GOOD WHITE PEOPLE
A SHORT FILM ABOUT GENTRIFICATION
BY JARROD CANN + ERICK STOLL
In the Spring of 2001, the African-American community of Over-the-Rhine in downtown Cincinnati arose in protest after unarmed 19-year-old, Timothy Thomas, was killed by a white officer named Steven Roach. In the years following, in order to allure prospective residents, Over-the-Rhine was swept into a new narrative of safety and whiteness by the creation of an arts and brewery district for the creative class. While it’s dangerous and inconvenient Black history is revitalized from existence, property values rise with presence of police, tax abatements, and zoning amendments to serve and protect those properties.
Filmed during the peak of Over-the-Rhine’s urban renewal, GOOD WHITE PEOPLE follows the story of Reginald Stroud who runs a karate school and candy store in the storefronts beneath the apartment he and his family have called home for over 10 years. When a for-profit developer purchases the building they rent, Reginald and his family are told they must vacate the building and are given only 45 days to find a new home and relocate their businesses while their neighborhood makes way for start-up incubators, yoga studios, and luxury condominiums.
Formerly a target of the policies created by the War On Drugs, Cincinnati’s inner-city is now the target of urban development corporations as its black population declines. GOOD WHITE PEOPLE hopes to start a conversation about the use of coded terminology like urban renewal, revitalization, and urban renaissance, and explore how these words help to trivialize and disguise the commercial practice of white supremacy, neocolonialism, and the economic othering of low-income residents.