The Gentrification is Strong

It’s been a while since I’ve sat down to write. It’s not that I don’t have anything to write about. I’ve actually had a lot going on. Most of the distance has been because of time, energy, or the “thing” I was going to write about earlier in the day escaped my brain before I had time to write it down. I know that I should get a notepad to keep by or a recording device to talk into and maybe one day I will, but for now, I haven’t really crossed that bridge.

But this morning, even though I could have found all the reasons not to sit down and write, I’m pretty irked and feel like maybe this is exactly what I need to get the blogging ball rolling again.

So, I’ve been on this wellness journey. Most days I do an at home workout that I stream online and after that, a few days a week, I try to go for a run. Today was one of those days. It was raining, but I had already decided before I went to bed that I would get out and run. I just wanted to do a little interval run. Walk for a minute, run for a minute times ten.

Around my second interval, I was about a block or so from home. I could see a lady walking down the street with her dog. I like dogs. I trust dogs. I also know that I don’t want to get bit by a dog because I’m running. So I slowed down to a walk and when she got closer, I stepped to the side and stopped so I didn’t spook the dog. And then I recognized the owner of the dog as one of the local council women. A council woman that I voted for. A council woman that I donated to her fundraiser. As she walked by, she kind of glared at me and said, “Six Feet!” as if I wasn’t giving her enough room even though she made no effort to move closer to the other side of the sidewalk. So I politely gave her the six feet she asked for and then as she passed me, even though I had my headphones on, I heard her say, “The gentrification is strong on this side of town. The gentrification is strong.”

GENTRIFICATION:

gen·tri·fi·ca·tion/ˌjentrəfəˈkāSH(ə)n/noun

  1. the process whereby the character of a poor urban area is changed by wealthier people moving in, improving housing, and attracting new businesses, typically displacing current inhabitants in the process.

Now, I know that I should not have let this comment irritate me and hurt my feelings to the point that it did, but I am a sensitive soul and I was kind of taken aback by her comment for a couple of reasons.

One, we have a lot of friends in common and while we have never met in person, I love supporting the people my friends are trying to help uplift. I trust my friends’ judgement so if they like them, so do I until otherwise proven. I voted for her in the last election because of this.

Two, I am not wealthy. I am actually currently living way below the poverty line. She definitely makes WAY more money than me, she is probably better educated than me, and she’s definitely more successful politically and professionally than I will probably ever be, but how could she possibly know that by the two second judgement she made of me?

Three, I’ve lived in this neighborhood for over 8 years. I’ve lived on this “side of town” for almost 15 years. While the rest of the city has its own opinion of “East Knoxville” and “that side of town” and “those people,” I consider, East Knoxville, this side of town, and these people home and family. I try to show up and support all the local events. When I can’t donate my time, I donate my money and I don’t have a lot of it, but I figure I can donate $5 or $10 and skip the falafel in a sack & gas station coffee for a day.

My point is, I do what I can because I have always felt like this was my community. I didn’t move to this side of town to displace anybody. I moved here because I could afford it. I moved here because it reminded me of where I grew up. I moved here for a lot of different reasons, but attempt at gentrification was not one of them.

And while I know that black people get judged based on the color of their skin all the time, they don’t get judged by me. I like to get to know people before I decide if I’m going to dislike them because they are fake or just a dick.

And I guess I am naive in thinking that everyone is like that, but I would have thought a politician would at least have their game face on when they are out in public even at 7 am.

So, I’ve decided I’m not going to let it ruin my day. I’m just going to move on, and she will not get my next vote. But maybe I should give her a few props for giving me the incentive to sit down and write again.

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