By Mike Bravo
“People don’t need your approval to move to Venice”
“Who cares how long you’ve been here.”
In the same arrogant spirit of their colonizer archetypes and ancestors, dismissive gentrifier remarks like the ones above should come as no surprise. Ironically, many of them even have their Westward Expansion styled mustache and hairstyles to go with such mentality for additional colonizer effect. In fact, most of the injustices you see happening here in Venice are right in pattern with the ill mindset that landed on this continent in 1492, albeit, in a more deceptive and adapted form.
Gentry responses such as the above usually come after Venice natives like myself question other “locals” who claim our heritage or when we voice our displeasure about unfavorable behaviours displayed by the gentry. “Who cares how long you’ve been here.” Those are the types of things Columbus said to the Arawaks, that Cortez told the Mexihca (Aztec), that Pizarro told the Incas, and now what gentrifiers tell Venice natives.
Being FROM Venice is a beautiful honor, especially for people like myself who’s roots run deep. Whose ancestors created the beauty, culture, and essence of the Venice community as opposed to those who now come to usurp and exploit it. It is only natural that us Venice Originals are critical and protective of our legacy, especially in the midst of this colonizing wave that has adversely affected our beloved town since the 90s.
These gentrifiers always exclaim their arrogant sentiments in a very upset tone. They infer that the problem lies with us “emotional natives.” But more accurately, they become triggered because they are forced to think about where they come from, their lack of roots. I feel something affects their intuition, whether or not they are consciously aware of it, and gives them a comprehending feeling for the dishonorable context which cleared out the neighborhood and enabled them to secure their Venice home.
Much like this current wave of colonization in Venice triggers the historical traumas of previous waves of displacement my ancestors faced in me, perhaps, and hopefully, our continued expressions of pride in being Venice Originals will trigger and chisel away the colonizer spirited contingent of our Venice community toward some heartfelt and honest retrospection and atonement.
In times of colonization (gentrification) history is not a valued asset by the colonizers. In fact history is an enemy to their efforts. It is why the Spanish burned the codices of the Maya, why the U.S. made it a point to bomb the historical museums of Iraq (Sumeria), why gentrification forces try to rebrand and change the name of our streets, and why the Penske’s with their gentrifier (read colonizer) neighborhood council clowns like Will Hawkins and George Francisco, among many others, wish to neutralize the historical First Baptist Church of Venice.
Everyone loves the Indian or Venice Native that speaks of culture, unity, and spirituality. But most don’t like the Native that reminds them of the historical pattern of White colonizers and capitalists that lied and manipulated their way across this continent to get what they wanted. Nor do the really care for the Natives reminding them that they continue to do so. We need to call out these neighborhood colonizers and their actions for what they are. If we fail to make historical connections, we will fail to fix problems. I dunno about you but I’m tired of this shit, come help a Native out.