You Live In The Bronx?!?!

This afternoon, one of my students, Treshaun, asked me if I lived in a house. I responded that I did and he looked shocked as he asked me, “they have houses in the Bronx?” Such a sad question from a beautiful and inquisitive child. You see, to him, the possibility of living in a home with a front yard and a white picket fence seems so foreign. He is used to being surrounded by buildings in a neighborhood made up mostly of recent immigrants to this country who are trying to get their piece of the American dream. His remark really made me start thinking about the borough of the Bronx and how others perceive the people who live here.
The Bronx is infamous for being one of the poorer boroughs of New York City. In the 70s a lot of buildings in the South Bronx were burned down by landlords hoping to collect insurance money. The borough has undergone a lot of reconstruction since then and still has many areas that are middle class and upper middle class such as Pelham Bay and Riverdale. Unfortunately, however, it has never been able to escape the stigma of being an urban ghetto due to its depiction in films and the media.
It wouldn’t be the first time that someone asked me if I had ever seen someone get killed in front of me because they found out I live in the Bronx. Of course I have never witnessed that! There are many decent and hardworking people who live and work in this borough. They are upstanding citizens and they sacrifice daily to create better opportunities for their families and their children. My husband and I actually purchased a home, in an affluent section of the Bronx, five years ago. We love it here and want our children to be exposed to all of the riches that New York City has to offer.
New York City, and its outer boroughs, is the most culturally diverse place in the world. The people who live here are unlike any that you will ever meet anywhere else. Yes, we have our rotten apples just like any other inner city but it is unfair that we be categorized and stereotyped by the actions of a few individuals. Those who choose to do the wrong thing do not speak for or represent the rest of us and you can find the cloth that we are truly made of in the stories and experiences from September 11, 2001. We, as a city, experienced the single most tragic terrorist attack on American soil in history and we banded together and confronted the crisis head on.
So, I would ask you that when you think of the Bronx or New York City in general, don’t believe the hype. Do your research and you will find out that the Bronx is the birthplace of Hip Hop music. Learn that Edgar Allan Poe wrote some of his best pieces in the Bronx. Find out that New Yorkers reached out to their fellow man during a horrific moment in the history of this country. When and if you have the opportunity, come judge us for yourself. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

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