White Gentrification In Chicago

Before anyone gets all huffy, the title of this post is exactly what was in the subject line of the email I received from a reader last month.

How could I not open that email and take a look?

The reader writes:

I’ve been trying to research gentrification history in Chicago and came across a couple of your older blog posts- maybe from 2007? Specifically one about the young white woman, Patty Cake, who moved to the South Shore. Most of what I’ve been finding is written by white people, whose opinions on gentrification are pretty irrelevant. I just wanted to ask a question, and get a short or long answer if you’ve got time:

is there any neighborhood in Chicago where it’s okay for a white person living below the poverty line in their mid 20s to move? Is there a way to find affordable rent and not participate in gentrification? Are there neighborhoods that are mixed and where people of color living there don’t feel like they’re being edged out? Is it more or less harmful to move into an area like Logan Square that has already been gentrified for the large part? Basically, do you think there is any way for a young white person to move to Chicago without participating in this kind of violence against people of color, and specifically Black people?

I’m sorry for taking up your time, but I’ve really been enjoying reading your blog and you seem honest and knowledgable (sic). If you don’t have time or don’t want to respond to this I understand- I want to live in Chicago in a way that feels positive and not like I’m harming other people.

Thank you

My verbatim response will be in the next post.

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