I was released from prison and able to secure housing in a housing project in Honolulu. In Honolulu public housing is not stigmatized like it is in other parts of the country because this is the #1 most difficult state to live in, economically. Wages in no way keep up with the cost of living, When most people found out that I paid $83 for an apartment that goes for $1350 on the market, they want to know how they could do the same thing. Getting the apartment was like winning the lottery. I was told no one chooses to leave. The drug addicts get kicked out. The elderly go to care homes. The sick die. But no one voluntarily exits.
When I moved in it was impossible not to notice that there was a certain ethnic homogeneity among the residents in the housing project. That is to say, they were mostly foreign-born and from a certain part of the world. I was much younger and no one in any way looked like me. The difference did not go unnoticed by the residents. Many of them were quite blatant in their opposition to living near a black woman. There was a group who went to management to ask what was I doing in the building so late if I was not there to clean. There were other less organized but similarly vocal attacks on me. Most of the residents were seniors. I did not talk back because I had always been taught to be respectful to my elders. But one day a group of seniors got into the elevator ahead of me and held out their arms as if to block my entrance. In the little English they knew they told me “take next elevator.” The day before someone had tried to stop me from getting off on her floor with “No, no, only Asians this floor!” At that point I had had enough. I said “it is too bad for you to be in this country where the president looks more like me than he does like you. I do not have to ‘take next elevator.’ You can ‘take next elevator.’ In fact if you do not like it, then you can go back to where you came from, where no one looks like me.” They, rightly, opted for next elevator because I wouldn’t budge.
I acknowledge I may have stooped to their level, in a way. But in another way I did not regret what I said because I meant it. These racist people who objected to the implementation of the Fair Housing Act in federally subsidized housing…The same laws that made their own residence possible…while there were homeless veterans!–well, let’s just say I do believe each country should take care of it’s own first. Not spend money making sure every communication is written in every conceivable language besides English, for the benefit of people with a racist agenda.
c tAfter the racism I endured from foreign born residents who were living in the public housing project I moved into, I became quite hardened towards people who had a place to live thanks to the efforts of my ancestors. anAgTweet