Being a Gentrifier in a Neighborhood with a Generational Gang?

The article (20 Ways Not to be a Gentrifier) struck a few nerves.  I mean I agree and disagree with the sentiments, but I think the disagreements are worth noting.

Danette Lambert, the writer, argues that it isn't necessarily moving into the neighborhood that 'makes' you a 'gentrifier', it's what you do, which includes "ignoring the tastes and culture of the people living there.'

First off, I think labeling anyone a 'gentrifier' is always going to be destructive and divisive.  I don't think anyone takes kindly to being labeled something negative.  It's an advocacy article intended for an audience the writer doesn't write for, but actually written for and in the language of the writer's advocacy circle, framed as an 'objective' "how-to" article. 

That said, I think I agree with the intention of the article which is to promote more behavior that builds community within a community.  However, I don't think I'd take as much of a "do-this and this and this" patronizing type tone.

Aside from the patronizing tone, I don't know to what degree the advice is effective in all neighborhoods.  I think that the advice from Lambert's article might work for a place already in full gentrification mode ala Highland Park, but I'm not sure if it works for a street with a gang on it. 

As a middle-class raised person raised with an Anthropological lens, I fully agree that I shouldn't "ignore the tastes and culture of the people living there." I say hi to my next door neighbors, but saying that to anyone around the block sometimes yields a funny look.

The underlying issue is that there appears to be some real distrust here.  Not only are the tags being kept alive by people, but every house still has a gate, and more often than not you'll find a big hulking pitbull to bark your ear off. 

My next door neighbor has a fortress for a garage gate, which they open every morning before work and close every night after work.  The only thing we know is that they throw some big parties in that fortress there, but they don't seem like a gang, though we can't be 100% sure.

I pointed out to my wife that I never see when people do their groceries, she said that people do their groceries at night so that no one sees what they have.

I feel like every house is their own little tribe.

Despite the distrust that appears to be apparent, I do recognize my neighbors as people.  I do think I like to see the optimistic side of my neighbors.

I'm pretty cool with life here on the block, however, the existence of gang tagging and looming threat of violence hints at another question addressed towards, what to do about a gang culture that appears to be a part of the social fabric of your neighborhood?

I mean I would like to re-organize the enthusiasm gang members have for their gangs into something else. But it seems like any real solution will take some real work and time that would involve people wanting to change themselves rather than attempting to force a change.

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