Spike Lee's View on Gentrification and Why It Should Be Stopped

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In this essay, I will agree with Spike Lee's views on gentrification because he mentions how culture is being steered away from neighborhoods because of the new investors wanting to homogenize everything for the new wealthy residents. Also because even if new residents have a lot of money the preponderance of the older residents does not, and that will cause displacement to keep occurring which will affect a lot of families.

The treatment of these middle-class families will be different from high-class families, because the higher class families will get more advantages, such as getting better schools, cleaner environmental which makes their health better, and more police protection in their areas.

Spike Lee’s overall impression of gentrification happening in neighborhoods is invalidating because there are a lot of modifications being created in neighborhoods that have gentrification going on where it will influence the older residents. One of those changes is culture changing in neighborhoods because not several new residents will be used to the culture already in neighborhoods. This means the new residents will displace the old culture that existed once there with the modern lifestyle they are used to. Shaquina Blake discusses this in “Gentrification in San Francisco is supplanting culture, not creating it”.

In the Guardian article, Shaquina states “But from Harlem to LA, gentrification is not adding culture; it’s merely replacing it. French restaurants and beer gardens take the place of soul food restaurants and bookstores in Harlem. I mean, if you lose a panadería and gain a Panera, is that a mark of sophistication?”(Blake). This explains how local restaurants and bookstores are being replenished over newly renovated restaurants to make the new residents happy. The new modern buildings are eliminating the culture that was formerly there, which will affect the ethnic residents who enjoyed being apart of their community culture. They will no longer be connected to their community because they will no longer be able to identify with it.

Another change that is occurring in neighborhoods with gentrification is displacement for the older/middle-class people. Displacement is happening because as wealthier people move in, the greater landlords will increase the rent. Similarly, in an Atlantic article titled ' This Is What Happens After a Neighborhood gets Gentrified' by Richard Florida, it discusses on the topic that poor residents are getting kicked out of their homes, compared to the other wealthier residents who do have an education, causing them to have a higher wage. In the Atlantic article, Richard states “ These particular cities attract new businesses, highly skilled workers, major developers, and large corporations, all of which drive up both the demand for and cost of housing. As a result, residents—and neighborhood renters in particular—may feel pressured to move to more affordable locations”(Florida).

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The overall modern businesses and residents will make the more former residents feel uncomfortable because they will no longer be able to afford the rent. Likewise, since the poorer residents are moving out to the worst neighborhoods, their health is also going to get more vulnerable. Erin Schumaker discusses this in a Huffpost article titled “Diagnosing Gentrification”. In the HuffPost article, Schumaker states “These researchers found that New Yorkers who moved from gentrifying neighborhoods to non-gentrifying, poor neighborhoods, had a bigger rise in hospital visits in the five years after their displacement. Hospital visits among residents who were displaced rose 63.9 percent between 2006 and 2014, compared to 18.7 percent among residents who stayed put”(Schumaker).

These percentages exhibit when residents are kicked out of their middle-class neighborhood and moved into a poorer neighborhood, they are more probable to endure from mental disorders and illnesses such as lung cancer and lead poisoning from high concentrations of asbestos. Furthermore, as new residents move into a neighborhood their suspicion of crime happening in their neighborhood is going to increase.

Since newer residents are not used to cultural traditions in neighborhoods they are more likely going to report any activity that is happening around them that isn't familiar. As a result, wealthier residents will get more supervision from the police while the original innocent residents are going to suffer the consequences of police officer misconduct. This is discussed in an Atlantic article titled “The Criminalization of Gentrifying Neighborhoods”.

The outcome of having more police around the neighborhood in gentrified neighborhoods will ultimately end up affecting the original residents more. In the Atlantic article, Fayyad states “ In 2014, when San Francisco native Alejandro Nieto was fatally shot by four police officers responding to a 911 call, many residents believed the incident wouldn’t have occurred had his neighborhood not gentrified. Nieto was accused of behaving suspiciously in a place where he’d lived his entire life, and it was a new resident who’d made the 911 call”(Fayyad). This proves how simple it is for a new resident to end a life by simply calling the police for suspicious behavior. Many innocent residents will continue to die if newer residents continue to judge them by their everyday lifestyle.

In contrast, some people will say gentrified neighborhoods will only impact the community positively because a lot of improvements are going to happen in the neighborhood. Justin Davidson discusses this in “ New Studies Say Gentrification Doesn't Really Force Out Low- Income Residents”. This New York Magazine speaks about there are more positive sides to communities with gentrification because of all the improvements that are going to be involved helping the low-income residents involving their health. In the New York Magazine, Davidson states “exposure to higher-income neighborhoods has important benefits for low-income residents, such as improving the mental and physical health of adults and increasing the long-term educational attainment and earning of children”(Davidson).

This shows how residents possibly may have a better life in a neighborhood with gentrification since their health is going to be good and improve their performance overall. Sure some residents are going to get better health in gentrified neighborhoods but the rest of the residents are going to lose more things that cannot be replaced which are going to affect their mental and physical health. A City Lab article discusses that physical and mental health is being negatively affected by the residents in gentrified neighborhoods.

In the City Lab article, Robiou states” You’re losing the culture of the place, the political power you had, the neighborhood, the social connections. You cannot just put those things in a box and take them with you. The losses are extraordinarily high”(Robiou). There are a lot of more negative factors than positive factors affecting the mental and physical health of gentrified residents. Which is going to cause an increase in violence since they are not going to be mentally stable.

To conclude, gentrified communities are going to impact low-income residents and help out the rich residents instead. Therefore, we should stop gentrification in neighborhoods because it isn't going to help all the residents only the rich ones. What will happen to the cultural background of neighborhoods? They will possibly all be taken away if we continue to homogenize every community. That is why all districts should unite collectively upon investors to maintain their culture in their neighborhoods.

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Spike Lee’s View on Gentrification and Why It Should Be Stopped. (2021, January 12). WritingBros. Retrieved June 19, 2024, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/spike-lees-view-on-gentrification-and-why-it-should-be-stopped/
“Spike Lee’s View on Gentrification and Why It Should Be Stopped.” WritingBros, 12 Jan. 2021, writingbros.com/essay-examples/spike-lees-view-on-gentrification-and-why-it-should-be-stopped/
Spike Lee’s View on Gentrification and Why It Should Be Stopped. [online]. Available at: <https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/spike-lees-view-on-gentrification-and-why-it-should-be-stopped/> [Accessed 19 Jun. 2024].
Spike Lee’s View on Gentrification and Why It Should Be Stopped [Internet]. WritingBros. 2021 Jan 12 [cited 2024 Jun 19]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/spike-lees-view-on-gentrification-and-why-it-should-be-stopped/
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