Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Flag Wars on PBS

The flags in question in this PBS documentary are the "rainbow" and "African" flags associated respectively with gay pride and African pride. They are the symbols of two sides in a gentrification battle in Columbus, Ohio.

"Flag Wars" is a poignant account of the politics and pain of gentrification. Working-class black residents in Columbus, Ohio fight to hold on to their homes. Realtors and gay home-buyers see fixer-uppers. The clashes expose prejudice and self-interest on both sides, as well as the common dream to have a home to call your own.

I missed the first half-hour but caught the rest. The whites and gays moving into the community view themselves as trying to revitalize a rundown neighborhood; the blacks who are being forced out see institutional racism at play. Low-level racism and stereotyping bubble up when emotions take over. Fascinating stuff. Catch it if it's repeated over the weekend.

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