Monday, August 25, 2014

Don't be this person. Ever.

The things people will put on Twitter for all the world to see. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have noticed a similar dynamic with many people in my office. I guess because they know I have lived in DC for some time now, one of them asked me where a good place to buy a home in the area would be.

After I was done talking about the benefits of Baltimore (I know you can't really commute from there but still Vacants to Values!), I said that there were plenty of places in DC were you could get a home at a reasonable price - at least relative to prices in the DC metro - that were in neighborhoods that simply got a bad rap in the "popular imagination." 'Popular imagination' meaning what most white or relatively affluent people seem to think.

It is my impression that for many white Americans as well as many affluent Americans that are Asian or Latino, there is a deeply ingrained reflex to call any area "dangerous" that has A) a large number of African American residents and/or B) an "untidy" or "run down" appearance in places. It's as if the mere presence of black people signals danger to them, and the only way this ingrained fear is mitigated is if the area has obvious and outlandish signals of wealth. (E.g., there are probably quite a few white people who would think that Largo, MD is dangerous but less than would consider EotR dangerous.)

Much of the east side of DC - not just east of the river, but much of Ward 5 as well - gets immediately tarred as dangerous merely because it has a mostly unrenovated housing stock and a large African American population. Granted, crime absolutely does occur but crime in gentrifying areas is overlooked while crime EotR is magnified. My neighborhood - with less renovated buildings, more poor people, more African American residents - has less crime than Columbia Heights, for instance.

I don't know if there are any practical solutions to this. This is just America. This is a place where even a seemingly newly arrived immigrant or the child or recent immigrants can easily be as fully enmeshed in our centuries old prejudice as your average Klansmen.