Stein Scholar Yazmine Nichols wrote an opinion piece for Blavity about the impact of gentrification in New York City on low-income minority communities.
New York City has always been a place that is dynamic and evolving. Change is inevitable, but as the maxim goes, “not all change is good.” In recent years, parts of Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan have seen an influx of high rises, green spaces and private businesses with little to no input from current community residents. Ultimately, these changes are not meant for low-income Black and Latinx people, but for an ever-growing group of affluent white professionals and tourists. The phenomenon known as gentrification — often described as the process by which depreciated properties are converted and less affluent communities are “renewed” — is really a misnomer for a form of colonization that is rooted in racialized economic exploitation. Research and articles tend to focus on the commercial indications of gentrification, but in fact, changes to local laws, regulations and other policies may be the first indication that gentrification is looming. Ultimately, gentrification (1) displaces low-income Black and Latinx families; (2) creates and exacerbates abject poverty; and (3) contributes to racialized over-policing.