i'm a fairly positive person, passionate, happy... just optimistic in general. i don't really spend too much time at home, but if i'm asked where i'm from i say "hamilton" with a tone of "it's a great city" in my voice. now, a few people i know hate it, and that's up to them, but what bothers me is the negative "you'll get shot" in their voice.
i was at my uncle's house tonight - he's a police officer. so naturally he's got a different perspective on the city:
he's seen murders, his partner was almost stabbed in the wesley house... he sees hamilton at it's worst.
i told him of my intent to move in to the beasley neighbourhood, and he called me - in not so many words - a naiive optimist that has yet to be hardened by the world.
according to my uncle, the people in the core are hopeless, horrible, stupid people, completely incapacitated by mental illness. whoa. of course, he said this over a series of stories, but his point was clear.
my father has a similar perspective:
he rents properties to people in the downtown core. only a few weeks ago he was witness to one of his tenants being beaten by his drug dealer for cocaine money. he's been repeatedly scammed by tenants with all sorts of addictions, and as a result is jaded, and cold towards the residents. he has a great heart for the poor, but a lot of times he fails to see the beauty in the people.
he told me tonight that my uncle steve used to have a heart not unlike mine, wanting to serve, and help people...it scares me to think i might one day become jaded and hard hearted.
my uncle's point was that he wanted me to be careful
though nonetheless, i disagree with his perspective on the people.
i know that circumstance is what has caused their situation, and as a result, they are where they are. to call them horrible is another injustice. i'm no different than them, it's an injustice that i am in my cozy house, fed and full from a turkey dinner, and they are lined up in the halls of the wesley house hoping to have a bowl of oatmeal tonight. had i been dealt the same circumstance, i would be the same as them.