Calvin Dao

Humanities 9

Ms. Portugal

12/21/18

 

Oakland is becoming Unrecognizable because of Gentrification

Recently Oakland has been changing  in terms of new buildings and demographically with new people of different classes and races moving in. This is causing Oakland to become unrecognizable in terms of rent, citizens, and neighborhoods. Therefore,  Oakland is not what it used to be, and it’s hurting the Oakland community.

One of the greatest changes are housing prices. In an interview with K’chelle Fuller, a high school student in Oakland at Life academy, she said, “I feel that raising prices for rent is very frustrating because not a lot of people can afford high rent homes. I feel like they should be a more reasonable price, even though I haven’t had an experience with high rent I have an idea of what the struggle is like…it’s comforting the middle class taste of how their home is renovated or improved” (Fuller). This matters because we can see that people living here see that the prices of housing are astronomical. A lot of families don’t have the money to afford the housing already and if gentrification is making the prices even more unreasonable then the families would be forced to move out or be evicted. The houses may be old but if renovations and improvements are forced on the house, that would obviously increase the prices because the houses will become newer. To add on, as the rent and housing changes to be unrecognizable  families are being evicted and being forced to move, and that causes the diversity of this area to narrow. “We’re being pushed out : The displacement of black Oakland” by Otis R. Taylor shows how black families are becoming less and less prominent in Oakland. Otis’s interview shows “Rev Thomas Harris III, the longtime pastor at Pleasant Grove Baptist church in West Oakland : While a typical service once brought 75 to 100 congregants, the numbers have dwindled to as little as 25 as black families have been pushed out of the area”(Reverend Thomas Harris III). Families of color are being misplaced which means the variety of Oakland is just dwindling. Oakland used to be a place full of diversity and difference and now it’s being changed to only benefit certain people: people of middle class and people who can afford the astronomical prices of housing. As they move in, Oakland can lose it’s diversity that represents it’s history.

As rent has changed and people have changed, the neighborhoods and streets are changing too wiping away what it used to be to try to make it sound more stylish  for the new higher class gentrifiers. “Gentrification Changed the Name of Oakland Neighborhoods” by Darwin Bondgraham unveils “ San Antonio Park District and Reservoir Hills are also established place names with long histories that fell into disuse, but their revival coincides with an attempt to put a more genteel stamp on the map. This is especially true because the commonly used names for this part of Oakland just East of 14th Avenue to Fruitvale Avenue have always been a little too real. Lore has it that in the 1970s this swath of Oakland was called the Rollin’ 20s, a reference to the avenues which span 20th to 29th. In the 1980s the area became the Twomps, referring to $20 sacks of cannabis and also the avenues. In the 1990s it became the Murder Dubbs due to a spike in homicides. But the neighborhood is also simply and lovingly called the Dubbs, which obviously salutes a certain basketball team also”(Bondgraham). Oakland has a lot of history behind its street names and they came up with the names as a community based on their experiences and what happened in that area. Some may feel that Murder Dubbs has a violent history due to drugs and crime, but the Murder Dubbs was a name Oakland’s community gave to itself, and the community holds pride in it. These gentrifiers are trying to change the names from something meaningful to something new just so other people of higher class stray away from the idea that the area is dangerous and it is now a new safer area to live in.

In conclusion, Oakland is becoming unrecognizable and negatively affected by gentrification. The gentrifiers are causing people to be evicted, rent prices to become astronomical and street names changing, disregarding our history and our past.

 

Work Cited

Fuller, K’chelle. “Interview with Student .” 12 Dec. 2018.

I interviewed K’chelle because she is a junior at Life Academy who has decent knowledge on gentrification. K’chelle is a credible source because she is an Oakland resident which means that her or one of the people she knows has been affected by gentrification.

 

Royce, Curtis. “Interview with Curtis.” 18 Dec. 2018.

I interviewed Curtis because he is often around Oakland and has experienced being a homeowner / home renter.

 

Levin, Sam. “’We’re Being Pushed out’: the Displacement of Black Oakland.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 1 June 2018, www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/01/from-black-panthers-to-bbq-becky-the-displacement-of-black-oakland.

Sam Levin is a Bay area based reporter for the Guardian and Huffpost. He has written multiple pieces of writing about Oakland. He has a lot of experience as a writer, working for St. Louis Riverfront times’s news blogs, Westword in Denver, Colorado, The Village Voice, and New York Daily News. He has made it onto a lot of radios, such as East Bay Express.

 

Bondgraham, Darwin. “Gentrification Changed the Names of Oakland Neighborhoods.” East Bay Express, East Bay Express, 19 Sep. 2018, www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/gentrification-changed-the-names-of-oakland-neighborhoods/Content?oid=20313470.

This website shows how gentrifiers want to change street and neighborhood names that have been here for decades in Oakland. This website is trustworthy because it specializes on Oakland and areas around Oakland. They just explain what is happening and show their standpoint on the subject.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Oakland is becoming unrecognizable by Calvin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

7 Comments
  1. Roman 1 month ago

    Yes, very interesting to read, but at the same time feels very narrow and one sided. Like for example the meaning of the words itself and how you used them in that article. You talking about that in a past people of color was a predominant population at Oakland and because of “new people of different classes and races moving in. it’s killed diversity – “What is diversity in simple words?

    It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along. the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.” So that is make no sense.

    “they have no idea of what the struggle is like…it’s comforting the middle class taste” – So “they” , gentrifies (gen·tri·fi·ca·tion/ˌjentrəfəˈkāSH(ə)n/ Learn to pronounce noun the process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste.) Probably in the same boat with all as who lives in bay area and get pushed out from other area, by exactly the same reason. But no, you assuming and describing them as a bad individuals who come in with only one specific reason, to push someone out mostly because they dont know how is that to be in struggle, which is wrong statement, plus you could not know it. Most of that people works 3 jobs… So from my view it’s absolutely nothing bad about renovating and improving the place in order to make it better. You may not know what kind of trouble they was before became a middle class, everybody from thouse who less furniture willing to change the live, but when it’s happened someone started to call them names, like gentrifyers and so on. Which in real life is just normal people who bought the house from your naighboor/landlord which was living there forever and decided to sell his house not for 50k like he bought it, but for 1 mil, as he want. So he is a reason, that someone who would buy it will rase a rent in order to survive somehow.

    About unreasonable prices – Well If previous owner was paying property tax as 2 percent from 50 thousand and sold it to new person today for 1 mil and new one paying 3% from 1 mil, not because he want it, because government forcing it and greedy seller made it so… Isn’t it a reason? and it’s only one from hundreds…… If would say government will have some sort of program like if new home owner will keep same renters, government will not tax the hell out of them or something like that.. that might work, but no, usually government is the one who wants it more. …………. to many of that discrepancies here.

  2. Julia Rodriguez 4 months ago

    Calvin,

    You have written an excellent post about the rise of housing in Oakland. “Oakland is becoming unrecognizable” stood out to me because San Jose, where I reside has the exact housing trouble. As a college student, living with such a high rent is a serious struggle, considering that rent is only one of the many things I have to pay for monthly. With the addition of phone bills, electricity bills, internet bills, groceries, an unreasonably high rent is the cherry on top of the sundae of stress I face. I think your use of a personal interview brought a personal touch to your post, adding that touch of human reality to the housing crisis faced by many in the Bay area. Your sentence,”These gentrifiers are trying to change the names from something meaningful to something new just so other people of higher class stray away from the idea that the area is dangerous and it is now a new safer area to live in” stuck with me after reading your post because the fact that meaningful town history is being erased for advertising purpose is heartbreaking.

    Great work Calvin!

  3. Nina 6 months ago

    Hi Calvin,
    I really enjoyed reading your post about gentrification because this is a topic that I am very interested in. I liked how you not only stated that gentrification causes the diversity of the area to narrow, but how you further explained why families of a specific kind are being pushed out of the neighborhood and who is benefitting from this. I would encourage you to also show this topic from the perspective of a gentrifier to give your post a little bit of both sides of the story. I look forward to reading more about your post and this topic. Thank you.

    • Author
      Calvin 6 months ago

      Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I like your idea of adding the gentrifier perspective because I believe that there is some good in gentrification as well, I only wrote about it’s negative effects on Oakland. What do you think are some ways that gentrification can help? I hope to hear back from you soon. Thank you!

      • ninaruiz 6 months ago

        I feel as though some people may think gentrification can be a positive process because it can bring economic growth into an area and usually the area is renovated and beautified – to draw in more middle or high income people. I personally feel that gentrification as a whole is a negative thing because it takes away the history and character of a neighborhood or community, but it does have the ability to improve some areas economically. However, when gentrification occurs the current residents in the area are typically unable to continue living there due to the rising costs. I think it would be good for gentrifiers to take the time to learn about the community culture and try to appreciate and uphold that culture rather than eliminate or detract from it. These are just my personal thoughts on the topic but I felt like sharing with you. Thank you!

  4. Author
    Calvin 7 months ago

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog. I’m glad I enlightened you about gentrification, especially the street names, because the little things matter.

  5. Judith 7 months ago

    Dear Calvin,
    I really enjoyed reading your blog because your argument was clear. I agree with what you said about how Oakland’s diversity represents its history. That was extremely well written and hella true. Another part I really liked was your ending where you wrote, “The gentrifiers are causing people to be evicted, rent prices to become astronomical and street names changing, disregarding our history and our past”. I think it was cool that you mentioned street names because personally, I’ve never associated street names with gentrification. Your blog was both enlightening and well written.
    Good job!

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