Monday, June 29, 2009

There Goes The Neighborhood

I have lived and seen all things in Chicago. I have lived in, for lack of better descriptions, changing neighborhoods, stable neighborhood, and just the hood. I know these are loaded descriptions, but any Chicagoan at the ground level knows what I am talking about. A great book to check out is the book There Goes the Neighborhood: Racial, Ethnic, and Class Tensions in Four Chicago Neighborhoods and Their Meaning for America. The neighborhoods are all southwest side neighborhoods with given psuedonyms, they are essentially mirror images of the northwest side neighborhoods where I've lived. The voices of the people are voices of those I have grown up with or have lived with.
How do you deal with neighborhood change? What physical elements or characteristics of people make you feel uncomfortable in a place you have called home? How much change is your neighborhood willing to accept or accomodate before there is a tipping point racially or socio-economically?

Chew on this: You live on the corner of Narragansett and Addison, you are an elderly woman in a small ranch house that you have lived in for 30 years, you tend your garden and grass daily, your whole family lives in Arlington Hieghts. Then one day you wake up, the side of your house says King Killa, on top of that the Latin Kings have crossed off the message and put their symbol. Do you get the hell out or do you resist temptation and stay and work to promote understanding between gang members in your nieghborhood and your values and the values that have come to define your quiet and peaceful neighborhood for the past 30 years?

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