When your neighborhood is undergoing gentrification, it can be a disorienting, frustrating experience that might have you grappling with a mix of rage and helplessness as you fume about the entitled, clueless population newly in your midst. But you might also find some humor there. That’s the premise behind a new hashtag growing in popularity: #ThingsGentrifiersDo.
Created earlier this week by Umaara Elliott, the hashtag already has streams of hilarious and insightful posts by users commenting on the bizarre and ironic world of life in a gentrifying neighborhood.
“I made the hashtag #ThingsGentrifiersDo to make YOU aware of how racist you actually are being even if it’s indirectly,” Elliott wrote on Twitter to explain the hashtag. She connected it to a funny list/questionnaire that was posted on Curbed called “Has your neighborhood become gentrified?”
While creeping gentrification has previously been more of a vague feeling, a sense that the neighborhood is changing, a new study released in November by the nonprofit Citizens Housing and Planning Council actually documented the growth of gentrification over the last decade in New York City. The CHPC study traced the slow but radical transformation of the nation’s largest city into a place that contains largely the rich and the poor.
Middle-class Blacks fled the city between 2000 and 2010, while rich white neighborhoods become even more predominantly white. The number of poor Hispanics in the city increased and large numbers of wealthy white singles moved into previously “racially diverse” neighborhoods—the very definition of gentrification. It turns out Spike Lee was right.
“You can’t discover this!” Lee said back in February at Pratt Institute. “We been here. You just can’t come and bogart.”
The Twitter hashtag is an outgrowth of the list to the right. The theme of the list, if anything, is the lack of awareness that gentrifiers often have of the way their actions and complaints impact everyone around them.
These are some of the highlights of the tweets under the #ThingsGentrifiersDo hashtag:
“Attempt to erase cultural context by creating abbreviations/acronyms. SpaHA…Spanish Harlem smh,” @bcognoscenti wrote.
“Create a special shuttle because the 20 minute train ride has too many black folks,” @Blackamazon wrote.
“Ask the black guy who has lived in the building longer than them, if he actually lives there,” @fakerapper wrote.
“Come to a neighborhood “for the culture.” Call the police on the culture,” wrote @JamilahLemieux.