The Absence of Racism in Gorgeous Prince George’s

A recent tweet of mine regarding the absence of racism in Prince George’s County, Maryland received a lot of attention as it gained over 700 re-tweets and over 1,100 likes. The tweet stated, “Growing up in PG racism was never really a topic of discussion. I guess it’s a blessing to grow up in a thriving Black county and area. I am not complaining.”

Judging from 90% of the replies from PG County residents, this was also their reality throughout their upbringing. I was born in the early-mid 90’s. Growing up as a Black child in PG County I did things such as go to gogo’s/passa passa’s every weekend, play in gogo bands, shop and sit on the steps at Gallery Place, post up at the BLVD and PG Plaza, attend PG County Public Schools sports events and other things that a lot of PG County children did.

A lot of us also did what we refer to as “Hang around the way” which means, congregate outside with other residents of your community and engage in activities you choose or see fit for yourself. A lot of PG County communities are not racially diverse. PG County is predominantly Black. According to Data USA Black people account for a little over 60% of the people in PG and White people account for 13%. That means that 87% of the county is non-white.

It’s almost as if there were little to no White people present to be racist to us. I grew up in classrooms, played on community sports teams and lived in communities with no White children. I have gone plenty of days without seeing a single White person. As a result, something such as White privilege was never thought of or talked about to a lot of us in our adolescence. There were not enough white children to exhibit how they can be treated better or different because the color of their skin.

According to several sources, PG County is the wealthiest Black county in America with an annual household income of $76,741. Growing up in Hyattsville, Maryland I never thought of or referred to a wealthy community as being the “White Neighborhood.” I have always associated wealth with Black. On my bus ride to school we would stop and pick up children in communities such as Woodmore, Fairwood, and Lake Arbor. All of these children were of color living in some of the most luxurious homes and upscale community’s PG County had to offer.

One man mentioned me on twitter and stated, “I make references about this county a lot… #Salute.. Seeing it is a breath of fresh air, especially being from the rural south.”

I grew up in the DMV era when we worried about making it home from parties, being safe on the metro, not getting robbed for expensive clothes, and making it out of neighborhoods we’re not from. That is not to say racism did not exist, but it was not the topic of discussion being that it was not relevant to our day to day lifestyle.

The Prince George’s County Public School System is ranked among the lowest in the state of Maryland. A couple of people on Twitter referred to this as a sign of racism. This fact was the most referred to sign of racism in PG County but as far as people to people interactions are concerned, no acts of racism were reported.

A lot of my peers and I did not become aware of racism until we left PG County. People spoke on life outside of PG as they stated things such as, “Moving out of PG was such a culture shock in the worst way man” and “Honestly. I didn’t experience my first racist encounter until I went out of town in Atlanta. I was confused.”

The first time I laid eyes on a confederate flag was when I moved to South Carolina. Previous to my encounter, I had never learned anything about the history or significance of the flag. The flag seemed to be everywhere throughout the state as I spotted it in front yards, on vehicles and in front of bars/restaurants.

Apparently, a lot of people who reside in surrounding or nearby counties have a different experience being Black. The following tweets sent to me elaborate on Black experiences in neighboring counties; “but then u cross the border to charles county… whole nother story” and “That is a blessing. I’d rather that than be in MoCo where people racist but turn around and make you think it’s a figment of your imagination.”

I enjoyed hearing what other Black people thought about life in Gorgeous Prince George’s. A lot of us hope that all Black people will get to receive the Black experience we do in PG County.

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7 thoughts on “The Absence of Racism in Gorgeous Prince George’s

  1. Maybe not because Pgc is the most affluent black suburb in America , I have seen Black people from all over come to PG and marvel at how many blacks live well there

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  2. I guess none of the people commenting grew up in the early 90s… When PG county police were the most violent in the US.. Leading in police brutality cases. Shootings of unarmed men and also leading the nation in getting shot at.. Officers letting dogs attack already subdued individuals.. Also gun-drawn stop-n-frisks just to meet and photo local adolescents..

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  3. This article is very true about PG county never experiencing racism, and it never will experience it. I only say that because me being a 90’s baby, PG always had a mixture of all cultures from around the world living in one county. No race out numbers the other and some might be surprised but everybody gets along. Not saying we’re living in the number one county but PG has managed to be successful with absolutely no racism from my point of view. Happy to say I’m a proud PG resident.

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  4. Growing up in PG county, I could say I never really experience racism within my community. And I agree 100% with this article because I too felt a big culture shock once I left the DMV and went off to school in Minnesota. That was my first true experience of White Privilege. I’ll use this article as an eye opener for those who don’t understand how good is “black folks” got it in PG county.

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  5. I’ve never personally experienced racism in Prince George’s County or African Americans being under the poverty line, which comes in below the national average of 14.7% as a considerably 9.3%
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  6. I was born (1992) and raised in PG County and I must say we definitely have racism within the region. Before I detail the many ways we encounter it here, I’d like to emphasize how well we have built a safe space for black ambition in PG. I wish PG Counties would spring up all across the nation and that we would really pass on the success of those who built PG to others by sustaining this region and creating more.

    That said, PG is not racism free. My first encounter with racism IN Prince Georges was as a third party, watching my sister deal with the fact that her teacher labeled students in her class as “house niggers” and “field niggers” when explaining slavery. She was in the first or second grade and it affected us deeply to have to come to terms with that sort of relegation so soon. This was racism because the labels weren’t necessary. You don’t put black children in the position to see themselves as ranked for the sake of education. You don’t allow children to act on that hierarchy without explaining the pain it caused.

    I guess my next encounter would be the prevalence of what we called “jumpouts” when I was younger. I am not sure what the older kids called them when dealing with them, but we all knew that if you were outside hanging around at night IN YOUR OWN NEIGHBORHOOD, you had to look out for these vans that would creep up to a group of black teens and jump out to round up as many “drug dealers” as they could. How do you see these children, hanging out and minding their business in the evening, and decide they must be criminals? This was a lot to do with both class and race but was still racism.

    I have a cousin who was snatched off of the metro last year because he fit a description. A whole group of cops were dragging him off this bus and only stopped when the bus driver insisted that they check the time of crime to the amount of time my cousin had been on the bus. We all knew he was lucky to make it out.

    I could list so many other instances where I’ve witnessed racism at work in PG, but ultimately, we can all acknowledge that PG still has it better than many other cities in our nation. We grew up when DC was Chocolate City, before the gentrification. I definitely think we got to experience a sense of self that many black people come into as adults embracing their culture. That was our self awareness from the start. Still, systemic racism was still effective here, especially in our education system’s funding and in our politics up to this day. We have a long ways to go and I hope we all commit to doing so!

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  7. My name is JoJo. I was born in Panama and have been living in PG County since the age of 5 (1995), District Heights MD was our first city. Then moved to the projects out Alexandria, VA (1997) then to Greenbelt (Springhill Lake) for 10 years. Anyways, with all that being said I’ve never had to grow up around racism and the closest thing to racism I’ve experienced (later in life) were through JOBS, either reconsider hiring me or treating different once I got the job. Since the age of 5 I’ve only been raised around Blacks and Hispanics. I’m pretty thankful and blessed to not have been stressed and belitted by racism. I love the DMV, our culture is so rich. I know I talk alot. Thanks for the article and thanks for reading.

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