Friend dis­placed due to gen­tri­fi­ca­tion

The Saline Courier - - OPINION - HARRIETTE COLE

“Congress shall make no law ... abridg­ing the free­dom of speech, or of the press ... . ”

— From the First Amend­ment to Con­sti­tu­tion

DEAR HARRIETTE: A friend of mine got dis­placed re­cently. Her neighborho­od is be­ing gen­tri­fied, and her apart­ment build­ing was sold. She had no choice but to move -- even though she had lived there for more than 20 years. It was aw­ful. She told me that she was mov­ing out west, but I re­al­ize I have no idea where she is. I have tried to reach her, but I’ve only got­ten to her through so­cial me­dia. We used to talk pe­ri­od­i­cally. I am wor­ried that she is not do­ing well. What do I do? -- Dis­placed Friend DEAR DIS­PLACED FRIEND: Sadly, when people are dis­placed, like your friend, life can get tough -- and fast. So-called “gen­tri­fi­ca­tion” does boost rental rates and of­ten im­proves the busi­nesses, safety and over­all appeal of a neighborho­od. The down­side is that of­ten, many people and busi­nesses lose the abil­ity to stay in the neighborho­od they love.

Your friend may not be ready to talk to you, which is why she is some­what off the grid. That doesn’t mean that you should stop reach­ing out. The good news about so­cial me­dia is that at least she can see that you are con­tact­ing her to let her know that you care and that you want to be in touch with her. Rather than pres­sur­ing her to re­spond to you, just send her pos­i­tive mes­sages that let her know she is on your mind.

•••

DEAR HARRIETTE: My grand­mother is racist. I used to be able to ig­nore it just to make peace with the fam­ily, but now I am en­gaged to a Mex­i­can man. My grand­mother has said all kinds of racist things to or near my fi­ance. Like, she mut­tered un­der her breath once that she won­dered whether he was here legally, even though she knows that he was born here. (His par­ents were born in Mex­ico.) An­other time, she and my aunt started talk­ing about an­other eth­nic group, say­ing that they are steal­ing “our jobs.” It was ob­vi­ous that they were pick­ing at my fi­ance, but I wasn’t sure what to say.

How can I address this with my grand­mother? If she doesn’t stop, my fi­ance asked that we not in­vite her to our wed­ding. She is rude, and we don’t want her or her daugh­ter, my aunt, to of­fend his rel­a­tives. -- Racist Grandma DEAR RACIST GRANDMA: Talk to your par­ents first to let them know your con­cerns. Ask for their sup­port. Then call a meet­ing with your grand­mother, your aunt and your par­ents. Be direct about your con­cerns. Let them know that you do not ap­pre­ci­ate the neg­a­tive, racist com­ments that they have been mak­ing. Re­mind them that you are about to marry the man you love, and you need them to re­spect him and his fam­ily; there­fore, they need to keep their com­ments to them­selves.

Speak di­rectly to your grand­mother and aunt, and share with them the things that of­fended you. Ask them to stop. If they refuse, let them know that you will not be invit­ing them to your wed­ding be­cause they are be­ing dis­re­spect­ful to the man who is go­ing to be­come your hus­band.

Know that this a huge step to take. It may mean that your fam­ily will be di­vided if you can­not come to terms. But you have ev­ery right to ex­pect your fam­ily to treat your soon-to-be hus­band with love and kind­ness.

•••

Harriette Cole is a lifestylis­t and founder of DREAMLEAPE­RS, an ini­tia­tive to help people ac­cess and ac­ti­vate their dreams. You can send questions to askhar­ri­[email protected]­ri­et­tecole.com or c/o An­drews Mcmeel Syn­di­ca­tion, 1130 Wal­nut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.