Some local geography

Here in the Atlanta metro area, we have I-285 (the “Perimeter”) and I-20. I-285 is a belt interstate which circles the city. I-20 runs east-west and splits the city pretty much right down the middle. Most of the lower- and working-class types – as well as the bulk of the minority population – live south of I-20 and/or ITP (“Inside the Perimeter”). Most of the upper-middle and upper-class types – as well as the bulk of the white population – live north of I-20 and/or OTP (“Outside the Perimeter”).

This can’t surprise either of my readers, but Jawa Girl and I live south of I-20 and ITP. This was not accidental. Not only is my job south of here and it’s easier to deal with the traffic, but anyone who knows me knows how not-gladly I suffer fools and rich white self-entitled people (and I say that as someone who *is* white and wouldn’t mind being rich). I like living in a diverse neighborhood. I like the fact that not everyone looks like me. I recognize that makes me a minority (ha!) amongst my fellow members of the Pale ‘n’ Portly, especially down here, but that’s alright with me. I’ve never been one to go with the flow, except for that one incident in 8th/9th grade, and in my defense I looked really good in the pastel Don Johnson jacket.

So when a local hospital put an ad on the TeeVee that said “Taking Healthcare outside the Perimeter – where people actually live!”, it got my dander up. ITP and south of I-20 get enough negativity as it is. Yes, crime is, statistically speaking, higher here. Not gonna deny that. But – and understand this is not to excuse bad behavior, but rather to understand – this area has consistently been ignored/blamed/put upon by the Powers That Be down here. It the city of Atlanta, many north-south streets actually change names at Ponce de Leon (the previous line of demarcation, before I-20 was built) so that people up north (mostly white) wouldn’t have to live on the same streets as people down south (mostly non-white).

I have a message for Dekalb Medical Center – Hillandale: People – real people – actually do live inside the Perimeter. Don’t absorb the racism and classism that have too long plagued this area.

WF

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