Spike Lee Rails on Gentrification … For No Apparent Reason

There are apparently not enough bad things in the world to be upset about. Spike Lee, the controversial black director, thinks it’s terrible how white people are moving into black neighborhoods. Just why he thinks it’s a bad thing, no one knows.

Spike Lee recently came under fire for an expletive-riddled tirade against “gentrification”—the process of wealthy people moving into and improving what are now poor and run down urban communities. Listen to some of his comments. They are puzzling, for sure:

I grew up here in New York. It’s changed. And why does it take an influx of white New Yorkers in the South Bronx, in Harlem, in Bed Stuy, in Crown Heights for the facilities to get better? The garbage wasn’t picked up every mother******* day when I was living in 165 Washington Park. … The police weren’t around. When you see white mothers pushing their babies in strollers, three o’clock in the morning on 125th Street, that must tell you something.

Yeah. It does tell me something. It tells me that your old neighborhood is a safer, happier place now. It tells me that the facilities and services available to your community are now better and more consistently delivered. It tells me that your once segregated and destitute community is thriving in relative multi-racial harmony. And why is this a bad thing again?

John McWhorter from TIME absolutely nails Spike Lee’s backwards logic:

“Respect the culture” when you move in, Lee growls. But again, he isn’t making sense. We can be quite sure that if whites “respected” the culture by trying to participate in it, Lee would be one of the first in line to call it “appropriation.” So, no whites better open up barbecue joints or spoken word cafes or try to be rappers. Yet if whites walk on by the culture in “respectful” silence, then the word on the street becomes that they want to keep blacks at a distance.

That is so spot on. McWhorter goes on to expose the inherent racism of Lee’s comments:

His comments are instead a tantrum, and an ugly one. What’s really bothering Lee is that he doesn’t like seeing his old neighborhood full of white people.


Or whitey, perhaps. Just as “thug” is a new way of saying the N-word in polite society, Lee’s “m—–f—– hipster” epithet for the new whites of Fort Greene is a sneaky way of saying “honkey.” . . . Surely what bothers Lee is not that Fort Greene is now a cushy neighborhood. He just wishes it had gotten that way with all black faces.

Lee is openly antagonizing his white now-neighbors, but, ironically, his comments are actually far more critical of his own community when interpreted the correct way. The question he is really asking is, “Why did it take white people moving in here to make it safe? Why did it take white people moving in to get the garbage collected on time?” I don’t know, Spike. Maybe it’s because black leaders like you have defined “black culture” so narrowly that black people think they are betraying their proud heritage if they wear a polo or drink a Frappucino.

So do the right thing, Spike Lee. Find something actually bad to criticize.

19 responses

  1. I just have to say really to his “Respect the culture” when you move in?? Geee, let us go back 40 to 60 years and see if the new people that were moving in then respected the culture. I do not think he thinks things through. He should know the answer to the question he seems to be asking: It takes money, respect for the law, and good neighbors watching our for each other to improve a community. Maybe with a bit of help from a higher power, Spike will understand its not about a white man suppressing another race. It could be that other ethnic cultures may not try as hard… (my guess, not a studied and research subject). My parents brought me up to respect all people. they also taught me not to trust any who hated, steals, cheats, poor mannered (tells race jokes, general rude…). I wonder what his parent taught him on this subject?

  2. Sure glad I don’t spend money on Spike Lee’s movies or anything else he might do. I think he’s just ashamed that he never thought of cleaning up his old neighborhood and now that white people are going to do it, he has to run his racist mouth.

  3. i could care less about a racial black panther wanna be politician. but i will have to agree with this racist. white people shouldnt move to black neighbor hoods. in turn blacks shouldnt move to white neighbor hoods. thank the all mighty i dont live around neither.

  4. I too am confused about what Mr. Lee intended to say, because what came out didn’t make sense – at least to me. What difference does it make if blacks move into white neighborhoods or whites move into black neighborhoods? If crime goes down, services improve and people actually develop a sense of community, then what’s the problem?

  5. Spike Lee is just another Sharpton, Jackson and Malik Shabazz style racial hustler with a chip on his shoulder and a thumb(or maybe his head) up his rear and looking for a reason to whine and get attention.

  6. Maybe he is upset because a little civility is moving into the neighborhood. And the people are paying their garbage bills.

  7. You’d think Spike would be grateful that these whites are putting the garbage in barrels out on the street for the contents to be collected by sanitation crews rather than just blowing in the wind around the dilapidated houses as blacks don’t pick up after themselves.

  8. Well, here’s the coon calling the kettle black.
    Spike lives a life of gentrification … and (still) he bitches about it.
    IMO, Spike is an abrasive, sawed off pimp. Screw him.

    • Note that he does not live in those neighborhoods – he lives in the largely White East Side of Manhattan. Another rich Black hypocrite. If he thinks Brooklyn is for the Blacks, why doesn’t HE live there?

  9. If the blacks got some morals and education, and stopped acting like a drug crazed baby making machine that takes no responsibility for the offspring, well then maybe they could be the ones responsible for the gentrification.

    • The low-IQ Blacks can’t “gentrify” anything. Look at Detroit. And yes, they pump out the babies to get more money from the DemoLibs who encourage their irresponsible behavior.

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