I told myself that I wasn't going to write a lot about some of the things that happen on my new job, but the things I'm learning and experiencing are so incredible that I can't help but to come here and ponder on them.
So anyway, one of the kids I work with (for this post, I'll call him "Terrence") has had improved behavior so I decided that as a treat, on a beautiful day like yesteray, I decided to reward him with a trip to the basketball court. He, his mother and I sat together to brainstorm on the closest one. His mother suggested one, and Terrence said "that's where people get shot and women get raped." So yeah, we nixed that one. His mother suggested a community center, and Terrence said that they're closed on Sundays. Then he suggested a local park, so we agreed to go there.
When we got there, we saw about 8 guys hanging around, and I noticed that one of them was wearing all black, and topped with a black bandana. My first thought was that he must be a gang banger, but then I immediately checked myself for thinking the worst about him, based simply on his clothes. Something about the guy stood out, especially since the other guys around him weren't quite as pressed, but nevertheless, I moved past it.
Terrence and I got on the court, where he began to beat me like I stole something. We noticed that two other guys showed up, and they started playing on the opposing hoop. One of the guys happened to be wearing all black, but I instantly noticed that he was also wearing a black bandana. That was all of the proof I'd needed. I looked up at the guys on the side of the court and noticed that most of them may not have been ass cleanly pressed as the first guy, but most of them were wearing mostly black. Then out of no where, they started to play on the same hoop we were on.
I've never taken small hints simply, but I knew what they were saying. That was their park, and they weren't sharing. I went over and whispered to Terrence that we should leave. I took him to a bookstore instead.
I don't think there's any one way to describe how I felt. I was angry. I was sad. I was confused. Where were the police? Why the hell should a bunch of brain dead drop outs with nothing to live for, keep kids off of a basketball court? There it was, a lovely day, on a sunny warm Sunday afternoon in a neighborhood filled with kids, and no one could enjoy it there because of them. At the same time, I guess that by keeping their turf free of outsiders, they kept innocent bystanders from getting hurt in the event of a fight, stabbing, or drive by shooting. But why can't they hang out at their mama's houses? Instead, they have to take away a community property because they don't have shit else going on.
What the fuck?