The Opportunityscapes - Chronicling Compton - February 26, 2014

Bits and Pieces of Compton

Letting it Go:  Life Review 

We've had plumbing problems, but my fiance was able to locate a plumber who used to live in and around the neighborhood.  He mentioned that the street I live on in particular was not very good.

He mentioned that in addition to all the crimes committed, they would intentionally shoot pellets at the street lights to make it dark.  I'm not sure where and when he registered these memories, but so far so good.

I have seen lots of young folk give long stares, but who knows what they're thinking.  But I know something as simple as a mean-"looking", meaning a stare that appears to be badly intentioned, can be the cause of a violent act.

As I mentioned before, the only real issue I've had so far being on the street I've been on has been:  drumroll....finding parking.

I think less than chaste thoughts when "my" parking space is taken by a neighbor and/or visitor.

However, I've gained a big chunk of inspiration in not caring about such things.

One source of that inspiration?

The sermon given during the last Sunday of Black History Month at the church in West Rancho Dominguez.  And no, I'm not becoming a proselytizer, I promise, but I wish that what he said had more cache on the INDIVIDUALS of the community.  And by INDIVIDUALS, I mean the youth who seemed to be socialized into/want to get into lives where enacting violence and killing is a respected activity.

Many people at this particular celebration were wearing either fashions from various parts of Africa or shirts celebrating black history.  The Nigerian priest who runs two parishes around LA, a first-timer at the parish, made the comment that he had never seen so many African-American Catholics.

What he talked about would sound white Murrica American-y if context was completely stripped away from it.

He talked about freedom and oppressors.

Basically, to enjoy what freedoms we were afforded here.


That not enjoying those freedoms was a-kin to letting oppressors take hold of our lives.

How our impulses can often be wrong when it comes to understanding strangers.

I mostly enjoyed what he had to say if it weren't for his Bill Cosby-like pronunciations.

What he said made me think about the differing associations and definitions of freedom within white American contexts and within black American contexts.  My personal feeling/hypothesis is that white American contexts tend to emphasize "freedom" in association with gun rights and freedom of expression while the black American contexts tend to emphasize freedom in association with forms of slavery and cycles of oppression.

The Opportunity-Scapes of Compton

Thanks to my homey at the Transitional Zone for posting video of this perennial favorite of mine.

At 2:29 you hear this:  "Liquor store--church, liquor store--chicken shack, liquor store--church, liquor store--check cash."

Bambu is rapping about Watts, the place who grew up which is just a few streets North of us.  It's a straight bike ride away.  The description appears to fit most of Compton as well.  It fits so well that when I stopped by a few years ago while on a bike ride still not knowing much about Compton, I looked at Target as if it was some kind of oasis.  There doesn't appear to be a lot, but then again there doesn't seem to be much reported.

Last week, I posted the Dissertations and Theses of Compton and found some inspiration for future fields of study.  I saw lots of dissertations about the educational system, social programs, and business opportunities.

Given that Compton has been talked about by its celebrities and society at large in terms of deficits ("I grew up on the mean streets of Compton"), I wonder what are the business/job opportunities available to the young folk here, what opportunities do they actually take, and are there any social norms/barriers to those opportunities?  What are the "pathways" to jobs?  And who if anyone helps them?  How does this compare to people in a town like say, Santa Monica?

So far, I've found out that a few of my younger adult-aged male Latino neighbors work at the Port of Long Beach as dispatchers.  Some work in Aerospace as parts assemblers.  Another neighbor, older immigrant Latinos seem to work as fruit vendors with a pushcart.  Oh and they've also got a teacher and a no-name data collector.  So far.

No comments: