I live in a very racially diverse area of St. Louis. My neighborhood is one of the top 15 (I have read) places in the USA where people from other countries are re-located to get a good start.
My neighborhood is a mix of African America, Serbian, Bosnian, Russian, Vietnamese, and more recently, Sudanese refugees who have the enormous good fortune to be allowed into a country with as much wealth and opportunity for a better life. People around the world know this. That's WHY we have so many who want to become Americans.
I love my neighborhood, and the diversity it contains.
Today, though, a particularly gruesome and in fact deadly event occurred. You can read the details for yourself by following the link, if you wish.
A three-year old shot himself to death. Here's how close he was to our home, 1/5 of a mile according to Google maps.
Why did this horrible thing happen? Well, let's work backwards and see:
1) Brandon Tate pulled the trigger.
2) Brandon got the gun
3) His mother left the gun within reach of a 3-year old
4) His mother bought the gun because she lives in a dangerous, drug-infested neighborhood.
5) We live in a dangerous, drug-infested neighborhood because people use drugs.
6) People use drugs to escape the horrible, depressing reality of their lives.
7) People sell drugs because they can make a TON of money more than they can working at a fast food restaurant.
8) People want to make more money than they can at a fast food restaurant in order to survive and feed their families.
9) People in my neighborhood often can't get a job because they don't have a decent education, which means they either have to work at menial, low paying jobs, starve, work the welfare system, or constantly look for work and be told they don't have enough education - or whatever excuse companies can use.
9a) alternately they can sell drugs, without much education, with no resume or hiring process, and drive around in great cars.
10) African Americans and others in poor South St. Louis areas don't get a decent education for many reasons, but one of them in my mind is the lack of equality.
We pay lip service to Equality in this country all the time. "All men are created equal" "Equal Rights Amendment", and many more examples too numerous for you to care to read.
In reality, people in poor neighborhoods don't have anything resembling equal opportunity.
Tune in tomorrow or the next visit to read about the lack of equality, it's roots, how embedded it is, and some thoughts about how to at least move in the direction of fulfilling our true values as Americans.