Starbucks, Whole Foods, and Dog Parks – oh my! If you see any of these in your Black and Brown community pop up out of nowhere, it’s a sign that gentrification is afoot. Soon you will notice that not only is the neighbourhood changing, but the people are too. Luckily, there are few methods you and your community can do the fight back before it gets worse. With these tips you’ll be able to scare away gentrifiers before you can say “Double Ristretto Venti Half-Soy Nonfat Decaf Organic Chocolate Brownie Iced Vanilla Double-Shot Gingerbread Frappuccino With Whip Cream.”
Scarecrows Dressed Like Rich People
Grab some Warby Parker glasses, an ascot, and some Vineyard Vine shorts, it’s time to make a scarecrow! Gentrification begins when artists, musicians, and other people who wait tables during the day, move into neighbourhoods with low-income households. The scarecrows will create an illusion that the area is populated by douchey frat bros, which would ruin the gentrifiers boho artistic cred. Placing a few of them across the whole community will force them to search for cheaper housing elsewhere.
Throw A Block Party As Often As Possible
Oh look, another block party…on a Tuesday night? Even though gentrifiers are “super into other cultures” and appreciate that the neighbours come from “a very musical people,” they really would prefer if everyone would just keep it down. It’s up to the neighbourhood to show the new neighbours that everyday is a celebration and that it is a tradition to play Cupid Shuffle at 11:30pm. Make the neighbourhood as “lively” as the real estate agent described it on apartments.com
Nobody wants to move into a neighbourhood that’s haunted. Create fake ghost stories from your respective cultural background to really fuck with them. One ghost story I recommend is “The Bodega Slayer.” Wherever there’s a small neighbourhood grocery store this is at risk of being turned into a condo, The Bodega Slayer terrorizes anyone who asks for oat milk by yelling “Fuck outta here!” The only way this plan fails is if it’s foiled by some meddling kids and their dog.
Bomb Threats To Bars, Coffee Shops, Restaurants, Or Anything With The Word Artisanal
This one may seem extreme, but so is robbing a neighbourhood of its people and culture. As soon as you see a fancy coffee shop or bakery that specializes in miniature pies or vegan donuts, find their number and give them a call. Then do it again tomorrow. After a few days of evacuating the building, they’ll have no choice but to pack up their quail sandwiches and go back to wherever they came from – Connecticut, probably.
Random Chalk Outlines
Nothing says high crime rate like random chalk lines across the neighbourhood. Hit them where it hurts by drawing outlines in places they’d least expect, such as the yoga mats at their favourite yoga studio, the front door of a ‘quirky’ thrift store, or the hot food bar at Whole Foods. Why stop at humans? Go to the nearest dog park and leave a chalk outline of a Corgi. By simply insinuating some threat to their rescues, this will literally have gentrifiers riding their electric scooters back to the suburbs.
A Mirror For Gentrifiers Fighting Against Gentrification
It’s ironic that the people who are fighting against gentrification are also the gentrifiers. Place mirrors around the neighbourhood so they can identify themselves as the problem. Make them stare at the arm sleeve-tattooing, septum-piercing, Starbucks caramel Frappuccino-guzzling, and hot pink hair-dyeing colonizer in the reflection. Make them look into the mirror and say, “In order to fight gentrification, I must fight myself.”
This post appears courtesy of our March 2021 publishing partnership with Flexx. Every month, Widget partners with an organisation to feature one post/week from their contributors, members, or so on. View the other posts from our partner’s contributors here.
Books: How To Be Black by Baratunde Thurston and My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite