Many people, including the NAACP, apparently missed the satire behind activist lawyer Adam Reposa’s “White people exclusively” stickers that were put in Austin store windows, which he now takes credit for, and explains in a Youtube Video called “Why I did it” in which he refers to himself as the “DWI Bada**.” The attorney claims that “gentrification” is a terrible problem in Austin, with a stark divide between rich and poor, and that black people are being driven out of Austin.
“I knew I could bait y’all into being as stupid as you are, just by allowing the issue to be framed in the most simple way. Like, ‘Oh, he said an offensive term — let’s not worry about the actual condition of the way things are.’ Why I did it is pretty clear, because it would be obvious that even though people know the real problem — and the problem is people without money are getting f****d — they’re getting pushed out, and pretty quick.”
Reposa appears shirtless in the video, and with a large tattoo. He has a Facebook page where he and made of his advocates have made it clear they do not consider themselves racists nor bigots, but satirical activists trying to draw attention to what they feel is a real problem in Austin, Texas. The stickers that have appeared in storefront windows say “Exclusively For White People: Maximum of 5 colored customers. Colored BOH Staff accepted. ” and are meant to be completely satirical, to demonstrate the issues of racism of gentrification, according to Reposa.
On Reposa’s Facebook page, he and his friends mock Austin authorities, saying the attempt to draw attention to the issue went “way over their heads.” One Facebook friend of Reposa’s expressed his disgust at the lack of understanding by Austin authorities concerning the “White People” Stickers, which showed up in six Austin businesses over the course of a week.
“Amazed at how many folks completely missed the satire of Adam Reposa’s brilliantly disruptive yet pretty much harmless ‘white people stickers.’ The new Mayor and Rep Dawna Dukes and even the NAACP chairman all missed the point, diverted the discussion, and they totally squandered their opportunity to address the very real problem of gentrification and systemic racism in Austin.”
It’s unclear if Reposa will be officially charged, though the act has been deemed by the NAACP and local law enforcement to be a hate crime and vandalism. The racial and socio-economic divide appears to be a true problem in Austin, even if one disagrees wholeheartedly with Reposa’s methods of drawing attention to the issue.
Reposa has a valid concern that nobody can deny. According to the Daily Texan, Austin is the fastest-growing city in the US, gaining more than 40,000 new residents in its population every year. The new populace is not of diverse ethnicity nor economic backgrounds, however. The vast majority are white and wealthy and they are effectively driving out poorer minority residents of their homes and neighborhoods because home values continue to increase. Researchers have noted that Austin is the only city in the U.S. among the top ten fastest growing cities that has suffered a significant net loss of African-American residents during the decade of 2000 – 2010.
For Reposa, this is “gentrification” and must be stopped, or he feels the entire culture of Austin is at risk of becoming nothing but a memory. What are your thoughts on Reposa’s views and his tactics to draw attention to this issue?