To the Editor:
Our values come from our environment. Parents are designed to provide our primary environment and extended family provides further environmental influence.
Racial and ethnic make-up have an effect on our family structure and its activities. The weather in which we were raised affects our values, habits, and community activities. Religious understanding and practice mold our social structure. Our economic condition also affects our customs and objectives.
We are our environment.
As a New York boy raised during the Great Depression, which was also a period of huge migration to America, all the neighborhoods that I was familiar with were either ethnic, religious, and racially oriented. It is from these tightly knit communities that aid and assistance can be given to those in need.
It is natural to move in with a group who have similar values and marry into that group as well. The adjustment is relatively easy. It is not a symptom of prejudice to associate with people of similar values – it is a natural development.
In our present society government sweeps up people of diverse backgrounds and pours them into enclaves called low-income housing, or housing for the homeless, or housing for immigrants. These people have little in common with each other and are not designed to live under the same roof, let alone in the same neighborhood.
This practice is an attack on the economic and societal structure of the residents who moved into a neighborhood of their choosing, frequently at significant cost and self-sacrifice to themselves.
It’s our neighborhood, not the government’s. Let’s care for and defend our neighborhood.