“Like me, my buddy (also black) grew up in a different DC. Not to romanticize it, but it was a time of tucked in shirt tails, “good” grammar, and what seemed like a zillion parents. Those of us who remain in neighborhoods like Petworth and Brightwood see the opposite of all this. And like some of our newer white neighbors, we are sometimes derided for being who we are. I don’t want to speak for my friend, but it angers, hurts and bewilders us. We sometimes wonder if we have been evicted from “the race”-and that maybe the paperwork got lost in the mail.The class divisions in this town are rarely discussed. But they are as real as Red Line delays. When my family arrived here in 1958-we caught the tail end of a very hue-conscious black middle class community. Some of our neighbors were less than thrilled to have “dark” people like us around.
But now I wonder if we haven’t swung-as America seems to do with everything from food to car size- 360 degrees
in the other direction. The elementary school teachers ( for example) who frequently told us we were somebody, and who, yes, preferred European classical music to James Brown, would have a heck of a time in this educational environment. So would I.
So maybe this is just some of the aforementioned “generational you know what”… I am certainly not nostalgic for the old days. I guess I am, well, angry, hurt and baffled. It does make me wonder what in the heck I am still doing here. But that is another riff.”