Someone left a comment (anonymously, of course) on the last post I wrote calling me a racist. It bummed me out enough that I haven’t wanted to approach this Web site all weekend. At first I thought, who cares what this coward anonymously wrote on my Web site, but then I realized that others may feel the same way.
If my last post came off as racist, it wasn’t intentional. Of course it wasn’t intentional. There were several races and nationalities present on the playground that day. There were several different classes present as well. At no point did I suggest that the fight was between a certain race, at least I don’t think so.
I live in between Greenpoint and Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This area is made up of every single race, religion, and nationality you can think of. It’s also home to several different classes, there are a lot of lower income people and then there are a lot of people who have moved in over the last couple of years that are (for lack of a better term) filthy stinking rich. Even more recently, there have been a lot more Western Europeans moving into the neighborhood. (Eastern Europeans make up a large group and have since long before I arrived back in 2000.) I liken the influx of Western Europeans to the solid Euro. But this is admittedly not my ground of familiarity.
Because of the huge and constant influx of people heading to Greenpoint and Williamsburg, the high schools become more and more diverse. At least that’s the way it appears from an outsider’s point of view. (And by outsider, I mean one without kids of high school going age.)
When I compared us moms to guppies, I meant we’re breeders. (Aren’t guppies breeders? Don’t they tend to take over fish tanks whether you like it or not?) When I compared the high school kids to attack fish, I meant that sometimes (especially when they’re in large groups, which is usually the case whenever school lets out around here) then can become really nasty and sometimes violent. There was one occasion where another driver and I had our cars surrounded by kids who had just gotten out of the Automative high school (the group was made up of several different races, mind you).
It was really scary, to be honest. And if Emory had been the car, I probably would have called 911. Instead, I looked straight ahead, as did the driver in front of me, and waited for them to get bored. (Thankfully, there are usually cops around that area because of the amount of fights and problems that break out whenever school lets out.)
The whole experience, the way they surrounded our cars, reminded me of piranha. Perhaps I irresponsibly failed to bring that up. Perhaps it came off as racist. If it did, it was unconscious to me.
So, I’m sorry if any of you thought my last post was racist. Perhaps it was a little classist. The groups represented on the playground last week may hold animosity toward one another because of classism, but I don’t think anyone could stay in this neighborhood for too long if they were in fact racists. They would go completely insane with hate. There are just too many different walks of life. Maybe my naivety is showing. But I have seen more acts of hatred due to class differences while living here than I have acts of racism. (Not that racism doesn’t exist.)
We live in a culture that promises its people that the harder you work the richer and more prosperous you’ll be, which is a load of crap. We’re not all given equal opportunities. Life is highly unfair for a lot of people living in the U.S. I see it here each and every day. Sometimes the folks who work the absolute hardest make the smallest fortune. I fall into the bitterness from time to time—hating on the really rich people buying up the waterfront real estate without a care in the world, without a care about the history of this place. Yet, I am that person to people who have lived here for decades. I took over at one point as well. Perhaps we need to redefine fortune to mean more than just money. Maybe then people will be less resentful toward others.
I’m not sure why I’m writing about this today. Perhaps the comment bugged me more than it should have. And perhaps that is exactly what the person was going for. (You win, anonymous coward.) But it always does. Every time I get a hateful email or comment it bugs me more than you can possibly know.
I’m also not really 100% today. I seem to have come down with one killer of a sickness. I woke up covered in hives this morning, big white welts. I feel worse than I have in a long, long time.
So, if you want to discuss race and class and how insensitive my previous post was to you, I invite you to do so. I would have left the anonymous comment had it held any redeeming points. Instead, the person insulted me and then walked away. I really do learn from the people who visit and post on here. I cherish each and every voice I have read. Feel free to say whatever you want, just be kind in making your points, and make valid ones.
And maybe today you could put one kid glove on, I really feel very ill.