Wow, now here’s an idea that just may work.
The White House wants to force upscale neighborhoods to accept low income housing. If I understand it right, this is their thinking:
Force poor people to live in government housing surrounded by million dollar mansions, swimming pools, manicured lawns, fancy cars, garden parties, and privileged neighbors.
Their children will be exposed to all this plus getting to go to school in their Wal-Mart jeans and shirts, hand-me-down jackets, yard sale backpacks and maybe, just maybe some half decent athletic shoes without holes in them. Let’s leave off the standard electronic equipment required for status.
This sounds like something every child would go for.
I can imagine a poor kid from the city (makes no difference what color) suddenly moving into his new home in Elite-Ville. He sees the pools, the grass, trees, flowers, dogs, cats, kids and more. He/she is in heaven – right?
Wait for it!!!!
“Mom, can I have a dog?” No Timmy, we can’t afford one.
“Mom, can we have a pool?” No Timmy, the government won’t pay for one.
“Mom, can I get a laptop for school?” No Timmy, we can’t afford one.
Whether the parent, or the White House realizes it, or not, the child is going to be continuously bombarded with cultural differences – day in, day out.
What the children of Elite-Ville take for granted, the city child may come to envy and, potentially resent. Will he/she adjust and feel accepted? No! Regardless of how one dresses it up, the differences between the haves and the have nots exists. It is a palpable barrier that cannot be crossed simply by moving into the neighborhood.
Over time, the child may grow to miss the culture of his previous environs. The friends who shared the same socio-cultural issues. Perhaps he/she will act out by breaking the invisible rules of the new environs – petty theft, vandalism, etc. Although these acts are minor crimes and should be appropriately punished they must also be seen as psychological cries for help.
You cannot remove children from one culture on Monday and expect them to adapt to the new on by Friday. It will not happen. Thinking it will is self-defeating.
I totally agree that we need cultural acceptance and incorporation in our communities but it has to come naturally. I say take the money planned for section 8 housing in Elite-Ville and use it to build culturally diverse neighborhoods and communities. Stop building the horizontal high rises and start building single and duplex homes with yards that each resident can call his/her own. A garden, a patio, friends over on a warm evening could be the beginning of acceptance, understanding and most importantly kinship.
Here’s an idea, how about building a circular walking community the core of which would be a circular community center? No motorized vehicles (except emergency and public transportation) allowed. Instead of honking at someone, say hi! Stop for a smile – learn to appreciate your neighbors.
The only two legged race allowed would be Homo sapiens, sapiens.
Could you imagine a new culture developing out of this? I could.