On Self-Hating Gentrifiers

It’s time to revisit gentrification here at Social Matter.

The odd part of this phenomenon is that many of the people who are most aggressive in re-settling old, run-down cities destroyed by misguided policies are also usually some of the most ardent fanatics for Civil Rights. Part of the reason for this is that everyone who goes through any kind of modern schooling in the US learns to venerate Civil Rights activists from the 20th century more fervently than any other figures. American schoolchildren probably need to write more essays about Martin Luther King than they do about people like George Washington or Andrew Jackson.

Unlike the colonists who settled North America, today’s re-colonizers tend to hate themselves while being simultaneously self-obsessed. They tend to under-emphasize the historic dominance of their own ethnic group over America’s increasingly ruined cities, while over-emphasizing the very recent migrations into those cities by the ‘historically underprivileged.’

In 1950, for example, New York City was 90% White. By 2010, the proportion was about half that — 44%. Politicians tend to call New York a ‘city of diversity,’ but historically, it was more of a city of Northern European diversity with a few Southerns thrown in to the mix. The Dutch settled the city; not the Africans, and the latter were never all that significant in the history of the place.

People who write about real estate tend to emphasize the early young re-settlers in part because they absorb a lot of risk while rehabilitating neighborhoods by their presence — also tending to be unable and uninterested in actually buying much property. Hipsters come in, pile into apartments, and make their presence felt on the streets, boosting revenues at commercial properties, and making the neighborhood more attractive to speculators of all kinds interested in serving a far higher quality demographic.

First there’s one White kid on the block occasionally going to the local bodega. 18 months later, it’s no longer a Mexican neighborhood.

Despite this, most urban settler types will tend to be as dogmatically leftist as their professors are — they rarely set into these sorts of things with any conscious projects for themselves or their city beyond their own self-advancement and amusement. The self-loathing and the critical poses that they adopt towards their own culture make them seem a little less threatening to the relatively fragile, government-dependent enclaves of what will soon be no longer called ‘racial minorities.’

By making a big show of hating themselves for what they’re doing, they make it a little harder for anyone to actually do all that much to keep them from progressing. Really, the successful way to stop gentrification — and maintain power for your own ethnic group — is to steal stuff, bash some of their heads in, or otherwise use force to scatter the rest of them. Nothing stops gentrification faster than violence, especially when the police are recalcitrant or otherwise unwilling to put in a show of force on behalf of the re-settlers. A spectacular assault or murder of some kind that draws press attention is a basic act of territorial defense that we can recognize in countless different species, but in humans, we tend to call it the expression of some pathology.

This is a sort of pretentious biological strategy — the hipsters consciously try to appear nonthreatening and ‘cool’ with the group that they’re displacing. They then blame the violence that they rely upon on police: the creatures with the fangs and claws that make their entire life strategy feasible. Hipsters will even feign an interest in ‘old-school hiphop,’ or whatever, to seem less threatening than they really are — and of course, vote Democrat, put up Obama portraits in their rental apartments, and fully believe that they’re doing the right thing.

This strategy, which relies on a pretense, has some major holes in it — mainly, that it’s insufficiently conscious, it tends to fail when the police are unwilling to support it (as in cities like New Orleans, Detroit, and Baltimore), and it became much too popular.

Hipster hypocrisy — and part of the reason why no hipster will usually call themselves a hipster — exists because the pretense is itself something that’s part of their adaptation to political conditions in American cities. Speculative hipster classes have cropped up everywhere, but trying to use the same strategy endlessly in cities where it’s not actually adaptive usually ends in hipster brains getting spilled out onto the pavement. In the end, hipsterism winds up being a bad strategy, because it essentially relies on parasitism upon the ‘Giuliani-time’ type policies which American cities have attempted to put into plays uniformly.

But part of what makes the Hipster strategy work is its lack of self-consciousness — it has to deny the existence of ‘Giuliani-time’ type policies like stop-and-frisk that make their implicit political strategies possible. When people force the policy into awareness, the hipster becomes forced to vocally oppose it at the same time as they need it more desperately than before. Since the hipster class is not terribly cohesive, and often incredibly focused on their position on the intra-hipster status hierarchy, they care more about damaging other hipsters than promoting their general interests as opposed to other ethnic groups.

In short, ‘Black lives matter’ to some hipsters because they know that if some of the Blacks take out some of their competition for them, they’ll be able to continue to live in the style to which they’ve become accustomed — if they’re lucky, which they probably won’t be, but they don’t really know that. Riots are a great way to get rents down, and hipsters are renters who could care less about ‘good schools.’

Blacks, Hispanics, and other groups which have been partially contained — but not really suppressed — by these policies tend to understand it fairly well, and activists have been excellent at playing these different groups off of one another and the police. This generates an entropy that feeds off of itself, and will likely get worse before it gets better.

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  1. Liberals are far from self-hating. They view themselves, or pretend to, as both morally and intellectually superior to the “wrong sort of white.” They can exploit whites behaving badly (frat boys) by constantly positioning themselves, whether true or not, as more “tolerant” – as long as these gestures do not affect them personally. This can, they think, give them some cover. Unfortunately, their culture of art galleries, yoga, menus with exotic-sounding entrees, bicycles and security cameras alienates and intimidates blacks more than ever.

    I don’t understand why white Identarian’s aren’t happy to see white people grinding down blacks and beating them at their own game. Yes, they’re awful but other whites who live in the car culture aren’t any better really. They are admitted cowards who endlessly use the term “white flight” as if it was inevitable, like an act of God.

    Say what you will about gentrifiers but they are not cowards.

    1. Henry Dampier May 12, 2015 at 5:41 pm

      Yeah, they are often cowards, but not always. Maybe I should mention that I was the first white guy on several blocks, moving 20 blocks at a time, for a period of about 5-6 years.

      This is my criticism of the implicit strategy.

      >Unfortunately, their culture of art galleries, yoga, menus with exotic-sounding entrees, bicycles and security cameras alienates and intimidates blacks more than ever.

      Didn’t do much for Baltimore.

      1. Washington, DC, a stones throw away from Baltimore, had rioting in, I think 1992, in a gentrifying neighborhood called Mount Pleasant. There was curfew for about a week with National Guard called in. DC at that time was still about 65% black, same as Baltimore today. You’ve got to “flood the zone.” Maybe Baltimore isn’t quite there yet but I wouldn’t count it out. There is huge investment in the Inner Harbor. They might need more gays and “hate crime” laws. Gays, lesbians, and trannies are the shock troops.

        Cities are natural architectural, educational, religious, cultural and political centers. Suburbia could well be past its due date, a fluke of post WWII optimism and car craziness when the population was less than half today’s.

        1. Henry Dampier May 12, 2015 at 8:38 pm

          I mean, my dad whacked a would-be mugger in the head with a lead pipe when he and my mother were gentrifying Brooklyn in the 1980s. So I understand, maybe, a little.

          I think you’re out of touch with today’s fey Millennial.

          >Gays, lesbians, and trannies are the shock troops.

          Kill one of them and the rest run away — this is why it’s generally been harder in some of the cities without Giuliani Time, like NOLA.

          >Cities are natural architectural, educational, religious, cultural and political centers. Suburbia could well be past its due date, a fluke of post WWII optimism and car craziness when the population was less than half today’s.

          This is sort of a non sequitur but also correct.

          1. “Kill one of them and the rest run away”

            No, they don’t run away. They get big stories in MSM. They squeal louder than negroes. The fem women jump on it because they’re victims too. The perps are tracked by special hate crime police and if convicted they get time and a half.

            In the meantime they renovate. They establish businesses. They network. They organize political action groups to control local politics. They vandalize Republican headquarters. They scream about AIDS and its your fault because homophobia. Much more too.

          2. Barely Intrepid May 13, 2015 at 10:30 am

            I have to agree with the gays acting as shocktroops. Washington dc is the perfect example of this.

            Gays began moving into ghettos. Their presence and concentrated disposable income businesses, then came the hipsters. Where there was once projects, now stand 3k/m luxury apartments, whole foods, craft beer stores. The early gay settlers we’re able to call the police constantly without being branded racist. The city needed to comply because of the tax revenue gays brought with them. Blacks never stood a chance.

          3. I’m not sure who’s really “correct” here, but it should be pointed out that queers can act as shocktroops for gentrification because they provide an alternate narrative that provides political cover for the Giuliani tactics. Some queer dude with pink nail polish gets knifed in a bad neighborhood, well that’s a hate crime. Call out the media, hold candlelight vigils, light up Twitter, and never mind the fact that the victim was white and the perp was black. This is about gay rights, not race, and what are you, some kind of bigot who’s questioning our narrative? Whereas a regular straight white hipster who gets mugged this way can’t excite the same level of sympathy, and so has a hard time breaking into minority neighborhoods.

          4. I live in the DC area. No discussion of its gentrification is even halfway correct without talking about the Federal Government. A huge amount of well-paying white collar jobs in the city ensured that the city could never fully tank. The Federal Government could afford to keep spending in the face of losses without any limit. Once crime came under control, it returned to the high level you would expect.

            Another couple factors regarding DC are the terrible traffic and the height restriction on buildings. This resulted in a natural shortage of space that produced a concentrated burst of competition, and gentrification resulted.

            The other examples I can think of also have this tremendous mix of extreme economic power and very limited space.
            (1) New York has the huge money of the financial sector and the other industries (media, advertising, law) where they are nation-leading. This combines with the very limited space of Manhattan Island.
            (2) San Francisco has the huge money of Silicon Valley and a tiny penninsula.

            The fact that all three of these examples (New York, San Fran and DC) still became undesireable in the 1980s and 1990s when crime was out of hand (even as wealth and tight space were true then) shows how tenuous things are.

            For these three cities, many others have simply continued to drift downward. In most parts of America, the suburbs are where 90% of the economic vitality is now. Even Detroit has vital, economically powerful suburbs that have always been fine.

          5. Hi Dan,

            It’s irrelevant where federal dollars go. Black ethnic cleansing of 85% white Prince George’s County, Maryland was funded by affirmative action government jobs. 350,000 whites moved out of PG county from 1970 to 1995 and 300,000 blacks moved in, all government funded.

            Washington, New York and SF have always been financial powers. Yet, this did no good during “white flight.” Something else is causing gentrification.

            I understand that many conservative white guys hate cities. But, after living in Paris for several years, and not having an attitude, I am not impressed with this bias.

          6. IA —

            That is exactly my point. Gentrification is a very narrow and specific phenomenon that needs a strong economic source and a small piece of land that is competed over. This doesn’t apply to PG because it is not prime, close in real estate. PG county is not part of the precious urban core of real estate. Similarly, it doesn’t apply to the outer boroughs of New York.

            Gentrification is not a solution that works most of the time. It is a rare thing that doesn’t even work in an entire metro area. Oldtown Alexandria is another area of the DC metro than has seen bona fide gentrification, but these poor must be pushed somewhere else, so it can’t work universally.

            Therefore gentrification not something that can be counted on to rescue most people. Most hipsters in most cities will fail at it.

          7. But we had the same small core during “white flight.”

      2. We “hobbits” (as one of the Nicks referred to us) were talking about this a few years ago. In places like New York, ghetto blacks live close to elite white neighborhoods, yet the elite whites are not troubled too much by them. Why? What keeps blacks away? Answers included that blacks are repelled by many things elite or hipster whites like, dogs, even small ones, trees and flowers, and attractive architecture. Convenience stores can keep blacks from loitering just by playing classical music, so I think this is true.

        1. Manhattan homes are fortresses. Steel bars on the ground level, doormen guarding the entrances, private security. Kind of stark on the outside, the beautiful luxury hidden from view.

          Even so, property values were seriously depressed until Giuliani got crime under control by dominating the streets with a huge police presence.

    2. Steve Johnson May 12, 2015 at 6:38 pm


      They are exactly cowards.

      Even worse, they’re cowards who will use force on those who pose no risk to them and are cowed by those who pose a risk to all civilized people.

      If hipsters declared that their policy was for there to be no police presence in Williamsburg but that the racist cops could patrol Howard Beach in whatever manner the residents there wanted because they were in charge of defending themselves in Williamsburg then they wouldn’t be cowards. Instead they want cops to protect them while they spit on the cops and hope that the orcs move along to some other place to rape and terrorize the people they’re too cowardly to actively oppose. Fuck them.

      Even worse is that they should know better – sheltered all your life and fed multicult bullshit from the age of 4 onward is fine if they wound up naive – but they’re not naive are they? They know not to move somewhere until enough white people are around.

      1. “they spit on the cops”

        Gays certainly don’t like cops but feminist women and “men” do. Gays tried to rally opposition to a Chic-fillet (sp?) in a gentrifying community in DC. Zero support by married couples (with children!) and single fems.

        Believe me, or don’t, but there is a huge rift in their ranks concerning police.

        1. Steve Johnson May 12, 2015 at 7:55 pm

          I’ll believe my lying eyes.

          Anti-cop protests in NYC are made up of hipsters.

          1. They’re queers, junkies and criminals, I reckon. Gentrifiers do not protest cops in DC, just the opposite.

  2. This phenomena really fascinates me and it probably shouldn’t. Whiny, self-absorbed, woefully inexperienced white people trying to re-colonize cities and towns destroyed by populations of effective savages… yet they praise the savage to get some advantage on their hipster competition. It’s like a Miss America pageant for curly-mustached parasites, and that does include the incessant bitching.

  3. Henry I am sorry for dragging down the quality of your comments section but that hipsterette almost certainly looks way better naked than that dude. Would suspect she has better hygiene as well. I really don’t understand hipster mating rules.

    1. Henry Dampier May 12, 2015 at 6:16 pm

      If you see lame men matched with better looking girls, the market is soft for men. It’s just that the other men are so much worse.

      If you see hog-women matched with fit, successful men, then the market is hard for men.

    2. seriouslypleasedropit May 13, 2015 at 10:18 pm

      They’re walking on the street, not having sex. Any assumptions you have regarding occurrence, frequency, exclusivity, or longevity are just that—assumptions.

  4. Good and useful analysis. Something which supplements it in important ways:


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