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Kay Hymowitz, who writes about gentrification, looked at the Brooklyn neighborhood Bedford-Stuyvesant—the current epicenter for gentrification in New York City—and found the answer hard to identify.

The Black population dropped from 81.9 percent in 1990 to 64.6 percent in 2010.

However, the neighborhood’s Hispanic population grew slightly from 16.3 percent to 19.9 percent in the same time period. And while the number of whites moving in has soared, they still only make up 10.9 percent of the population; meanwhile, the number of college-educated Blacks moving to Bedford-Stuyvesant has increased.

The gentrifying neighborhood still struggles with many urban problems: poverty (30.7 percent of the population was below the poverty line in 2010), poor education (60 percent of students don’t read at their grade levels), and high crime (the precinct’s crime rates are among the worst in New York City). Not exactly winning numbers for a gentrified neighborhood. Most importantly, what’s wrong with the reinvestment and renewal of debilitated urban neighborhoods?

As neighborhoods gentrify, buildings will be sold, landlords will raise rents, and some people will be forced out. In an ideal world, Blacks would understand the marketplace, build their own grocery stores, coffee shops, state-of-the-art gyms and yoga studios and demand a serious police presence. In an ideal world, this would not be an issue.

We have been our own worst enemy. We chose to abandon our neighborhoods. We chose to move to the suburbs. We chose to let our communities end up in disarray. Thus, we can’t get upset when developers, builders or white folks for that matter, want to move into our neighborhoods, buy properties we once owned at bargain basement prices, rehab them, and sell them for astronomical profits.

Zack Burgess is an award winning journalist, who is the Director/Owner of OFF WOODWARD MEDIA, LLC, where he works as a Writer, Editor and Communications Specialist. Twitter: @zackburgess1

Photo by Ilan Corsica Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

The Myth of Gentrification  was originally published on

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