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The LLC and Awkward Silences

A visitor to the Livin’n’Learnin’ Center noticed something odd about a new poster welcoming students to Wallach 5. The floor’s new poster is ostensibly intended to help residents get to know New York by introducing them to all tha Big Applez‘ ethnic enclaves. You know, like the Upper West Side.

The poster highlights neighborhoods across the five boroughs, and arranges them according to ethnicity. For example, Astoria is known for its large Greek population and delicious souvlakia; Little Egypt is self-explanatory. All neighborhoods have a subtitle or explanation, save one: our very own Harlem! Another picture after the jump.

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  • i'm from williamsburg says:

    @i'm from williamsburg btw ridgewood is not puerto rican. if anything, its polish as well.

  • i'm from williamsburg says:

    @i'm from williamsburg i have lived in williamsburg my whole life.

    the Hassidic community is in South Williamsburg pretty much below Broadway and close to the river.

    the “north” side known because all the streets are numbered and have an N before them, like N 7th where the L train stop is. The north side is where all the hipsters are.

    “east” williamsburg (where i live, though to me, its still williamburg, the hipsters have rezoned it) is puerto rican but theres also alot of italians.

    and the “south” side where the streets have S like S 4th, is where the Dominicans live.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous That post was dripping with Irony
    I apologize for you not realizing

  • this is stupid says:

    @this is stupid The poster was obviously meant to show people the ethnic history of neighborhoods in New York City. I had no idea that Ozone Park was Guyanese or that Jackson Heights was Colombian. But everyone knows that Harlem is a community of historically marginalized people, a majority of whom are people of color. Since everyone knows the ethnic history of Harlem, there really was no need to try to generalize it and put it on the sign. This article tries to make an issue out of something is so obviously not an issue.

  • CRod says:

    @CRod Harlem is not historically black. It has gone through many waves. It was a Jewish enclave before African-Americans came.

    Because I knew how to get Census data broken down by Census Blocks, I pieced together data from the 2000 Census to form Harlem (not an easy task) and found that it was actually 42 percent Latino.

    We need to be careful when using terms such as “black” and “African American.” Not every “black person” is African American. On the flip side, would you call a white South African emigre to the U.S. an African American?

    If you just said black and brown people that might cover most of Harlem. Blacks can include anyone of African descent, which would include many Caribbean Latinos (Sammy Sosa), but it can also include Jamaicans who immigrated to the states.

    But if you say that you’re excluding melanin-deprived light-skinned Latinos and people of European descent who have moved in. So that doesn’t work.

    You can’t fix an ethnic label to Harlem, because now it is a swirl of everything.

    I am Latina and grew up in Harlem but no matter where I was, no matter who I told, I would be corrected: “You mean Spanish Harlem?” And I’d tell them that I knew exactly where I grew up. 139th Street in West Harlem. Yes, WEST Harlem, not East Harlem otherwise known as Spanish Harlem.

    On my block we had white, black, Chinese (my best friend to this day, Mei Ling, grew up down the block from me), Latinos from all over the Caribbean and some from Central and South America. We also had lots of Southern Blacks who had North Carolina and Georgia accents. I learned how to bake sweet potato pie from my upstairs neighbor, Ms. Bessie Mayo. (She was a cool lady. Sadly, her son was a pervert who would expose himself.)

    What did we all have in common? We were poor, therefore insignificant. The garbage collectors frequently skipped my street. Police harassed young men constantly, kids who were targeted because they dressed in hip-hop flair.

    Today’s Harlem is different. It features thugs, young men who dress like thugs because that’s the fashion, nerdy black kids of parents don’t let them go out to play, Evangelical Latinos who don’t let their daughters shave their legs, some hipsters, gentrifiers who move in and expect all the black people to go away, white teachers who are committed to their work and accept having to live in a shithole apartment because it’s all they can afford, and lots of other assortments.

    For all of those reasons, this is how Harlem should be labeled:

    A community of historically marginalized people, a majority of whom are people of color.

    1. fantastic says:

      @fantastic fantastic.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous did someone really write a comment putting Israeli in quotes?

    1. man says:

      @man yes, because they were quoting the signboard

  • white guilt says:

    @white guilt makes it to hard to write the word “blacks” without a long hot shower.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous actually… there are different enclaves within harlem. for instance, around 116/fredrick douglass, there’s a growing west african immigrant community.

  • really bwog... says:

    @really bwog... why is this news worthy?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous i feel like, as Columbia students, we already get which ethnic group is “supposed to be” in Harlem. there’s no need for explanation, everyone already knows it’s a historically black neighborhood.

  • i think says:

    @i think the point is that the neighborhoods that aren’t obvious have nationalities. like everyone knows that “little greece” probably has a lot of greeks living there.

    but if you said “queens village” i wouldn’t immediately know that there are tons of jamaicans there.

  • Stupid says:

    @Stupid I imagine the point of this bulletin board is to provide Columbia kids with information about New York City so that it would seem as if anyone ever ventured beyond the 1 train, if not 110th street.

  • harlem says:

    @harlem according to the ny times, black people are not a majority in harlem

  • Anonymouse says:

    @Anonymouse Not enough space to fit in “People of African decent who have been enriched by relations with Columbia University vis-a-vis the Manhattanville project.”

    1. anonycat says:

      @anonycat hey, mouse,

      The people of Harlem DID NOT benefit from Columbia expansion. the landowners who sold to Columbia WERE NOT people of African descent. They were the white oppressors.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous that’s because what would go under “harlem” is “american” but isn’t that self-explanatory? we’re in america…duh.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous err, ‘North’ Williamsburg isn’t ‘Israeli’… although South Williamsburg is heavily Hassidic (and as I understand it, Hassids have little love for Israel.)

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous i dont understand. what’s wrong with saying african-american?

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