Ghetto Birds, Browning, and White flight



Rambling thoughts. Nothing of substance really.

Last night as I was driving home from an event at church I noticed a ‘ghetto bird'(for those that don’t know…it is a police helicopter normally used in urban areas to keep up with a fleeing suspect) flying over my development. It’s been while since I saw one. I have memories as a teenager of seeing crack heads, drug dealers, and young black men being chased down by that glaring beam of light. My first thought was a bit nostalgic. Thinking to myself, “I remember those days.” But my wife called on the cell. She got a call from the neighbor informing her, with a very concerned voice, about the police helicopter hovering over the development. She asked me if I was in the development yet and to check to make sure all my doors were locked. She was going through the house ensuring all the doors were locked. Mind you, my community is in the Suburbs, but with a slight twist. We live in the most diverse community in Charlotte. Both economically and culturally. The range of incomes go from those on section 8 to people living in $500,000 homes. Its a trip really. In my development right across the street is a group home for at-risk youth. But just down the street there are people driving jaguars, benzos, and bmw’s. Anyways, the thought occurred to me how some people in the community may see this as a sign to begin ‘flight’. I didn’t notice this before until last night but there have been a growing number of “for sale” signs all over the development. Its a trip really. My development is going through a ‘browning’ process and also a ‘white flight’ process as well. And the churches here don’t help either. Although my community is pretty diverse ethnically and economically the churches here don’t reflect that. What would happen if Churches in my community came together and fellowshipped across ethnic and economic lines on a regular basis. Would that even change some of these dynamics I am witnessing?

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7 thoughts on “Ghetto Birds, Browning, and White flight

  1. my apologies for it taking so long to respond to your blog. i hope you and yours are doing well. it’s so disturbing to see those signs go up. i remember times like those, except we were the ones moving further out. a man committed suicide down the street after he held up a drug store. i more than vaguely remember hearing that gunshot reverberate as i was playing soccer outside. only more ensued in the later years. i don’t what to say, but you are certainly right that churches of varying ethnicities need to come together. this, i am sure, would change the dynamics of every and any community.

  2. When I taught high school in Atlanta, I pastored in a suburban church that was overwhelmingly white, but I taught in a school on the south side that was one of the most diverse in Atlanta, with heavy concentrations of Latinos and Asians, and also very poor. What amazed me were the assumptions made in both places about the “other.” In my church, they assumed that everyone in the “hood” was just a heathen bent on taking their hard-earned money in welfare payments. In my school, they assumed that the rich whites of northwest Atlanta were racist and hated them. I think your musings are absolutely correct. There has to be a time to gather for some type of fellowship to get over the fear of others that is so carefully cultivated by the mainstream media and American culture. I love your language of practicing Pentecost together, as I think it is largely through the church being the church that we can move forward as a society.

    The hope of a festival at a local church breaking down racial barriers sounds pointless, but there is such power in gathering together to feast. I think churches must provide leadership in these areas or else, I believe, they cease to be the church, at least the church of Pentecost.

    Grace and Peace,
    Scott

  3. Anthony…

    I think what might happen is our kids might start dating, we might have to eat dinner together, or our tithes thrown in the same pot. That would be a great church, but it seems like we as a North American whole are a long way off.

  4. wow, never heard of the copters called ghetto birds. thats great!! ghetto birds are a constant part of the lovely fabric of east nashville where i live.

    jen and i find ourselves looking out the window often when the spotlight is moving around in our yard. craziness.

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