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TinotopiaLog → We want ‘diversity’ — so we’ll fit in. ( 6 Mar 2004)
Saturday 06 March 2004

We want ‘diversity’ — so we’ll fit in.

There’s an article in the real-estate section of Washington Post today on ‘kid-friendly’ neighborhoods. There are a lot of things mentioned, such as nearby swimming pools and parks, ‘walkability’ etc. However, of course, ‘diversity’ has to be mentioned:

For some parents, however, diversity is as big a selling point as a community pool or festival. Vicki Wilson, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Pardoe in Bethesda and parent of two adolescents, said, “After being raised in a rich white suburb, I wanted to raise my kids in a place that’s culturally and economically diverse; I wanted there to be people with more and with less, materially speaking, so that when my kids got to high school they wouldn’t be the only ones without a car.”

It is interesting that this woman sees one of the benefits of economic ‘diversity’ the fact that there will be people living around her who have roughly the same amount of money as she does, i.e. her kids will not be the poorest and thus only car-less kids at their school.

Others who agree on the importance of diversity note that vibrant neighborhoods don’t always cater to children.

I would think that living in a vibrant neighborhood wouldn’t be all that good; you’d constantly be patching the cracks in the plaster. Oh, wait, by ‘vibrant’ they mean… what, exactly?

Elaine Martin, a stay-at-home mother of a 4-year-old who lives between Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan, loves her neighborhood’s variety: “We see people in turbans and men holding hands; we have an Ethiopian hardware store […]

Oh, thank God. You know, I’ve spent time in places where you can’t get Ethiopian hardware, and I’ll never go back to that kind of living — if you can call it living.

[…] and a lot of serious dog lovers,” she said.

For me, this conjures up images of Al Gore down on one knee, speaking very dispassionately to a golden retriever: “You are a good dog, Bonzo. A treat is in order for your handling of that butt-sniffing incident.”

And, of course, in less ‘vibrant’ neighborhoods, everyone hates dogs. Or maybe they’re just too casual in their love for them.

But the local video store has very few G-rated movies, the health club offers no babysitting, the pharmacy has few brands of diapers, and most restaurants don’t provide high chairs or diaper-changing areas. “When I go to the suburbs to eat and they give us a little plastic bag with crayons, a bib and a high chair, I’m like, ‘Whoa, so this is how the other half of the world lives,’ ” she said.

So, in other words, her ‘vibrant’ neighborhood — must be all the heavy trucks rumbling past — caters to all kinds of needs, as long as they’re for Ethopian hardware or homosexual hand-holding. It doesn’t particularly cater to what this particular woman needs. Sounds great. But then maybe you don’t want to live in a place that’s too ‘child-friendly’:

Today’s model of a child-friendly neighborhood often has the benefit of being parent-friendly, too, said John McManus, editor in chief of New York-based American Demographics magazine. That notion appears to hold true in American University Park. Resident Stacey Rabbino, a lawyer and mother of a 10-month-old, said that besides attending the neighborhood’s kid-oriented events such as the ice cream social and fall festival, she can walk with her daughter and meet friends at nearby restaurants such as the bagel shop on Massachusetts Avenue.

“There are tons of kids there,” she said. “You never feel like you have to be careful — they can spill and throw stuff on the floor and it’s fine.” [emphasis by Tino]

Yeaaaaaarrrrrgggh. That’s definitely how you want to raise children: to teach them that they can spill and throw stuff on the floor and it’s fine. When the bagel shop shuts down and is replaced by something less ‘child-friendly’ (and that has to spend less on cleaning), I bet that Ms. Rabbino will complain.

Posted by tino at 15:27 6.03.04
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You know I don’t think you need to be exposed to Gay Ethopian Bagel shops that allow kids to make a mess to be diverse. You just need some parents that will brintg up their children to accept that no everyone is like them and they need to accept and deal with this. Seriously you can’t expose a child to all possible diverity situations prior to adulthood so a better idea is to prepare them to deal with them when they come up.

Posted by: Paul M Johnson at March 8, 2004 08:14 AM