Brownsville

“She’ll Cut Cha”

My co-worker & new friend, Talisha, came into work the day after finding out  I lived in Brownsville.  She’d told her husband, who works in Brownsville, that she was working with someone from the neighborhood.

He had a stern warning:

“Stay away from her.  If you make her mad, she’ll cut cha.”

Talisha responded:

“Natasha is not like that.  She’s nice and sweet.”

Honestly I’m somewhere in the middle between “nice and sweet” and “she’ll cut cha” but all I could do was smile.

I had a realization: My Brownsville stigma is more prevalent in NYC where people actually know about Brownsville.  All throughout my time at SPS I was afraid to tell people where I was from and they probably had no idea what type of neighborhood it actually is.

The other day I asked Talisha if her husband wondered why she was still talking to me.

She responded, “He’s not like that.”

But I know people ignore the stigma for me because I’m well-educated and well-mannered.

I wonder how the stigma will impact the young kids I see everyday in the neighborhood.

Will people rush to judgment or will their character speak for itself?

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