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Both Sides Of The Tracks

Jack Rodriguez

I started off growing up in a wealthy neighborhood.  I first remember living in Los Gatos, it is a very nice neighborhood full of wealthy Caucasian people.


As a kid, being Mexican wasn't a problem until I realized that I was the only brown kid out of all the Caucasian kids at my school. It really didn't affect me that much but at the same time I kind of felt weird. I don't know how to describe it but I felt different, like I was the only person that was Mexican. Sometimes parents would look at me weird and I couldn't understand it. Sometimes my friends would make little jokes about me and I acted like I didn’t care and laugh along with them. I'll be honest, sometimes I wished I was Caucasian and I would ask myself why am I brown? Why are they Caucasian? I want to be like them... I wanted to feel “normal”. I do remember feeling safe and never having to worry about the outside world. My mom wouldn't worry about her car being locked at night because it was such a nice neighborhood.


One day I was informed that we were moving. I didn't know why we were moving but now that im older I realized it was because they raised the rent. My Mom wasn't able to afford it so we had to move. I also now understand that it was gentrification. 

     The reason me and my mom moved there was because it was affordable for us and the people that lived there in that area.


I moved one more time after that into the “ghetto” at first I was a little afraid. I've been here before and I didn't like it that much. We were located in a “gang hotspot” but during this time I didn't know that. After our first two weeks living here, my Mom’s car was keyed by who knows but that kinda scared me because that would never happen in Los Gatos. We didn't even want to have mail delivered to our address because the mailboxes were constantly getting broken into so we used a P.O. Box. All of this was new to me and like I said, it was kinda scary. I didn't know but there was a house down the street that was considered to be a gang house where homies would go to hang out and smoke.  Cops drove by our house everyday when I was playing outside checking out the neighborhood. I mean my mom would never let me out after dark scared that I might get kidnapped or be shot in a drive by because believe it or not that was a legitimate threat. 2 years ago when I was 11, this was a very new experience for me. 


My older brother’s girlfriend worked down the street at a nearby Denny’s and picked her up late at night. Sometimes I would go with him and felt scared. I didn't know if there was going to be a gang shootout but to be honest I don't know what I was thinking but I do think that I kinda had a right to be scared because crime near that area was pretty common. I had a neighbor that had a number of incidents that happened to her. One time she almost got her car stolen right in front of her house. People’s garages would constantly get broken into either by homeless or by who knows? It was a scary place to live. Moving from Los Gatos to a lower income neighborhood was a big change in my life but I wouldn't change it for anything. It made me wiser and more aware of the world around me. I don’t want to be rich spoiled Caucasian kid and I don’t want to be a gang banger, I just want to be me. Living here wasn’t all bad and I did have lots of fun memories just like I did in Los Gatos. I'm not trying to say one neighborhood is good and one is bad. Not every neighborhood or gang hotspot is bad. Both neighborhoods have some flaws, even Los Gatos wasn't perfect, there is no such thing as a perfect neighborhood.

I'm glad I was able to experience that.  Because now I know not to be involved in gangs or a snoody Caucasian person who is racist towards less fortunate people. I've lived on both sides of the tracks. I know the struggle. I've had to move multiple times and I've seen a lot in life. No one can say to me you don't know how it is to live in a bad neighborhood or you've never experienced a rich life. I've lived on both sides of the tracks.

What do you do within


Your loved one just got ARRESTED

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