Parts of Los Angeles ethnically cleansed of white people have a new look

The heavily Hispanic neighborhood of Boyle Heights in Los Angeles declared victory recently when they managed to drive a "white" art gallery from the neighborhood.  Community groups have been battling to drive out art galleries out of fear of "gentrification," the code word for white people. 

Almost from the moment it opened its doors last year Pssst, a nonprofit gallery, and its creators, have been the focus of protests and criticism on social media.

Last month, they announced they could no longer tolerate it. They were closing up shop.

"This persistent targeting, which was often highly personal in nature, was made all the more intolerable because the artists we engaged are queer, women, and/or people of color," they said on their website. "We could no longer continue to put already vulnerable communities at further risk."

Defend Boyle Heights, one of the activist groups that has called for a boycott of the galleries, said that it considered the closing a victory and that it hoped other galleries would soon follow suit.

Having pushed white people out of the neighborhood, they wanted to be sure not to see them return.

I wondered what Boyle Heights looks like now that it has been transformed and found these snapshots on Google Street view, which I think are very representative of the dominant culture:

The area is vibrant with ethnically diverse sidewalk restaurants.

The community has thriving financial institutions.  Note the green letters "EBT" in the window; that is a common symbol on many businesses.  This is a diverse community, with many equally diverse forms of financing.  Note the pawn shop to the right.

Is this a food store that sells liquor or a liquor store that also sells food?  You decide!

Note the word "EBT" again in the upper right.  They spend EBT like water!

The other thing I noticed is the bars on the windows.  I saw these in a lot of establishments.

Bars again.

Bars, and fences on top of bars!  Do you think they call it a "barrio" because of the bars?

This is what parts of Los Angeles, and America, have become.  I can understand why they want the white people gone.  They would have to start making signs in English for them.

Questions for discussion:

1) Having driven out the art gallery, do you think Latinos will come to regret losing a convenient source of "queer art"?

2) Can a "queer art" gallery coexist with check-cashing places and taco trucks?

3) How come businesses in English-speaking neighborhoods don't have bars on their windows?  Is this a cultural thing?

4) Do you think residents of Boyle Heights were right to be alarmed about what an influx of white people might do to their beautiful neighborhood?

Ed Straker is the senior writer at NewsMachete.com.

The heavily Hispanic neighborhood of Boyle Heights in Los Angeles declared victory recently when they managed to drive a "white" art gallery from the neighborhood.  Community groups have been battling to drive out art galleries out of fear of "gentrification," the code word for white people. 

Almost from the moment it opened its doors last year Pssst, a nonprofit gallery, and its creators, have been the focus of protests and criticism on social media.

Last month, they announced they could no longer tolerate it. They were closing up shop.

"This persistent targeting, which was often highly personal in nature, was made all the more intolerable because the artists we engaged are queer, women, and/or people of color," they said on their website. "We could no longer continue to put already vulnerable communities at further risk."

Defend Boyle Heights, one of the activist groups that has called for a boycott of the galleries, said that it considered the closing a victory and that it hoped other galleries would soon follow suit.

Having pushed white people out of the neighborhood, they wanted to be sure not to see them return.

I wondered what Boyle Heights looks like now that it has been transformed and found these snapshots on Google Street view, which I think are very representative of the dominant culture:

The area is vibrant with ethnically diverse sidewalk restaurants.

The community has thriving financial institutions.  Note the green letters "EBT" in the window; that is a common symbol on many businesses.  This is a diverse community, with many equally diverse forms of financing.  Note the pawn shop to the right.

Is this a food store that sells liquor or a liquor store that also sells food?  You decide!

Note the word "EBT" again in the upper right.  They spend EBT like water!

The other thing I noticed is the bars on the windows.  I saw these in a lot of establishments.

Bars again.

Bars, and fences on top of bars!  Do you think they call it a "barrio" because of the bars?

This is what parts of Los Angeles, and America, have become.  I can understand why they want the white people gone.  They would have to start making signs in English for them.

Questions for discussion:

1) Having driven out the art gallery, do you think Latinos will come to regret losing a convenient source of "queer art"?

2) Can a "queer art" gallery coexist with check-cashing places and taco trucks?

3) How come businesses in English-speaking neighborhoods don't have bars on their windows?  Is this a cultural thing?

4) Do you think residents of Boyle Heights were right to be alarmed about what an influx of white people might do to their beautiful neighborhood?

Ed Straker is the senior writer at NewsMachete.com.

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