Come on, really? This seems like a lot you want to place trust to whomever presents some kind of posturing than anything. Discouraging others to people to even hear other sources based on the name seem like a perfect recipe for indoctrination. I'd rather read whatever I can and form my own opinion on the matter.
I learned a lot from reading the Django codebase. I didn't read it like a book, I read parts of it as I tried to figure out how to do things in Django, but I never felt like the code was bad. This was around 5 years ago so it's possible things have gotten more convoluted since then.
If the OP wants to grok a small, discrete codebase then I agree that Django is not what he's looking for.
Energy: it was the Federal policy of subsidizing energy and the price caps that led to the energy crisis. The (few) private companies had little incentive to invest in improving capacity of the grid, the state-owned ones were a mere instrument to keep the cronyism going. The government has been chanting about Petrobras and pré-sal for at least 10 years now, even though they know that it is yet to be determined if it will be net-positive in terms of revenue. If at least it was a calculated risk but Petrobras was well-managed, then so be it. But it isn't, and Petrobras corruption scandal is directly linked to Dilma.
Had the Federal government a sound plan for reducing the dependency on hydro-electric power, or at least allowing the construction of new plants, the brownouts wouldn't have happened, even if the "drought" was real. Hadn't the Federal Government managed to completely dilapidate Petrobras for pure political benefit, it could've been given the benefit of the doubt. But it didn't, and it should be pointed as responsible for the current crisis.
Regarding water: I'd buy the argument that it was a state-level issue if it was only seen in one or two states, but it is ongoing in the whole Southeast and Midwest of the country. And while levels of waste in Brazil are bad, the cheap cost of water to farming and deforestation are much worse.
This "is a state-level problem" is just an excuse from PT to take a jab at São Paulo's governor. They never point out the problems existing in PT-governed states. Another thing is that those pro-PT argue that the problem in São Paulo is due to Sabesp being a private company. This is just a lame excuse to support the notion that it should be state owned. The problem is not being private or public, the problem is that it is a monopoly.
If ANA (a federal agency, by the way) was serious about solving the issue, they could enact a bunch of norms to force better control of the resources and break all monopolistic companies into smaller ones and force competition. But because "privatization" and "free market" are verboten words in this government narrative, it will never happen.
Just an aside: this whole thread has already derailed completely from the original link and it has become a point for the Brazilians to discuss politics and each to show their allegiances. I'm all for a good, rational discussion, but I'm yet to see this irt politics, especially in Brazil. Instead of arguing on the ideas, people make "their" political party as part of their identity and simply refuse to have constructive dialogue. It is worse than football. How about we keep this off Hacker News?
>> Just an aside: this whole thread has already derailed completely from the original link and it has become a point for the Brazilians to discuss politics and each to show their allegiances. I'm all for a good, rational discussion, but I'm yet to see this irt politics, especially in Brazil. Instead of arguing on the ideas, people make "their" political party as part of their identity and simply refuse to have constructive dialogue. It is worse than football. How about we keep this off Hacker News?
This is what I meant when I said that I wish for the day when people will not make judgements based solely on their political affinity.
Sadly, it is almost impossible to talk about politics when people start to see you as an enemy just because you disagree with them. It is even worse when you see, as it happened in Brazil, people with good education going to the streets asking for a military coup... that is crazy. A democracy is better than a dictatorship, even a corrupt democracy, at least you can change the president after a couple of years.
Looks like we are not getting out of this discussion, so here we go...
This "people with good education asking for a military coup" is blown out of proportion by supporters of PT. Perhaps a few crazies do indeed think that, but most of the ones during the protests were talking about "intervention", due to considered abuse of the institutions by this corrupt government. And even that can be done in a totally legal and according to a due democratic process.
However, what the supporters of PT keep repeating is that "the opposition wants a coup", you included. So you are doing no better than "the other side of the trenches". If you really want to engage in the discussion, you should be prepared to argue with the "best" part of the opposition, instead of just trying to invalidate the whole other side based on a few exceptions.
> It is even worse when you see, as it happened in Brazil, people with good education going to the streets asking for a military coup... that is crazy
That's such a silly thing to point out. In every single anti-government protest that happened so far, pro-military groups were the tiniest minority. Look up Datafolha's research about the Paulista protests - even though that research has several problems, it makes it pretty clear that almost everybody there opposed a coup (or "intervention").
2) It is not ready yet. The current project is being discussed since 2002. Estimated date to open is ~2019. Which is yet-another sign that they are simply ineffective, incompetent, or both. Even if they are aware that a plant will take 15+ years to be built, they'd have to come up with a plan to support the grid in the mean time.
3) So you want to play armchair energy expert: without building something like Belo Monte, how would you secure Brazil's energy needs? What do you think is a viable plan that allows the production capacity to increase, keep costs low and fair?  Please don't say "Solar" or "Wind" if you don't have any actual cost analysis and a feasible strategy.
Regarding public vs private: I really should recommend you reading again, and showing me any passage where I defend one or the other. In what I wrote previously, I haven't said anything of some sort, rather I just pointed out the flaws in the argument used by the "SABESP-is-bad-because-it-is-private" and the "none-of-this-would-happen-if-it-was-a-public-company" crowds. What I said is the situation of monopoly is bad. Which part you don't understand?
Also, do you see how this conversation is already completely off-topic? Now you want to include "police violence against peaceful protests" in your laundry list of talking points. I really don't want to go down this hole, when you can't even realize that the "water crisis" is not restricted to São Paulo, and that the Federal Government is also responsible. If you really want to discuss the topic at hand, fine. If you just want to shout against your political opponents, count me out.
: One of the most valid criticisms against São Paulo government is in how slow they are to extend public transportation. What happens is that a metrô station is planned for one demographic and by the time it is opened, it is already under-dimensioned. But at least they try to establish plans for the time of construction. The Federal government not even gets to do that.
: The current mechanisms give the illusion of low prices when they get their bill, but the true costs are hidden because the subsidies are only possible through taxation. So people pay low bills, but a lot in taxes. It is perverse.
If you think that hyperinflation would solve itself without any of the policies adopted - fiscal tightening, privatization of troubled state owned companies, opening up the market, etc - I'd love to hear about your explanation for the current state of Venezuela.
Except for the fact that illegals don't vote, you are right. The problem is that is more politically profitable to keep "immigration as an issue" than to actually work in "The People's" best interests.
Democrats don't want to lose the image of being the welcoming mother, Republicans don't want to lose the image of being the strict but principled father. An immigration law that was based on qualification and possible economic boost by immigrant doesn't help any of them.
Basically this was why I left the US after almost 5 years.
Ok, for others who might be interested in immigrating, a few other things that I learned from my experience:
- If you already are done with your studies, look for jobs at educational institutions. Universities, research laboratories, think tanks. They are exempt from the quota and can hire at any time of the year and outside of the quota.
There a few downsides. First, most of the openings at these institutions will require some kind of grad school. Second, these institutions are not known for paying the same salaries as big name companies in Silicon Valley. Third, you can not transfer the visa to another company, so if you get an offer from another company that does not share the quota-exempt status, you are back in the position of waiting until April and hoping the new employer doesn't fuck up the application and that there aren't 10 gazillion other applicants from IBM, Google, Infosys, Tata and the like.
- One hack: consider first moving to Canada. Their immigration laws are much saner in the US and are more merit- and qualification-based than the US. With a simple job offer you can get a resident visa in Canada. After 2 years as a resident you can apply for citizenship. And Canadian citizens can work in the US, under the TN visa.
With this you avoid all the crap about the H1B lottery and have a stronger position to work in the US after ~3 years. If I ever plan to be in the US again in the next 3-5 years, I would actually move to Montreal first.
However, applying for a Work Permit is still rather cumbersome (which is typically the first step after the job offer and before Express Entry) I just went through this process with an employee. While there is no arbitrary quota, the process does take between 3-6 months.
But overall the path to citizenship is much shorter than in the US.
And Canada has public healthcare. So, no need to worry about healthcare while you're self employed.
For Canada hack - you might actually like it better in Canada than in the US. I first moved to Canada after finishing my graduate studies in the US about 15 years ago with the plan to go back in a couple of years.
I liked Canada so much that I decided to stay here (Toronto, Ontario) and have been happy about my decision ever since.
Yes, taxes are a little bit higher, but the place feels saner and safer. Various levels of government are supportive of new businesses (lots of incentives, grants, R&D support programs), especially in technology sector.
After the PR via Express Entry which takes, say 1 year, you wait 3 years (recently changed by Harper) before you can apply for Citizenship and then it will be almost a year after that when you get the citizenship (27% get in 12 months, 54% in 18 months). So you are easily looking at ~5 years from application. Then you need to find someone who will file a TN visa for you.
The Canada part is misleading. It takes about two years to get PR (similar to green card) in Canada via Express Entry (well, technically 6 months to 1 year from the time you apply to CIC, but because you virtually need a work visa or provincial nomination to acquire enough points for entry, it takes an extra 1-1.5 years). You need to wait 4 years after getting PR to apply for citizenship. It takes about two years to get granted citizenship after that, but they are trying to reduce it to one. So the whole process takes 6-8 years not 2.
With that said, the immigration laws are indeed saner and merit-based.
You may be right. I do remember looking at the process through Quebec, which seems to be a little different.
When I was more seriously looking, though, I read enough about it to make me pretty confident it could be done in 3-5 years. Of course I was starting with the assumption that I could get the job offer while I was living in Boston and enter Canada for job interviews as a visitor.
The Australian work visa is even friendlier than the Canadian one. I'm not sure how the Australian citizenship process works but it used to be you could apply for permanent residency shortly after going there for University. I think it's a bit stricter now but worth looking into.
Sorry, I meant, as an Australian citizen, you're eligible for an E3 work visa to the United States. You need a bachelor's degree in the relevant field or equivalent work experience, companies just have to spend 20 minutes filling out an LCA and prove they're paying prevailing wage (none of the "prove an American can't do this job" song and dance that makes the H1B so expensive), the quota is so ridiculously high it will never be reached and it's 2 hours at a US Embassy for a 2 year visa.
The only downside is it's a non-immigrant visa so you come in on an E3 then convert to a H1B at your leisure and apply for a green card.
Facebook's revenue is on the order of $5-$15 per user. A solution which could provide similar capabilities at roughly that price point would be generally attractive, and wall-wart and small-form-factor devices exist that cost $10-$100. At the upper end of this scale, the devices could support multiple users readily, possibly tens to 100s, and higher-end gear more than that.
Software and administration ease are much of the rest of the secret sauce.
Distributed caching would address the data avialability and latency problem, mostly.
At which point, "cost" becomes 1) minimal hardware, 2) a reasonably reliable Internet connection, 3) a development community, and 4) sufficiently widespread adoption.
It could put the entire present social networking / distributed voluntary surveillance network at risk.
It is way more relevant than you think. At some point, someone is paying for these devices (running where? Home networks? Cheap VPS? Turn-key application hosting like webfaction?) and most importantly, someone is paying for the storage of photos and videos.
It is pretty much like wordpress. And while I can see some of the more tech-savvy running this out of their home server, most people would want to have this in an actual datacenter, and they would need something on the order of hundreds of GB of storage. Unless you piggyback on other services (flickr for photo storage, youtube/vimeo for video), I don't see this costing less than $10/month. Even removing the cost of storage, $5/month seems like the lower bound.
So, how do you finance the operational costs? If you tell me there are people willing to pay $12-15/month to get out of facebook, I'd say there is a business. Otherwise the numbers will never match and this idea of a private cloud will always be some hackers's wet dream.
Device cost is trending to zero. People already _have_ the devices, often many of them, and frequently simply gathering dust. We're stuffing computers into phones, refrigerators, toasters, security cameras, set-top boxes, and fnord knows what else. A gumstick is sufficient to serve personal content.
The costs come elsewhere. You need a stable Net connection (pretty easy to come by). Distributed data means that any single system loss is pretty much a non-event. Abuse and bad behavior are far bigger issues, all the usual suspects: child pr0n, adult pr0n, copyright violations, threats and bullying. Policing those on a fully-distributed infrastructure would be a nightmare (maybe we'll just give up that fight).
Identity and credential recovery are actually pretty big issues. I could see a market where these are actually turned to a benefit, through localized service provision. A local business or enterprise with an interest in knowing who you are and/or establishing your identity might take on the task of maintaining base nodes. It would depend on costs and benefits. Retail, banking, insurance, healthcare, comms provider or other local institutions. Possibly education or government (there are those of us whose first Internet experience came by way of college or university, though we're starting to die out). And as I've observed elsewhere, "Who are you" is becoming the most expensive question online.
Craigslist comes to mind. A very small segment of activity funds a great deal else on the site, including a pretty extensive forums section (though that's got various issues).
The biggest cost is almost certainly direct customer interaction. Convert this to a model where that's already happening or can be converted to a benefit, and you may well have a win.
That $12-$15/mo isn't what you need someone to _pay_ you directly for the service, but what you need to be able to recover from them, net. Or, possibly, much less.
Sorry, what? I think we are talking about very different concepts, Looks like you are talking about a "distributed data system", where the OP (and me) were heading to the idea of a "personal website with social functions".
For me at least, I am thinking of a system that would be some kind of "personal cloud + feed syndication + acls based on friendships". I want the opposite of a business paying to know who you are. Diaspora got the initial momentum precisely because it was pushing for a privacy-aware version of Facebook. The way I read OP, the one thing that Diaspora got wrong was by putting the "social network" as the focus of their development, while it should've been the person.
I am not even going to argue about your idea, because it seems completely far off from what OP mentioned. Yeah, of course we could a have a system that could provide Facebook features in a distributed manner, and still have business paying for it. Turns out that "have someone paying for it" violates the requirement zero (user owned, personal cloud) of the product!
Lastly, I am sorry, but there is no way I can get my fridge to run a web server, connect to the home router and store gigabytes of data, _all the while keeping your personal network secure*. Saying that the cost of devices is trending to zero is just as magic-thinking of those in the 2000s who were selling that companies could save by switching immediately just by dumping their office licenses and switching to free software. This is flat out wrong
Looks like you are talking about a "distributed data system", where the OP (and me) were heading to the idea of a "personal website with social functions".
Those are very nearly the same thing.
Most websites and online services (and I've engineered several of them) are basically:
1. An application engine, which is a fancy term for "database wrapper script". Much of this can be dispensed with if you build a largely static site, though access control and some scripted / scheduled events are likely still necessary. This talks to ...
2. A data tier. Often multiple levels of caching and / or distributed data and or map reduce and / or nosql and / or database. Again, largely dispensible in a static site.
3. A lot of front-end caching and load balancing. The less content you actually have to serve, the better.
It's better to think of a personal cloud + feed syndication (pretty much my formulation as well, BTW) as a cache-tier seed. That is, whatever kit you're running pumps data out to a distributed caching framework (think DNS or bittorrent). If a request cannot be met from cache, or it's expired, then your origin gets a request. But if it can be, you're serving content without actually taking the hit. And if the caching is demand-responsive, then you actually have the situation where you get better at serving data the more requests there are. A DDoS would simply result in more caching peers feeding your data.
You also get the benefit that should your residential (or colo) link go down your cached data remain accessible online.
Law of large numbers says that any given user is going to have relatively little traffic, but when the vast searchlight of the Internet Hive Mind takes an interest in you, you're swamped. So the sensible thing to do is to set up nodes such that the serve both as origin for their own data and as chache peers for other nodes.
And I've got some sense of how activity levels distribute across users in social networks:
It's also possible that there might be a value in providing more robust caching services for others on a wider scale.
The remaining question is: what are the enabling technologies to make all of this happen?
∙ Reasonably inexpensive hardware.
∙ Reasonably inexpensive and reliable Internet connections.
∙ Zero-configuration software.
∙ Sufficiently compelling value proposition.
As for your fridge running a Web server, you'd be amazed at what does. I've found all sorts of nutty stuff scanning networks, and a webserver is a trivially simple piece of software (there are kernel-space webservers and have been for over a decade).
The truth is that hardware costs are falling massively. The $35 Raspberry Pi has served 1,000 Web requests per second. A terrabyte MicroSD card will fit on your thumbnail. Power draw is around 5W.
What you permit past your network firewall is your call, but my point is that we already are polluted with server-capable computers. The question is how to harness them.
As to the "providing this as a service" aspect: not everyone will, can, or wants to run their own server, no matter how zero-maintenance they are.
So, if your neighborhood school, or church, or community organization, or retail center, or local ISP, or other entity, wants to take care of doing this, and can handle user request by literally having them show up at the door, well, then all the better. It's not that you have to use a service such as this. But if that works for you, so much the better and power to you. My point as that this is an option, and that there might be ways to tie this to other reasonable but revenue-positive activities.
Look, we are going around in circles now. I understand your point about how in principle we could have all of the functionality of a social network in a distributed manner. What seems to be point of disagreement is that you are equating "reasonably inexpensive hardware and reasonably inexpensive Internet access" to "near zero cost of operating a node".
If a distributed system really was the most economical alternative, then Facebook would be giving away free raspberry pi's with a collection of sd cards to run their services. They are not building huge datacenters all around the world because they are stupid. It's just that it is the least expensive way per user to run their services. By centralizing they get economies of scale that no distributed peer can ever achieve.
To me, it's plain simple:
1. A raspberry pi ($35) + 128GB microsd (~$80) card puts you already at a cost of almost $10/month for the first year of operation. 128GB, quite frankly, is an amount of data that any reasonably active user of Facebook produces in a summer vacation. So, let me be easy on you and turn that $80 micro sd into a $60 1TB external HD, and we are still talking about $95 dollars just to start playing the game.
2. Still, you are smart enough to know "distributed caching" is not a magic word. You say "the less you store yourself, the better." Thing is, if you are not storing your own data, _who is_? In fact, for a distributed storage mechanism to work well, it needs to have multiple replicas of the data, so any node will actually store their own _plus_ other people's data - I remember a while ago reading that the minimum number of seeders on Bittorrent to work well is 6. So that 1TB for your node actually becomes less than 160GB.
3. Granted, no need for you to keep a backup, but this is assuming that every user is cooperating to the network with storage capacity, which is ever growing. So every year you should be buying another disk, meaning another $60/year. Even if we argue that the cost per gigabyte is going down, we could also argue that people will produce more data at an increasing rate so it evens out.u
So to me just storage alone hits easily the $5/month/user mark. Even if you get all your super smart devices to be running in a perfectly cooperative manner around the house, you still need to bank storage. I really don't see a way now or in the near future to get the operating costs of this to zero. The only distributed systems that you see working well are the ones where there is either a financial incentive to keep a node (bitcoin) or political (tor) or where the costs of distribution and storage are negligible compared to the cost of production (Bittorrent). A personal cloud offers neither of those. TINSTAAFL.
As for why Facebook isn't tossing Raspberry Pis at everyone: that doesn't fit its business model, which is based on 1) sucking in metric gobtons of personal data, 2) correlating it among accounts, and 3) spamming the users with ads. Quite simply, it's not in Facebook's interests to make alternative distributed models possible.
The $5-$15/mo bit matters not in that it's the point to beat, but that that's all Facebook is making from this. If that margin's cut into (say, by giving the most valued users attractive options other than FB), then Facebook faces a long and slow value slide, accelerating as more users (usually starting with the most valuable) hop off the train. Dittos for Google, Yahoo, and other online properties. Amazon and Apple are in a better position to survive this, and might even benefit (in which case, sorting out how to help support the system would be in their interest and network resources could be devoted to that end).
On storage: MicroSD fits on a small device, and the general point is that the gateway you use to access the Internet is already roughly powerful enough to host your content. I strongly dispute your 80 GB of data per summer per user value, though that's probably going to be valid in the not too distant future.
It's also worth considering that MicroSD isn't the cheapest data option. A 1TB SATA drive runs for $55 on Amazon right now. Spinning rust ain't the fastest, but remember, it's _origin_. This is also not just your social networking and cloud, but local storage (you need somewhere to come up with your 80GB to start witht). Remember that people already have extensive existing hardware, and that it's the data more than hardware that's valuable.
For the typical user, a 1TB disk will likely be sufficient throughout its lifetime (3-6 years or so), at which time you'll replace it with whatever's current at the time. Hard drive cost per GB has been falling at a very consistent rate for decades, falling by an order of magnitude every three years:
I could be wrong about this, but at some point you reach data saturation. There's no way in hell I can create GB of text in a year (a few MB is more like it). Audio and video data add up, but there's only so much of that worth saving. Dittos for logging and financial data.
DVD-quality video is 4.7 - 8.7 GB single-sided. Blu ray is 25 GB. That's 40 1080p full-length movies per TB of storage capacity, and three years from now you'll have room for 400 movies. Blu ray video storage is 7 hours at 32 Mbit/s, 3h 30m at 64 Mbit/s (ultra high definition TV).
There's only so much detail your eye can take in.
On caching: I didn't say the less you store yourself, but the less you serve. An origin server seeds cache, but once you've put content on the caching tier, it distributes across the cache and is served from it. That's how CDNs work, and the origin infrastructure of social networks can be frighteningly primitive (or not).
But you're missing three key factors:
1. The barrier isn't hardware. I cited my facts to emphasize this point, you've fallen into that tarpit. The point is: hardware's cheap and not the barrier. It hasn't been for most of a decade.
2. The hardware cost itself is largely irrelevant. Sufficiently capable systems exist and are likely already owned. An old server, desktop, laptop, or within a year or three, tablet or phone, with an appropriate server build on it, will be sufficient. This is a system that can be cobbled on extant hardware at a bare minimum, more advanced kit if desired.
3. It's the software itself, installation, configuration, management, and most importantly, adoption that are the real barriers. Once this gets going it should snowball and steamroll over much of the existing online world. Cost is a minor concern relative to control over data. We're post-Snowden, and everyone knows that both spooks and black-hats are watching, listening, prodding, and prying. Systems which decentralize data and put more of it under access control and encryption guard against that on both fronts.
That's the win.
Getting the software up to snuff is the missing part.
Yeah, you really lost me on the point where you think that 1TB will last 3-6 years. You are basing your use case (text) and extrapolating to the average consumer. We already live in a world where 20-somethings post every damn meal they eat on Instagram. With friends making dubsmash duels with each other for weeks. With parents who make videos and pictures of every sneeze of their babies. And all of this, to the consumers, is worth saving. You can't just reason this out of the system.
To me it really seem like you are way off in the economical aspects of your proposition. Consider:
> As for why Facebook isn't tossing Raspberry Pis at everyone: that doesn't fit its business model (...)
There is nothing that would stop them to give these boxes in exchange of access to the data produced by the users. They would still have access to the data, and could still sell ads based on it. You fail to understand that they can find ways to increase their revenue per user (making ads more relevant or bringing some kind of value proposition where they can get users to volunteer more data), what they can't do is reduce their operational costs. They are doing it as much as they can - look at all the thing about Open Compute, which is nothing more than trying to find a way to reduce the costs of operating data centers - but building multi-million datacenters around the world is cheaper than giving away hardware with "irrelevant cost".
> An origin server seeds cache, but once you've put content on the caching tier (...)
Who is the caching tier? Your neighbor? Akamai? Amazon? Google? ISPs? Your church? What is the incentive for them to keep this data for you and others, and how will they finance the cost of storage, electricity, etc?
> Cost is a minor concern relative to control over data.
You want to make cost operational costs irrelevant, but it is wishful thinking. The whole reason I was asking OP how much he would be willing to pay for this service is precisely to know how much of "Cost is a minor concern relative to control over data."
> Getting the software up to snuff is the missing part.
This is backwards. Software doesn't write itself magically. There needs to have some kind of economical incentive for someone to go over there and develop this software, and people need to accept the costs of maintaining the system operational. Diaspora got started exactly because there was some demand around 2010, but it did not have enough momentum.
"The case against it is simple. Newcomers with more money supposedly crowd out older residents. (...) Young, mostly white singletons have crowded into a district once built for families.
Yet there is little evidence that gentrification is responsible for displacing the poor or minorities. Black people were moving out of Washington in the 1980s, long before most parts of the city began gentrifying. In cities like Detroit, where gentrifiers are few and far between and housing costs almost nothing, they are still leaving. (...) They did find, however, that the average income of black people with high- school diplomas in gentrifying areas soared.
Gentrifiers can make life better for locals in plenty of ways (...) When professionals move to an area, “they know how to get things done”. They put pressure on schools, the police and the city to improve. As property prices increase, rents go up—but that also generates more property-tax revenue, helping to improve local services. In many cities, zoning laws force developers to build subsidised housing for the poor as well as pricey pads for well-off newcomers, which means that rising house prices can help to create more subsidised housing, not less."
Also, I think it is very funny how most of the criticism of gentrification is done by the white-liberal types and it reeks of classism. The original article says "It’s not unusual to find live chickens running through people’s backyards" like it is a good thing. I can almost read an implicit defense of segregation.
I live in a lower income neighbourhood in the east bay, because prices have risen so fast, and I'm so new, that that's all I can afford.
I've on several occasions been accused of gentrification, sometimes even by close friends or coworkers. But all I can think of is the fact that most of these coworkers are either under rent control, paying less than half I do for a comparable place (and come the fuck on, you work in tech, you don't need rent control), and the other half live in luxury high rises.
I'm a foreigner, I don't always understand race relations. I thought segregation was bad. But apparently my friends self-segregate, and when I dare to live in 'their' neighbourhood, I'm the bad guy.
Life's a lot better when you think of other people as human beings, instead of a weird separate group to be left alone, don't you think?
This may sound blunt, but it's pretty common to be profiled as a symbol of gentrification if you bear a certain appearance. And, although this can often be uncomfortable, as far as race relations go in the US this is probably one of the less problematic buckets to be lumped into.
People are going to draw conclusions based on their internalized sense of the world; you can shape that to an extent by just, y'know, hanging out and talking with your neighbors every once in a while.
Part of the problem is that most people who want to talk about *isms of any kind are not capable of thinking in terms other than binary. In this particular case, you're either the person who is moving in or the person who is moving out, with no consideration given to the large real-estate speculation firm that built the new high-rise condo projects that don't fit the neighborhood, on land probably acquired through some sort of government sale process and/or at least partially funded by grant money.
It's the ol' "searching in the street for the keys you lost in the yard because the streetlight is the only light you have."
Everyone wants an affordable place to live. It takes the power of government to wrench that land out from under people without fair compensation and pass it over at below-market rates to big-business to be redeveloped and resold at higher costs to ultimately increase property and income tax revenue.
I mostly hear feminists and anti-racism/anti-oppression activists argue very much the opposite. Your job is to progress toward being less racist and less sexist. It's about rejecting the view that people are intentionally racist or good people, but rather that we all have countless implicit biases and a system that promotes inequality, and we have to actively move toward _less_ bias.
The idea that some of us just aren't racist/sexist/classist/etc. is very much what is being argued against by "most people who want to talk about *isms".
I just think the binary approach is an incredibly naive, fruitless way of looking at an issue, one that suggests that resolution isn't the goal, but rather the clash between ideologies themselves is.
When you treat the negative spaces of non-activity as equally evil to the positive spaces of activity, you shove people who are straddling the middle away from your side and towards your opposition. That keeps the middle ground right where it has always been, and nothing ever gets better. Mechanically, that's just incredibly stupid.
What's the message of this Salon article? "White people, you're always going to be a part of the problem, and nothing you can do will be considered part of the solution, because your desire to be involved is part of the problem. You are always wrong." Do articles like this make it more or less likely to convert people who have started to think about it? To me, "you're always going to be wrong" is just driving people away. It is too easy to turn that into "then why even try?"
If that's not the message, then someone in one of the sociology departments of universities across America needs to come up with a much better way of talking about the issue, because that's how I and a lot of people take it.
Outside of the recent spat of police shootings, the white-privilege topic is the only one I've personally been seeing coming out of academic circles and into the public. I guess that's part of my privilege that I get to live in a world not surrounded by concern about race. But I'm not a social worker or community organizer or politician or sociologist. I'm a software engineer. I'm busy making a living for myself. That doesn't make me a part of the problem or the solution. That just makes me a person. I'm not asking to be held up and congratulated for not being actively racist. I'm just asking to also not be vilified for keeping my nose in my own business.
That's my point of the issue not being binary. "You're either for us or against us" is a totalitarian rhetoric, one that is not compatible with healthy democracies (though I belabor under no illusion that we live in a healthy democracy).
I'd have to look at the numbers, but I think that a lot of the African Americans moving out of DC in the 1980s were those who had the money to buy a house in the suburbs, often enough Temple Hills in Prince Georges County.
Did the average income of black people with high-school diplomas in gentrifying areas soar because the economy was better, or because they were the only ones who could afford to stick around?