We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Gentrifiers Prefer Blondes

14th November 2017

David Cole sorts through the trash.

In 2016, I wrote about the Boyle Heights neighborhood in East L.A. Boyle Heights is about 95% Latino, and its residents aim to keep it that way. Last year, the Obama administration handed down a federal civil rights indictment against Boyle Heights’ oldest and largest street gangs. The gangs had been using violence and intimidation to keep black people from moving into the neighborhood. Blacks who braved the threats and tried to make a life for themselves in Boyle Heights’ low-cost housing units soon found themselves firebombed into homelessness. The gangs had strong support from the community, and even after the federal indictment, the area is still almost entirely devoid of blacks.

Boyle Heights activists have been in the news once again, and this time, their targets are white. They’ve been waging a relentless campaign to force the closure of any stores that might attract white people to the neighborhood. First to go were the art galleries, which were targeted because art appreciation is apparently a whites-only endeavor (unless you’re Frida Kahlo or a graffiti tagger). “Fuck white art” was painted on gallery doors. Windows were broken, employees harassed. Most of the targeted gallery owners surrendered to the segregationists and fled. After defeating a bunch of pretentious art sissies, the activists decided that the coffee shops were next. Yes, drinking coffee is now apparently emblematic of white supremacy. Protesters picketed a local coffee shop, holding signs that read “Caffè AmeriKKKano” (because if the Klan was known for anything, it was its love of espresso) and “fuck white coffee” (okay, seriously, that doesn’t even make a lick of sense). Customers trying to enter the store were harassed. Signs were posted around the city depicting a white hipster’s head in the crosshairs of a rifle. And through it all, at no point did the activists make any attempt to hide the racial nature of their cleansing campaign: “No white people. No white stores.” It’s almost funny reading the reactions of some of the gallery and coffee-shop owners. “But we’re progressive whites! We’re the good guys! We resist Trump!”

They don’t get, or refuse to get, that it’s about race, not politics.

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