Neighbors Comic Series Landing Page
Part 1: Discomfort
Part 2: Distance
Part 3: Sympathy
Part 4: Empathy
Part 5: Experience
Part 6: Intersectionality
(First of all, just sending a squeeze for this week.)
Phew. This chapter is dense. I hope what I was trying to get across came across: which is mostly that this is complex, and that I am in process, and in practice. Please let me know if there were terms or concepts that were unclear to you after reading.
Here are some Footnotes for chapter 6:
Intersectionality is a term coined by feminist legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw, and she has a TED Talk about how the intersections of race and gender affect legal cases and also in police violence.
The stats about what shapes our images of poverty in America came from this NYTimes article "What Do We Think Poverty Looks Like" by Tracie McMillan.
In learning and reading and researching and living, I have connected a lot of dots this year. In exploring my unease around becoming a gentrifier, I am now even more uncomfortable after I started seeing how connected my actions are to much larger issues of systemic oppression. Urban geographer Tom Slater describes gentrification as the 'spatial expression of racial inequality,' and it is only the latest manifestation of historic patterns of segregation. And it's hard to unsee once you start seeing. As Ijeoma Oluo writes, we need to get used to being uncomfortable: "I hope that we can start looking at kindness, which is honest and built with love, over niceness, which prioritizes comfort over safety."
Here are some resources for your own journeys, wherever you currently are:
- This TEDx talk by urban planning scholar Stacey Sutton about what we don't understand about gentrification. A good primer.
- The chapter "Vanilla Cities and Their Chocolate Suburbs: On Resegregation" in Jeff Chang's We Gon Be Alright connects the dots between urban renewal efforts in the 40's, white flight in the 80's, and today's 'neighborhood revitalization' aka gentrification.
- Dr. Mindy Fullilove writes about Root Shock, the effects of displacement on those displaced, and most hopefully the Urban Alchemy of the processes and mindsets that can restitch our cities, promote healing, and restore joy.
- Causa Justa Just Cause (CJJC) has many reports and resources, including "Development Without Displacement: Resisting Gentrification in the Bay Area." They also have on-the-ground housing rights campaigns that you can get involved in.
- ^ CJJC were the ones who provided the materials for the Anti-Displacement training that SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) was hosting in the Bay Area, and which Norna and I attended this past spring.
- Also, this one bulletpoint will not do this justice, but I want to acknowledge that while we are thinking about the sorting out that happens in our cities, we must remember and honor the fact that all of this plays out on Native land, and that we have a collective responsibility toward past wrongs, future reconciliations, and shared stewardship of the land. The US Dept. of Arts and Culture has a new campaign to Honor Native Land.
One final note is about the art in my comics. I know I need to work harder on my cartooning to better represent characters across spectrums of gender, race, ethnicity, skin color, age, size, and ability. I know my coloring needs work. It's so important for the sake of representing reality. It's irresponsible to ignore the identities of my characters. I'll quote Ijeoma Oluo again: "People tell me to stop making things about race all of the time. But when you are not making things about race, you're making them about whiteness all of the time." There is no neutral, and it affects the perspective of the story.
Okay, this journey ain't over yet. See you next week for Chapter 7!