Seeing How Black Lives Matter in a Super-Gentrified Neighborhood

Jerome Krase, Ph.D.

Murray Koppelman Professor and Professor Emeritus

Brooklyn College, City University of New York

Although there are many ways that neighborhoods such as my own, often described as Super-, or otherwise Gentrified (Halasz 2018). the fact remains that many of its residents fall on the liberal and left-leaning spectrum of American politics. It is also a place that has been an area accurately described as exhibiting Super Diversity (Vertovec 2007). Although the area is “diverse,” People of Color, mostly a diverse collection of Latino residents, tend to dominate in sections that are slowly undergoing displacement pressures as the rapid construction of high-rise “luxury” apartments continues unabated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This creates opportunities for visual conundrums to appear on the streets. Since I had stayed close to home during Phase I of the New York State Lockdown, I limited my Visual Sociological explorations of urban neighborhoods to a few streets near my home that are close to Brooklyn’s largest park, Prospect Park, which has been an assembly point for several major Black Lives Matter marches and protests, some of which I participated in until they became, for me, even with universal masking, “too crowded.” What follows are a few photographs I took of those events. Each has a brief description, and some ask an important question about how images might be interpreted. Given the racial and economic privilege of the neighborhood in which these events took place, the background question I ask is “Is the social justice demanded by the BLM Movement possible without economic justice?”

On June 1, a large crowd of Black Lives Matter marchers assembled at the 9th Street entrance to Prospect Park. They then filed, about a mile long, to join many more others at Grand Army Plaza. These photos show its middle and end.

Middle of First BLM March

End of First BLM March

On June 7, a much very boisterous “Defund the Police” March paraded down the street in front of my house. The irony was the presence of those “to be defunded” leading and bringing up the rear of the mostly young marchers.

Defund the Police Marchers

Defund the Police Rear Guard

On June 8, there was a Family Black Lives Matter March which also assembled at the 9th Street entrance to Prospect Park. Children and carriages were in great evidence. One particular photo is of a child on the shoulders of an adult holding a sign which reads “Is MY Daddy Next?” The saddest thing about this photo is that some who might view it would say “I hope so.”

Family Black Lives Matter March Assembly

Is MY Daddy Next?”

Supportive sentiments about crimes committed by law enforcement officials against Black Americans could easily found on my block. These few were especially poignant.

Enough is Enough

Their Names

All photos were taken by the author.


References

Halasz, J. R. (2018). “The super-gentrification of Park Slope, Brooklyn,”

Urban Geography, https://doi.org/10.1080/02723638.2018.1453454, accessed June 19, 2020.

Vertovec, S. (2007). “Super-diversity and its Implications,” Ethnic and Racial Studies Vol. 30 No. 6 November 2007 pp. 1024-1054.