Sherman Alexie's Short Story 'Gentrification'

Words: 2083
Pages: 9

Look between the lines of the black and white text. The short story “Gentrification” by Sherman Alexie is a story about the title itself, gentrification. In the dictionary gentrification means the process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste. This short story is applying it as racism. The story is about a white man and African American family. They both live in the same neighborhood. The white man is supposed to be the only one perceived as a racist because without permission he took a dirty, moldy, water logged mattress off the African American family’s property that they left on the curb for multiple weeks. The white man believed he did a good deed. The African American family believed …show more content…
If you look closely in the text you can see they both are racist because of their choice of words, their actions, and most of all their thinking processes of each other. This is important because they live in the same neighborhood. They have the same social class. What they both don’t have is empathy towards each other. Little actions could have changed the whole outcome.
Actions are powerful especially when it involves racism. The short story “Gentrification” by Sherman Alexie is about a lot more than just tossing away a dirty mattress. It was proof that the narrator was not self delusional that people are not interested in the applications on how people live and are not aware of racial dynamics that is applied in neighborhoods. Especially in the neighborhood the white man and African American family live in. In this case both parties were racist because they did not apply empathy on each other and was not aware of their surrounding. Their actions on both side could have took care of the situation differently. The white man was being a racist not because he did a good deed and help the neighbors take a mattress to the dump. It was how he did it. The white man planned the mattress removal in a scandalous way by rented a U Haul,