DC
08/13/2012 05:18 pm ET

The Politics of the Urban Comeback: Gentrification and Culture in D.C.

Is bemoaning the gentrification of Washington, D.C., a genre past its prime? I mean, there's considering the meaning of the transformation of the city from a majority-black metropolis to one that is no longer so, and there's reflecting on what it means to see all-black, working-class cultural communities replaced by middle-class, multi-ethnic, multi-racial ones that nonetheless have the kind of homogenized cultural aesthetic characteristic of the college-educated. And then there's just writing an ahistoric rant that ignores the successful decades-long effort by black political leaders and real estate developers and businesspeople of multiple races to rebuild a neighborhood decimated by the 1968 riots, drugs, and the flight of the black middle class, while also downplaying the significance of black American artists in the cultural life of not just white America but the entire world.

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