When Whites Return to the Black Neighborhoods They Fled

Los Angeles Times op-ed writer Erin Aubry Kaplan shares her feelings upon seeing whites return to Inglewood, California half a century after they fled. One consistent theme emerges: "Whatever black people have can be taken away."

November 29, 2017, 1:00 PM PST

By Irvin Dawid


Inglewood, California

Gabriele Maltinti / Shutterstock

"Gentrification is big news all over L.A., and working-class and lower-income people across the county stand to lose a lot from its advance," writes Erin Aubry Kaplan. "They already have. But black people in particular will feel the sting."

Kaplan, an African-American woman has lived "in and around" the city of Inglewood for the last 13 years. In this column, she traces the history of the city, incorporated 1908 in the South Bay region of Los Angeles County, beginning with the first blacks who moved there during the 1960s, causing the resentment of many whites, resulting in white flight. The city of 111,000 is predominantly Latino and African American

Speaking for blacks, she writes:

In lieu of economic wealth, we lay down roots, we build social cohesion out of the vacuum created by white flight, avoidance and indifference. Our neighborhoods are our strength, our visibility.

Leimert Park [a neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles] — a flashpoint of gentrification now — put Afrocentric culture on the map, literally, and has long been a hub of black civic and political organization. Inglewood isn’t Leimert Park, but it’s a significantly black city and distinct simply for that reason/

The pattern of shrinking black space is hardly new, by the way: Over the years, immigration and Latino growth remade traditionally black areas like South Central and Compton and Inglewood too. But today’s white influx feels particularly ominous, like the worst of our bad history looping back on itself.

Kaplan ends by writing that she doesn't see the return of whites to Compton as a welcomed sign of integration but as a "warning" that gentrification is encroaching, and displacement not far behind.

Hat tip to Julie Bloom of New York Times/California Today.

Sunday, November 26, 2017 in Los Angeles Times

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

San Francisco Houses

‘Mega-Landlords’ Threaten Housing Stability for Renters

As institutional investors buy up a larger share of single-family homes, the families renting them are increasingly vulnerable to rent increases and eviction.

May 15, 2022 - The Hill

Downtown Dallas

Short-Term Rentals Vex Dallas City Council

Residents complain that vacation rentals exacerbate the city’s housing shortage and bring traffic and noise to residential neighborhoods, calling on the city to impose—and enforce—stricter regulations.

May 17 - The Dallas Morning News

Traffic Safety Advocates

Traffic Fatalities Set Records as Pandemic-Era Road Carnage Shows No Signs of Stopping

An estimated 42,915 people died in automobile crashes in 2021, according to recent federal data. The increasing fatalities continue a trend that began with the outset of the pandemic.

May 17 - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Driver Shortage Undercuts the Potential of L.A.’s Recent Bus System Redesign

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority implemented a complete overhaul of its bus system in three waves over the course of 2021. A shortage of drivers for the system has made it impossible to implement that vision.

May 17 - TransitCenter

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.