The word I can best use to describe my feelings about this documentary “My Brooklyn” is Anger! I am angry that communities and peoples livelihood don’t matter to our government and political officials. I am not too angry at the Developers because they only have one goal, to make money, whereas our Councilman, Mayor, and other city officials have an obligation to protect and serve their constituents.
I found it interesting that “red lining” not only occurred in Harlem but all boroughs where there were Black and Hispanic families. Even throughout this financial quarantine, entrepreneurs of all races kept Downtown Brooklyn a float and served a need box companies wouldn’t dare fill.
Two areas in the film made me sick to my stomach. One was when the film maker was interviewing different races about what Albee Square Mall is to the community and white people who didn’t understand that community felt it was like a cancer that needed to be cut out and discarded with no regard to the people it served. The second was an advertisement for the new stores replacing Albee Square Mall and everyone depicted in this advertisement was white…
But to play “devils advocate” I also blame these communities, because we allow these changes to occur. As a majority we don’t get involved and by the time we do, its normally too late. Understanding that who we put in office plays such an important role in fostering gentrification and racial blacklisting you would expect folks to be angry and utilize their political voice but they don’t. A few grass-root organizations aren’t enough to make change. We as an entire community need to be involved.
How can we expect to have leaders or developers with a conscious if we as a nation don’t stand up. Zoning and gentrification go hand in hand. Urban communities are at loss because its residents don’t understand their stake.
What I am learning from this class, through these films, field visits, and guest speakers is zoning can be a detriment to any community as well as not being informed and using your political right to question… I believe gentrification could be a good thing if we learned how to have inclusion and a balance.