Sections Above and Below This Page:

one. A threat not only to the neighborhood's flimsy economy, but also to the neighborhood people's values, hopes and dreams. You see, most of these people want, more than any of you could e~er not want, things like a pre-fab house out in the suburbs or a pre-fab apartment or bungalow back in Puerto Rico. They're just like all the other lower classes that came before them, dreaming of becoming middle class with all the trimmings that go with it. The difference between the Puerto Ricans and the others before them is that the Puerto Ricans aren't white, so they've become static in the lowmoney bracket, but they don't smell as bad, therefore they're not going nowhere as fast as the black people and are being permitted token breakthroughs here and there.

"What I'm getting at is that their dreams of someday makin' it out of what they regard as a sewer are very important to them, 'n when hippies come along riffin' about how unhip it is to make it into middle-class society 'n how easy it would've been for them to make it, but they didn't because it was insignificant, these lowmoney people get confused and upset because here are these creepy longhaired punks who grew up with meat at every meal and backyards to play in and the kind of education which is prayed to God for, and they threw it all away for what? To become junkies like at least one member of every family on the Lower East Side? To live with garbage and violence and rats and violence and no heat or hot water and violence and disease and violence? Is that what hippies thought was the hip thing to do with their lives? Well, to these people and their sons and daughters who've had no alternative but to live their lives in the disaster of the Lower East Side, there ain't nothin' hip about junk or poverty or violence, and they have nothing but contempt for young, educated fools who think it's exciting to live in a world they really know nothing about, the kind of world these kids' middle-class parents built the suburbs to protect them from.

"However, these parents never figured their children would attempt suicide by scaling the fortress walls of suburbia and running to the ghettos which had become part of their generation's fantasies--fantasy ghettos like the Haight-Ashbury and the Lower East Side where sidewalks were more real than the lawns of Westchester and where people were red-blooded human beings, instead of blanched, bloodless, cardboard automatons. The poor have no sympathy for these young whites who're searching out what was kept hidden from them. They have none at all because of the hippies' [end page 324]


Creative Commons License
The Digger Archives is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Cite As: The Digger Archives ( / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0