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This episode contains strong language.
There’s a mural of native (to Brooklyn) trees painted on the side of a business in Bedford-Stuyvesant. After reading the proud muralist’s FB post presenting the completed work about how she was “Inspired by ideas of transforming the private into public, environmental justice, and community, I’ve reimagined the restoration of this forest in a neighborhood devoid of accessible and prominent green space,” I responded by highlighting the prominent green space that does in fact exist in Bed-Stuy, and that we have to be really careful about our use of language and limit of perception when speaking about space and place, especially in communities like Bed-Stuy.
She went on to dismiss me (and several others) about what constituted “easily accessible” and prominent green space based on her lived experience and that of her “several years” living in Bed-Stuy and then asked how could we work together to change it.
LOOK HERE: I don’t owe her shit. I have no desire or interest to talk to anyone, especially white people, about how their implicit bias is just as harmful, if not dangerous to marginalized people as structural and systemic racism is. People like her can participate in all the causes they please that make them feel all warm and fuzzy inside and never have to worry about losing their privileged status.
She PAINTED trees on a wall of a business owned by gentrifiers on an avenue that has been instrumental in the growth of gentrification in Bed-Stuy and folks are supposed to walk by and feel a sense of connection to nature and community, when there is a living tree BEHIND that building, around the corner, and on every block they walk down? GTFOHWTBS!
I’m supposed to work with her to make green space more accessible, for what? So she can feel more comfortable? So that I can continue to perform the emotional labor she so comfortably delegates to other people? I don’t have a problem finding community gardens to hang out in!
Not tuh-day, Sally Struthers!
ABOUT MONDAYS WITH MELISSA
Adulting: Are we doing it wrong? Mondays with Melissa is an ongoing conversation about adulthood and the continuous pursuit of personal growth.
Melissa’s working it out in real time, and some of it won’t be pretty.
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