Am I a Gentrifier?

gen·tri·fi·ca·tion

noun

  1. the process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste.

  2. the process of making a person or activity more refined or polite.

I love my hometown of Chicago. For all its faults, it’s the city that raised and educated me, both in the classroom and on the icy-cold winter streets. At 30, I met a beautiful woman, and suddenly three and half years later I found myself buying a home in the city famous for ratchet ass rap music, Dr. King, fake butts, and Real Housewives. I moved to ATL. My southernfied wife couldn’t stomach Chicago’s Game of Thrones type winters.

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We both decided that before the government finally privatizes everything (including the air we breathe) we should take advantage of one the few benefits that currently exists for veterans like myself: the VA Home loan program. Soon, the GOP will call this program “wasteful” spending, and the Dems will cry foul but do nothing. Both parties will come together to slash yet another public program designed to help out the little guy…but I digress.

My bride and I found a lovely home in a South Atlanta neighborhood just north of College Park, the birthplace of ATL’s latest and greatest export…2Chainz. This home was our second best choice. We got undercut on our first choice when a buyer offered cash for the home. It must be nice to be ballin’ like that. Because we can’t ask our respective families for 210K cold cash to buy a home, we had to pass on it.

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Our new neighbor, a middle-aged black woman was taken aback to see a young black professional couple purchase a home in this new up-and-coming neighborhood. She practically thanked us for buying here and said she was happy it wasn’t another white person (is that racist?).

Meanwhile, a city garbage truck driver and another guy who is probably Uncle Ruckus’s cousin, ‘Uncle Buckus’, told me and my wife “welcome to the hellhole” and “y’all don’t want to live over here” when we first closed on the home (that’s racist). I’m positive this was because the neighborhood is mostly working class and low-income black folks. Unlike the all-black neighborhoods I lived in during my time in Chicago, my new neighborhood has a cookie factory, a clean subway station, white women jogging in the morning, hipster bicyclists, and a cute young inter-racial couple next door with matching Toyota Priuses.

Recently, a white house flipper in this newly gentrifying neighborhood asked me to assist them in requesting the city to help increase police presence and put street cameras on the block. I guess this guy didn’t realize I was a black dude in Trump’s America. Cops and black people mix like oil and water. While I have had plenty of mundane interactions with police officers, I have had a few encounters where I’m lucky to be alive. So, sorry Mr. House flipper, I won’t be calling the cops on the ‘suspicious’ looking black dude, then get mistaken for that same ‘suspicious’ black dude and end up a hashtag on Twitter. At the end of the day, I’m not a gentrifier. Or am I?

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