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Allow me to get serious again

by Prince Of Petworth January 24, 2007 at 9:23 am 6 Comments

I would like to bring attention to a comment I recieved under the “Petworth Pride” post. I will include the entire post and my response but basically a gentleman talks about gentrification and the fact that when he went to Domku he was the only black person there and as a result he won’t be returning. I was very disturbed by this sentiment. Do you agree, disagree, what have your experiences been like?

reuben said…
Hi. Im a 50 year old DC resident ( and I currently reside in Brightwood-your neighbor to the North). I am also a black man. I read these blogs with interest, and, alas, sometimes with bewilderment and concern.. Like you (all)-I am frustrated when folks are so cavalier about , say, throwing trash on the street, but what does it mean when a fellow Petworth resident says things like ( and I paraphrase here)”things will improve as the neighborhood continues to change”. Hmmmm. Now I know that good, progressive folks like to say that gentrification is about class, not race. But when the dust clears, who (largely) remains? The diversity folks claim to crave somehow disappears… It’s a paradox, I think. Like the time I went to Domku and found myself the only black face in an otherwise black neighborhood. I wont be back. Enjoy, new DC residents. I aint (necessarily) mad at you. No more than I am mad at the kids tossing wrappers around.

1/23/2007
Prince of Petworth said…
Reuben thank you for your comments I think they are very important. I’d like to address two points you make first gentrification and second Domku.

I’d like to be completely clear that I think the “neighborhood changing and improving” has to do with neighborhood pride, less crime, less garbage and more restaurants, bakeries, etc. This is not an attack on the current residents who as I have mentioned many times are the backbone of the community. Diversity is key and essential to Petworth’s reputation and fortunes. I do consider myself progressive. And I think the emphasis our development has on affordable housing and mixed income rentals will help keep the neighborhood diverse. Also, many of the old time residents have homes that are purchased and in the clear. So I don’t expect a mass migration of any sort. We need to work together to build a neighborhood that we all can be proud of.

Second, as far as Domku is concerned, one of the things I love about Domku is the diversity of its patrons. You have old people, young people, “hipsters”, parents, babies, black and white. I believe that Domku does attract many of the “new” residents but that is not at the exclusion of the old residents. I’m sure the owner of the place would love all the business she can get. As for you never returning because you were the only black person there, I find that very sad. I think you should give Domku and the neighborhood restaurants another chance. I know for a fact that there have been many black patrons there. Anyone else have some thoughts?

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