“You have to drive down Grand Avenue just to make it out alive.”
“What-did you lock your doors?”
Statements such as these make me realize that people on this campus need to arise from their sheltered lives and see the world for what it really is.
A group of friends was discussing how “treacherous” the streets of Miami were because the city has unpleasant areas like Overtown and Grand Avenue. A girl freaked out because she got lost in Overtown one night-and I probably would too, but I’m not about to criticize the “ghetto” for being there in the first place.
Miami, and especially UM, is about vroom, vroom, bling-bling-sexy cars, sexy people, and sexy mint green-and lots of it. But, as with any city, the “bling-bling” is never enough to hide the realities of the world. There are still those unpleasant neighborhoods referred to as “ghettos” where you don’t want to be caught anytime of the day, especially if you don’t look like you belong there.
I was fortunate enough to catch a harsh glimpse of reality during a ride down Grand Avenue to Coconut Grove-my very first encounter with a “ghetto” in the tropical paradise of Miami. Suddenly the reality of the world brought me back down to earth and back into reality. It not only made me realize my fortunate life as a student, but also made me realize that just because you isolate yourself from unpleasant places does not make them disappear. As wonderful as Miami is, ghettos still exist, and perhaps more painfully so as the latest cars peal away to their condos or multi-million dollar mansions.
Many people on campus need realize that bad neighborhoods didn’t just “get there”-and that if anything, we have all contributed to their existence by not dedicating quality time for improvements by petitioning for better living conditions, better schools and community programs, etc.
Simply flooring the gas, locking your doors, or running red lights will make for a speedy getaway, but the ignorance of the situation only increases the chances that you might have to do so more often.
Sorry those ghettos are not the suburbs, but sadly, they are the real world.
Marquita K. Bell is a sophomore majoring in print journalism and political science. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.