Ten Disturbingly Racist Things About St. Louis
This week marks 58 years since Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus, instantly rendering the brave young woman a hero and champion of the civil-rights movement. The following decades have seen steady improvement in race relations and equality, but as always, we still have further to go -- sometimes, especially, in the city of St. Louis.
We love our city, but sorry, St. Louis -- you are still pretty racist. And it isn't always black and white, either. Here are ten reasons why.
10. The Arch
Unfortunately, our city's shining beacon is also a monument symbolizing the genocide of North America's original inhabitants -- the Native Americans. Thomas Jefferson was a great man indeed, yet I doubt that our Native American brothers and sisters would consider him their friend. Throughout St. Louis, and the state of Missouri as a whole, you'll notice sprinkled evidence of a forgotten past. When I was in sixth grade we took a field trip and visited the famed Trail of Tears. It became a reality for me at that very moment that this land was occupied and owned by a group of people who were displaced and murdered. While westward expansion opened up the floor for America to flourish as a country, it also set the tone for what many consider the attempted genocide of an entire group of people. The Arch is a symbol of American greatness, but very seldom do we take time to push pause and reflect upon the lives stolen from the original American people.
9. MetroLink Expansion
I often ponder if St. Louis is serious about our ambitions to become a progressive city in this century. There are some very basic things that a growing major American metropolis needs in order to become a forerunner in this regard. In any big city, a stabilized and affordable public-transportation system is a must. A public-transportation system that services the entire metro area and opens up job opportunities in various communities is critical to the growth of our local economy. The fact that I cannot catch the MetroLink to St.Charles is just plain shady. It is also deliberately set up this way to keep a "certain element" from freely traveling to specific counties. A bus driver once told me the only reason a bus route was extended to West County Center was due to the fact that the mall was suffering economically at one point and needed inner-city teenagers and city dwellers to spend their money there in order to keep the mall afloat.
This also prevents that same certain element from living in these areas. If you don't have a car and you've lived in St. Louis your entire life, you're probably not going to attempt to move into an area that doesn't have access to the MetroLink. I'm sure the politicians in these areas blame their lack of Metro linkage on taxes and crime and everything else under the sun -- but the real reason seems to be more sinister.
8. Forest Park's Lack of Basketball Hoops
A close friend of mine once worked for Forest Park Forever. It asked her how could they get more minorities to visit the park on a regular basis. She replied, "Well, you have a facility for every sport besides basketball. Maybe adding some hoops would help a little bit." Sure, it's not the end-all be-all to this problem, but it is a start. We're talking about one of the largest parks in the U.S., and there is not one single basketball hoop. There are places to play nearly every other popular sport. Think about it. Now, all black people don't play basketball -- personally, I suck at the sport. I skateboard in the park, but I find it odd that there's no chance of me and my friends meeting there for a pick-up game. It's illogical; or worse yet, it's intentional.
Continue to page two for more.