It’s Time to Retire This Scapegoat for Segregation

It’s Time to Retire This Scapegoat for Segregation, Chrishelle Palay, Next City, May 31, 2017, available here

Perplexed eyes locked in on me, an African-American woman, as I walked to the podium. I nervously shared that families in search for decent housing, near great jobs, transportation and high performing schools had a right to choose where they lived and not be relegated to other neighborhoods simply because they possessed a housing choice voucher or earned a working class wage. I reminded the angry crowd that “those people” they were villainizing help provide the lifestyle to which the meeting attendees had become accustomed. It seemed that “those people” were good enough to serve, but not to live in, that community. The incessant booing and nasty remarks that punctuated my talk surprisingly fueled a fire inside of me that I didn’t know existed. I ended my comments charging the audience to face their fears and to live the inclusive lifestyle that many of them claim to embrace. As my colleague escorted me to my car afterwards, as it was apparent I was not in a “safe zone,” it dawned on me that I’d just stared NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) in its face.

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