Sunday, July 14, 2013

this world we live in...

I was eighteen years old when I moved to New York.  I was young.  I was naive.  I was white.  

I bounced around for several months until I settled into what would be my home for twelve months: A predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in Brooklyn - one many considered dangerous, one I felt lucky enough to afford… a little neighborhood called Williamsburg.  

My parents worried. 

I didn't realize it at the time, but I had the neighborhood to look out for me.  That's right.  As the only 'white' girl in the neighborhood, there seemed to be an unspoken rule - my neighbors kept an eye on me… they watched out for me.

I loved my time in Williamsburg… the people I met - the crazy artists living above me, my landlord (yes, my Hispanic landlord, who generously ran an extension to my apartment so I would have electricity), the squatters across the street -  eventually, as time and money permitted I moved one neighborhood over….

Twenty three years later, my daughter moved out of her tenth street dorm room in Manhattan and into a predominantly West Indies neighborhood of Brooklyn.  

I worried.  

And yet, I wonder why.  When I visited her, I experienced the same hospitality, the same welcoming arm I did twenty three years ago.  The neighborhood watches their own… regardless of race - regardless of skin color.  

But does it?

I am white.  My daughter - although half Brazilian, is white - 'whiter' than I am….

Would a 'white' neighborhood embrace a young black or Hispanic woman?  
Would a 'white' neighborhood watch out for a young black or Hispanic women?  

Sadly, I believe the answer is no.  

God forbid, a young black or Hispanic man moved into a 'white' neighborhood.

I don't understand the fear that race and skin color invoke… 

I do understand unease - however, the UNEASE of being the minority - NOT the majority.  As a WHITE person, have *you* ever thought about the black or Hispanic individual… being the ONLY black or Hispanic individual, in a sea of WHITE faces?

I am not perfect.   As I have gotten older, and have lived in less diverse neighborhoods (sadly my current neighborhood has been ranked one of the least diverse neighborhoods in the U.S.A.) I find myself looking to others with suspicious eyes…

However, I hope the day never comes where I grab a gun and talk myself into following someone who comes into my neighborhood because I don't like the look of their walk, the clothes they wear or the color of their skin - because god only knows, that could be me… that could be my daughter.


  1. <3 this! I am not racist by any means. In our very small town, we have MANY different races that have moved in bc of the natural gas boom.... The only issue I have with that is when they follow some of the younger girls around and mutter about them in Spanish. It's just creepy. HOWEVER, the "white" young men are just as bad in this town as well... so it has nothing to do with race, or skin color, but more with young ppl suck, lol

    1. honestly, guys are creepy. (just kidding)

      i've had the opportunity to live in so many different places... amongst so many different people. no, i've never been a huge fan of the 'hissing' and 'clicking'... but i'm also not a fan of walking past a construction site and hearing 'catcalls'. this can open up a whole new exploration - how men react/interact with women...

      thanks so much for your input!

  2. Replies
    1. thanks sis - you know we're on the same path here. <3