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Whiteness: Segregation and Gentrification

In any developed society, there is a problem of social inequality and an unbalanced distribution of spaces. Discovering the connection between social and spatial inequalities is considered a vital issue. Historically, the gentrification of poor urban areas may have been carried out by the white population through the oppression of blacks. This essay aims to discuss the causes of this phenomenon and to define the role of segregation in urban restructuring.

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Classically, gentrification is considered to be a complex and gradual change in disadvantaged or industrial areas of the city that occurs in response to the conscious relocation of citizens with higher financial indicators. In general, the gentrification process aims to improve urban spaces, but the debate about the racial segregation effect of such restructuring does not cease. However, research conducted by Hartnett shows that the involvement of racism in the city settlement process is greatly exaggerated. Nevertheless, the problem of racism does occur in the gentrification process.

If to take into account the fact that gentrification was carried out by the white population with the unconscious aim of getting rid of black slaves, it should be understood that slaves and black people in most cases did not live in the city. Therefore, the white population moved further from the centers to the suburbs, oppressing slaves (Coates 54). Thus, by infringing on the rights of the black population, a number of important issues for the city are being addressed: reducing crime rates, ennobling territories and attracting tourists.

However, it should be understood that no matter what positive aspects segregation gentrification may have, harassment of the rights and needs of black people is unacceptable. Dislodging such a population from their places, white people are not considered to be oppressed. By losing property and assets, blacks take out loans and become debtors (Coates 55). In addition, people who have to break away from their homes lose their connections, leading to the destruction of entire cultural communities.

In conclusion, it is difficult to say with certainty whether gentrification has a positive or negative effect. Despite the ongoing debates around gentrification, this cultural phenomenon carries both positive and negative meanings in the social transformation of urban spaces. In addition to the redistribution of economic zones and the attraction of additional capital to urban areas, this phenomenon is linked to racism and segregation.

Works Cited

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. “The Case for Reparations.” The Atlantic, vol. 313, no. 5, 2014, pp. 54-71.

Hartnett, Kevin. “Gentrification: White People Following White People”. The Boston Globe. 2014. Web.

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