Thursday, July 2, 2015

Mecca Of Meccas

In the Southeast Atlanta has at one time or another been characterized as a "Mecca" for some self-identifying group. A black mecca all the way from folks fleeing repression in the South on into the Civil Rights movement (though largely around Atlanta, for well documented reasons) thru freaknik and now into Hippity Hop Central. Then there is the gay and lesbian community, originally holed up around Piedmont park but time and tolerance offered geographic dispersion and a general attitude of "OK, you're gay."

But since the ill-conceived invention of freon and the equally ill-conceived expansion of the airport, Atlanta has been a mecca for business. No unions, low taxes, cheap houses (not just inexpensive, but cheap) and access to the finest sports, entertainment and medical care by way of our airport made Atlanta a no-brainer for snow-bound Yankee businesses, their executives and managers. And we got a lot of the no-brainers.

It's not just that these were people willing to uproot themselves, abandon family and community, so that they might carve out a new life just north of the gnat line, but that they did it for money. Resonates in daVille. Dunwoody would not be what it is today were it not for the confluence of white flight and the influx of Yankee migrants and a bit of the former and much of the latter persists to this day. This not only explains the braggadocio of "More Dunwoody Than You"* but also Dunwoody's enduring success at self-segregation.

It also explains one of our biggest problems: lack of identity. When most movers and shakers come from somewhere else and the weight of their opinion (and intellect) can be summed up in "I've lived in Dunwoody for 23 years and I say we..." no one should be surprised that we are eat up with folks who want daVille to be just like [NYC, Chicago, Seattle, Denver, ...] except for [the cold, the snow, the wind, the high prices, ...]. Rather than pretend Dunwoody is (or should be) just like where ever you're from except warmer we should accept that Dunwoody is a Mecca for Whites with convenient access to Hartsfield so you can go visit where ever you're from. Our real brand isn't Smart people -- Smart city, but more like "White Flight Stops Here!" Own it.

* "Dunwoody resident since 1992" is even a tag-line on the City's home page. And yes, the couple pictured are white. Cruise the Dunwoody web site and check out all the pictures and play the Aryan from Darien version of "Where's Waldo" where you look for black people.