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A Community Declines

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A Community Declines

Jane Doe


ETH 123


September 15, 2006

A community years ago mainly populated with America's dominant group is quickly becoming a forgotten, educationally under funded high crime area now holding America's least valued minority group. My community had been heavily population by whites at least two to three decades ago. The community was well kept and thriving with local businesses. The county was adequately funded to maintain community appearance, recreational activities and school funding was more than adequate.

I did not always live in this area but I remember visiting the area as a young child. I lived in DC and we often traveled to this my now current community for shopping or other activities. The DC area I lived in is what my current community has turned into; high crime, drug dealers, misbehaving neighbors, inadequate schooling, unkempt community, etc. When I moved into this community, the area was still somewhat decent. When I arrived in 1998 the area was predominantly black with just a few whites that have remained in the area who kept to themselves as they may have perceived the area as I perceived my previous community, out of control.

Blacks that moved into the area years ago when populated by whites, considered themselves successful to afford to live among what was perceived as the elite (white) crowd. There was a great feeling of achievement and a false belief of equality for blacks that moved into the area. Blacks' moving into the community was too big a blow to be accepted by whites. Many whites left the area stating that blacks brought down the property value, brought a rise in crime, and disrupted the education process (meaning we weren't as intelligent and difficult to educate). There was resistance towards blacks trying to assimilate within a white community; we were not considered worthy of the same benefits afforded to whites. Many whites left the area taking with them school, community, and etc. funding. Political interest in the area became almost non-existent. Because of the growing number of blacks that are now in the area, local business left the area, no local government supported education funding, police no longer patrolled the area for crime maintenance which all led to a decline in the quality of living. Empty business locations were left empty for long periods before another business would occupy for a short time. These bare business buildings have become loitering areas for troubled youth, alcohol, drug abusers and the homeless.

Once whites moved out of the area it was said that it was populated by uneducated blacks that ran the property value down, trashed the area and brought a great deal of criminal activity to the area. What actually took place was funding was drastically reduced as now the schools are more populated by blacks and as in common in most black communities, white politicians are not as concerned with the quality of education since their children were no longer being educated in the area. As is the case with other community funding; there are no whites to benefit so there is no concern for extensive funding. True enough the property value went down because community funding that would normally cover area maintenance was a removed. Crime appeared to rise because policing of the area was drastically cut; after all, there were not a large number of white people to protect. There was not necessarily a large increase in crime, just more noticeable because disturbances were not policed. Yes, education suffers because there are not adequate staffing, materials, or funding.

My oldest daughter (16) tested to enroll in a school that offered a Science Technology program for higher achieving students. I have three daughters and cannot afford to send them all for private schooling for a better education so; this program was the next best available option. Since moving to the community, the schools have never been adequately supplied; textbooks were often outdated, worn and insufficient in supply. To my dismay, during my daughter's sophomore year in high school there was a major issue with there being no English teacher. There was no teacher for a majority of the school year. She was in an honors class which meant absolutely nothing without a teacher. Several calls and visits to the school were made but there was no permanently placed English teacher for my daughter until the fourth quarter. I wanted an explanation to the grades she received for the prior quarters. There was a substitute teacher that had the students reading assignments from the textbook and answering questions at the end of the chapters. There was no in depth teaching, essay writing, testing etc. and my daughter received a grade "B" for the first three quarters base on chapter work.

What a wonderful grade to receive, one every parent would be ok with on a report card. However, handing out lovely grades was not beneficial to my daughter and her future success. This was unacceptable. I have a fourteen year old that was going to begin high school this year and a five year starting her first year of school. I packed up my house and prepared for a quick move. We have recently purchased a home in another county which has really put a strain on our income and my two oldest are enrolled at the top school in the county. I am in a quiet peaceful area. However, now I have to commute an hour and 30 minutes to and from work each day, rising at 3:30am, drastic increase in car fuel, and a very watchful eye on expenses. Is it worth it? Yes, for my girls it is worth the early risings, long distance driving, longer work hours for my husband, low-end shopping, tight pockets, all the insects, lizards, snakes and deer (all the things a city girl is not use to) that come with living in the country. There is nothing distracting from my daughters' education process.

Unfortunately, they will not have much exposure to people like them as our new community is predominantly white. However, this change is beneficial in them learning to interact with people from other groups.

I was talking with one of my new neighbors who asked what prompted us to leave and come to the country. I told him about the area's condition and mannerisms of the neighbors when we initially moved into our old neighborhood. I then told him of the unfavorable changes that seemed to happen so fast. I felt like I was living in one of the neighborhoods



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