Sunday, July 10, 2005

Riding along Cermak Road Sunday...

My mother and I were riding along Cermak Road from the western suburbs. We went through such far flung places as Aurora, Lombard, North Riverside, Berwyn, and Cicero. Then we arrived on Chicago's west side.

Between the suburbs and the city, the difference is like night and day. We were officially in the ghetto the are we were through was blighted and run down. There were a few store fronts but there weren't many businesses there. This was the Lawndale neighborhood. Then we went east on Cermak and crossed under railroad tracks and this is considered the Latino area.

What we saw was nothing but businesses. Of many different types. There were plenty of banks. Unlike in the ghetto (and I mean poorer areas) you'd be unlikely to run into a bank on every corner, in fact in the black ghetto you'd be most likely to find two or three churched on every corner instead of a business of some type. Go into places in Chicago like Lawndale, Austin, or Englewood the complaint might be lack of opportunities and jobs but for the Latino community they seem to create their opportunity. My mother and I concluded that they are an enterprising people.

Why can't black communities look anything like that? I have to wonder are we just a right now kind of people. That is we seek instant gratification or perhaps this fabled term known as bling-bling. Or do we just lack the drive or ambition to own our own shops when no one else will invest in our areas. To be sure there are black areas which have thriving black businesses but it seems the Latinos do it to the fifth power. But blacks can't seem to get it together.

This'll have to take some digging to find out but I do have one thing to say. If the Latinos have surpassed black Americans in population they will surpass us with their money. We'll still be struggling and we must change that.

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