picture 4 – nyc2006 or the most white folks at bedford park blvd

l-r: Christina, Semaj, Mandee, Amanda, Mike, RC, Grace, Celia, Alisha, myself.

This was the subway station we used to get on the D-Train into Manhattan. The northbound is to your right. As I said last night, our area of the Bronx is largely Hispanic, which means each one of us is a minority. Think of it this way: our area was largely the size of Erie. This means that 1 of every 10 people in Erie would be white, and 2 of every 10 would be black. This also means, Alisha, who is Native American, might see someone similar to her out of every 30 people, if she was lucky. These statistics were evident boarding the D. After 59th Street/Columbus Circle, the amount of white riders is drastically reduced. And when I say drastic, I mean the difference between the majority and the minority, even with fifty to sixty people still on the train. It was an experience that told me a lot about the state of poverty, and how tied it is to race. Manhattan likes to pride itself as being the center of the media world, and much of what America chooses to be culturally proud of has a home in Manhattan – especially midtown. This created a vacuum of diveristy. I could walk 42nd street and no minorites except Semaj and Alisha. Then, as we rode the subway not taken by tourists, the real city came to visit. And before long, we were the only white folks on the D.

And what were people’s reactions? One of honest curiousity. It was humorous to see heads turn when they would see this group of students walk by. There were times of almost concern, as though we should have gotten off a few stops before. There was one night as we were walking back to our house that a NYPD van actually stopped dead in its track to see what the hell we were doing. It was funny in its own sad way. It shouldn’t be odd to see white folks in the Bronx. It shouldn’t turn heads to see Hispanics walking Rockefeller center.

On an unlreated note, tonight marks the night I shave my beard off. Goodbye, dear facial hair of 2006. You made me believe that I, indeed, can have any hair arrangement. Except maybe a fumanchu.


One Comment

  1. I am white, of Irish descent, and lived at 15 E. 199th St., between Jerome and the Grand Concourse until 1981. It was mostly Hispanic then, but many Irish/Italian (Villa Ave.)/German, etc. were still in the mix. Less so today, but I returned in July ’06, and it is still a melting pot, as is all of NYC. I don’t think any heads turned as I traipsed down my old streets in the Bronx, I felt comfortable. I came upon this post by accident, and I don’t know where the writer has grown up, but most of us city-folk have learned to get along, embrace differences (at least tolerate them) and live together as best we can, especially after 9/11. If you are that conscious of being ‘different’ you will telegaph that to others – maybe that’s why you felt that you received some undue attention. Peace.


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