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CSUEB sociologist speaks to NPR about Oakland's gentrification

Photo of graffiti on a wall with "Harlem Shake" spelled out.  CSUEB professor emeritus Benjamin Bowser was interviewed by NPR for "When the kids own America".

CSUEB professor emeritus Benjamin Bowser was interviewed by NPR for "When the kids own America". (Photo: Courtesy of NPR)

  • May 21, 2013 5:00am

National Public Radio interviewed Cal State East Bay professor emeritus Benjamin Bowser in chapter two of its three-chapter report, “When our kids own America.”

“If Harlem gave us the Cotton Club and the Harlem Renaissance, then Oakland gave us the Black Panthers and a groundbreaking resolution on Ebonics," said NPR reporter Gene Demby. "For a long time, Oakland was the cultural anchor on the West Coast for black Americans.”

Uptown Oakland used to be a hub of black life but now that has changed. Forbes magazine named the Uptown section one of the 10 best hipster neighborhoods in the country.

“The Chocolate City notion — gone, gone, gone!” said Bowser. “There are multiple cultures: chocolate; Vietnamese; you can’t even say Hispanic anymore, it’s Mexican and Salvadoran (and) Nicaraguan. We even have enough people from Africa to say there’s Nigerians, Senegalese.” Demby added, “What’s happening in Oakland is definitely gentrification, but it’s not the way we often think of gentrification. It’s not white people pushing out black folks; in Oakland, it’s black folks leaving of their own volition, black folks being pushed out, black folks staying, and everyone else moving in.”

Read the NPR report.

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