Gentrification is STILL an itch with a B – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Gentrification is STILL an itch with a B

This title may seem familiar because it is still true. Perhaps gentrification is an itch increasing at an exponential rate with a B. Either way I didn’t realize it stemmed this deep. Growing up on the end of a one way street that never had more than 10 people living on it I never travelled much in Detroit. I let that one block become my life. I guess when I started this internship I hoped I could finally see the place I lived in my whole life. But damn it when gentrification started doing construction outside my window at 6:47 AM, threw habits like Q-Line in my routes and gently revoked my Detroit from me I couldn’t help but retreat to my apartment building. It reminded me of my one block: safe. I traded in midnight bike rides for watching the guys play zombies. I traded conversations about gentrification for silence about gentrification. It felt weird to even say I was from this place they call Detroit. Its like saying that my oatmeal is healthy after lathering chocolate chips, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla flavoring and topped with powdered sugar. I don’t even think that constitutes as a meal anymore.

Besides the threat of “evolution” outside, I hid myself from the very people in the program I was once so excited to get to know. It all started strong like most fairytales do. We would all hang out and sometimes have engaging conversations about everything. But toward the middle I could tell that I wasn’t really participating in these conversations. I always left with a speech in my head that I was too afraid to say because I was worried about offending other people. The crazy part is that I developed this habit from being in Ann Arbor for one year. The crazy part is that I can now admit that I developed this habit before I got my acceptance letter to umich. The crazy part is that once I started using my voice people wanted my silence. People innately find serenity in silence.


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