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My Dysfunctional City

May 31, 2011

Miami;

Miami is often called a “melting pot,” but is it really? Have the various cultures and races and nationalities here really blended together to create something new? I would suggest that they have not:   instead Miami can find a great deal of racial tension in its citizens. I have lived here for 56 years and find that folks here get along superficially, but any time there’s a crisis or stress of some kind, true feelings come to the surface. Blacks hate whites and whites hate Hispanics and Catholics hate Jews and on and on and on. Our civility, like the many colors of our skin, doesn’t go very deep-  and tension and violence seem to lurk just under the surface, always waiting for a chance to erupt.

This is the reality of multicultural Miami: we don’t like each other.

That said, what is to be done about this? My answer is this: I don’t know.

People have valid complaints when they say it’s not fair to have to speak Spanish to get a job in America. They have valid complaints when they say the color of their skin dictates their refugee status. They have valid complaints when they say native Americans don’t like them. And it’s a valid complaint that the large gay presence in Miami is still looked down upon in some quarters, considered harbingers of interplanetary doom and the total collapse of civilization if we ever get the right to marry. You know, I don’t think there’s a single minority possible that isn’t here that, and is some way or other, looked down upon and discriminated against.   Like I said, the truth is that we really don’t much care for each other. But what can we do about it?  My attitude is this:   you don’t like each other?  Too damned bad.  You’re here and until you go live somewhere else, you have to deal with things the way they are.

If you had any idea of what it’s like to get up every day and see the same bland, generic whiteness looking back at you, or the same generic blackness, or latino-ness (is that a word? It is now) looking at you everywhere you go, you might appreciate Miami a little more. If you lived in a city where they rolled the sidewalks up at 8 pm, you might appreciate Miami a little more. If you lived in a city where nothing ever forced you out of your comfort zone, or made you stretch and grow and learn something new, you might appreciate Miami a little more.

Deal with it…. educate yourself about other cultures and races.  Learn to speak a little Spanish.  Learn to speak a little English, or a little Creole.  You may find that we are more alike than different, and you might even enjoy yourself in your discoveries.

Images edwardcates.com

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