"Where are you from?
"Oh." Insert look of fear here.
I can’t even count how many times I have had this conversation. It starts off with your typical introduction; name, major, location. For me, it can go one of two ways. Sometimes the person will find it really interesting that I’m from a city of some sort. But more frequently than not, people immediately think of how dangerous the cities are and of all the horror stories they’ve heard. Then they’ll either walk away, or stay and carry on an awkward conversation. I much prefer it when they opt to leave.
I have to say that moving up to a more rural area is an interesting new experience for people like me who come from the Bronx. Especially those of us from the South Bronx. For some reason, I feel, we have the most pride for where we come from.
Although upstate New York is foreign to me, I’ve taken a liking to it. It’s vastly different from the hustle and bustle of my home street. Frankly, it’s boring. But when you’re coming from the city to the country, everything will seem small and dull.
Sadly, a lot of people don’t know what my home is about. They think that the Bronx is the place described in a handful of rap songs, most of them written and performed by Bronx natives like Fat Joe. Here’s a fun fact about Fat Joe: he’s from Trinity Avenue. Often times he calls it the "crack spot" and depicts it as the place where he earned his "gangsta" stripes.
But here’s something truthful about Trinity. I’m there all the time and it’s far from a huge crack spot. It’s not this horrible place where people get shot just because they were going to the store. Yeah, there’s crime, but find me a place without crime.
The Bronx is far more than a rap song. That would be like me saying everyone from upstate New York lives on a farm and herds sheep in their spare time.
And as for those people who think I live in a cultural wasteland, where do you think hip-hop was born? Certainly not in Syracuse.
The Bronx is a beautiful place. It’s full of life and culture and some of the best pizza outside of Italy. It is our home and our heart beat. It is where we have been raised and where we plan to raise families of our own someday. Try to remember that the next time you meet someone from the Bronx, because we are awesome people.
I’ll leave you with something I’ve heard many times before. Don’t ever let nobody tell you ain’t nothin’ good came out the hood.