I’m not a DJ, so normally I don’t take requests. But when my Facebook friend Joy Evans suggested that I do a piece on the recent murder of New Jersey college student Jessica Moore based on the coincidence that one of her son’s college friends had also recently been shot by a neighborhood hooligan, I couldn’t resist.
The idea brought me back to my own college days, when I attended the greatest university known to man.
Our school, like many colleges that aren’t walled in, was located smack dab in the middle of the hood.
We very condescendingly called the neighborhood kids, “Block Boys”. They, unsurprisingly, all hated us.
But which side was right?
They were, after all, completely justified in thinking that we thought we were better than them.
We did think we were better than them.
What I would have loved to explain if any of our interactions had ever allowed for an actual conversation, was that we thought we were better than everybody.
We were young and away from home and wild and in the street. We were gonna change the world or at least beat it into submission.
Was it our fault that you didn’t leave home and instead stayed right where you were?
Was it our fault that you had no aspirations, that you were insecure, that you were miserable?
On the flip side, those “Block Boys” were, at least, home.
And while it may have been one thing to strut your stuff in your own hood, going into somebody else’s hood and strutting your stuff was similar to requesting an autographed beating.
Of course, friction between college students and their neighborhood peer groups is not exclusively a Black phenomenon.
The movie Breaking Away is based on just that.
In that movie, Indiana University students call their locals “Townies” and the mutual contempt is palpable.
The whole issue, I guess, is sort of like when you hear some guy knock some girl by saying, “She thinks she’s all that.”
I always wonder immediately, what is she supposed to think?
I also wonder if the guy realizes that he’s just revealed more about how he feels about himself that he could ever reveal about the girl.
Now two fools have gone and deprived a family of their daughter, their star, their angel.
I wanna be angry about it but all I can feel is sad.