I’m from the part of San Francisco James Baldwin dubbed, “The San Francisco America pretends does not exist.” Gentrification in San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood is likened to the despair and plainness that happens when Christmas decorations are taken down and the tree is left barren, shrunken, abandoned and unremarkable.
While I mourn Bayview and its neighbors that once were, I find myself a transplant in someone else’s neighborhood contributing to the reason generations of locals are being displaced. Many young Black professionals find ourselves journeying from college to a new socioeconomic status that has landed us in a place where we have become the modern day “invisible men”— Black gentrifiers criticizing gentrification for its polarizing effects on hometowns we left behind to attain the American Dream, though benefitting from the effects gentrification has on the neighborhoods in which we’ve chosen to live, work, and raise families.
Being a Black woman at a time when so many women who look like me are silently dying with no one being held accountable, I have no choice but to stay “woke.” To be anything less than conscious is dangerous. And so here I am simultaneously awake and invisible, disheartened by the recent headlines from my hometown about the racial tensions, cultural, economic, and class divides that are becoming as much a part of San Francisco as the Golden Gate Bridge. Yet, I find myself 3000 miles away, living in a historically Black neighborhood and somehow removed from the struggles of longtime residents who are being displaced because of the very tensions and divides that ravage my hometown.
Read more at Ebony.com