A new gentrification crisis
Post reports is brought to you by Purina, peering knows the value of giving pets. The absolute best. That's why they only use trustworthy ingredient sources in their pet foods, and every ingredient in their products has a purpose learn more purina dot com slash cares. From the newsroom of Washington. Is Watching. This is back brain. Flory over the phone I'm this is post reports I'm LS in former team powers. It's Friday August seven. Today. How the pandemic could accelerate gentrification the problem with a lack of representation on TV and the rise of anti racist reading. So we know that current virus pandemic has really hit black and brown communities the hardest they're both the most likely to contract virus and die from it, and so the next natural question is to look at the economic impacts. How are asking American Asian American and Latinos faring economically amid all of this in mid the Toronto virus recession. We know unemployment data that the three groups are the most likely to be unemployed since the pandemic started, and that's because they're also the most likely to work in industries that have been the hardest hit such as hospitality restaurants hotels, tourism. I'm tracy jam I write about race and the economy at the Washington Post. I wanted to know how does the economic impact affect a historic minority enclave like Chinatown like Boyle Heights in Los Angeles like south. La formerly known as South Central and. Opening especially in Chinatown and in Boyle Heights is There's already been a fair amount of gentrification over the years especially since the great recession and was happening. Los. Angeles is not unique. It's happening in Houston is happening in New York is. In a bunch of American cities. Yeah, and I imagine that this isn't just unique to la their ethnic enclaves around the country. That are also dealing with the consequences of the coronavirus. What are some of the other places that you're seeing this happen? So I focus on La. It's one of the largest most diverse cities in America, but there is similar issues popping up across America and a lot of these ethnic neighborhoods have been confronting gentrification. In recent years. I spoke with Nico Avena who's a business owner in Boyle Heights, a Latino enclave in Los Angeles and Nego Avena and his wife had his store that suggested prior to the great recession that they. Ended up having to close as a result of the economic fallout of the recession, and so they're afraid that the same thing will happen to this second incarnation of their store, which is also kind of like a cultural slash community space. The community is concerned about gentrification both in terms of residents being pushed out who can no longer afford rents, but also business owner is being pushed out won't be that. is where against the gentrification of all community and he just doesn't want to let his community down again by having to close this space that so many people have come to rely on I'm curious to your paycheck protection program plays into this the inspector general of the small business. Administration has actually issued a report being the agency for failing to follow the congressional guidelines which were supposed to prioritize minority owned businesses. Regional analysis done by UCLA economists has shown that the three neighborhoods that we focus on in the story. Boyle. Heights Chinatown Lamar Park in south La. Those neighborhoods are getting disproportionately fewer loans than neighborhoods in three other commercial areas in Los Angeles at are predominantly white with the author you alone something you have to pay back until for that's not the direction that we wanna go like we don't want to fall into debt in the middle of a pendant however, minority owned businesses are just less likely to access that type of government support for several reasons a lot of them are not tied to the big banks which made it a lot easier to access does loans some of them simply don't WanNa take out more loans that they know they won't be able to afford to pay back. You know assuming here known from me that's Something that you had to pain back and that's really putting in a situation where were that's not creating self-sustainability. If you have to depend on someone back, even though the loans could become grants if they meet certain criteria if the money is used for certain things like maintaining payroll, some of the business owners I talked to did the grant said, it will help them in addition to you know relying on takeout or switching their business to online. But some of these business owners are just really small and you know sometimes are language barriers and the application process is complicated so hard to navigate without. Someone guiding them behold head who who decided to get the Mon and he was telling you it's not percentage. percentage. A way to make it easier for them to access and have it be grants. They would certainly welcome that the problems that the current virus it's highlighting are. Issues that have been happening in America for a very long time since the beginning of our country's history. So The coronavirus has only served to cast a spotlight on those very real issues of systemic racism and this is just one of them. Tracy Jane Reports on Grace Economy for the post. Didn't. Really. Want to do it the right way man I'm not gonNA worn nothing I just want to commit no porn this. Time no way impossibly. Romney is a show on Hulu about a Muslim guy who makes a bunch of human mistakes while he's trying to get closer to God and along the way he's trying to understand what faith means to him. To figure out my call. To a brings you. Want to change and. You can help me. is definitely a different kind of show from Muslims that have previously been on TV. It didn't show the typical stereotypes that we see. Typically you have stereotypes like almost terrorist or taxi driver or restaurant owner like you see this nuance character who is trying to run towards faith rather than away from it. This year Qureshi, she's a freelance journalist based in Memphis and she's talking about the comedy show Romney streaming on Hulu. It was created by stars, Comedian Romney Yousef, and it was just nominated for three emmys including best actor in a comedy for Yousef himself. It's a groundbreaking show about a Muslim American trying to navigate the rule of faith in his life, but it also sparked some controversy within the Muslim community cure disgust the show with post reports producer Lena Muhammad. So this show is really popular and critically acclaimed, but there's been a lot of controversy around the shows takes on some really taboo topics in the Muslim community like sex drugs, alcohol infidelity basically all things, right. So these controversies started this conversation within the Muslim community there taboo topics for a reason, and unless someone brings it to the table no one's GonNa talk about it, and so there was a lot of dialogue within the. Muslim community with friends and families, and then again with Muslim twitter just talking about what they liked about the show what they didn't like what they wanted to see different than how they wanted. Maybe you know some changes to the next season and it really opened up that door of conversation. Yeah and sometimes the chauffeur, his conversations within one's own family I mean I know for me I watched some of the second season with. My parents and it definitely got us talking about what is okay and what's not okay and what Islam means to each and every one of them in ways that we never addressed before right and I even had discussions with my own family. So to my cousins, we did a zoom call astrud Fatma I should listen Bach assigned overseas and fatherm lives in California, and then I live in Memphis Tennessee, in the south we're in. Different areas and we watches one show and we can connect on it in different levels and we have three very different perspectives and very different Muslim experiences I found like how like my Muslim experience in America is so much different than his I mean granted I live on the West Coast in California in the bay area in it's like you know different like diversity wise and stuff like that, and so I think premier highlighted like. Even within America, how different my experience was so my lives in California, and she's always been very secure in her identity as a Muslim. But for me living in the south might experience has been very different I've struggled with it and then ushered who lives in. Pakistan. which is a Muslim majority. Country also has a very different. From American Muslims actually will. newfound oprah suitable. Yeah in what way? Independent. There's not a lot of shaves having listens in them or having many innocent. been. Mayor. Talk about. I had been listening experience. In particular area and how that affects you on the all this changing a lot of people are more accepting about a lot of things though like a lot of Muslims drink now along listens are. You know been guards and stuff like that. But that's our talked about. and. I love the fact that he disbanded. Everyone Lake. Let's talk about. And so talking mapping things, we were able to have these conversations within our own family and understand how we see the world and how we see our own experiences. But while the show foster this safe space for us to have these uncomfortable conversations, it also got a lot of criticism on pushback from within the community because of what we just talked about the fact that it has it all me as this hyper sexual character is just one of many criticisms the show has received. What are you doing? Is that the conning that we just here's. Yeah was just. Cleaning it or I was just checking if there was any holes in it, you know there'd be a hall you ever see the way they should these things, John Trout there's like a bunch of dude who are those dudes like I don't know them you don't you know. So this just just to make sure that there's a faulty one and you do this like every time we add sex. Is just as a SEC. I feel I kind of offended. There's nothing to worry about it's just it's just so that we don't have to worry even if like something crazy happened you know I'm on the pill. Ray and if the pill didn't work Do the responsible thing and like take care of it. I mean look I'm totally pro women getting to choose what to do with their bodies. I am but I'm Muslim. So I'm just pro us not having to make that choice like you're Muslim thought in the way that I'm Jewish it's a cultural thing I didn't know that you were Muslim-muslim. Yeah and its practice conversation about what it means to have a Muslim onscreen and without Muslims should look and sound like I I can't have sex. Today's the first day of Ramadan. So we can't eat or drink or. have sex from sunrise sunset. So what you can only get night. Actually. Can't at all I mean never really supposed to unless I'm. Married to the person but. You know obviously do. This month I I try to be. You know. I tried to get rid of all distractions. This is something that I'm Yussef he's the creator of the show. He's also the main character on it as addressed before the premiere of, of season, two on Hulu he went onto social media and he had this entire note sort of like explaining the problem with representation phrase. So actually reached out to him because of his note I saw your note to your fiance media and I thought that would be an interesting thing to talk about so. had. have. What were your thoughts? And he wanted to kind of just clarify his perspective on the show. I. Do think that the audience is in an unfair position there's. Not, a lot of content to choose from that is in. Other izing that speaks to. You know a part of the experience from within the community uncertainly, I would save for you know the generation I grew up in it's like we had. Aladdin you know. Like we. Look like or that or just like news and terrorism and whatnot, and the fact that there is a lot of weight that comes on a show. That's the only representation available for the Muslim community right now, I think that a show like mine the way it ended up being positioned is it's called the Muslim show, and so he kind of does this thing that you know like I said, it's Unfair, it's unfair to the you're to feel like this is the only choice and I think for me in its position that I'm in It's really important for me to not operate from thinking that it's going to be the only choice that people have because then you know I have to make something kind of like by democracy where it's like. Well, let me make something that like. Fits as many people as possible in covers, everything because this is our only shot That's a really bad way to make something and I get that. But I still think that it can be problematic at times I mean just the way that the Muslim women were portrayed the show. I mean we didn't see a lot of depth to their characters especially in season one, you could move out. Okay. You're choosing to stay there guys my parents are not gonNA. Let me move out before I married. I can't control I married. So really I'm just Until I married as a Muslim woman viewer both watching season one and season two. That is something that I definitely took issue with I. Just found myself asking why can't the hijab wearing character be stronger or why is the monks character on the weaker side? Romney heavy. Are You Watching the game. You. Said you coming half an hour go have you father is coming home soon I have to go to the market we don't even have milk. I can't control that. You. These EPS with cars I told you I don't know who they are. You. Love, I gotTA. Watch his game I gotTa Look Be Blue Camry outside at two minutes. Okay. I just called it. He's GonNa take you to the store and I'll pick you up. You give them our address. Definitely. One big criticism that he got was a about the Muslim women in his show. He has these really deep male characters and the women just seem to be really flat compared to them, and so it almost seems like the women in a show our props for these men stories make men stories better, which can kind of be seen as a reflection as to how Muslim men in the community see the women in their lives, which is kind of. A sad thing to think about, and I think that it's definitely valid criticism because it is a show created by Muslim guy and there's a perspective that comes with that on Muslim women I. Think that what you see on the show although he has these characters of his mom and sister and I think that people related to them in some way I definitely saw some things and assist her and I see my mom in some ways in his mom but I think that it wasn't enough. Yeah but like as I was watching I couldn't help. But see the show through non-muslim is Sean. I may say that a asking myself like Oh my God wooder people going to think when they see this, go my God are they going to think that we're all liked us and we're not all like. I just feel very torn about it because like, yes, Romney is a show about when guys experience but at the same time, it is one of the only shows that we have right now. So there's still that burden right and I think that's what happens when you have. So few shows about the Muslim experience the audience is GonNa put a lot of way on this one particular show. It's the only representation we have. So we think it's the only shot we're GONNA get. So, everything has to be perfect. Every experience that he depicts on the show has to be perfect and that's what Romney's intent was when he sent out the no, it was to address what exactly that there is a weight that's put on the show you'll i. just I really enjoy discourse surrounded in this show truly for like conversations that I think are hard to have without the context of comedy owned hard to have without something like this to open them up in some way. And so I know a lot of the things uncomfortable but the intention is never to be sensational in the intention never to be disrespectful and I think that any shortcomings that like anything that's ever made has those are always going to be there on anything he mentioned he wanted to see more representation out there. For aren't as interesting to me as thirds in Fort like I wanna see you know places you know give needs to be a show around the Muslim woman like I mentioned in in the in the know like there needs to be a story about black Muslims in the like there's so many things that need to be told that really deserve their own twenty thirty episodes because. They're really meaty subject. Here Qureshi is a freelance journalist Lena Muhammad is a producer for post reports. The show Romney was recently renewed for a third season. and. Now, one more thing from graphics reporter. Brittany. Renee May's since the killing of George Floyd people have gone back to the streets to protest police brutality against black victims. But this time they've also flooded black-owned bookstores asking for anti-racists and social justice. Literature. I talked to a bunch of black bookstore owners and all of them have told me that their sales have gone through the roof for a bunch of titles bill to increase. I mean we've probably for. The last month than we build our entire first. Year Jazz Gilbert is the owner of reparations club in Los Angeles the rats of orders has been anti-racist titled. I also seen like a huge interest in. All of the other books that we carry and have carried for a long time when I talked to these bookstore owners. So many of them told me that they were overwhelmed this spike and demand as we're libraries and even publishers had a reprint a lot of these titles. And trying to figure out how to keep the doors open and quite literally a few days later. Trying to figure out how to hire more people to help fill orders. So we're seeing books like how to be an anti-racist by Abram candy on bestsellers list and me and white supremacy by side is gaining a new audience older books like the new Jim Crow. Alexander and James. Baldwin's the fire. Next time have also picked up steam and so of books by white authors like wait fragility by Robin. Angelo the other thing is that readers seem to be putting more of an effort to buy from these black owned businesses trying to put money towards causes that they care about diversifying your dollar can always be inactive protest and support. But while owners are excited about these trump and sales, they also see reason to be skeptical I'm careful to over acknowledge. People, just reading books by black people. I don't think it. I don't think it should be a revolutionary act. I think it's something people should have been doing for a long. Hi I'm it's bittersweet that. It took black and black trauma to get to this point, and they just don't know how long people will stay interested in anti-racist and black literature once the protests and. But this is still a really interesting moment since we didn't see the same kind of engagement with social justice literature after the killings of Trayvon Martin in two thousand twelve or Eric, Garner Michael Brown Tamir Rice in two thousand fourteen. Ultimately though it'll be important to see a long running commitment to black owned businesses, it's hard to make any business decisions around this influx because you don't know how long he anti-racism is going to be trending for lack of a better word So. Yeah. So I applaud people for taking that step. And I just hope it continues. Pretty name as isn't graphics reporter for the Post. That's IT for post reports. Thanks for listening. Our executive producer is not only consider our senior producer is Maggie penman. Our producers are Alexey St L. Rena Florez Lena Muhammed Jordan Marie Smith Rennie's for NAS key and Ted Muldoon who also composed theme music. The. Post, director of audio is just all I'm Nicole. Ellis. We'll be back Monday with more stories from the Washington. Post.