I don’t care who you are who or who you know, if you live in Baltimore, you are a part of segregation.
Baltimore was the first city in America to have legal housing segregation. Since I’m Black, I was automatically plunged into the “other side,” which made my experiences eye-opening.
Growing up, I was never the coolest amongst my peers, but I was always the sharpest mind on the block. While everyone around me was worrying about finger skateboards & NBA 2k, I was focusing on putting my family in a big house, and Coppin’ a G-Wagon-Benz for myself. Adults, such as my mother always looked at me crazy when I talked like this. My mother would say “you want to be grown so bad. Don’t rush it,” and I listened, but it went in one ear and out the other. My mother’s side of the family is from South Baltimore, an area called Pig Town to be exact. During the summer, we’d all sit on the stoops till sunrise. Fairly recently, we just gained the freedom to chill outside in this area. Pig Town was a community sectioned off by color, therefore, if you were Black, you ass stayed off of Pratt Street. If you were white, then Pratt Street was your Mecca.
My mother told me several stories about how she used to get harassed and chased home while taking short trips to the store. She even believed that the dogs were racist because they’d chase her too. My mother had a white best-friend growing up, and she used to always wonder, “Why didn’t they like me? My friend was white.” However, none of that stopped my Grandmother sending her to the store, the harassment, or the thin color line that separated the community.
As the years went on, more businesses on Pratt Street started to become Black owned, which attracted more Black buyers, and that resulted in white people taking their business elsewhere.
Growing up I played football, lacrosse, basketball and I also rode skateboards. When I first started riding skateboards, Lil Wayne had just dropped his song, A Milli. This was around the time when all the kids my age were trying to be “gangsta” and “hood.” I let them have it, because it wasn’t what I was interested in. The dope-boys were driving the latest Honda coupes, and me, I was whippin my skateboard. Because of this, I was treated like an outsider, receiving all kinds of unwanted attention. I was called names such as: The Black Tony Hawk, Oreo, and “the whitest black boy.”
Living in Brooklyn, a neighborhood in South Baltimore, you either went to school with the project kids or the “other kids.” I went to school with the “other kids,” and was the only Black kid in my class. The teachers treated me as a problem child, assuming that because I’m Black, it’s something wrong with me. The teachers would always alienate me by seating me by myself, away from the “other kids,” and I could never understand why. One time my teacher told my mother that I should get checked out because I’m different from the “other kids.” When she said this, I was crushed, and it caused me to shut down entirely. I can go on and on about segregation in Baltimore, because it’s a daily routine like brushing your teeth or washing your face. It’s a repetitive loop that will probably never stop.