The Gentrification War (with some Mass Effect on the side)

So I saw this article a few days ago about how the privileged families of Brooklyn are against desegregating a couple of schools in that area. The “I’m not racist but…” scenario was even thrown somewhere in there…..

I’m not going to go in to too much detail about how much of a face palm those elitists in Brooklyn are, but the article did get me thinking more and more about how much of an issue gentrification really is and I noticed something. In some ways gentrification is a lot like the Reaper invasion in the Mass Effect series!

(WARNING: This article contains massive spoilers.)

For those of you who don’t know, Mass Effect is a video game trilogy (soon to have its fourth installment) based in the Milky Way Galaxy many many many years into the future where space travel is old news and fighting for alien equality is a thing.

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The story is about Commander John/Jane Shepard (gender is chosen by the player) and his/her squad mates’ mission to not only prove that Reapers actually exist, but to also fight them when they do invade the Galaxy in the third game. The Reapers are a race of synthetic sentient spaceships that invade the Milky Way every 50,000 years to harvest and slaughter every faster-than-light  space traveling race in the galaxy during that cycle.


Now you’re probably wondering…”How in the hell is gentrification like a Reaper invasion”? Other than the fact that it is very freaking bad, it’s more of the Reapers methods where I find the comparison. I see a few similarities between their methods and some of the signs of gentrification. Lets go down the list shall we?

1) NOOO!!!! IS THAT A HARVESTER?!?! Oh no wait, its a Starbucks.

Harvesters are large creatures that the Reapers use for Troop transports. Just as Harvesters are “one of the first indications that a Reaper invasion is underway”, Starbucks and other trendy store chains are a sign that gentrification is soon coming and Mom-and-pop shops will be destroyed!!!!

……Well not destroyed but they do get run out of business.


2) Someone whitewashed  and painted a flower over my mural of Big Punisher. The comms can wait. 


Another tactic of the Reapers is to destroy comm buoys before an attack to cut communication so that no help will arrive and to confuse their victims. Graffiti are is a unique and beautiful way to show the long history and culture of a neighborhood.

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That is until it gets whitewashed…

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Just as destroying a comm buoy cuts connections to allies, whitewashing art is just cutting a neighborhood of from its culture and individuality.

3) Either a souless Husk is about to attack me where I stand or a Hipster just walked into my job…..

Now let’s get into the meat of the invasion. A Husk is basically any kind of human or alien race that is corrupted with Reaper tech and become mindless zombies that serve as the ground troopers to deal with on world enemies for the Reapers.


Hipsters on the other hand are in fact any human with mustaches, tight pants, lumberjack wearing mindless zombies who are corrupted by the need to attend indie band shows, be the first to like anything, and drinking kale.


While Husks were born from Dragon’s teeth, Hipsters were born from trust funds. While Husks take the life out of any inhabited colony, Hipsters suck the life out of any inhabited community. While Husks are made for the sole purpose of killing organics, Hipsters are made for the sole purpose of killing my nerves.

4) So wait….You LIKE the kale?

In Mass Effect you run into a few people are actually FOR the Reaper invasion.


But its okay! It’s okay. Those people are just  indoctrinated. Indoctrination is the brainwashing method used by the Reapers emitting a signal to control organics. Those organics then start to become more open and friendly to the idea of reapers bringing impending doom on everyone. In today’s world, there are those that seem to welcome gentrification with open arms. Most of the time their reasoning completely ignores what is going on with lower income families and focuses on the “up and coming” and how can the community benefit from new development. Some may even claim that gentrification is a myth.

5) My landlord said the rent increase only applies if my income is $25,000 or less….Wait…..


Cerberus is a pro-human organization in Mass Effect that are often seen as terrorists for their extreme tactics. By Mass Effect 3 they begin to openly terrorize everyone INCLUDING humans to advance their plans.

When notified of the potential influx of higher income people in the area, landlords tend to hike up the cost of rent to adjust to the new guests and to make room by evicting old tenets that can not afford the new rent.


You would think that since most of the landlords have been a part of the community for  so many years that they wouldn’t do something so unethical and borderline sociopathic.


6) But whats that dark shadowy place? Williamsburg Simba……Williamsburg…….

Eventually entire star systems will go dark meaning that the Reapers have conqured that system. Everyone there have been defeated, abandoned the place completely, or worse….they’ve become husks.


With gentrification the end result is actually aesthetically pleasing.


But just how many of the long time residence will be there to see it?

7) And lest we forget…

The Reaper invasion destroys many homes and leaves not only a death toll, but also many refugees


As gentrification dominate a comminity, many people are displaced because of its effects.









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