Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Downside of Diversity

The Future Aggie wanted to play tennis last night, but I got home too late.
So guitars were brought forth.
Our friend and neighbor Amy came over and we sat on the deck and played and sang for about two hours.
We live in East Fort Worth, in what can only be called a "changing" neighborhood. I love it here.
I live on a corner lot and my neighbors, starting from the northeast, are (by minority status): black, gay, white, lesbian, black, hispanic, white, and a mixed race hardware couple (he works for Home Depot, she works for Lowe's.)

Amy and I realized that we were in a row of four adjoining homes that contain 1) a former Catholic priest, 2) a Baptist Youth Minister, 3) A protestant music minister, and 4) a newly ordained minister from the Universal Life Church - that's Amy. She did this so she could officiate at her friends' weddings.
Seven weiner dogs live within a block of each other. They live and bark harmoniously with the Black Labs and German shepherds.

The East Fort Worth / Meadowbrook neighborhood is a diverse place.

Our schools, public institutions, and politicians talk about "Diversity" like it's one of our most precious resources. Maybe it is.

But if that's the case, why do the most diverse neighborhoods get the worst city services? Fort Worth Weekly published a list of the problems a few weeks ago....I'm also saving it here, just in case the people at the FWeekly take the article down.

Here's my theory. If my neighborhood was comprised of 46-year old white guys who read a lot, voted the same way, did the same things socially, sent their kids to the same schools, and went to the same neighborhood churches, then we would have zero potholes on the East Side. We would see each other more often, form common bonds, and put group pressure on the city to take care of the potholes. (If you don't believe me, count the potholes near Tanglewood Elementary. It won't take long.)

Why would someone who rants about government spending gripe about the spending in HIS neighborhood? Well, there are things that only government can do - provide for roads, the common defense, provide police and fire protection, and deliver the mail. Ironically, with the exception of the fire department, those are the exact same areas where they do a crappy job on the East Side.

But since we're so diverse, we don't see each other except in the neighborhood front yards. We don't organize and raise hell about the city inadequately repairing the street in front of my house three times in twenty years just to get the money spent. The only thing we have in common is a zip code.

But we're diverse. And that's supposed to be good, at least according to our politicians who love to spread the "D" word over every possible sentence and document.

I wonder why they prefer diversity ? ? ?

Oh. I get it.


Anonymous said...

IMO, just MO, we've got the following working against us:
Neighborhood "leaders" with years and years of baggage with City Government and issues of controlling everything anyone does or says in regards to Meadowbrook; A City Rep who panders and listens to the above "leaders." Both are vastly out of touch with the majority of residents in Meadowbrook and how their back scratching politics impacts the neighborhood. Just alot of pettiness that many of us are turned off by and not willing to be involved in which keeps the newbies at home and away from our neighbors for the most part. Maybe we should start having more frontyard block parties. BTW, I'm w/in ears reach of those weiner dogs on the corner. That corner of Meadowbrook is protected for sure! Great post. I love East Ft. Worth, it's beautiful and full of potential.

macon d said...

Yes indeed, the claim of most white folks in positions of power that they "embrace diversity" is mere, rank hypocrisy because what they really do is keep it at arm's length.

I wonder also how much such general neighborhood upkeep is funded by residential property taxes. A neighborhood full of 46-year old white guys probably also has more expensive homes than yours does, and thus higher property taxes, and thus more money to spend on general upkeep.

macon d

Anonymous said...

Macon - "the claim of most white folks in positions of power that they embrace diversity...." I understoop Sepulchre to say "politicians." I didn't read where he broke down the attitude into colors, nor do I believe that the "white folks in positions of power" are any more to blame than black folks in positions of power. Are you saying that Black politicians embrace diversity more the White ones? As far as what property taxes are paying for, I've wondered the same thing. Not only property taxes, but sales taxes from businesses are much greater in the cleaner neighborhoods because who really wants to come to neighborhoods full of litter, poor lighting, roads full of potholes, vacant buildings, abused dogs and nasty properties to spend their money? Drug addicts & men looking for hookers is about it. I heard that all taxes for the City go into one pot and that it's not divided according to what section contributes the most. I don't really know the truth on that one, but sure would be interested in seeing it on paper.