Quote of the day – White hipsters get out of Pilsen

Transcribed from a Flickr photo linked from Steven Vance’s Steven Can Plan blog:

White hipsters get out of Pilsen. You are gentrifying cultural communities, displacing people of color. This is NOT your art community. To think so is RACIST. You are NOT welcome in Pilsen or any community of color.

The post has apparently been removed from the blog. UPDATE: The post is now available.

You can see much more of Pilsen at our YouTube Pilsen playlist – and experience much more of the raw hatred and threats of violence that some Pilsenistas express toward outsiders in the comments on the videos.


  • Sheridan B 8 years

    I feel like I’m on a Brooklyn/NYC blog when I see those caricatures.

  • Maybe the Chamber members here have a “cultural” written exam and pole tax for who can live and vote in Pilsen? This is stupid.

  • You don’t get a full impression from this one video segment.

    Watch more of our videos and I hope you’ll agree that they’re very nice, very earnest ladies, and not caricatures.

  • I’m sure the ladies themselves mean well… but sorry Joe. They are sending a negative message. Trying to state who belongs in what neighborhood…tip toeing around the subject of what exactly they mean by who “should” live there, making goofy generalizations about who does not and smirking when faced with the questions.

    This is terrible. How can people want to move there when this is what the “leaders” of the business community sound like?

    What was the culture 1900-1960s prior to what those ladies claim is “cultural” now? Should have the prior generation of these ladies stayed out because they were not part of the existing culture? not moved there if the Chamber felt they had the “wrong attitude”?

    I don’t believe them when they invite anyone to live there. Anywho, most any rational person wants safe, stable, low crime, low noise, clean street neighborhoods with good schools for their kids and local retail. They should be happy any law abiding person wants to buy or pay rent there.

    There is always an important argument about displacing the poor in any neighborhood that sees development and that’s where the focus should be… not about displacing “their culture” where the focus seems to always be in Humbolt Park and Pilsen etc. If people want to move there, rent there, build there, open new stores …they have every right in context of the laws as well as supply and demand.

  • boiztwn 8 years

    Ironic, considering the neighborhood was originally Slavic. I went to a cathedral there, originally built by Czechs, that retains the “Infant of Prague” — tattered and in neglect — on one side with a fantastic and new Guadalupe on the other.

    Pilsen is NOT an historic latino neighborhood. To act as though it has always been that way is disingenuous.

    I understand social problems with “displacement” and the like, but to act as though Pilsen has always represented a singular community is just pathetic. Neighborhoods — much less entire towns and cities — change. Pilsen is not exempt, nor is it special in this regard.

  • Mike 8 years

    I can only imagine the response and press coverage of the tribune or sun-times, if a River North, Gold Coast, or Old Town community leader of white or Asian descent said something like, “Low-income blacks that live in tax subsidized CHA housing, get out. You are ruining the cultural feel of our upscale, trendy, and affluent neighborhoods. Our property values are lower than they should be because your in OUR neighborhood walking around attacking our residents and panhandling aggressively. This video is simply stunning.

  • I may be naive, but the ethnic make ups of neighborhoods change over time. Is it presumptuous to even think that a neighborhood like Pilsen will always remain a Mexican neigborhood?

  • Eric,

    I am extremely intolerant of any form of housing bias and have been throughout my life. I’m a harsh judge – a hanging judge – of anyone who exhibits or even hints at bias.

    I spent several hours with one of these ladies, off and on, at a neighborhood conference in Edgewater, and spent almost 3 hours visiting them in Pilsen.

    They’re very different in their personal styles than you or I, but I sensed no bigotry or inclination to exclude anyone from Pilsen when with them.

    If all you know about these ladies is what you see in the video, and if you focus on individual phrases, you may come away with the impression you did. I think it’s a wrong impression, because I think they’re talking about how people should behave towards the existing residents rather than about who should live there.

    Just the other day I was telling you that hyper-yuppie behavior made DePaul unlivable for me back in the day. Is it so hard to understand how these ladies can react to what – rightly or wrongly – they perceive as very unneighborly behavior?

    I haven’t watched this video in years. I’ll take a fresh look at it and see if that affects my thinking. But, my understanding of good manners makes me reluctant to criticize anyone who’s spent time with me on camera unless I express that criticism when I’m with them.

  • Joe, I agree about taking these videos and making a judgement may be short thinking.

    However, they DO as community representatives have THEIR opinion how people should act. Obviously, we all want civil behavior. But, they are making judgements about people too. If young “hipsters” or yuppies don’t want to talk to the young “hip-hop” people on the block, this is not the place of the Chamber ladies. This is my analogy, but their analogy is “we are going to talk to you, and if you’re not talking to us you don’t belong”.

    They tip toe around what they feel is acceptable “culture”. If a community takes an “us” and “them” attitude, than its the wrong attitude no matter who is the “us and who is the “them”.
    This is the same type of us and them environment I have heard anecdotal stories about Bridgeport to this day, not to mention the famous race riots of the old Daley days. Us and them.

    I laughed at your Lincoln Park yuppie story above (running you off the sidewalk in their Bugaboos), and there is reasons folks may or may not choose to buy a house there or any community. But a community itself that continues to be blatantly, on video, possessive of a culture (they define themselves) for signal neighborhood of the city I also live in is hard to deal with.

  • I meant “single neighborhood”

  • Eric,

    There’s a world of difference between not liking people’s behavior and discriminating against their housing choices. That’s my sole point.

  • Yanni 8 years

    I’m surprised that hipsters would be as intolerant of working class people as yuppies. I always thought hipsters were supposed to be bohemian and unconventional, out of the mainstream. They seem to be emulating the same values as most suburbanites. What’s so “hip” about that?

    They are probably “posers” or fake hipsters. They like the clothing and appearance, but it’s all a facade. Or perhaps I was all wrong about hipsters in assuming they had any semblence of bohemianism.