How Vampires VS the Bronx Touches on Gentrification in Low-Income Communities
Updated: Jan 20
By Kaitlyn Levine
Image retrieved from Wired
A group of friends coming together to save their neighborhood from bloodsuckers, both literal and physical. In the 2020 horror-comedy, Bronx tweens uncover a horrifying secret of their new neighbors, whilst fighting a dying community.
As we begin the movie, business owners are shown being bought out of their shops and the prices of living are raised. The immediate effects of this are the increasing flyers for shops, and homes that are to be built. As the movie progresses, all Vampires are noticeably white. These connections begin to circle an overall message: the gentrification of predominantly POC neighborhoods. Though realistically, all antagonists are not white, the gentrification of neighborhoods predominantly benefits white people.
The protagonists encounter a friendly white woman, Vivian. While she appears kind, her true demeanor is revealed later in the story. As menial of detail as it seems, it hints at the real persona of gentrifiers. “She tiptoes in the fear that her neighbors are politically, economically, and socially weaker than she. Often young and white, the tiptoeing gentrifier assumes that the pre-existing non-white community is impotent and disorganized...” Nextcity.org outlines four types of gentrifiers, one of which being the tiptoeing gentrifier. Vivian embodies the tiptoeing gentrifier through her soft persona, yet notable perspective of the Bronx, stating “...you’re just a bunch of poor kids from this [redacted] you call the Bronx.”
All Skinfolk Ain’t Kinfolk—a popular saying within the POC community promoting unity, peace, and loyalty for members of an ethnic group. However, the effects of external influence are illustrated when Henny begins working with Vampires. Despite being from the Bronx, he actively works against the community, not seeing full repercussions until he is first faced with Vampires. This is further proven when the mother of Bobby, a teen who encounters the vampires and fights to take the Bronx back, wants to sell their apartment. Rather than viewing it as gentrification, she believes the neighborhood is a bad influence on Bobby. As the neighborhood is riddled with gangs and violence, his getting in trouble only further proves that they should move out of the neighborhood.
Image retrieved from Brick Underground
No, there are no vampires (hopefully) that POC communities fight to save their neighborhoods. However, the development of communities to meet demand continues to rise, and change the homes of people. The median rent of the Bronx has increased by 45% since 2005, pushing $1,130 in 2016. The “newly developed neighborhoods” push native inhabitants out of their homes, and raise the prices for those who stay. Gentrification continues to affect predominantly POC communities, and will as long as the displacement and housing issues affect America.
While Vampires vs The Bronx may not be the best source for learning to fight vampires, it does give insight into the struggles of gentrification. The intrinsic value of POC communities has consistently been shown to be inferior to white communities, and gentrification is only a side effort. POC communities often face gentrification, and it continues to display the racism embedded in America's founding.
Written by writer Kaitlyn Levine