Gentrification is a bad word, because it blames the wrong people. Don't talk about "gentrification" or "gentrifiers." Talk about what the problem actually is: high rents, high prices, displaced residents, displaced businesses, losing old buildings, ugly new buildings, or not enough trains, buses, classrooms or parks.
Everyone knows that gentrification is the biggest problem facing our cities, and that it's the fault of the hipsters and techbros and greedy developers. The rents and prices jump sky-high, displacing poor people and small businesses. Historic structures are torn down and replaced with out-of-scale apartments. This strains the already burdened infrastructure serving the neighborhood, resulting in crowded buses, schools and parks. Everyone knows that, but everyone is wrong.
It is true that the rent is too damn high in some neighborhoods, and prices are pretty high too. Some people are getting priced out of neighborhoods where they've lived. Some good-looking old buildings get torn down, and some ugly new buildings get built. The government isn't always quick to increase transit, school or park capacity to meet demand.
What is not true is that these high rents, high prices, displacements, ugly buildings and strained infrastructure are somehow caused by hipsters (whatever they are), techbros, or greedy developers (or even non-greedy developers). In fact, we know the cause: we've turned our suburbs, small cities and countryside into hellish car-scapes, and severely limited the growth of places where you can get around on foot or by train. People try to move to those places anyway, driving up the rents and prices. Developers respond to that by building where they can.
The solution is to stop subsidizing car-oriented development and legalize more walkable, transit-oriented development. It has nothing to do with developers, hipsters or techbros. They are the symptom that will go away when the disease is cured.
The word "gentrification" automatically places the blame on the "gentrifiers." There is no way to hear the word without assigning the blame to them. If you know that they are not to blame, you have to make your mind do extra work to remove the blame from them each time you use the word. The people who hear you will not always do that work.
That's why I've stopped using the word "gentrification." Maybe you haven't noticed, but it's been absent from my blog and Twitter feed for over a year, except when I'm challenging the concept. But I still hear a lot of my friends and comrades-in-arms using it, even the ones who should know better.
So please, don't say "gentrification" unless you're attacking the concept. Think about what your focus really is - high rents, high prices, displaced residents, displaced businesses, losing old buildings, ugly new buildings, or not enough trains, buses, classrooms or parks. And then say that. And tell your friends!