I am just really disgusted tonight. Two of my family members arrived in town last night. It was my aunt whose husband committed suicide a few months ago. She also brought her daughter with her. They came to attend the bridal shower of one of my cousins. Now, I'm going to have to vent about this very problematic marriage that's about to take place but it will have to wait until later. As awful as it may seem, I just have worse things to worry about than my suburban cousin who is marrying a guy off the internet that she just started chatting with a few months ago and has made it clear that she chose him over the other internet guy who was talking to her because this one had blonde hair and blue eyes.
Last night, about ten of us were hanging out down the street by my cousin's house. Of course we started talking about everyone in the family and what's the latest news in everyone's lives. Like in many New Orleans families, my cousins are just as close to me as my siblings. Well, we have one particular cousin who has been "acting out" for the past few years. However, he has gone far beyond that this time. I found out that he's currently sitting in jail because he got busted selling crack. Yeah, that's right. Crack!
I'm extremely pissed off because this is all so ridiculous. I'm not saying that it's EVER good to sell illegal drugs but it's more understandable for some people to do it than others. Is selling weed going to make the difference between you eating today or going hungry? If so, then I'm not cold-hearted enough to say that we should lock that person behind bars for the next couple of years. After all, I ate tonight.
However, this situation is different. My cousin is not some child from an unfortunate background. This kid's life has been pretty damned cushy so far. He grew up with his still-married biological mother and father. They lived in a nice suburb in the house that my uncle had built especially for them. My aunt was a stay-at-home-mom for the kids. No one so much as ever smoked a cigarette in their home, not even guests. His dad owned his own business and came home every single night. They vacationed during the summers and other school vacation periods. My cousins always wore nice clothes and owned all of the game systems and gadgets that teens enjoy having.
So why was this kid dealing crack cocaine? In a word: boredom. That's all I can see. A few years ago, he went and got gold veneers put over some of his teeth and twisted up his hair in a pathetic attempt to create dread-locks (never mind the fact that my siblings are the only ones in the family with hair kinky enough to successfully accomplish this). He started trying to talk like someone from off of a rap video and began wearing his clothes hanging off of his ass. I don't have anything against hip hop style. In fact, I love it because it's a part of our culture. However, I don't like poseurs.
There's nothing wrong with being a kid from the 'burbs. There's nothing wrong with having the ability to go to good schools and live in a economically-advantaged neighborhood. If you don't have to work and you have parents who are willing to support you while you get whatever education you want to pursue, then I'm happy for ya'! After all, I'm not going to pretend as if I had it so-oo-oo rough myself. My bellyaching about whatever economic deprivation I may see myself as having would sound like petulance to the majority of people on this planet*.
So why is this kid pretending like he's in the same position as those who didn't get to choose whether they'd spend their lives in the "slums" or housing projects? Well, there's more to this story and I'm going to write about it tonight but I have to take a break now because I'm getting too aggravated about this and I need to go and vent to The German a little bit.
*My brain instantly thought about a post Zooeylive wrote back in March called, "Women of Color Feminisms, Chela Sandoval Etc."