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Posts Tagged ‘houses’

I’ve just read two excellent posts about ‘gentrification’, the changing faces of neighbourhoods in the US, from historically black-majority towards white-majority, and the social and economic shift which goes with that.

I Am A Sign of Gentrification

and

I, Colonist

Several things said or hinted at in these posts resonate with my experience as a white middle-class British student. Students here are often asked to get more involved with their communities, to respect the people who are already here – and those are, of course, not exculsively white residents. Indeed, because student areas tend to be poorer areas, they are more likely to have non-white resident populations. I cannot imagine that it is a coincidence that the student area I will be living in next year is the area right by the biggest mosque in the city.

However, that very observation points up the next issue I have: these changes as they happen in the UK are real and important but the comparison with the USA will only take us so far. We have a history with slavery, but it is a different history; the USA has a history of welcoming (or not) Muslim immigrants from around the world, but it is not the same as our history.

I am by no means an expert in this, but I’m trying to at least notice what is happening, and acknowledge that my privilege plays a role in what choices I am able to make (by living in a low-cost area, I’ll be able to study full-time for a year without even trying to get a job. I can feel my privilege rolling over me in waves as I type that fact). This post is also a note to myself to look out for materials about how these changes are progressing in the UK, and to try and see where, or indeed whether, I can help the community into which I’ll be moving.

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