When you think of your ideal neighbourhood, what does it look like?
Chances are you were drawn to a few of the earlier options, and outraged by the last 2. But what if by consciously desiring the trendy, safe community, your unconscious preference is for a gentrified, white neighbourhood?
Here's a super handy Glossary of Terms:
Call It What It Is
I live in a "nice" community, and have often referred to how quiet, and cute it is. And most importantly, how safe I feel.
I bristle at the entitlement of wealth in my suburb, but hadn't thought much about the lack of racial diversity. It might be true that "You don't know what you've got til it's gone" but we don't know what we lose when it's missing. Why is it that we don't see the absence of people of colour in our lives as a problem, or a personal loss?
And no, your black friend who has to code switch to make you feel comfortable doesn't count.
I'll Take a Bao To Go
So while we're generally apathetic to the homogenised society that we're submerged in, we embrace microdoses of other cultures.
We'll hit up a trendy dumpling bar, on the way to Zumba, and feel effortlessly cool, and worldly. Emphasis on "effortlessly".
Imagine fully embracing a community that doesn't solely look like us, and share our life experiences. We can escape our echo chambers, and learn a lot about ourselves, and other perspectives in the process.
It might be a step outside of our comfort zone. There might not even be a smoothie bar.
But if we all move on mass to more diverse neighbourhoods, they become gentrified too, right?
I'd recommend steering clear from areas that are pre-gentrification. Basically, anywhere described as "Up and Coming" or with artist impressions of future plans.
It might not even mean packing up house, but intentionally widening our social circles, poking at our own opinions, exploring our biases, and learning to listen.
Whatever it is, do one thing that makes you feel a bit uncomfortable. Take a breath. You'll be OK.
I’m currently reading “White Fragility” by Robin Diangelo which has inspired a lot of revelations. So the above advice is as much for me, as anyone else.
Grab yourself a copy, and get ready to marinate in some vital discomfort.