Spike Lee Rants About Private Schools And Brooklyn Heights In Pratt Appearance

In case you’ve been off the social media for the last few hours, filmmaker Spike Lee appeared at Pratt Institute and went on an epic rant last night about gentrification in Brooklyn. NY Mag has transcribed the whole thing, and Gothamist’s Jake Dobkin has also weighed in.

What did he say about Brooklyn Heights?

NYMag: So, look, you might say, “Well, there’s more police protection. The public schools are better.” Why are the public schools better? First of all, everybody can’t afford — even if you have money it’s still hard to get your kids into private school. Everybody wants to go to Saint Ann’s — you can’t get into Saint Ann’s. You can’t get into Friends. What’s the other one? In Brooklyn Heights. Packer. If you can’t get your child into there … It’s crazy. There’s a business now where people — you pay — people don’t even have kids yet and they’re taking this course about how to get your kid into private school. I’m not lying! If you can’t get your kid into private school and you’re white here, what’s the next best thing? All right, now we’re gonna go to public schools.

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  • DIBS

    Always becomes a more valid argument once you p[lay the race card.

  • DIBS

    Also, go to Gothamist and read the rest of his ridiculous rants

  • brixtony

    I believe he and/or his sister attended St Ann’s. Either way, he’s a millionaire who (does he have kids?) would definitely send his kids to the closest available public school. Right?

  • S’antonio Greene

    Brooklyn Heights hasn’t gentrified. The gentry never left.

  • Lady in the Heights

    He attended PS8 through middle school and then went to St. Ann’s (I believe his mom worked there). The rant about how Ft. Greene has changed so much because the white people moved in and improved the schools (is that a bad thing?) since he lived there made me laugh. He lives on the UPPER EAST SIDE and sends his kids to private shcool! I have no problem with that. If I had his money I might do the same, but really?? Saw him on AC360 last night. What a hypocrite. He talked about how his family bought a brownstone in Ft. Greene in 1968 for $40k. It’s got to be worth a couple million now.

  • Elaine Leirer

    He has benefited from the SYSTEM that he is refuting. He is successful and apparently wealthy. Should all segments of society have the advantages from whom he has had an edge up, yes, in a perfect world. As Mr. Greene has said, the gentry never left but his mother had the sense to take advantage of the situ for him.

  • Martin L Schneider

    Spike Lee has been equally outspoken about whites and Jews over the years. He must have learned it from his Mom, who did teach at St. Anns for a while, or while working at the ice cream counter on Henry and Montague. Who knows? But this outburst of thoughtless anti-whiteism

  • Martin L Schneider

    Check your history, Greene. The gentry began its flight around the time apartment buildings and the subways arrived, ca. 1910. The salvaging of the neighborhood took place beginning in the mid-fifties when the run-down area’s many inherent virtues were recognized by the early brownstone pioneers.

  • ellymay

    Greenpoint (North) Brooklyn was a white( Irish and Polish) working class neighborhood before it was “discovered” and gentrified. Now the the irish and Polish and some hispanics can’t afford to pay the high rents or buy homes. They have gone to Queens.
    The hipsters have higher incomes, expect more, ask for more, and get involved politically to get it. It all boils down to money. Spike Lee is right in that services do improve and yes race is an element in many neighborhoods. But he should return to his neighborhood if he feels so strongly and so should other successful African-Americans who can afford to live there. I had to leave Greenpoint because I could not afford a bigger place which I needed.
    The real cause is no affordable housing in this city…it’s all” luxury” housing being built.

  • Anon

    Spike complains that people of one race move into a neighborhood where there are people of another and change it. Somehow he thinks that is not right and they shouldn’t be allowed to do it, but isn’t that exactly happened to Ft Greene 40-50 years ago or am I missing something?

  • Klezmer O’Brien

    Spike Lee had no problem with gentrification when the value of his property went up. He sold it and made a small fortune.

  • stuart

    spike has become an old geezer shaking his cane at strangers to get off his lawn.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    “What’s his problem?”
    My guess is, he is conflicted because he played the race card to make himself rich, yet he did not come from the poor downtrodden minority background, he professes to identify with, so much. over compensating out of guilt perhaps?

  • Klezmer O’Brien

    Multi multi. Spike is a one-percenter. Probably a twenty-fiver per center of a one-percenter.

  • Klezmer O’Brien

    He is in the business of being oppressed. Don’t muddy this up with the truth.

  • http://www.twitter.com/AhContraire AhContraire

    To Spike Lee:

    Affordable Housing is not the answer.

    If Affordable Housing were the answer, look no further than New Orleans, the Free Lunch Homestead Exemption where property owners have no incentive to improve their house in the ghetto as long as they get cash payments for rent from welfare queen and their thug boyfriend and have no property taxes to pay while living in a different state. Plus, if Affordable Housing was the answer, shouldn’t public housing been successful?

    Affordability versus Responsibility
    Affordability will mean nothing if there is no personally responsibility in the community you live in. It’s not about the garbage being picked up or more cops. It’s about individual responsibility just as much as social responsibility.

    Twitter: AhContraire.

  • Daniel Faith

    Even though I do not have such finances at this point, but in the light of recent events if I were to choose I would have chosen to work double-shift just to make sure I can send my child to a private school. It is just it seems to me that people in private schools and more responsible and they will worry more about safety (I am sure kids don’t bring guns over there). Another reason is of course their level of education. Children over there have no problems with writing college level original papers, o difficult researches and other.

  • WriterGal

    Spike, darling, please move to Cleveland. You’ll find everything you need here and you’ll love it as much as we do (film startups, music, cheap housing, office space, great food, theatres, good times & public schools that could use your genius the help them)..