Perspective and the “Minority Report”


By: Erik Rush

Recently I received an email from a black gentleman with a family who are considering relocating to the area in which I live, one that has what is commonly called an “emerging minority population”; he was interested in the dynamics of the situation, how his family might acclimate itself to the area and what services were available for people of color.

Research in this area is always prudent, in my estimation, and this fellow asked intelligent, reasonable questions. I answered as sincerely and honestly as I could given my perspective – and advised him that perspective itself would have a lot to do with how he and his family would find the area and environs.

I’ve lived in areas where if one were not a member of the preeminent ethnic group, they were going to have a hard time, and trying to change it in any meaningful way would have been useless and dangerous. I’ve also lived in places where incidents of discrimination were common, but frowned upon by most, places where one could get help if they ran into a serious problem. I’ve lived in places that were accepting of all people in general, and attuned to the sensitivities and sensibilities of ethnic
minorities.

Finally, I’ve lived in places where the latter scenario was the case, but where hypersensitivity, outside political influences and propaganda really threatened the good thing the community had going with respect to race relations. For example: There’s been a lot of media coverage of certain high-profile hatemongering career black activists lately. If you’re an ethnic minority who lends credence to such people, you’re not going to be happy wherever you live.

As far as services for people of color goes: Can contributing, honest, hardworking people of color find a decent standard of living, good schools, welcoming places of worship and businesses they’ll feel comfortable patronizing here (and likely in similar communities)? Definitely. Will they find a city and city government that is sensitive to their sensitivities and sensibilities? Absolutely.

Unfortunately, ethnic minorities moving here (and likely in similar communities) frequently also find the aforementioned purveyors of hypersensitivity, outside political pressure and propaganda enticing them into the culture of entitlement and victimization. Ironically, a lot of these are white.

I’m reminded of the story about the man who was working on the highway between two towns about fifty miles apart. One man rolls up with his rented truck, his anxious family following close behind in the sedan. He explains that his company has transferred him to the town up ahead, and asks the highway worker what kind of people they’ll find there.

The road worker asks him: “Well. what were the people like in the town you just came from?”

“Oh, they were wonderful!” the man says. “From the day we moved in, it was just such a welcoming place for the family. We’re sorry to have to leave.”

“Well,” said the highway worker, “I think you’ll find the people up ahead are a lot like them.”

A couple of hours later, another man drives up and stops his rented truck, his family in the SUV behind following suit. He explains that they’re moving to the next town as well and poses the same question to the highway worker.

The worker, rubbing sweat from his brow, asks him: “Well. what were the people like in the town you just came from?”

“Oh, man!” the gentleman snarls. “They were the rudest, most unwelcoming bunch of rubes I’ve ever had the displeasure of living amongst. From the day we moved in, it was awful. In fact, that’s why I decided to ask my boss for a transfer.”

“Well,” said the highway worker, “I think you’ll find the people up ahead are a lot like them.”

We tend to get what we expect.



Erik Rush is a New York-born Black columnist and author who writes “The Culture Shark,”a weekly column of political fare. He is also a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. An archive containing links to just about everything he’s written is at http://www.erikrush.com.

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