Trend Watch

Gentrification

When:

Lookups spiked on February 27, 2014.

Why:

While giving a speech in New York City, Spike Lee denounced the gentrification he observes as more white people move into predominantly black neighborhoods such as Harlem and Fort Greene. He began by disagreeing with a New York Times article about the benefits of gentrification, and then, using many expletives along the way, he raised basic questions: "Why did it take this great influx of white people to get the schools better? Why's the garbage getting picked up more regularly?"

Gentrification means "the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents." It derives from gentry, meaning "aristocracy," and ultimately from the Old French word for "noble" or "high-born."

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