Fixing Up Waco
April 20, 2019 10:59 AM Subscribe
Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of the hit TV show Fixer Upper are not the only people investing in the physical and spiritual "restoration" of Waco, Texas. In a long article for Buzzfeed, Anne Helen Petersen investigates who is being included and who is being left out of efforts by members of the Gains's Antioch Baptist Church to transform Waco.
While that phenomenon is broadly referred to as the “Fixer Upper effect” or “Magnolia effect,” it goes far beyond Chip and Joanna. In many ways, the story of Waco is an old-fashioned story of a company town, where the university (Baylor), the biggest church in town (Antioch Community Church, where the Gaineses are members), and one of the biggest businesses (Magnolia) largely dictate how — and through whom — power and prosperity spread and reproduce. And like any town in the throes of transition, there’s a part of Waco that’s wary of promises of salvation if it means sacrificing ownership, literal and figurative, of the community — and handing over control to those who’ve historically demonstrated little interest in preserving that community....
There is, after all, a Waco that you don’t see on Fixer Upper — a Waco that’s over 21% black, over 32% Latino, and where 26.8% of the city lives beneath the poverty line. To some, the Magnolia effect is not just transforming houses and vacant brick storefronts, but smoothing and sanding the actual diversity of town, painting everything slightly different shades of white. Everyone’s invited to the Restoration of Waco. But what if, despite the invitation, you still don’t feel welcome?
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