“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.