Post-Apartheid South Africa v. Decatur, Ga.: race, class, and capital

Gentrification is global. Decatur, Ga., resident Ted Baumann compares and contrasts gentrification and the politics of race and class in his adopted Georgia city and in a post-Apartheid South African suburb in a new two-part National Council on Public History post. From the History@Work post, “Race, politics, and property: Two cases of gentrification”:

My experience in Decatur has been different – especially the absence of any organised resistance in the low-income community to domination by gentrifiers and real estate interests – but remains eerily similar in some ways.  Many of those who drove the exclusionary MID agenda in Muizenberg considered themselves socially and politically progressive, just as many Decatur gentrifiers do, and reacted with anger at suggestions of racism.  As in Decatur, vicious personal attacks and slander were directed at me and other “treasonous” property owners who sided with the refugee/renter population.  And as in Decatur, it was largely impossible to raise issues of equity and social justice with people who reduce all social relationships to impersonal market transactions, regardless of their effects. Continue reading