The Opposite of White Flight: Gentrification

Gentrification leads to lots of worries. It makes people suffer and think, what are we going to do next? Gentrification happens when property values go up and the poor residents who have lived there for a long period of time will have to leave; this is because the property needs to be replaced with the modern and new stuff that is sold for more money. The people who benefit from gentrification are rich, white techies. These people don’t let others make a living in the city, instead forcing them out into more difficult situations. The people who suffer are older residents, mainly people of color. This is bad for communities of color and will create further problems for San Francisco.

“Techies represent the new middle class in San Francisco,” one headline said. I believe that gentrification is not right or fair to people who have lived in their neighborhoods for their whole lives. People are being moved out or need to, because the workers called techies—people who work in technology jobs—are moving in and making the rent of housing for long-time residents unaffordable. Hardworking people who have lived in San Francisco for a long time need to work at least two jobs to stay in their neighborhoods.

“Want to live in the new building that is going up at Oak and Octavia?” asked one headline. “You might want to rob a bank first.” The new middle-class people do not let old residents make a living and are making their situation more difficult. In other words, people have to work harder to put a roof over their head, have a bed to be sleep in, and pay the rent. For example, many people in San Francisco are facing evictions. According to the Now in Racial Justice Gentrification Report, “The Mission right now is in chaos with evictions…there is also nowhere to go. The units available are for people who earn $6,000–$7,000 more than I do per month.” This tells me that this rent is a lot of money per month to pay and only the people with fancy techie jobs are able
to afford it.

I interviewed Ms. Huezo, a teacher from Mission High School, who said that this Valentine’s Day, she needed to move out because of money, housing, and rent. Born and raised in San Francisco, Rosa Huezo is a hard-working teacher, but she left the city to live in Berkeley because it was more affordable than San Francisco. She used to live in the inner Richmond and the Haight for four years.

Gentrification leaves people of color feeling left out of their communities. According to the Racial Justice Gentrification Report, “Black and Latino displacement is remaking the Bay Area…what’s more, the rental price increases and housing crisis have fueled the displacement of blacks and Latinos from both cities…In S.F.’s Mission district, the historically Latino neighborhood has lost over 1,000 Latino families and [has] seen an influx of 2,900 white households.” This article shows how people of color are alienated from their own communities and forced to leave.

Gentrification is unfair. It is not okay to let people worry about where they are going to live and not say anything about what is happening. If you want to prevent this from happening, there is a way to help and make your own neighborhood yours. Supporting neighborhood organizations that are rooted in local history and ethnic traditions means participating and joining the fight against gentrification.

This entry was posted in Student Writing Gallery.

Comments are closed.