I grew up in the Bronx, and from a young age I felt that I was teetering on the edge of two worlds.
A five-minute north drive would take me to lush green parks with grand houses and smoothly paved roads. A five-minute south drive would take me to what New Yorkers like to call the concrete jungle, where there is more pavement than there is grass and most homes only have iron gates as their curb appeal.
My house is beautiful with a front and back yard, and white gates. I am forever grateful for my home, but growing up I couldn’t help but feel jealous when my dad would drop home his friend, who lived in Westchester in a beautiful neighborhood. They had the same job, so for the life of me, I couldn’t understand why his daughter had her own playroom and could ride her bike on the smooth sidewalks without having to worry about dilapidated structures in her area.
When I asked my father why is there such a difference between where we live and where his friend lived, he looked at me and told me that it is the cards we’ve been dealt but what matters most is our next move. Growing up, I realized that the inner city represented the 2s, 3s of the deck, and the suburbs were the Kings, Queens, and Aces of the deck.
But why? According to CityLab’s blog, “The U.S. Cities Where the Poor Are Most Segregated From Everyone Else,” with big cities come great opportunities. However, opportunity only comes if one is prepared. Many minorities are not well prepared in life so they miss their chance to be successful. This lack of success leads to less income and puts minorities in a box as far as what housing options they have. The blog says:
“This may simply be because large metros have greater numbers of very rich and very poor people; density and high real estate values encourage sorting by class and income. The competition for housing is greater, prices tend to be higher; and this may leave the poor with fewer neighborhoods to choose from, leading to more concentrated poverty.”
After reading that paragraph, I felt saddened by the truth. The less money minorities make, the easier it is to separate them from others by economic class. A place like Connecticut, which has one of the richest counties in the U.S., also has one of the poorest. This seems like a balancing act that reminds other citizens that because of their income, they cannot afford the same things as the wealthy — such as smoothly paved roads.