"In my heart of hearts, I wanted to do the right thing, but selling drugs was easy. Everyone was doing it. I mean, I’m not using that as an excuse, I made my own decisions. But I grew up around these Robin Hood figures who would sell drugs, then buy supplies for kids who were going back to school, or pay rent for an old woman who was about to get evicted. All my friends were doing it. It almost seemed fashionable. I never felt proud of it. I always thought I’d transition to a job with the Transit Authority, or a job like this— something I’d feel good about, but instead I transitioned to jail. I did six years. When I got out, it was tempting to go back to the easy money, because everyone around me was still doing it, and I couldn’t get a job. But luckily I found an agency that helps ex-cons, because there aren’t many companies looking to give people a second chance. I’ve had this job for a few years now. You know what product I’m selling now? Myself. Everyone around here is my client. Times Square is a drug to these people. And I’m picking up all the trash so that they can have the full Times Square experience."
Hold up, hold up here a sec-
“I grew up around these Robin Hood figures who would sell drugs, then buy supplies for kids who were going back to school, or pay rent for an old woman who was about to get evicted. All my friends were doing it. It almost seemed fashionable.”
This is something I keep trying, desperately, to explain to people in my life that say people in the inner cities and stuff are all just…. purposefully “throwing their lives away” with crime, or that they’re born and bred to be “criminals.”
Drug money and crime money is easy, it doesn’t run out- there’s always a demand for it and you don’t need to bust your ass and waste money to get it. And with that money you can do good things for your community.
I’m not saying I think crime is right or anything, but… there’s so much more to it than folks from the inner city being “criminals.” They’re making a living in one of the few ways available.
The cycle of poverty creates this shit and throws people into bad places. It’s not right for condemning them for doing their best in those bad places.