Race in Your Community My Hometown, Yonkers Term Paper

Pages: 6 (1558 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Race

¶ … Race in Your Community

My hometown, Yonkers, New York, is one of the more ethnically diverse areas of the country, however, it is as fairly represented in as the population and community allows.

Yonkers, New York has a population of around 200,000, and is home to Yonkers Raceway. Several celebrities grew up here, such as Sid Caesar, James Cagney, Ella Fitzgerald, Steven Tyler, rappers DMX and Jadakiss, porn star Linda Lovelace, and the infamous Son of Sam, David Berkowitz (Yonkers pp). Other notables include, authors Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Richard Yates, two Nobel Prize recipients, Daniel Carleton Gajdusek and John Howard Northrop, and the inventor of FM broadcasting, Edwin Armstrong (Yonkers pp). Yonkers is also home to the first golf course in the United States (Yonkers pp).

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Yonkers is like many other areas near New York City. It is very ethnically diverse. Italian-Americans make up about twenty-five percent of the population, as does Hispanics and African-Americans. The rest are of Polish, Asian, and other ethnic groups. I am from an Italian-American family, that through the last couple of generations has, itself, become more diversified. My mother's sister married a Filipino, and her daughter has two children by a Pakistani. My mother is convinced that her grandmother is rolling in her grave, since she was such a devout Catholic and very traditional in customs and beliefs. If she were alive today, she would be stomping around and declaring her disapproval at my cousin's lifestyle and life choices. In her eyes, to have a child out of wedlock is a sin, and to marry outside your faith and culture is the same as slapping your family in the face. And there are some older members of my family who still believe this way. They may not express it out loud, but it is clear by body language and innuendo that they feel my cousin has simply gone to hell in a hand-basket.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Race in Your Community My Hometown, Yonkers, Assignment

The seven city council members include Sandy Annabi, a female of Jordanian descent, Dee Barbato, female, John Murtagh, male, Liam J. McLaughlin, male Irish Catholic, Dennis Robertson, male Catholic, Patricia McDow, African-American female, and Richard Martinelli, male Italian-American (City pp). So I would say that the overall population of Yonkers is fairly represented by the council.

Yonkers tends to have a negative image, and many people believe that it has one of the worst crime rates in the area. This is mostly due to several native rappers such as DMX and Jadakiss who have created this criminal mystique (Yonkers pp). However, there is a bit of truth to this infamous image. The worst neighborhood is Getty Square which has become the center of drugs and gambling (Yonkers pp). And just like many towns and cities across the country, there are several gangs in Yonkers, including Italian Mafia groups such as The Tanglewood Boys, which is a recruiting body for the Lucchese Family, as well as Puerto Rican gangs, and African-American chapters of the New York Crips and Bloods (Yonkers pp). Now, granted The Tanglewood Boys are not found in the average American city, but the Crips and Bloods are found even in rural towns throughout the country.

Yet, Yonkers has the lowest crime rate of any city of its size in the United States, a fact that is due most likely to its proximity to New York City (Yonkers pp). Therefore, the majority of the petty crime that one would expect to find in a large city is effectively "outsourced" to the Bronx or Upper Manhattan (Yonkers pp). And Washington Heights and the South Bronx, two high-crime neighborhoods, are only about ten minutes away (Yonkers pp). Another contributing factor is that in recent years, New York City has experienced one of the lowest crime rates of any major U.S. city, and it is believed that this has essentially spilled over into Yonkers and helped to lower its neighborhood crime as well (Yonkers pp). In fact, in 2001, there were only six murders and fifteen rapes reported (Yonkers1 pp).

During the 1980's and 1990's, Yonkers developed a national reputation for racial tension, based on a long-term battle between the City of Yonkers and the NAACP over the building of subsidized low-income housing (Yonkers pp). The battle was based on the fact that the City wanted to use federal funds to create and expand high-rise housing projects in southwest Yonkers, while other groups, notably led by the NAACP, believed that concentrating subsidized housing in traditionally poor neighborhoods perpetuated poverty (Yonkers pp). The battle climaxed when Federal District Court Judge Leonard Sand imposed a fine on Yonkers which started at $1.00 and doubled every day until the City capitulated to the federally mandated plan (Yonkers pp).

Lisa Belkin wrote about this battle in her 1999 book, "Show Me a Hero" (Yonkers pp).

A cannot image anyone not liking Yonkers. Its diversity is what makes it so wonderful.

We have one of the oldest St. Patrick's Day parades in the country, and a huge Columbus Day festival, complete with a Miss Italian-American pageant (Yonkers pp). And it has been the inspiration for two famous Broadway plays, "Hello Dolly" and "Lost in Yonkers," which were both based on the its Jewish community (Yonkers pp).

Although I have never lived any where else, I feel safe to say that Yonkers is fairly represented within the media and local government and civic groups. It simply cannot help but not be. We are far too diverse, and far too close to New York City. Granted, I have never lived in, say, Florence, Alabama, but I would image that its schools and government certainly have their proportionate share of Whites and African-Americans, however, I would be very surprised if their population statistics included the ethnic diversity that Yonkers enjoys.

The City Council President, Richard Martinelli, is one of the local civic celebrities in Yonkers. Like me, he attended Roosevelt High School (Yonkers1 pp). Like me, he is Italian-American. He comes from a local political family, as his father, Angelo Martinelli, (one cannot get more Italian than Angelo Martinelli), was Mayor of Yonkers for twelve years (Yonkers1 pp). He is President of Gazette Press, one of the oldest printing companies in the county, past president of the Rotary Club, and currently serves on the Board of Trustees at St. John's Riverside Hospital and on the Board of Directors of the Yonkers PAL (Yonkers1 pp). He is the fourth of six sons (Yonkers1 pp).

A enjoy my city. I enjoy its diverse ethnicity. I cannot image living in a place where everyone looked the same, acted the same, and held the same beliefs. Surely it must be boring to live in a place where everyone belongs to the same religious denomination, where the local night life consists of one genre of music, and where markets all carry the same foods and goods.

Yonkers is home to numerous pubic schools and private schools, and each is as diverse as the next. The local government, media, and civic organizations are, for the most part, representative of the population. Now true, not every single ethnic group is represented, but that would be impossible since there are more ethnic groups within the population than there are the number of seats or positions.

Are there inequities? Well, yes. But there is in any population, regardless of ethnicity. If there are three people together of the same race, religious, economic and educational background, there will still be some degree of inequity. That is life, and it has been a truth since the beginning of the history of the world. Certainly, I would like to be able to wave a magic wand and rid Yonkers of all inner strife and discord, but the problems in Yonkers are not that different than in other areas of ethnic diversity.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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