Ace's View

Dedicated to minority issues, topics and everything in between

Lost, In The ‘Woods

with 4 comments

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(Writer’s Note: I typed a lot earlier, deleted it, and said fuck it, and retyped it again.

This space is mine, and if I step on your fingers or toes while I’m writing, good.  This means I’m probably talking about you.  Maybe this will change some things.  But I know better.)

A few months ago, me and my wife went to Chicago to attend one of her co-worker’s graduation party.  And, like most social events that I find extremely awkward and get invited to and know almost no one, I found myself engaged in small talk with a couple of people.  This ultimately leads to more involved conversation, with me ending up at a table with my wife, the guest of honor’s father, and one of her relatives.

Without going too much into the story, another one of the father’s daughters was undergoing a roommate conflict at our old university.  He’d had quite a few beers before and during his retelling of the story; but we were pretty much agreeing with the daughter and saying, wow, that seems unreasonable on the other girl’s part.  

Until:

Dad: And, you know, she’s from Maywood, too.  So, you know.

Me: No.  (pause) What do you mean?

Dad: Aw, come on.  You know.  People from Maywood–

Me: (noticing my wife cringing out of the corner of my eye, because she doesn’t know if I’m going to react like me from 5 years ago or me now) Nah.  How do people from Maywood act?

(other guy begins to notice that it’s a trap, starts sweating)

Dad: …I’m just saying, would you marry someone from Maywood?  (looks at my wife) Would you?

Me: (fake smile)  She did.  I’m from Maywood.  Lived there most of my life.

*awkward silence, other guy facepalms*

Me: (standing up, looking at wife)  Ready?

_________________________________________________________________________

I don’t mind defending where I’m from.  There is good there.  And I have seen it, firsthand.

What I have seen more of lately are the things that make it hard to defend against.  

Take for example, what brings me back to writing today, a few days earlier than I planned:

1-year old Bryeon Hunter is presumed dead, because someone grew frustrated with their inability to potty-train him.  Though I wouldn’t be surprised if that was a lie either.

The original lie, about him being abducted by three Hispanic men in a 2-door sportscar with tinted windows (which also sounds like an excerpt from Chapter 1 of a book called How To Get Immediately Pulled Over In The Western Suburbs), is what spurred me to remember the conversation that I had at that party, and thoughts that people have of the city that I spent the majority of my young life living in.

I mean, why do people think that all Maywood produces is black people who are…you know…

So I read this story from CBS Chicago and as I always do to further infuriate myself, scrolled on down to the comments.

Where they call the woman of this child everything but a child of God, and 95% of the comments are based not off of her despicable behavior as a person, but of her as a black person.

Which is where I have a conundrum.

See, I defend my town all day long, all the time.  But there comes a point when I switch from Yahoo! news or other open news forums and need a break from my people being called niggers, miscreants, and pavement apes (yeah, that was a new one I saw today)–

–only to log onto Facebook and see a couple of us from the same neighborhood carrying on in the same manner that embraces and celebrates this kind of behavior.

I said in February that I was sick of the memes that made fun of black history.  And the ‘niggas/bitches be like’ of the same genre.  

Now it appears that half of the stuff I see on my page is a meme waiting to happen, from people on my friends list.

I can’t believe you’re trying to uplift our community while you’re wearing a ‘Buss It Down’ shirt.  Or take you seriously if you’re posing with a mayoral candidate in Maywood wearing an “I’m Not Sober” hoodie.

And for those who will be quick to fill my inbox up with the “oh, you’re just hating, they getting money” action–answer me this:

Is this how we get it?  Is this the only way?

If your driver’s license says “Maywood,” are you only guaranteed success if you’re in entertainment or playing basketball?

And, is this possibly why people feel like they know exactly what Maywood is about because this is what they see that our city produces?

To that point, I’ve only ever heard us call it ‘Murdawoods’.  Like it’s something to be proud of.  We wear that like a badge of honor.

And for this, we have no one to blame but ourselves.  

Until we stop popularizing the culture that is killing our neighborhood, stories like this will continue to come out of Maywood, and be what it is known for rather than the great people that come out of the city and never return.

When will it change?

When we stop calling it Murdawoods.  When the only new businesses that open in our city aren’t currency exchanges and beauty supplies owned by people who have no vested interest in improving our community, or who may not even live there.  When there is not an overwhelming number of liquor and convenience stores, but not one damn grocery store.  When more than 20% of the population turns out to vote in the aforementioned election from earlier in the month.  When the funeral home on Madison isn’t the only successful business that is guaranteed to have customers.

And so, back to the woman and child who are the main reason I am writing this today:

I hope that the story ends with her having nothing to do with her child’s disappearance and possible murder, and that there is more to the story.

But, again, I know better.

All we need is to give people one more reason to keep thinking we’re residents of hell.

And as long as we continue to celebrate it, that’s what it will keep feeling like.

More tomorrow.

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Written by aceviewblogger

April 17, 2013 at 6:07 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Deep.. Real Talk… I praise God for you this is what the streets need to hear….

    Shnika Amos

    April 17, 2013 at 9:58 pm

  2. Stopping calling it ‘Murdawood’ isn’t going to change anything, and correction there is ONE grocery store…Aldi. But the rest I agree with, I am not from Maywood, but just moved away from there after 10 years there. Came in as a recovering addict….which is ANOTHER issue there. Granted there is help for addicts, but to have a methadone clinic there and be riddled with recovery houses (nearly 5) DOES NOT help the whole situation that is Maywood. I mean c’mon….a normal, non “working (prostitute)” woman can’t even take a walk down Madison without being gawked at, stopped and offered $$ or whatever else comes along in that life. It’s a shame. I agree with you on most, but not all points. The way WE as Maywoodians are thought of though is disgusting.
    Patty

    Patty

    April 17, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    • Patty–thanks for pointing out that Aldi is there–how could I forget it so close to Proviso East? & thanks for your insight as well. (And yes, that IS a lot of recovery houses!) I don’t think many people agree with all of my points, but if we can agree that the rest of the city thinks we only produce criminals and outcasts, then my main point is made.

      aceviewblogger

      April 18, 2013 at 7:27 am

  3. Wow!!!! I’m in another state but did live in Maywood a few years back. When I first heard the story, I thought to myself… Hispanics??? I didn’t remember seeing many, if any, when I lived there. I do know some very successful people from Maywood, from when I lived there. It is sad that this is how the city is being portrayed…

    KimD

    April 18, 2013 at 12:04 pm


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