Not revitalization, I see
During my childhood, my dad owned Barber and Styles, a retreat from the concrete struggle of Durham, the place I call home, the town that no one wanted to go to until plans were conceived to drastically renovate it. Within the dilapidated walls was a haven where laughs were contagious. However, once you stepped outside, reality was extremely visible.
I am now 18, and the scene has altered.
Buildings are being renovated. Diversity walks the streets, and lime bikes are sprawled around. I’m proud to see my Durham changing for the better. But when I look further, I see a battle that is not noticeable on first inspection. I see impoverished families being displaced. I see people who had been there for decades being bought out in minutes. I see change.
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Is this really revitalization, or am I witnessing gentrification?
According to Dictionary.com, gentrification is the process of renovating and improving a house or district to conform to middle-class taste. Revitalization is interpreted to be the action of imbuing something with new life and vitality. But what happens when the new life pushes out the old occupants?
This is what is occurring in Durham.
The common defense is that older and rundown areas are being fixed up. I agree; the conditions of some of the Bull City’s buildings were showing neglect.
However, the upgrade is not for the communities that were here; this renewal was for the middle class who desired a more urban and downtown lifestyle. Income has become more important than the impact, causing displacement of low-income individuals. This is not revitalization I am witnessing, rather extensive gentrification.
Honors College Class of 2022
East Carolina University
The best disobedience
Regarding “No, it was not mob rule. It was civil disobedience” by professor John McGowan (Sept. 2):
This is frankly the very best summation I have seen about the protests last week and actually of the whole matter as it has played out over the past few years!
I hate that the administration and lawmakers use such phrases as “mob rule,” and this writer explains so clearly why the current protestors are proceeding in a very mindful fashion. Showing the best traditions of civil disobedience.
I also have to add that professor William Sturkey’s editorials from last year were also excellent, and very instructional for me as an alumna. I came to UNC from Washington D.C. in 1977 and had grown up with very activist parents: in the civil rights movement, “home rule” and statehood for DC, and stopping a freeway as members of a coalition of groups that worked for 10 years fighting the highway lobby and developers from putting a freeway through the heart of NE Washington DC.
I had no idea as an undergraduate what the actual history of the statue was. Our sons both majored in history at UNC-Chapel Hill and I learned the actual circumstances and history of that statue first from them. Since then I have followed and supported the movement for these changes.
Since the Tar Heel Brand is inextricably linked to North Carolina’s Civil War heritage (the “Tar Heel” appellation attributed to Gen. Robert E Lee and others after the North Carolinians stood their ground and did not retreat like the Virginians in the 1864 Battle of Reams Station) and since the statue of Silent Sam represents the UNC students who served the state of North Carolina (1861-1865) as the premier Tar Heel, then it follows that the unlawful rejection of Silent Sam by a vocal mob claiming to represent the UNC student body would also reject the Tar Heel brand. Considering the circumstances that allowed this to happen by the chancellor’s office, I suggest that the new brand for UNC be the Tar Wussies. There is still time to repaint the Kenan Stadium end zones.
F. Marion Redd ‘67
A voter scare tactic
Note: On Thursday Congressman David Price (D-NC) and Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) issued a joint statement after the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina issued subpoenas to the State Board of Elections and the 44 counties of the Eastern District to obtain voting records from Jan. 1, 2010, to Aug. 30, 2018, and Aug. 30, 2013 to Aug. 30, 2018, respectively:
“This alarming and unprecedented request from President Trump’s Department of Justice and Immigration and Customs Enforcement 60 days prior to an election is appalling.
“In these subpoenas, ICE has failed to demonstrate its legal authority to request voting records and to reveal the rationale for the production of this information. This massive request of voter data seems clearly designed to disenfranchise and intimidate voters and to disrupt the administration of an impending election with major state and national implications.
“At a time when the integrity and security of our elections is at risk of attacks from hostile foreign actors, our local election administrators should not be wasting their scarce resources compiling over 20 million voter records in search of fraud that does not exist.
“We demand ICE and the Department of Justice rescind their subpoena request immediately. We will request the Inspectors General of the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to investigate the legality and motivations for this action. In addition, we will also request the appropriate committees of the House of Representatives to investigate the legality and motivations for this action.”
U.S. Rep David Price
U.S. Rep G.K. Butterfield
Beware flat currencies
There are important issues facing our country that seem not to be on people’s minds. I submit that the dollar is one. It isn’t intuitive, but it is absolutely true: All fiat currencies eventually become worthless. Not just sometimes, but always. There are no exceptions in history.
The U.S. dollar is a fiat currency (ie not backed by anything of value). It became a fiat currency in 1971 when President Nixon ended the gold standard in the US. Before 1971, each dollar could be converted to gold. The discipline that this provided is that if Congress overspent, holders of dollars could ask to exchange the dollar for the gold that backed it.
Congress did overspend and General DeGaulle of France asked for a large quantity of gold for the dollars that had accumulated in France. Nixon declined and shut the window. The currencies of all other major countries are fiat currencies as well. Because the discipline of the gold standard is gone, Congress has been spending and borrowing like a bunch of drunken sailors. So we now have a national debt of over $21 trillion and climbing. The rest of the country has over $48 trillionin debt and climbing. As to the rest of the world, most other nations have increased debt to staggering amounts.
There is no way that it can be repaid, of course. At the moment, the U.S. seems to be able to print more and more fiat currency and borrow more and more to fund the government. That may stop at some point not too far in the future.
Look beyond the enemy
I unashamedly admit that I have cable, internet, telephone and radio. When my children were young, I refused to allow them to watch TV and we did not have one. Sometimes the telephone was on “disconnect” ... some folks know that song.
Once I was sitting on the front stoop with my kids and noticed that there were two guys doing a drug transaction almost at my back stoop. I felt so helpless; the phone was turned off. I asked my kids, “What’s that song that y’all learned in school about not doing drugs?”
“Say no to drugs, ma!” They responded. We began to yell, “SAY NO TO DRUGS... SAY NO TO DRUGS!” Those guys took off running.
I thought about the story in the bible when God’s people were surrounded by the enemy ... and they were scared. The prophet told them to look beyond the enemy in the hills. There they saw a host of angel warriors (2 Kings 6:17). Those guys heard more than just the voices of a mother and her children. If we stand for that which is right ... even in standing alone... “RIGHT” will prevail!
Brenda Buie Burnette