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arrogance, an arrogance they wear on their sleeves, an arrogance which mocks the poor for wanting what they've rejected, and insolently pities them for not comprehending or understanding the reasons why they left the 'American Dream' behind.

"So, you better face the straight goods, brothers an' sisters. You ain't the new niggers or spics, 'n you're never gonna be. You have too much to fall back on whenever you want to or have to--good education, a home, family, the color of your skin--'n the people in the neighborhood know that, an' also that you're still the children of the ruling classes, whether you like it or not. As far as they're concerned, you're just having an adventure--an adventure in poverty which, if you aren't careful, may prove more real than you're ready to deal with."

The crowd in the loft didn't seem to like a thing Emmett said, primarily because he burst the underdog image they were casting for themselves. Nobody said anything after he stopped talking because, like it or not, everything he said seemed to be true. There was a silent pause for a moment, then a tough-looking Jewish bohemian woman in her late twenties asked Emmett what he thought could be done to relieve the troubled situation the hippies were facing in the Lower East Side and how they could hip the poor to the inherent lie of the American Dream and its middle-class accoutrements.

First of all, he said, they had to jettison the self-satisfying impression that they were the "new niggers"--which was going to be difficult. It was very comfortable on the bottom of the social heap where you could lie back, stay doped up and not accept any individual or community responsibilities, feeling perfectly hip about having been classed the new losers and doing everything by doing nothing to justify the classification. If they could get past that, Emmett continued, then they could apply their "fortunate" backgrounds in serving the needs of the neighborhood, not as "hip social workers," but as members of the community who wanted to develop it for themselves as a place where they could enjoy life and where their children could grow without being forced to attend the stifling institutions run by the city government.

They could start on their own by opening free day-care centers for the children, and later, free schools and free stores where they could hip the community to the truth about the American Dream and show them that the hippies weren't just passing through the neighborhood on a trip, but settling down and trying to build a life there for themselves. Afterwards, they could organize free block par [end page 325]


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