Spike Lee just went off on a terrible tirade complaining about the gentrification of Fort Greene in Brooklyn where he grew up. Making matters worse, he did it at an event celebrating Black History Month. What a way to celebrate! The “Get Whitey out Campaign” is just the ticket to creating a better New York.
Lee said he’s not happy how the influx of white people is affecting the neighborhood. He can’t handle white people moving in and making improvements. And he really can’t stand the sight of white mothers pushing white babies in strollers through the neighborhood.
Seriously Spike, just get over it. If you don’t like white people—fine. Whatever, it’s a free country. But you should at least be somewhat thrilled that Fort Greene is starting to thrive more and more. Whether it’s black, brown, or stripes, the anchor of what makes Fort Greene so fabulous are the amazing buildings, particularly the new Barclay’s Center which is attracting attention across the country. It has won awards and is clearly the best sports facility in the nation. It makes Madison Square Garden look like a shack. There are also an increasing number of other shiny new buildings dotting the skyline and wonderful new restaurants, too. What’s wrong with that?
Fort Greene is special, and Spike should be proud instead of pontificating about how horribly “white” it’s becoming.
Besides, New York City is a melting pot. Its success derives from the mixture of white, black, and brown faces on every corner. And look no further for an example of that than the mayor himself, Bill de Blasio. He’s a white guy married to a black gal who was a lesbian. I wonder if Spike is all hot and bothered about the fact that the first family of the city is bi-racial and live in the neighboring Park Slope community.
Fort Greene is wonderful. There is a Shakespeare Theatre. Granted, they probably don’t feature Jungle Fever there very often, but there should be room for this kind of art and culture in a place like Fort Greene. There’s also the Brooklyn Academy of Music which is the self-proclaimed home for the adventurous artist.
Let’s celebrate Black History Month by recognizing the accomplishments of black artists, politicians, and business leaders. We don’t need to do it by being racist towards white people. Sounds like a good idea to me.
Guess what? I’m the whitest person on the planet, and I love Fort Greene. Like it or not, I’ve taken a real shine to your backyard and I don’t care if you want me there or not. I’m coming anyway.
We’ve all seen this play before. I remember years ago when whites in Indiana complained about black people moving into their neighborhoods. That started a movement called “white flight.” I’m betting that really ticked Spike off. Guess what, Spike? The color card cuts both ways, and racism isn’t pretty no matter who’s doing it.
Spike Lee should celebrate and advertise all the great things happening in his old neighborhood.
So here’s my message to Spike Lee.
Spike, buddy, quit being such a grump. I love your work and your hood. I’ll be seeing you in Fort Greene.
Happy Black History Month!