“You live where?”  Outsiders, as they are known to some of my neighborhood friends, are the people who awkwardly react to your chosen transitional neighborhood.  As a generality, they tend to be suburban crackers who watch a little too much scary news to ever think of driving into your hood with the windows rolled down.

In fact, I was just told this morning that I would leave the city once I had children by a gentleman who knows nothing about me, and lives in a different metro area.  I very nicely replied that I didn’t plan on having kids, but in the off-chance that I do have one, there are plenty of accredited schools within the city.  Unfortunately, I was not in a situation where I could remark smartly and point out that I wouldn’t touch the uncultured suburbs with a ten-foot pole.

So, what to do with these outsiders?  I’m sure people have better stories that relate the social awkwardness, and ensuing eye-rolling that follows when an outsider judges your choice of residence.  My most awkward, and enlightening, experience was with an old friend in a conversation a month ago.  She was to the point and said what most will never say to my face:”There are too many black people.”  I couldn’t respond, as my jaw was lying somewhere on the floor.  Usually, people will reserve their racism, politely skirting their obvious fear of transitional neighborhoods/city by remarking about crime or schools, both to which I have practiced answers to hand back.  But, I wasn’t used to her blatant honesty and was left blank. 

I guess outsiders’ minds will never be changed by anything I say because their underlying issue simply is racism.


One response to “outsiders

  1. I think that maybe what you think gentrification is and what it actually is are two different things. Perhaps with a better understanding of all aspects of gentrification you would choose to not call your blog ‘gentrify richmond’.

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