Is gentrification theft?
via AP

Is gentrification theft?

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After Denver's Ink Coffee posted a sign that read "Happily gentrifying the neighborhood since 2014" in a historically black neighborhood, many demanded a boycott. The owners have apologized, but critics argue the incident symbolizes a larger problem. White people don't recognize gentrification as the destructive removal of marginalized people of color from urban neighborhoods. Others say gentrification isn't evil. It's part of life, and actually benefits working-class communities. What do you think?

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Here's the sign that sparked the controversy.

Ink Coffee was vandalized after posting the controversial sign.

But others say gentrification isn't inherently evil, and that we can revitalize neighborhoods without displacing poor communities of color.

Others argue gentrification is historically positive only for those who are privileged, property owners, and/or white people.

Others say raging about gentrification and displacement is pointless and counterproductive.

Still others say this is just how the system works. You can't address displacement without addressing capitalism.

Critics say anyone defending gentrification just benefits from that system.

This design group in Philadelphia argues that gentrification can be positive. The real issue is the scarcity of affordable housing in American cities.

Portraying the crisis of affordable housing as a pitched battle between gentrifiers and poor people is one of those proverbial false dichotomies. It is a dichotomy that comes from the premise that the stock of housing in livable neighborhoods is a finite -- indeed, shrinking -- resource, and thus the fight for this precious commodity as a Darwinian class struggle.

In his book "How to Kill a City" Peter Moskowitz explains that gentrification "is not just about twenty-something white dudes with beards riding their fixed-gear bikes into unfamiliar neighborhoods." 

It is about profit and power, racism and violence on a massive scale. It is, in Moskowitz’s words, “the urban form of a new kind of capitalism.”
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