Dialogue With a Racist Continues...Even Here
If you've come to this blog looking for my posts on Cathy Salustri, the woman my colleague Rodney Thrash wrote about today who fears her petty crime-filled neighborhood is turning her into a racist, I must apologize.
The link in today's paper is to the general blog, and I wrote my stuff about Cathy a while ago. So here's some fresh links: Here you can find my longest post on Cathy, written right after she attended a meeting with the group I lead, the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists. The middle item here has a post about Cathy's reaction to my reaction. Assorted links inside those other posts will lead you to more material on this discussion.
I think Rodney's story hints at one of the disconnects going on here -- a difference that only tangentially has to do with race, I think.
As I pointed out many times to Cathy during our meeting, I grew up in a Gary, Ind. neighborhood worse than the one she's living in now. My house was robbed about six different times before I left for college, and I saw two different people get shot as a kid in separate incidents. And what I remember most about those times was not being all that shocked that such things were happening in my neighborhood, or feeling a sense of injustice that they were happening in my neighborhood.
When police came to fill out robbery reports, we did it so we could get the insurance money for the stolen items -- we never thought they would actually catch the robbers (and they never did). For me, that kind of stuff was like getting hit by lightening -- seemed like it could happen to anyone.
So I wonder, sometimes, if that isn't the difference sometimes among people in neighborhoods struggling with high crime. Some people seem to accept it -- and even sometimes take advantage of it -- while others know there's a better life possible, if you only try.
And I have a hard time believing those attitudes are limited to people of color. what do you think?