Tag Archives: anacostia

The Gentrification Shuffle, Redux: Rebranding Anacostia

by Latoya Peterson

Anacostia Shops

“Gentrification is coming,” says Morgan, “and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.”

What’s the difference between East of the River and River East?  According to a March 3rd article in the Washington City Paper, it depends on who you are.

Anacostia is located in South East, DC, made notorious for high levels of crime in violence in the 1990s. The area, currently 92% black and one of the most impoverished areas in DC, is often referred to by its residents as “East of the River.” This stands in contrast to the area of North West referred to as “West of the Park,” which holds a high concentration of wealth. Longtime residents often use those two descriptors to explain the flow of class and politics around DC. Those East of the River tend to get the short end of the stick, with horrible support from the city government. Those West of the Park receive all the benefits privilege can afford.

So, when new residents began to flock to the promise of cheap housing and convenient access to downtown Washington, they decided that the old image of Anacostia was ultimately detrimental to the neighborhood:

[T]here’s a constituency of folks who don’t like what “east of the river” connotes, and they’ve created an organization in part to address the matter. Members of “River East Emerging Leaders”—note the lower-case, hipoisie-appeasing acronym “r.e.e.l.”—have a new name for the place they call home. For these people, it’s “River East.” The rationale for the appellation comes straight from r.e.e.l.’s Web site: “Many committee members recalled conversations with friends or news stories characterizing ‘East of the River’ as dirty, dangerous, crime-ridden and poor. ‘River East’ was a new way to rebrand the area and inspire a sense of pride.”

Older residents fear that being “rebranded” is a way to remove them from the neighborhood. And their fears are well founded – often, projects to improve older neighborhoods tend to displace the lifelong residents there, in favor of wealthier entrants. Continue reading

Racist Tweets Can Get You Fired

by Latoya Peterson

– davidle630: “In americas ghetto anacostia… If i get scared i will just yell chinese carry out! They will not shoot me.”

From the “none too swift” files, David Le was fired after his twitter messages about his slacking off at work and hating Anacostia surfaced.

The D.C. Department of Employment Services fired a contractor who was working with youths in the city’s summer jobs program after officials became aware of messages on his Twitter site that Anacostia is “ghetto” and that he was loafing at work.[...]

Reached through Facebook, Le declined to comment. In a Twitter message, he said he is Asian. The profile photo shows him shirtless and in sunglasses. Hobson said he began working on June 10 and was paid $13 per hour to oversee participants in the Summer Youth Employment Program.

In addition to the racist comments, he was happy to talk about how much he wasn’t working:

– davidle630: “thank goodness my boss is making things easy, he told me to pretend to do work so he can mark me down for hours…

– davidle630: “They decided to just pay us for 40 hours a week bc we are too lazy to sign in and out…”