If you ask Aisha Moore about gentrification, her first inclination is to scoff.
Moore, a black resident of Congress Heights, says her Ward 8 street is “100 percent black” and that’s not likely to change soon.
“Nobody leaves,” she jokes. “On my block, if new people bought a house, it’s because an old lady died.”
Yet Moore isn’t from D.C. and has only lived in the city since 2002, after she finished an undergraduate degree at the University of California at Berkeley. In 2004, her boyfriend bought a house in Congress Heights and she moved in with him in 2009.
Which, by every metric except one—skin color—makes her as much of a gentrifier as the young white residents unloading moving vans near U Street NW every weekend. As we talk, Moore says she’s frustrated by the dozens of stories that feature handwringing over D.C. becoming “less black,” because they paint an incomplete picture.
“I get it, in terms of numbers, but it’s annoying. The story over here, east of the river, is all about black gentrification,” she says. “Black people are moving back to Anacostia and the Congress Heights area.”
Moore, who grew up in Los Angeles, suggests that since most black Americans were raised in metropolitan areas, perhaps there’s a natural inclination to live in cities. She adds that her neighborhood is seeing a return of young black professionals who were either born in the city or have family in D.C.
“There are different types of people here, but that doesn’t water down the chocolate,” she says, with a laugh.
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