Kids at STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) Summer Camp in Brooklyn have foregone the usual craft projects and campfire games of the season to spend their vacation learning the ins and outs of gentrification. It shouldn’t be such a surprise, since that seems to be all New Yorkers (and the writer of every obnoxious Williamsburg trend piece) can talk about anymore. The fact that this camp is a necessity convinces me in various ways that society, especially that of New York City, is going down the toilet; but it’s also a really encouraging way to try to make gentrifying neighborhoods accessible to everyone. Maybe these kinds of initiatives can allow for residents whose families have lived in a neighborhood for 30 years stick it out alongside all those thirty-something accountants from Iowa who seem hellbent on moving into every last brownstone on the block.
Camp leaders hope so, anyway, and want kids to understand what the gentrification means on a financial level so they can take control. Campers walk around the rapidly changing Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Clinton Hill taking pictures of symbols of the gentrification process, like construction or for-sale signs. Some of the kids shared their ideas on finance with Sally Herships of Marketplace. Lots of their thoughts are adorably giggle-worthy, like 7-year-old camper Tristan’s:
“Gentrification is a small shift in an urban community to mostly help senior citizens get a home.”
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When four-year-old Cadence pressed the wrong buttons on her family’s digital camera, she realized she’d deleted a photo of her Uncle Dave — and that deleted photos never, ever come back. This was a pretty earth-shattering discovery for Cadence, if her somber message to Uncle Dave is any indication. The good news is that Uncle Dave did send her more pictures to replace the lost one. Crisis averted! [Laughing Squid]
I’m not even going to pretend that I didn’t watch Buzzfeed’s What Men Are Really Saying When Catcalling Women video (above). Like, a good 20 times. Earlier in the day I’d written on my Tumblr about being catcalled six times in an hour while I was trying to run errands, and it was super-cathartic to laugh at the pathetic idiots who catcall me every time I do so much as leave my apartment.
Except, well, that’s not exactly true. The Buzzfeed video makes a variety of arguments as to why men catcall women: They don’t know how to empathize with women, they do it to feel manly, they want to look cool; but more than anything, the video makes catcallers out to be lonely, sexually frustrated losers who can’t get a date and compensate by being sexually forward to strangers. There are two problems with characterizing catcallers this way. First, the next logical step in this line of thinking is, “Well, if women would just give them attention, they’d stop,” which again puts the onus on women to placate men for our own sense of well-being. Keep reading »
It’s not just women who are at risk of being hurt if they stand up to street harassment: a man in Philadelphia was attacked and knocked unconscious when he tried to stop a car full of men from catcalling a group of women. NBC Philadelphia reported that a 39-year-old man visiting from Texas saw several men pull up in a car in Rittenhouse Square and start harassing a group of women. When the visiting Texan told the men to “watch what you’re saying,” according to police, one of the passengers got out and punched him in the head. The victim fell over and whacked his head on the concrete; as of yesterday, he was hospitalized in stable condition. Keep reading »
“Some problems we share as women, some we do not. You fear your children will grow up to join the patriarchy and testify against you, we fear our children will be dragged from a car and shot down in the street, and you will turn your backs upon the reasons they are dying.”
— Audre Lorde, “Age, Race, Class, and Sex,” Sister Outsider
My younger brother is 16-years-old. He is six feet, four inches of gentle, timid, and awkward. He loves baseball and breakfast food, family and faith. He is quiet and complex, an introvert who often laughs with me about our frustrations with growing up in a small home with six people.
But in our Orange County hometown, he is feared. A Black teen with a physical presence that far eclipses his white and East Asian peers, he bears the psychic toll of being seen as a walking threat before being seen as a boy. He knows the police are not on his side. He is right; every 28 hours a black person is killed extrajudicially by law enforcement or vigilantes. And that terrifies me. Keep reading »