The demographics of communities of color in cities are furiously shifting, caused by pressures from the sort of conventional, profit-motivated, commercial and residential development that is concerned exclusively with extracting the highest return. As these previously divested communities, become attractive to racially discriminatory capital, new and unaffordable developments go up, sometimes directly replacing previously affordable properties, causing displacement and gentrification. The mechanics of this process are nuanced and unique to each community but the outcome is consistent; black and brown folks lose out and whiteness in all the way it presents-- as business, institution, and individual-- wins.
(The important nuance which complicates this racialized reality of gentrification being class. Class privilege, which plays an overwhelming role in residential mobility choices and access to investment opportunity, undoubtedly extends to African Americans and other folks of color. However, as a consequence of historical and contemporary prejudice, disproportionately fewer African Americans have access to the sort of wealth that propels gentrification.)

The process of gentrification can often starts with food spaces. Restaurants, coffee shops and specialty grocery stores have become weaponized as tools for discriminatory development. Taking advantage of the available infrastructure in communities of color, these food spaces access artificially depressed property prices, local and inexpensive labor, and our collective bias towards a redemptive narrative. Their initial success draws media attention, patronage from outside the community, and further investment in similar businesses until everything is new and unwelcoming. 


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