As a Harlem native, I read the NY Times article yesterday about the demographic changes in Harlem with mixed feelings. I was pleased, of course, to see a feature article about Harlem; amused by the convenient redefinition of Harlem’s traditional boundaries to coincide with the census’ PUMA (public use microdata area) divisions, and skeptical of the sometimes inconsistent statistics quoted, (especially since no source for them was identified). But mostly, I was perplexed and, I guess, dismayed by the simplistic characterization of the described changes as a Black-White, lose-win process. Harlem has been through a series of transitions which have produced its rich legacy of culture and art, epitomizing Black, urban America. The current transition is about increased diversity from a number of racial, ethnic and immigrant groups whose influences are making Harlem an even more interesting and stimulating place to live. They do not threaten Harlem’s identity, they enrich it. What do you think?
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