I wouldn’t ride my bike naked!

unnamedTricia Tillman,
Portland, OR.

I have a funny story about how race and gentrification interact. My son walked out the front door of our house which is in a neighborhood that is gentrifying and yelled back in “Mom, I just saw 2 naked people riding down the street!” When I walked outside, we heard an African American man’s voice from around the corner yell to another person something like “they’d never let us do that!”

As an African American mom, I see the dominant community holding up various aspects of even fringe white culture, while not investing comparable amonts of resources in celebrating African American culture. The community notices this and feels the assault on cultural norms and history even as the historical center of the African American community is disrupted.

Additional complexities include – what we, as African Americans are “allowed” to do in public; the limits of what is culturally acceptable; and the ways some communities are marginalized by other community public expressions.

 

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