our day in the gheto park

The other day, we went to this park. We felt on edge the whole time. Today we talked about our reasons for feeling so nervous. Was it because we were not from "that neighborhood"? Was it because the projects--where the majority of homicides occur in this small city--were less than 100 feet away? Was it because two ostensibly homeless men that both appeared very strung out mumbled their ways around us, eyeing Greta? Maybe. My theory is that we both felt guilty for not knowing why we felt nervous, for feeling conspicuously "white" and "middle class," for traveling with our daughter into "Toddler Land" like the over-protective parents we don't want to be. Is it because we have a little girl? Does this make us shelter our family in ways that lead naturally if not intentionally to classism (or worse)? Sigh. At least Grt had fun. our day in the gheto park


Blogger brian carlson said...

a couple of thoughts here ....

first of all, you ARE white and middle class.

Second, you have very good reasons for feeling on edge, I would be more concerned if you just blissfully wandered through the gheto unconcerned for yours, or your family's safety. There is a difference between trying to not be classist and having common sense. If you are in an area that historically has a really high crime rate it would make sense that you would be at least a little on edge, that doesn't mean you are classist or evil, it means you are paying attention. Don't beat yourself up to much over this.

And to answer your last question, yes it is because you have a child(not just a girl) that you have become so protective, your a parent, I pretty certain that is in the job description :-)

10/23/2005 8:07 AM  
Blogger e said...

bc-- you're probably right.

however, I have this sneaking suspicion that Jesus didn't feel on edge when hanging out with thieves and murderers the way that I did when hanging out--where?--near a place that is purportedly the scene of many crimes but with few people around. In broad daylight.

Caution is necessary these days. I do want to protect my girls. But I'm also acutely aware that there was something else going on...something cultural. Something that had little to do with any actual threat and more to do with my proximity to people seemingly very different from myself.

Ironically, I came from a rather rough high school and was friends with some of the thugs who "ran" the place. I wasn't afraid then. What's happened to me that I am now? "Respectability?"

10/24/2005 10:54 PM  

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