very significant. I have noticed that a lot of people get revved up about these issues, myself included, but by the end of the heated conversation or discussion it is easy to feel defeated because there is no clear picture of the issue since it is so grey. Something Tanya said when we were at Minton's also stood out to me. She said we should not only be asking What do you need, but also What do you have to offer. Moving forward, I think both "sides" of this issue need to be more blunt with each other and we need to start sharing this idea that the relationship within communities and neighborhoods is a two way street; that we can see each other from both sides and can work together rather than glaring opposite each other. So my question is how do we go about doing this? And I think it starts with, like I mentioned above, education on the foundation of relationships and how we can benefit from working with gentrification and urban renewal rather than trying to push against it and break it down. I think Kurt's comment above is also a very good question. Because their are already such stigmas or stereotypes against people and neighborhoods, for good reason, breaking down these barriers to try and understand all sides through things like more neutral community and public events might be the first step. And then we can move forward toward developing relationships that are mutual rather than one sided. It's the little things that count, like actually saying hi to strangers when you walk by them even if you think they look scary and are in an unfamiliar neighborhood, and encouraging and engaging people at community events that might not feel welcome unless you engage them first. I hope I make sense and I am not repeating myself too much.

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  3. I really enjoyed reading this article. It's vitally important to hear from the people within a community, such as Tanya Torp and Sarah Williams, and not just those who are looking in from the outside. I am a part of the latter group. I have not grown up or lived in this neighborhood, but I can still see what is happening. Being a part of downtown Lexington gives me a new perspective on the surrounding neighborhoods, or in other words, more awareness of the actual issues, such as gentrification. At the same time, and as Tanya pointed out, being aware of one's privilege is essential.
    So my question comes from the point of view of our class: How do we approach the community we are engaging without seeming like invaders? This questions is important because the neighborhood is at a point where they have members being displaced and strangers coming in without the right intentions, so it really is all about presentation of self and self-awareness. This is just something I've thought a lot about as the class has been going on.

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  4. A major social gathering activity is the night market which is addressed in the article, I remember the first time I went to the night market that when leaving I noticed that just outside of the bustle of what you could easily call a bunch of white hipsters was a group of young african american youths seeming uncomfortable and on the outskirts of an event within their own community. I wonder if just open acts of kindness like engaging with each other would bring the community together. Because it seems while a lot of the Noli projects are great that there is no large community driven aspect to it. I wonder how we can get the real community (the ones that have been here the longest) involved in activities as fun as the night market, and as fun as renovating houses? And how we can address an issue like gentrification which is obviously apparent in the community without just breaking down gentrification? because it seems that on some systematic and capitalist level there has to be some form of outside investment in order to build up communities.

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  5. I am really glad that Katie asked her question about how our class can be engaged in the North end without being part of the forces of genrtification (let's face it, this is what she asked). Kurt and I think about this a lot. Our best answer so far: that we go into the neighborhood not with an intention to "help them," but rather with a hope to get to know our neighbors while making art with them. Of course, it's not that simple. In the article Tanya encourages people to understand that they are walking into a room with their privilege. Sarah Williams, too, points out that economics and race cannot be separated in this country. To pretend, then, that we are "just making art" won't do either. We have to be aware of our privileges, with an intention of sharing them, however that works. This is part of what Steve Pavey, our visitor on Wednesday of next week, calls "gentrification with justice." Franklin, I think we should ask him about it if he doesn't talk about it.

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    Replies
    1. I agree when the notions of black and white, majority vs minority, and haves and have nots is so engrained in americas historical social system addressing the issue can become a complicated one. I think it has to be one as a class we all have to understand or be aware of, because when we are not necessarily perpetrators of gentrification we are still part of the neighborhood and ultimately a part of complicated class politics.

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  6. Speaking to what Sonja Brooks was talking about; how/what can be changed about Short St. to make it more diverse like it's neighbor, Jefferson St.?

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  7. With the advent of mass communication, it perplexes me that while subjects such as gentrification are heard of and can be seen by many through various forms of media, how can one have a voice and facilitate a conversation to find a way to mediate it? How can our class be mindful of our privilege and not come into the community with the idea of 'consuming' it but come in with a listening ear and a genuine curiosity of the area.

    Also, how can we integrate despite indirectly being part of the parking lot incident. While all of the details are not out and both sides of the situation have not been shown, I believe it would be concerning for a resident close to Transylvania hearing news that the school razed eight buildings just because it was cheaper to raze eight instead of razing a few.

    P.S. While he is a polarizing figure, a lot of this gentrification talk has been reminding me of Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing.

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  8. I am curious if the same process can be found in other cultures/countries and what have they done accordingly and could we use what they have tried? It is worth investigating at least

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  9. I am curious if the same process can be found in other cultures/countries and what have they done accordingly and could we use what they have tried? It is worth investigating at least

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  10. It seemed like one of the main benefits stressed about urban renewal was the growth of the local economy and the ability for new businesses to start up. I thought it was really important that Tanya mentioned she didn't "see many of these new businesses hiring people in the community." The benefits of urban renewal are only total if they improve the economic opportunities for those who already inhabit the area. How could the community promote other businesses to be more like Ouita Michel?

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  11. Along with what Martha said, maybe we should be asking the employers why they aren't hiring locals? If we get discussions going with them, then maybe they will become aware of their biases.They might change their hiring habits if ask and push for it.

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  12. I have noticed this year especially that passing people on the street isn't at all hard like it used to be during my first year. The people I used to ignore because I was uncomfortable are people that now smile at me when I say hello.
    Yet still, when I read all of us talking like this on our little blog about helping disenfranchised others through art, I can't help but be very disturbed at how silly might would sound to those who are actually suffering. Like, "yes, they can talk about the terms for what's going on, but what are they actually doing about it besides making a spectacle out of us?" What will making birdhouses actually do? When we come into the community unnaturally and do these things in a big bulky group, I can't help but be frustrated by the fact that most of us will probably only be transient presences.
    "Williams considers gentrification to be indirectly racist and to say that gentrification is purely economics still involves race, “Facts about the differences in economic prosperity and opportunities between minorities and whites have persisted throughout history and its roots still feed the culture of America…you cannot separate the issues of class and race. Only in a white world is that possible. As a minority, the two are forever an intertwined experience of systemic disenfranchisement.”"
    This passage is certainly significant; it makes me wonder what I can actually do without making others uncomfortable with my unnatural presence. "Be aware of your privilege" has been mentioned as an answer, but I'm still having trouble knowing how to offer any possible solutions stemming from this privilege in a way that isn't invasive. Not bothering other people but still helping them somehow is what I can't figure out.

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  13. Link Henderson said, when describing the downtown community that ”Lexington was a pathetic, sad downtown—at 4:59 they locked up and turned the lights off.". The "urban renewal/gentrification" seeks to repaid this perception, and seems to want to re-brand the downtown area into a space where people want to spend time. The better perception is seen as the positive aspect of the process, but the negative is displacement and discomfort within one's own community. Is there any way to have the improvement in perception without the displacement? Or is this just a part of the natural cycle of urban areas that has to be dealt with? Is there any way the different peope in the area can effectively compromise, or somehow find a way to work together?
    I feel like I have phrased it in a, "Well, if they want improvement, then get over the issues the improvements have caused" kind of way, and I don't mean to. I just wonder if this would happen, regardless of who did what, and for what intentions. People are generally uncomfortable with change, and something like this is a big one, regardless of how it happens. Is it something that should stop and be reconsidered, or something that will just take time?

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  14. Alright first, here is my big question, has anyone else besides myself here ever actually been a part of the West Sixth Running Club they mention in the article? I am not asking to get a pat on the back for staying healthy but I am asking strictly because I would like someone else to answer this for me from personal experience. Because I want to know if we are apart of this negative stereotype placed on the activities associated with gentrification. I never thought about it but the few times I went nearly a year ago my friend was not interested in running the full loop because she neither had the time nor the energy to do so but the loop we took we told was safe and yet I felt judged and a bit insidiously watched as we ran by some homes near Transylvania. I joined the running club with Ashley to stay fit, learn the city, and flirt with fit guys but what I remember was being watched. So I really need to ask, if I had never been educated through this class, is there a chance I would know that I was possibly being eye balled because I was white-washing the neighborhood?

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