Social Status, Our Privilege

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 We started out this week trying to figure out what category Zenger farm fits into: urban, rural, or suburban? We talked about how the farm is really a mix of all of these different categories. It sits conveniently close to downtown Portland, making it more urban, but it’s also far enough away from the hustle and bustle of downtown to feel rural. An additional important issue to address is what category the people who use and need Zenger think it fits into. In this discussion of urban versus rural we talked about the issues that rural areas of America face in regard to planning. I had never considered the lack of rural planners to be an issue. In our previous weeks of learning and reading about urban planning and the relationship between urban and rural neighborhoods, we had not talked about the troubles of rural planning. Some other interesting issues included the lack of funding for rural planning, the difficulty in achieving cultural diversity in rural America, and the dangers of toxic waste faced by rural residents. We then ended the week with an activity called a “privilege walk” where our instructor said different statements and we had to step away from the group if they pertained to us. The questions helped us think about who we are and how that’s going to affect our project with Zenger. It helped us realize how different we really are from the Powellhurst-Gilbert students. We had been discussing whether or not it would be beneficial to the project to keep our private school status more or less a secret. We also talked about how talking with other high school students from the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood might not be such a good idea because of the difficulty for them in expressing their concerns regarding food insecurity to their peer age group. We’ve established that it’s going to be a touchy subject but it’s very important that someone on the project reaches the high school students. The part of the privilege walk exercise that really stuck out for me was the similarities within our group. There were only a few questions were the group didn’t all step out together or all remain in one line. Some statements made me wonder how we’re going to talk with the youth of such a different neighborhood from Catlin Gabel and get honest, useful responses. The statement, “You are not followed when you enter a store” confused and impacted me the most. I realized that I really don’t know what the youth of this neighborhood feel and want so we’re going to have to do a lot of listening and asking questions.

 

Find more information on the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood at:

 

http://www.pgpride.org

 

and at:

 

http://www.city-data.com/neighborhood/Lents-Powellhurst-Gilbert-Portland-OR.html

 

See attached document for pictures of the neighborhood!