“NOW, I’m not proud of what I did,” my friend Donna said the other day, her voice dropping to a low, confessional register.
Donna is black, in her late 40s and a graphic designer. Three generations of her family owned a Victorian row house in Washington until a probate dispute a while back forced them to rent in the Maryland suburbs. Driving home from work in the city recently, she took a shortcut through the alley where she frolicked in her youth, but which she now barely recognized, with its three-story decks and Zen gardens that led onto sidewalks freshly paved in red brick.
Donna tooted the horn at a parked car blocking her path. The car’s owner, a white woman, dawdled away in her garden nearby. With a blithe wave, the woman suggested a detour. Donna refused. She intended to wait her out, but then the words just tumbled out: “If you didn’t want to follow the rules, you shouldn’t have moved your white” — and here she used an expletive — “into D.C.!”
This is the rage, long simmering just beneath the surface, that is bubbling over now that Washington, the once-majority-black city immortalized in George Clinton’s 1975 funk classic “Chocolate City,” has lost its black majority. But even before the data corroborated that demographic milestone last year, Washington’s makeover had created something of an identity crisis.
(via Farewell to Chocolate City - NYTimes.com)
Photo: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times