follow me on Twitter

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    Urban Fear

      As an (almost) life-long city dweller, certain urban themes continue to bustle into the forefront.  As I've lived in the city, and much more in the past 3 years, living in the city as a Pastor, I am forced to see things I would've probably ignored, or ignorantly would have attributed to something far more tame than what it really is.

      Most urban folks live in fear.  This is not saying that Suburban and rural folks do not live in fear, but there is something about living in the city that causes fear.

      For example, I was coming home last Wednesday, I turned up a street called Woodland, which is only 4 blocks from my house. At the end of the street there were two cop cars.  As I drove up closer (because I had to turn down the next street), I noticed a drug dog going nuts and barking its head off at a man now shoved onto the hood of the cop car.  More men were being brought out of the house near the scene and being detained. Just as I thought to back up because the road was now completely blocked, I see in my rear view mirror a Patty Wagon and an undercover car screaming down the street towards me. Some how I didn't get blocked in and was able to back up enough to go down another street.  This sort of occurrence isn't uncommon in my neighborhood as I've heard gun shots, police raids and drug busts happen within ear shot.

      Last week, a friend of mine Hannah Harris helped shake down some drug dealers outside of her house, read: Drug Busting Momma for the whole story.

      Needless to say, fear can take over many urban folks.  Fear of death, fear of poverty, fear of being arrested, fear of racism, fear of rejection, fear of...you name it... and if you were to strip everything down to it's core, you will see that fear in many ways drives urban life.

      If my premise is right, what fear is driving the drug dealer, the mom who knowingly lets her son sell drugs, the thug who owns three guns, and the mom who buys her 4th grader an iPhone 4, when she can't afford food for the week?

       These are all people I know, have known or know about. I live in a city that is racially divided, Black vs. White.  The city would love to lead people to believe this to be false but it's not.  In the coming posts, I desire to unpack what the fears may be, please understand though that some of the fears are "White" issues and some of the fears are "Black" issues, which means that background, heritage and environment plays into the fears themselves and are enforced by a racially charged world.

      Here's what I need, so I can write as objectively as possible: a diverse group of people offering feedback, and as such no blanket statements like: "Black people sell drugs because they don't want to put the hard work into a real job" because that's simply NOT TRUE and ignorant to say.  Also, don't say things like: "White people sell drugs to make more money and hold it over the black man" because that too is simply NOT TRUE and ignorant to say.

      I need honest, true feedback, preferably experiential feedback.  What patterns have you noticed?  What behaviors seem to be attached to certain fears?  How have you wrestled with these issues as an urban White, Black, Latino or other?

      I'm a bit intimidated to write these posts, but feel strongly they need to be out there and discussed...not ignored.  Maybe as we shed light onto the fear, we can shed the Light of Jesus onto truth in these situations and help bring Help, Hope and Healing to a broken, fearful urban world.