If you’re in tech or online spaces at all, I’m sure you’ve seen The Video.
A few tech fellas, newcomers to San Francisco, had a…let’s call it a difference of opinion with some long-time local kids about who got to use a public soccer field.
The techies didn’t come out looking too great.
We sometimes forget, those of us making a living on this Net Called Inter, that the pace of change online has caused real world changes that have real world impact on folks with less access to money, tech, and education.
There are competing narratives — in this case and others — being told against a backdrop of rapid gentrification, and it’s up to us to be fluent in both so we can not only make money, but make the right decisions for the places that are letting us do so.
What do I mean by competing narratives? In this case, we’ve got two; the newly arrived folks and the long time folks.
The newly arrived folks went into this thinking they’d done the right thing. They went online. They paid for a permit. They had followed the rules that, in their world, were standard.
But the story had existed long before they got there. The long time folks had seen their playground, which used to be cement, refurbished, and thus become desirable to new arrivals. And these new arrivals didn’t bother to learn the expectations of the place, to talk to folks, to get a feel for the pre-existing narrative.
Look. I’m a writer and a blogger with education and class benefits on my side. And chances are? If you’re reading this? You have those benefits too.
We can do better. As people with the luxury of having lots of options, we should do better. And one of the ways to do better is to listen to the stories of folks without the same advantages. Believe that people are experts on their own lives.