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Towards Day 12

Lisa Marie's picture

Unfortunately, I had to miss class yesterday, but reading over the course notes, I am sure there was a very interesting discussion on different stories and perspectives on Camden. I was one of the many people who reacted negatively to Taibbi's article on Camden. What really frustrated me about the piece was that it seemed to provide a very narrow perspective on Camden--solely focusing on the high crime rates and claiming that "in Camden, NJ, pretty much everyone you talk to has just gotten his or her ass kicked". After spending time in Camden, and seeing a much more positive side, I was dissappointed that the story felt so one-sided, so one dimensional--and was written in a very hopeless tone. Going back through to read some of my classmate's comments--jo, Agatha Basia, and Kelsey's in particular--reveals that we also have a single story experience of Camden. Who should tell the story of Camden? Is there one cohesive, accurate picture? Have our experiences in Camden also been one-sided? It's important to keep in mind that individuals' stories and lived experiences in Camden are significiantly classed, racialized, gendered, and sexualized--so there can be many different stories and perspectives. I believe that each place, each city carries many different stories--people can lead very different lives even when living one mile apart. What we have to keep in mind though, is to be careful of letting the assumptions articulated in Taibbi's article shape our interactions with people in Camden. While there are dangerous parts of the city that we haven't seen, we can't go there expecting to "get our ass kicked" or that everyone we meet has gotten their "ass kicked" or lives in a place like "little Iraq". When visiting Camden, or any new city for that matter, it's important to enter with an open or shall I say porous mind allowing everyone you meet to share their own story.