Monday, October 23, 2006

"dc is the 3rd world of the usa", and related thoughts

this post is a mishmash of thoughts i'm still sifting through, so if the connections aren't all clear and it doesn't actually go anywhere yet, i apologise and ask you to please bear with me.
i tell friends from sweet trini that being in d.c. is just like being home in all the bad ways- wasa (yes, the water+sewage authority even has the same acronym, making me cringe @ more than the expense when the bill comes) is always digging up the road and not fixing it, and between that and construction, d.c. roads are as bad as (if not worse than) trini roads. plus, wasa's crowning achievement is the lead content of our h2o clocking in @ more than few times the epa's recommended maximum, leaving many d.c. residents to pay out of pocket for non-optional pipe-replacement. we have regular power outages and more phone/internet service interruptions than i expected from the capital of the 1st world's poster-country when i came here from the 3rd world. crime is ridiculous, as is the number of people living (if you can call it that) in poverty. d.c. public schools are shit, which i can attest to since i spend a decent amount of time in them as a teaching artist, and when i was in university, an acquaintance called for a pizza and emergency services @ the same time and got pizza 1st (i do not condone wasting the time of emergency services just to prove a point, but cannot deny that the point was made in spades). i've waited in a d.c. emergency room for enough hours that i declared myself well and left, figuring that at least my bed was better for me than the hard plastic waiting-room chair. every trini who's been here and discussed this with me agreed on d.c.'s 3rd-world-ness.
i had a high school geography teacher (big-up ruddell) who made me love the subject after hating it for the previous 9(ish)years of academia. she also made me an evolutionary revolutionary and conservationist. it began to really bother me that sweet trini doesn't have the resources to do things like nationwide recycling, and neither gov't nor people seem to care. but after almost 9years observing black americans in d.c. and comparing people here to people @ home, i have a theory: regardless of geographic or cultural location, people barely ekeing out a survival (even less than a living or a life) and feeling marginalised by the system/society (on any scale from a small town to the international arena) are (necessarily) incapable of concern about things like arts+humanities or the environment and endangered ecosystems+animals. these are the concerns of people comfortable and confident in continued life and standard of living (by definition, already above subsistence). the development of arts+humanities and the resources to teach, sustain and propagate them, and the same as applicable to environmental and conservation issues are signs of rising civilisation and the implied prosperity of that process for at least some, if not all of the populace.
i.e. the reason behind the litter filthifying the streets of my sweet trini is ultimately the same reason behind the litter filthfying the streets of my northeast d.c. neighbourhood (we still a less gentrified 'hood). i'm not making excuses for people, but to work towards changing this mentality we must recognise that people need to feel like they're a part of the real world, rather than its unacknowledged underbelly, to give a shit about it. of course, there's education lacking too, but it's hard to educate people about something that seems unrelated to the needs of an uncertain survival because that very uncertainty renders such causes irrelevant fluff. people existing in cages and feeling abused/ignored by the prevailing system can't be concerned about the caging of chickens and humane treatment of animals, or even other people- i feel like everybody knows that starving people can't care about others' famine, but somehow that's not applied elsewhere...
more later.
walk good.

3 Comments:

Blogger JJ said...

Dennis Miller's fabulous line: "There are people who will step over a person lying in their own urine in order to throw paint on someone wearing fur."

2:38 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said DM via JJ. That was before he became a republican voicebox right?

Babes- you see so much. And despite prevailing wisdom its not so much about helping people rise up, as much as it is removing the weight that pushes them down.

4:00 pm  
Blogger Attillah said...

you people are beautiful. thank you and the universe for existing.

9:28 pm  

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