We know we're insufferable.
We know our behaviors alienate and displace long-time community residents.
We know we're trying to simulate authenticity in a sanitized faux-bohemia. Thus, we know we are pawns of wealthy developers.
We know we are strangers in a strange land acting like we own it.
I think that's why we are so reluctant to acknowledge our role in destructive gentrification. Or why we compete at the "Who's Lived Here Longer" Game and the "Here's How the Neighborhood Has Changed Since I Moved Here" Trivia Contest. We're proving we have some roots. And We've seen some things.
I can comfortably consider myself one dripdripdroplet in a gentrification flood that drowns neighborhoods. I'm only one droplet! You know, if I evaporated, there'd be a thousand other white, upwardly mobile young droplets with parents who could cosign for this apartment very eager to leak in here.
It feels so good to deny personal responsibility like that.
But really, people like me and the other droplets need to acknowledge our erosive behaviors and fight to sandbag the existing community -- to protect low-income residents from displacement. We can't just blame the market or systems right now. We have to stand up for affordable housing development, new mixed-income buildings, low-interest loans to local home-owners, legal assistance to those facing eviction, government-backed housing vouchers, incentives for landlords who accept housing vouchers and prosecution of the nefarious slumlords who coerce lower-income tenants out.
Let the droplets collect in a reflecting pool so we can look at own behaviors.