Image: mashable/christopher mineses
Sometime a tweet just hits, distilling whole topics and ideas into 140-character perfection. Every Friday, we’ll be looking into the people and stories behind that One Perfect Tweet. This week: Gentrification.
A couple of weeks ago in June, Twitter user @humancomedian dropped it: One photo, one two-word caption, and a photo well-worth its thousand words, even though it only had seven in it:
It’s darkly hilarious. Emphasis on the dark, though: The visual touches a raw nerve—it’s easy to see a neighborhood store that should ostensibly be serving a surrounding community of EBT users, taking a stand (inadvertently, or not) about what portion of that community it cares about.
"It does start with these little things," said Rosa Escandón, the comedian behind the tweet, referring to the process of gentrification. "It was really clear to me who they maybe wanted in there and who they didn’t want," she continued, "and that’s crazy to me."
Escandón, originally from Oakland, California, has lived in the BedStuy-Bushwick area of Brooklyn for about two years, and is a self-described "gentrifier by definition" in a neighborhood she calls "rapidly gentrifying."
A stand-up comedian, Escandón was on the way home from her day job before a show, looking for a quick dinner. She stopped in the newly-opened organic market looking for mac ‘n cheese, and saw the sign. Whereas nearly all the local bodegas accept EBT, this store didn’t—but did proudly take BitCoin, a digital cryptocurrency.
"I really did not think that Bitcoin was a thing that people actually used," she said. "A contract killer and like a fetus—that’s what you would use Bitcoin for."
Her shock was pretty universal. The Tweet took off.
Imagine being a store owner who’s like government assistance is too hard to deal with but we do take dark web payment
— Rosa Esc@ndón (@humancomedian) June 22, 2017
Escandon isn’t naming the store because she doesn’t want to bring down Twitter wrath IRL, but hopes the outlet will take EBT in the future—especially since it’s so common in the neighborhood.
By The Numbers:
Name: Rosa Escandón
On Twitter since: 2011
Followers, at time of writing: 2,140
Relationship to Twitter: "Honestly, I love it. I use Twitter too much."
Tweet Frequency: A couple times a day.
*Extremely silicon valley voice* Clearly the solution is to disrupt welfare with a food stamp cryptocurrency.
— Ecchi Jihadist (@InannaAkbar) June 23, 2017
"Why bother dealing with gov’t assistance that’s as good as cash when we can accept something more volatile than the fucking stock market?"
— THICC ASTLEY 🌹 (@TheMontgomery) June 23, 2017
"One person called me a ‘dummy’ and sent their hot take on the situation," Escandón said. "One man asked me how did I spend $42 at a deli—it wasn’t mine." The Annie’s Organic Mac ‘n Cheese she did buy was $3, "which I call bullshit on," she said.
"A lot of people [responding] are like ‘Fuck the government,’ and I’m just like ‘Uh, ok, sure.’ The government has a lot of problems, especially in 2017, I get that. But EBT is not the worst part of the government branches, certainly."
Still glad you sent it?
"I still think it’s a crazy thing that shows something about the neighborhood," Escandón said. Even if the newly-opened market is still applying for an EBT account, they still take Bitcoin right now. "Fuck these businesses for coming in and doing this kind of stuff to the neighborhood."
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