Friday, March 23, 2012

A question I had to ask myself

My neighborhood, for being as small as it is, is fairly diversive. A Pakistani family, two Bosnian families, a Russian family, a few African-American families, a gay couple, some old folks, many retired couples and families with varying ages of children.  This is one of the things I really like about it.

Part of the reason I strongly support public education is because of diversity----meeting others who are not like you racially, economically, culturally, etc.

But I recently had to ask myself whether the reason I dislike two families in the neighborhood is because they are black.

My initial, instant answer was no, but I had to ignore that and really look at why I dislike these particular families.  And I had to discuss it with some people I trust.

Recently a little African-American brother and sister pair has been coming to the house asking N to play.  I don't have a problem with the occasional door knock, but they come over A LOT, like a few times a week at approximately 5:00 when I am fixing dinner.  Since I have the littles it just doesn't work for N to go out to play at that time because G and M want to go outside too, and I can't let them go alone.  (We do not have a fenced backyard, and M is only 2 besides.)  And if I allow N to go but don't allow G and M to go then I have World War III on my hands, which further hinders the preparation of dinner.

Plus, on the occasions when I've told these siblings that N can't play now but can play after supper, they continue to ring the doorbell asking, "Well what time can N come out?"  My own children bug the shit out of me so I don't need other kids doing the same.

They are also kinda rough when they play, especially the boy, which is potentially dangerous with G and M being in the mix.

These kids' grandparents live in the neighborhood.  They are the neighbors who let their house go to junk.  Shutters missing, siding missing, weeds everywhere.  And if I am prejudiced against anyone it is people who keep their homes in disrepair.  I'm not proud of feeling this way, but there it is.  I just don't understand spending thousands and thousands of dollars on a home and then not taking care of it.  It suggests a general disregard that goes beyond their home to, well, everything.

(Side story:  After a storm, one of the family's shutters was about 6 houses down from them.  After about a week of them not retrieving it, I decided to take it to them.  They couldn't get their front door open---apparently there was so much junk behind their door they couldn't open it.  That was close to a year ago and they still haven't put the shutter up.)

The other African-American family with a child N's age who live close by is the one who has the invisible fence that they can't seem to operate, which means their dog goes running around loose.  At least twice I have seen this dog almost get hit by a car.  This dog also runs around into my yard.

And I am prejudiced against people who have pets that they don't keep close tabs on because it is dangerous to the animal.  If you are going to have an animal, you should be responsible enough to ensure the animal's safety.  (This same family used to have Presa Canario dogs that they allowed to stay outside deep into the night who would bark and howl, and this shows a general disregard for neighbors who are attempting to sleep.)

After much thought (that still continues), I decided that I think my dislike of these families has nothing to do with their race and everything to do with their actions....or lack of actions.  I think I would feel exactly the same if they were Caucasian.  Or Asian.  Or Native-American.

However, my dislike towards these families does reinforce my feelings that I am a snob, which is an entirely different and potentially more long-winded rumination that should be saved for another blog post.

1 comment:

Shelby said...

I can relate to this post Carrie. We have a family in our neighborhood that takes care of their home in a similar fashion. In fact, they petitioned the county to open and in-home daycare and the neighbors protested so much it was shot down. The reason? Safety! The immediate neighbors reasoned that since these folks NEVER mow their grass, and have a yard full of rodents, that it would be hazardous to a child. I can only imagine what their home is like on the inside when they take such poor care of the outside. About two years ago some teenagers egged a bunch of houses in our neighborhood...these people still have egg yuck staining their shutters and screens! Two years later! The reason I feel badly about disliking them is because they are the only African American family in our neighborhood. I know deep down that their treatment of their home, which I feel shows direspect for those who have to live around them, is the reason I dislike them. It's not because of the color of their skin. In fact, we have a few other homes that are less than stellar and those are all ownded by white people. I would like to ship the whole lot of them somewhere else! :)