Until age 13 I thought all of St. Louis was black and that most white people were just school teachers and people you saw on television. Then we moved and CULTURE SHOCK, things got different. At first, this was depressing and isolating, but as I pursued my journalism career life took me to places where I was often the only black person on the job or in the neighborhood. In the end, I learned that I could be comfortable anywhere (and with almost anyone) as long as I maintained true to who I was at my core. I elaborate on this for Clutch Magazine this Tuesday.
Entries in St. Louis (26)
Since returning back to St. Louis to tend to my family and wait for my younger sister to give birth (first baby in the family!), I've been fraught with writer's block. I'm still writing daily (I have a bevy of assignments and a book I'm working on), but it's pretty gruesome. So gruesome for the first time since never if given a choice between writing and going to the gym to sweat and be smelly and gross is actually preferable to sitting at my laptop, staring at blank pages.
Check out The Snob on NPR's Tell Me More with Michel Martin tomorrow. I'll be on the show chit-chatting about the news of the day in the Beauty Shop segment. But I'll be covering a lot of ground overall this summer as I've temporarily returned to St. Louis to spend some time with the family (my sister is having a baby!) ... and to get some work done. I'm launching a new site, take on a new, larger role with another site (to be announced later this week) and beginning a new book project about African Americans and class. Never mind the bevy of existing projects still floating around.
Once a symbol of "making it," the suburbs continued their slide into growing older and poorer. The New York Times reports today that poverty level in America's suburbs has jumped by more than half since 2000, compared to the cities, which saw an increase of 26 percent. And the limping economy has only hastened the 'burb's poverty rate, with two-thirds of of that growth happening between 2007 and 2010.
In today's latest depressing, but not surprising news, The Root is reporting on a new study that reveals that black students are routinely given suspensions and harsher punishments than white students for similar offenses. The National Education Policy Center study found that school suspensions for non-white students have gone up by 100 percent since 1970. As a product of integrated, suburban schools in St. Louis County, I'd have to say, "No joke."
Recently a friend of mine got me to start watching two equally horrible, but hard-to-look-away from reality TV shows. One is Basketball Wives on VH-1 (both original flavor and LA). The other is Bad Girls Club on Oxygen. The first time I sat down to watch Bad Girls Club I almost had to leave the room because the women on there reminded me too much of all the things I'd tried so hard to forget about my childhood and teen experience, triggering a public school PTSD response.
The Snob is still warm and safe in St. Louis, Mo., visiting the folks. I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday. I've been busy getting my fill of family time and going to the movies. Pretty much doing nothing while resting the old noggin. The noggin needed a rest as I was starting to get a little burned out around November after the New York trip and realized I needed to check-in with myself and get some serious rest. I also was severely homesick. It had been a year since I'd seen my parents or my sisters. So, while I'll continue to look for stories to write and work on, I'm not putting much pressure on myself to produce this week. I mostly want to just enjoy time with my family. Hope you're enjoying (or enjoyed) some much needed rest as well. Cheers!
My hometown of St. Louis, Mo. topped the "most dangerous" city list again. Beating Detroit, Oakland and Camden, NJ. Of course, what people don't realize that in these studies they never count the greater St. Louis area (St. Louis County) but constantly compare us to other cities where they do factor in the county's data -- like Chicago which is part of Cook County.
This is not to say St. Louis is some paradise (good Lord, it is not) but c'mon? We're worse than Oakland, where they almost had a riot break out this year and Detroit? Last time I checked half of the city of St. Louis wasn't being retaken by Mother Nature. While St. Louis has a long, storied history with violence and we've had our fair share of senseless killings, it seems odd that the city manages to top this list year in and year out no matter what the fluctuations are in the crime rate and manages to beat out places that are far more notorious. The whole region is being judged for a few troubled neighborhoods. After all, the city of St. Louis only has 350,000 people in it. St. Louis County, which the city is not part of due to some long-standing county versus city beef, has nearly 1 million people. The city would disappear tomorrow without the money and people living in the county surrounding it. Yet the city is only judged by its dwindling numbers.
And no offense to Detroit, but c'mon. You know you're No. 1. (Yahoo News via Associated Press)
A new Brookings Institute report came out on the suburbs and while the region remains majority white, there is a big shift going on -- partly due to the housing foreclosure crisis and the rapid influx of young people moving to the cities their parents once fled.