>After reading a bit at My Private Casbah, I thought about the charming little community in which I was raised. Some research seemed necessary, so I hit up the Census website. (A skill I honed though various child care needs assessments case studies I prepared in the last few years for work. It’s nice when my work talents come in handy for blogging, isn’t it?)
I spent the first 18 years of life in census tract 8009, where my parents still reside. Census tract 8009 is regarding semi-facetiously in the overall community as “the trashy side of town.” It’s where the Jews and Asians were redlined to be allowed to live. It is on the west side of the highway, a “wrong side of the tracks” so to speak. Yet according to the 2000 Census, the median income for married households in census tract 8009 was $98,465. The mean income for married households was $125,895. (A quick stats class reminder: the mean is the number most influenced by outliers, as it is obtained by adding all the incomes together and dividing that by the number of households. Hence a random millionaire can jack the “average” income up considerably. The median is a bit less influenced by outliers, as all incomes are listed and the income that falls smack dab in the middle of the list is then deemed the “average income.”)
Regardless of which number you want to pick as the “average” income for census tract 8009, it is pretty fucking high. Your “average” kid generally does not know from want. Sure, they want a car when they turn 16, but that’s not the same as say, wanting a safe place to live. And yet, this is the dodgy part of the community? How fucked up is that? Needless to say, my loving Jewish white trash family did not have such a nice cash flow. Thus my sister and I were living in even more “squalor” than the average kid. Clearly, this is a strange environment in which to be a young person, developing a personality and character and set of ethics.
No wonder I am a foul-mouthed feminist misanthrope do-gooder. Growing up in that community can seriously warp people. Either you suck up the racist, capitalist greed-is-good ethos, or you rebel big and time and try and start a socialist club in your high school. (Of course, I was told that would not be permitted, and when I demanded justification, none was proffered.)