Thursday, February 2, 2012

Black History Month and Where I Live

In one of my classes we were discussing segregation, especially within schools and the incredibly inequality of education. We heard a clip from the agitator Jonathon Kozol. If you are a social worker, you will be familiar with his work, if you aren't, please read some of his books. (this class is slowly drawing back to social work...) He really got me to thinking about where I live. It is no secret that St. Louis is very segregated. I don't mean suggest every neighborhood is like that, but there was a lot of white flight. I live in suburb north of the city that is also experiencing white flight. We knew that when we moved here. It was an adjustment. Not with living within an integrated community, but with the extreme negativity the white folks had with their new neighbors. Once again, not every one is like this, but it wears on you. I have chosen to live here and I am tired of people criticizing it! I can't even imagine what it must be like to be African American and know that you have all this negativity directed towards to you. Due to the housing collapse, a lot of the flight has stopped and people are starting to get used to each other. The misunderstandings and assumptions are fading. I remember growing up thinking that I wanted my children to have friends from all different backgrounds (race and class). They are getting that here. Their school is approximately 50% white and 50% minority (mostly African American, with a few Hispanic and Asian). To my kids, the world is not segregated. Skin color is just a color. Their best friends are African American and that is completely normal. They see us hang out with a whole spectrum of people and that is just everyday life. Is everything perfect? No, but no community is. But, to break down those walls, we need to live with each other and see each other as individuals and all the gifts we bring to the table.

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