You ever take a wrong turn and end up in a “bad” part of town? Every time I venture to Dallas I always worried about this, especially when I am around Fair Park. Well, not every time. A couple of years ago I actually gave some thought to the concept of a “bad” part of town.
What makes it bad? Is it because it is poorer neighborhoods or high crime areas? I seriously doubt going to such areas increases your chances of getting robbed. Criminals tend to go where the money is after all. Sure you may find more illicit activities but if you know where to look you can find these in the “rich” parts of town as well. They are just hidden in plain site.
Besides, if you go to most towns in the south you can find poor neighborhoods that are not considered the “bad” part of town. So, it has to be something else about these areas. There has to be some other profound reason why people would tell you to steer away from these areas and avoid them like the plague.
Once you think about it, it really is a no big mystery why. It has little to do with socioeconomic status and everything to do with race.
Of course there are groups of people that would look at traveling these areas as a scary notion, be honest, you may be one of them. It is a bad part of town because it is different from your part of town. You may not have realized that is the reason, but underneath it all that is why you avoid it. Well, not YOU necessarily, but you know I mean.
Does that make you racist or a bad person if you do or did think like this? Not necessarily. You just have to dispel the myths you have about these neighborhoods, such as them being high crime areas. You know where another high crime area is, Wall Street.
Anyway, I digress. As you may or may not have known there was a big to do in Irving, TX a few weekends ago that every nerd either went to or wished he or she had. I’m speaking of Comic Con of course, which my family and I attended. As with my usual trips to the Metro Mess I always have that lingering thought in the back of my mind I try to repress.
This time though a new thought struck me, why is it you can only get to these neighborhoods by taking a “wrong turn”? That struck me as a bit…odd. That would imply that there was a right way to go. Short of One-Way streets this is a fallible statement. Sure there is the quick way to go or the scenic way, but a RIGHT way, according to whom?
I then started thinking about how cities are laid out: where you will find the businesses, where you will find the houses, so forth and so on.
A hypothesis formed from this that made me think of The Matrix. What we are seeing is not reality. It is a façade, a thin veneer hiding the real world. Those “bad” neighborhoods are the reality.
Don’t think so? Vision in your mind the streets and highways you usually take, for example, to your favorite restaurant. You probably only have to take a handful of roads to get there. These have businesses on them that you can see. Yet, this is only a block wide. Behind those businesses are neighborhoods. That is true whether you are talking about Dallas or Texarkana.
You have this thin ribbon of shops and restaurants built along a few major thoroughfares hiding the rest of the town. Have you ever seen the “bad” part of town from the highway? Probably not, those are eyesores. In Dallas they will build big walls to separate the two if there are no businesses. Heaven forbid if anyone is forced to see how the other side lives.
It is a two way street, literally. Where as the rich don’t see the poorer neighborhoods the poor don’t see the rich neighborhoods. People don’t normally think of this though, they just go about their lives, just like in The Matrix.
Only when you get “lost” and find yourself on someone else’s street do you notice the difference. Once you stop and think do you realize that the only reason you were scared was because you were no longer in your comfort zone, not because the area was any more dangerous.
As liberals and progressives we always talk about helping the poor and the needy. You volunteer for soup kitchens or donate things, but do you actually ever go to where they live. For some that requires going into the “bad” neighborhoods.
What if I told you there are no “bad” neighborhoods?
Trust me, I am more afraid of getting robbed in the rich neighborhoods of Dallas and Houston than walking in these other places. It is the residents of those parts of town that will sell you sub prime mortgages or cancel your pension. When they steal your money it is all of your money, not just what is in your wallet.
Just remember that next time you are out of town and your GPS decides it is a good idea to get off the interstate and take the back roads across town. Better yet, turn off your GPS for a day and drive around. Get off the main streets and see how everyone else lives.
Only then will you truly see the discrepancy in wealth in this nation. If the One Percenters had their way then we will all be living in the “bad” part of town.
Until next time…adios mi amigos.
BTW…keep an eye on that snake oil salesman Perry. Important elections are coming up and he is talking about redistricting. Something smells rotten in Denmark if you ask me. Why couldn’t he be quitting politics along with Batshit crazy Bachmann? Also, can someone make this into a t-shirt?