The Top Eight Symptoms of Gentrifier’s Guilt

December 1, 2014 3 1067 Gentrification
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In Bushwick, the gentrification game is punctuated by a combination of delight and remorse (as are all the best things in life). On the one hand, you get to enjoy the bougie trappings of places like Hops & Hocks, Forrest Point and the local farmer’s market. But on the other, you’re the asshole who pushed out the people who were living in Bushwick since before you were born, like a goddamn colonialist. But, as the French say, “C’est la vie.” All we can do is feel disgrace and assess said culpability by tallying the top eight (yes, that’s a MySpace reference) most common symptoms of gentrifier’s guilt.

No matter the quality of the performance, you always give money

No matter the quality of the performance, you always give money

Giving money to performers, food sellers and pretty much anyone begging on the L train.

Shopping at Vice Versa does not a poor person make

Shopping at Vice Versa does not a poor person make

Shopping at thrift stores to make a point about how you’re still poor.

Shifty eyes

Shifty eyes

Never looking directly at a non-white person, lest you be “found out.”

Living cramped means suffering for your white privilege

Living cramped means suffering for your white privilege

Insisting that, by living in a three bedroom with five other people, you’re keeping the neighborhood affordable.

Gentrification: too taboo to acknowledge

Gentrification: too taboo to acknowledge

Lumping the topic of gentrification in the same category as other taboo topics like money, sexuality and religion.

So sad about being a gentrifier

So sad about being a gentrifier

Constantly talking about who broke you are, but always finding away to drown your sorrows/guilt at the bar.

It's okay to spend a mound on pizza if you're supporting the area you're gentrifying

It’s okay to spend a mound on pizza if you’re supporting the area you’re gentrifying

Feeling semi-okay about paying seventeen dollars for a pizza at Roberta’s as it’s “supporting your local community.”

You'll let anyone sleep on your couch to try to minimize the guilt

You’ll let anyone sleep on your couch to try to minimize the guilt

Letting randos stay on your couch whenever you meet a wayward one at the bar after drowning your sorrows/guilt with the alcohol you “can’t afford.”

Do the right thing: don't gentrify

Do the right thing: don’t gentrify

 Bonus symptom!: Watching every Spike Lee movie back to back to prove that you empathize with his infamous gentrification rant. 

Written by Genna Rivieccio, sufferer of myriad gentrifier’s symptoms

3 Comments

  1. Dubi January 13, 2015 at 7:44 pm -

    I moved to Bushwick in 1969 when I was 5-years-old and it was a predominantly Italian and Irish nieghborhood before white-flight and I love gentrification in all its forms. You see, I never left Bushwick. I lived through the burn-out of the seventies, the drug epidemic of the eighties and the benign-neglect of the nineties and I’m still here. The irony in your publication’s name is not lost on me. I was here to watch Bushwick burn, Broadway get looted and crack decimate a generation. I chose to stay while all of my friends who could leave did. Now I’m cashing in not cashing out. I get to charge three times the rent I was charging four years ago. Keep it coming, I have my kid’s tuition to pay. There is a down side. I do have to field 10-20 calls weekly from people who want to buy my properties, but I’ll bear that cross.
    For anyone who is opposed to gentrification you should understand this; gentrification is not as pale as most would like to make it out to be. Anyone who thinks that it’s an exclusive undertaking of “White” people is confused. (Excuse me while I take a sip of Metamucil.) I’ll accept exorbitant rent from any race. I’ll buy $3.50 coffee from anyone and I’ll accept $1,800 a month from anyone who’ll pay it. (Let me know if you’re interested.) In the meantime, stop complaining and enjoy the ride. Revel in your “Whiteness” and all its privilege. Don’t be shy. You earned it. Embrace it for all its worth. Why not? You can afford it and it would make your ancestors proud. Fuck “White” guilt, as long as you pay for the privilege. After all, it’s the American way.
    Next thing you know you’ll be complaining about white-on-white crime.