Tuesday, April 12, 2011

North Side

*Gasp!* What's this? Two blogs two days in a row? This is actually a repost of a note my sister Elisabeth posted on Facebook, and it was so wonderfully well written and to the point that I had to repost it here. She blogs over here about teacher art, a blog she hopes can be a resource for homeschooling parents, and other parents wanting to teach their children art. Anyway, this blog describes something that I have had to deal with as well, people looking down on me just because of where I've grown up.

Minneapolis = the ghetto?

I live in North Minneapolis. I have resided here for the majority of my life (20 years and counting). My family has a nice house with a yard filled with flower and vegetable gardens. We're about ten minutes from downtown, conveniently located near several major highways, shopping centers, art museums, great restaurants, etc. I like where I live. And yet...some people insist on telling me (or inferring) I live in a horrible place. That somehow, because I live in an urban area, I'm less well off or lacking in some way. Some people seem to believe and act like that as soon as you cross the boundary into Minneapolis, you will be mugged, raped and murdered. You will be pulled from your car at gunpoint, they'll steal your shoes and leave you dead in the river. Or something to that effect. Ummm.....yeah. Let me set a few things straight, friends. Yes, it's the city. Not the countryside or suburbia, where you leave your doors unlocked and your purse sitting on the seat of your car with the windows rolled down. Yes, drug dealers do conduct their business on some street corners...whereas in other areas that's behind closed doors, so it's easier to pretend it's not going on. Yes, there is more crime...but there's also more community. How often do you see, let alone talk to, your neighbors in suburbia? One of my neighbors is like another grandfather to me, we've lived by each other so long. You see your neighbors on good days and bad, they're there and you can't really ignore them. Your back doors are closer together, their apple tree drops fruit into your yard, you can hear a back door slam and the conversation held outside. (and I'm not saying there's zero community in the suburbs, you're just forced to interact with the people around you in a different way here)
Yes, it's the city--where sirens and train horns and traffic on the highway are part of the background noise of everyday life. People drive by playing their music too loud, and some person lets their dog crap in your front yard.

Yes, it's the city--where recent immigrants struggle to acclimate, boys strut by with their pants too low, and the girls mince past in jeans too tight. As a white person, you're not always in the majority. Black, White, Asian, African, Indian, mixed. Diversity is a fact of life, not something weird or unusual, it just is.

Our houses don't match, the grass isn't perfectly green, and someone's garage definitely needs a paint job. But I do not live in the ghetto. Don't look down on me because of my zip code.

If I were to list all the awesome things about my city, it would be far too long for a note on facebook. Suffice to say, I like where I live.

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