A passing ignorance

A few days ago I overheard someone say they never come to Downtown Sacramento its too dangerous.  For someone who has lived in San Francisco and New York and frequently visit other large cities this is laughable.

Not that I would, but you could eat of the streets downtown Sacramento.  This isn’t true of  San Francisco or New York  and  many medium to large cities.  Yes there is crime, the same crime you find in other densely populated areas.

For many, the fear is based on comfort, image and reputation.

There are many who live in small towns of the foothills are terrified of the prospect of traveling in the metro area.   I met a woman who lives in eastern Placer county.  Twice a year her son drives her to Folsom.  “Folsom is too crowded and the drivers are crazy-I have two chest freezers so we drive to the Costco in Folsom to get necessary’s  for the year”

The Paintbrush

Then there is race…..some people of color don’t feel comfortable going to Roseville.   Some white and other groups avoid South Sacramento, they simply believe the area is unsafe.

Many years ago, I learned a good friend who lives in Manhattan had never visited Harlem.  Although he has many Black and Puerto Ricans friends he had never gone uptown.  I regularly visit Harlem to shop and visit friends.

After insisting he come with me, my rough and tough urbanite friend became a big bag of nerves on 125th Street,lighting one cigarette after another.   His fears were realized after someone squirted a fast food pack of ketchup  on our bare legs  . While I though it was funny, he was traumatized,  he believed the attack was racially motivated. It is not a part of who he is and he will return to                                                 Harlem.

I know some blacks who will not venture into beautiful Oakland because of its reputation.  There are many whites who are afraid if they visit  a neighborhood where they are the minority their lives are in danger.   Some heterosexual men are  afraid,to  walk through the Castro District  in San Francisco, there is a false belief  some random Gay person will try to pick them up or                                             worse, being seen and having someone assume they are gay.

Missing the Bubble

Our landscape is rapidly changing.  30 years ago many whites left the immediate Bay Area and move over the hill into Eastern Contra Costa and Alameda Counties.  A friend  recently complained about all the Indians in Eastern Alameda County, he complained about some of the local supermarkets offering Indian food.  They’re alright he said, but they come over here with their ways.

Upwardly mobile Blacks, Asians and Mexicans are moving into upper middle class neighborhoods of Eastern Alameda County and Western Placer and El Dorado Counties   Gays couples are also moving to the suburbs.

Its difficult to believe……50 years ago there were limitations on where non white could live.  As a results of the lifting of these limitations ia unification ofs  communities and cultures.   No  longer is the person who doesn’t look like me or believe as I do a monster or an alien. 

My friends who happen to be Mormons, have two gay neighbors in West Sacramento.  Two men and their child who lives next door and a blended Lesbian family lives at the corner.  There children attend the same elementary school.  And while they do not believe Gay people should have the right to marry, they do believe they should have the same rights as everyone else, this view isn’t shared by family and members of their church.

The world is rapidly changing, ask any elected Republican-self inflicted victims of Gerrymandering, limiting their exposure to the real  world.

The more we are exposed to the more enlighten we become.  25 years ago, many american were against interracial marriage.  Ten years ago the majority of Americans not only disapproved of gay marriage but most gay rights

I don’t live in the land of Disney.  Ignorance, bigotry will always be a part of our lives.  There will always be those who are uncomfortable with people and beliefs that differ from their own.   The tide is turning and the ignorance is passing .


Published by CityFella

Big city fella, Born and Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lived in New York (a part time New Yorker) for three years . I have lived in the Sacramento area since 1993. When I first moved here, I hated it. Initially found the city too conservative for my tastes. A great place to raise children however too few options for adults . The city has grown up, there is much to do here. The city suffers from low self esteem in my opinion, locals have few positive words to say about their hometown. visitors and transplants are amazed at what they find here. From, the grand old homes in Alkali Flats, and the huge trees in midtown, there are many surprises in Sacramento. Theater is alive is this area . And finally ,there is a nightlife... In.downtown midtown, for the young and not so young. My Criticism is with local government. There is a shortage of visionaries in city hall. Sacramento has long relied on the state, feds and real estate for revenue. Like many cities in America,Downtown Sacramento was the hub of activity in the area. as the population moved to the suburbs and retail followed. The city has spent millions to revive downtown. Today less than ten thousand people live downtown. No one at city hall could connect the dots. Population-Retail. Business says Sacramento is challenging and many corporations have chosen to set up operations outside the cities limits. There is vision in the burbs. Sacramento has bones, there are many good pieces here, leaders seem unable or unwilling to put those pieces together into. Rant aside, I love it here. From the trees to the rivers. But its the people here that move me. Sacramento is one of the most integrated cities in America. I find I'm welcome everywhere. The spices work in this city of nearly 500,000 and for the most part these spices blend well together. From Ukrainians to Hispanics and a sizable gay community, all the spices seem to work well here. I frequently travel and occasionally I will venture into a city with huge racial borders, where its unsafe to visit after certain hours. I haven't found it here. I cant imagine living in a community where there is one hue or one spice. I love the big trees, Temple Coffee House, the Alhambra Safeway, Zelda's Pizza, Bicyclist in Midtown, The Mother Lode Saloon, Crest Theater, and the Rivers. I could go on and I might. Sacramento is home.

2 thoughts on “A passing ignorance

  1. I grew up in Oak Park and learned to fear the city at an early age. 20 years ago, I would have agreed that downtown Sac was a scary place, but in the last ten years or so it has gotten much safer. My son and I lived on “E” & 22nd about 8 years ago, and we would take walks around the neighborhood all the time. Felt very safe.


    1. I live downtown….and when I was young lived in the Tenderloin in San Francisco…. I think its an attitude…. There are several senior apartments in the Tenderloin and you rarely heard of crimes being committed against those people… If you live in the city..you develop a second sense… You know not to cross the street in the middle of the block because it indicates fear…its better to walk by the danger (unless there was fighting) looking straight ahead. New Yorkers have that attitude that seems rude to Non New Yorkers.. You know looking into someones eyes will delay you (panhandlers with a story) you look forward and walk at a steady pace. as your body language can telegraph messages. Criminals choose low hanging fruit…easy prays….. That’s why I tell my daughters to scream, talk loud when confronted with someone who might harm them… The criminal wants easy… To walk closer to the street at night in urban areas and to walk closer to homes in the burbs…. .. As for Sac….its easy peezy….


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