Racialized Meaning Behind Gentrification & Historic Preservation
Explore how Oklahoma City engages with racism, gentrification, historic preservation, housing, land, and community on a rhetorical level
gentrification in okc's Black communities
Urban change is occurring rapidly across the United States, and the Midwest is no exception. Though cities like Oklahoma City are much smaller in size than places like New York and Los Angeles when it comes to the scale of its downtown and what is offered, similar patterns of urban change exist in regards to migration of the white population back to the city from the suburbs, new efforts to preserve historical neighborhoods, and the positive and negative effects of gentrification on the new and pre-existing communities. Most people are familiar, by now, with the term gentrification and how it can be seen either as revitalization of a declining area, or destruction of the culture of an existing community that results in higher rent and displacement of vulnerable people from their homes. Because gentrification is subjective and complex, the rhetoric around how it is discussed can be heavily influential in how it is accepted by community members. Scholarship regarding gentrification, and other urban changes such as historical designation status and preservation, often fail to represent the racialized motives and effects around these topics. Historic designation often parallels the negative effects of gentrification, such as erasure of culture for the benefit of dominantly white communities and the displacement of lower-class residents and people of color.