If you live in any major city, you’ve probably felt the effects of gentrification in some shape or form. Maybe you’re even guilty of enjoying one of the coffee, fro-yo, smoothie, or brunch spots that popped up along the way. No one is here to judge, but maybe it’s time to think twice before you shop with ‘gentrifiers’ again.
One Denver coffee shop by the name of “Ink! coffee” is proving that gentrifiers aren’t oblivious to their effects on our neighborhoods, but rather, don’t seem to care. After aisle signs went up outside of Ink! that read “Happily gentrifying the neighborhood since 2014” and “Nothing says gentrification like being able to order a cortado,” most of us are left trying to find the humor.
Ink! Coffee is located near Five Points which was once a largely black neighborhood. It is a formerly industrial area that is now home to a handful of breweries, restaurants, and apartments, which has driven up rent prices and forced many longtime residents to move.
Since receiving huge amounts of backlash, Ink! Coffee founder Keith Herbert attempted to apologize, saying the signs were a bad joke and added that it was a part of an advertising campaign.
“When our advertising firm presented this campaign to us, I interpreted it as taking pride in being part of a dynamic, evolving community that is inclusive of people of all races, ethnicities, religions and gender identities,” Herbert said in the statement. “I recognize now that we had a blind spot to other legitimate interpretations.”
Despite his apology, many people still want Ink! Coffee gone.
“We find no humor in racism. We find no humor in privilege. What looks like a great opportunity for some is really displacement for many,” Sondra Young, the president of Denver’s NAACP, told the Denver Post. “Community doesn’t look like just the people that can afford $2,000-a-month rent. People that are low-income have something to add to the community, too.”
Gentrification isn’t a joke, and for an advertising company to suggest it just shows where people’s heads are about it. Gentrification is not becoming an inclusive neighborhood, it’s literally kicking people out of their homes.