Gentrification is defined as the process for the arrival of wealthier people in low-income, underrepresented urban environments which often displaces communities of color and poor residents. Over the past few years, many residents in the Los Angeles area have experience the negative effects of gentrification. The city of Los Angeles was once known as bustling sanctuary for minority groups because housing was affordable and it was a safe space to preserve diversity within other communities. But when affluent people began to invade these small communities for urban redevelopment and profit, Los Angeles slowly became an exclusive environment for those that had the money to afford overpriced commodities and housing. Residents from underrepresented communities Highland Park, East LA, Boyle Heights, and South Central are being driven out by expensive restaurants–making it unable to continue living there.
As a witness to gentrification in my community, I stand by these underrepresented civilians because this phenomena is a complete attack on the poor and working class. These wealthy individuals that establish business and expand real estate in low-income areas often exploit others cultures/traditions by overpricing their products which is extremely problematic because dominant groups adopt these minority cultural elements. These businesses essentially promote cultural appropriation at the expense of marginalized communities that have endured centuries of systemic oppression. Another effect of gentrification is the loss of culture and safety. When these privileged groups invade poor, minority neighborhoods they create hostile environments for residents because these newcomers feel threatened by surrounding racial diversity. This sense of discomfort deepens the negative attitudes towards Latinos and African Americans. On top of that, these disadvantaged communities aren’t equipped with the tools to combat gentrification because they neither have the political nor financial power to overturn the prejudiced process of urban development. How can you expect these people to fight if they don’t have the power to go up against influential people and billion dollar industries?
As people who have the power to execute change, it is our duty to defend the rights of marginalized communities. Whether is it supporting your locals stores or voting for rent-control legislation that protects housing rights, every step we take can impede the displacement of ethnic communities. By using our privilege to speak up against these acts of segregation and injustice we can preserve the diversity of these unique neighborhoods.