Gentrification: “Against the New Baltimore”

eastsideMarch 30, 2015 – Segment 1

Dr. Lawrence Brown sits in as guest host for Marc Steiner.

We revisit the topic of gentrification in Baltimore, springing from D. Watkins’ recent piece for “Black history bulldozed for another Starbucks: Against the new Baltimore.” With: D. Watkins, author, filmmaker and professor at Coppin State University; Dr. Tonya Sanders, Assistant Professor, Graduate City and Regional Planning program, Graduate Department of Built Environment Studies, School of Architecture + Planning at Morgan State University; Dr. Marisela Gomez, physician, community activist and author of Race, Class, Power, and Organizing in East Baltimore: Rebuilding Abandoned Communities in America; Donald Gresham, East Baltimore resident and founder of the Baltimore Redevelopment Action Coalition for Empowerment.


Written by Marc Steiner

Marc Steiner

The Marc Steiner Show currently airs on The Real News Network. The show covers the topics that matter, engaging real voices, from Charm City to Cairo and beyond. Email us to share your comments with us.

1 Comment

  1. Baltimore Gigi says:

    From Mr. Watkins’ Salon article: “I also understand that all of these issues stem from lack of opportunity. However, I don’t understand why every black resident must be displaced as soon as opportunity rides the gentrification train into town.”

    Sorry, the opportunity IS THERE. It’s called school and learning. As a member of Baltimore’s black community, I certainly know that racism in this city still exists, but I also know that the reason many of the people that Mr. Watkins refers to have no opportunity is because of lack of education – and I mean a high school education that is up to standard.

    I have had the opportunity to teach (as a substitute) in the City school system and have witnessed first hand that school is more for socializing than learning. Students feel like they should receive a grade just for showing up in class. This does not and will not cut it in the real world. Because many of Baltimore’s black youth spend all of their lives in a six-block radius, they do not have the social skills to be able succeed in the larger community. If you can’t code switch, it is much harder to succeed in the business world, whether you are a cashier, manager or entrepreneur. You have to know how to communicate effectively beyond your peer group.

    This is evidenced in Mr. Watkins CHOICE to arrive at a business meeting in a hoodie and sneakers, and then complain that he does not fit in.

    I take a somewhat different take on Mr. Watkins’ statement “every black resident must be displaced.” When I purchased my home, I could have purchased in the city or the county. I chose Baltimore City, despite it’s higher property taxes, because I wanted to contribute to the success of my city. What did I get for it? A lovely neighborhood that is being overrun by drug dealers and addicts. I am being displaced! If I had it to do over, I would not choose to live in the city where my property taxes are high and the value of my property declines because of crime.

    Gentrification? I say bring it on, and bring it to my neighborhood next.

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