I had a completely different topic planned for today. My "L" topic was set to examine Cornell West's assertion that Love and Service are the superior credentials for curing corrupt and ineffective leadership.
But alas, I read the following comment at another blog about the influx of Section 8 housing into [formerly] good black neighborhoods. I flooded with emotion over my current living situation. The excerpt:
Whites uniformly resisted the influx of these persons into their areas (the “not in my backyard” syndrome). Most Black politicians (at least in my area) supported these programs out of solidarity with our less-fortunate brethren. Unfortunately, the Black politicians failed to consider what the unlimited influx of this population would do to previously stable and decent Black communities. Decent Blacks also failed to think this through in terms of demographics and quality of life. Most of us were naive and wanted to help our brothers and sisters. The few Blacks that were wise enough to predict what would happen were loudly denounced as Black bourgeousie snobs.
It turned out that the so-called snobs were right: The Section 8 people brought their crime and chaos with them, and destroyed the quality of life in previously thriving communities.
The Section 8 fiasco (or conspiracy depending upon your point of view) is only part one of this situation. Part two is gentrification. Here’s how this has played out:
After the Section 8 recipients overrun and destroy viable Black neighborhoods, the property values go way down. By that point, most Black middle-class residents have been driven out by the crime.
Entire comment can be read here: [Source]
The author of the comment was responding to an issue of race relations in the U.S. But on this day, in this moment, I can only digest this in terms of my family.
So here I am. Living in a neighborhood for 8 years and watching it decline for at least the past 6. I've observed how the Section 8 element has taken over the quality of life - everywhere from destroying the physical beauty of the townhouse fronts (think ghetto), to selling drugs, to jump-starting a gang lifestyle.
One of the local thugs recently took aim at my son. Both boys are the same age, but Baby Huey outweighs my son by about 6 inches and 100 pounds. And of course, Huey the Hell Hound perpetrated the near-assault while surrounded by a group of children.
I promptly called the police to handle the situation and followed with a visit to the local high school. I found myself crying that I haven't been able to provide a better environment for my sons to grow in.
For the past few years, I battled myself over a decision to join the community Board to help affect change. But at what cost would I work to change the minds of the hopelessly lost who are taking over my neighborhood?
My neighbors don't care enough about themselves to stop throwing dirty diapers on the ground. Garbage often surrounds the dumpsters as people don't dare reach the additional inch to keep the ground clean. Imagine the bugs and odor during the summer months. The garbage was so thick on one occasion that I took pictures.
The Board removed the swimming pool and tennis court around the time I moved in. Lack of respect by the residents ruined these luxuries for all of us.
My spark to join the Board for change was renewed after hearing about how a nearby townhouse community almost completely eradicated numerous problems after banning Section 8. And at this point, spearheading an effort to banish Section 8 remains the only good reason to participate on my neighborhood Board.
I find myself doing things that I don't ordinarily do. Emotionally exhausted, I go to sleep earlier, like I'm hiding my head under the blankets. I watch ungodly amounts of television, disappearing into the fictional lives of my favorite characters. And the biggest change yet, I find myself playing the lottery with hopes of skipping the 3-year savings plan in favor of quick money for a quicker move.
None of this is productive. And I'm disappointed in myself.
Frustrated with my inability to afford a move and sad that my credit hinders freedom of movement, I return to my townhouse daily with one hope - that soon I'll be Leaving Home.