Without a doubt, the reality of living here is that people are working paycheck to paycheck, spending more than half their income on housing, avoiding doctor visits because they cost too much, and worrying about their future financial stability.
It's not just a problem for younger generations, and the troubles extend beyond the Miami city boundaries. The older person bringing your Uber Eats order, retrieving grocery carts, delivering your pizza, taking care of children or the elderly, or working at farms likely can't afford to retire and will almost certainly labor until they no longer can. They are someone's grandparents, and they provide a glimpse into the future of every person who can't make a decent living in an unaffordable city.
But if you're part of Miami's growing tech scene, you probably have yet to acknowledge that. Some of the newcomers seem to have vacationed here for a week and decided to move to Miami for the glitz and glamour — and, of course, Florida's tax breaks.
Most recently, entrepreneur and investor Jack Abraham, who moved to Miami last year, tweeted about how great the city is.
"One of the defining characteristics of Miami is happiness and optimism. People are happy here," he tweeted last week. "You see smiles on the street. Everyone says hi. There is a buzz and energy in the air."
We're not sure who he's been meeting. Trees are filling up with mangos this time of year, so maybe some people are happy about that. But most days, the kindest greeting you can expect to receive in Miami is a furrowed eyebrow, suspicious glare, or curt nod from someone who was unfortunate enough to look up from their phones just as you were making eye contact.
Yet the biggest lie in the tweet came at the end, when Abraham gushed, "There are even apartments here with balconies, water views and pools for just $600 a month!"
Look at apartments for rent on Craigslist and set the maximum price to $600 a month, and you'll find a small efficiency in Homestead for $525. But the landlord won't offer a lease or make any kind of rental agreement. Per the listing, they're just looking for someone to help out with the bills temporarily.
Even in Broward, a private room will cost you $590 a month. One listing advertises a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment with a lake view and patio for $600 a month, but when you visit the management company's website, the apartments rent for more than twice that much.
Abraham got so much flak for the tweet that he deleted it and blocked some of the people who disagreed with him.
Miamians may be cranky and jaded and full of road rage, but they keep it real. If you're being a clown in real life or on social media, you can bet your ass someone will let you know.
But as is true with anything, Miami has its layers. The abrupt woman serving coffee at the ventanita will warm up to you once she sees you a few times. The people working at your favorite restaurant will remember your name and ask about your family. You'll come home one day and find a sack overflowing with mangos or avocados when it's that time of year. Some neighbors will hate you and never look you in the eye. Others will chat you up over the fence or call you by your childhood nickname well into adulthood.
Miami is home to people of all backgrounds, you may say, so why are we hating on the tech bros? Maybe it's because they're adopting the language and entitled attitudes of colonizers. They're leaving places that no longer serve them and acting as if they're the first to discover the superficially magical, beautiful places that will become playgrounds for them and their wealthy peers.
These newcomers have the privilege of seeing happiness and optimism everywhere, even when the locals don't. They have the good fortune of eating prized meats and taking in sun-drenched, waterfront views in a county that has experienced unprecedented need, hunger, and housing insecurity during a pandemic. They can display how little they know about their new home on social media and then delete the post as though it never happened.
All this without taking into consideration the people who actually live, work, raise families, and survive here. The ones who have already been priced out of their longtime homes, and the ones who will endure the same.