Impact and Awareness

Matthew

Being a young man from a neighborhood that people despise and fear can have a major impact on a person. Especially being from the neighborhood I was from, doesn’t prepare you for life challenges outside of the neighborhood.  One of the challenges was red!   I love the color red, and in my neighborhood, most of my friends love the color too. But I never knew that this color was going to have people stereotype me. My first year of College, fellow classmates and students assumed I was part of the Blood Gang, because most of the time I was in the color red. Assuming and asking me if I’m a part of that gang really made me feel low about myself. And it didn’t get any easier when they found out I live in Jane & Finch. The thought of knowing that people I see every day, believe I was a gang member made me reflect on growing up in that community and made me questioned if I was a part of that gang or not. To me, red is just a color I like. To others when I wear red I’m a gang member. It can drive you crazy thinking about what people are thinking of you by the way you dress, but you just got to be yourself and hope for the best. From the age of 19-21 I had to deal with that stereotype in College and outside of my community and I was just a kid that didn’t know how to deal with this. Now being much older I still wear red, but not that much. But when I do wear red, that stereotype of being a gang member is always in the back of my mind and it makes me wonder if close friends, co-workers and even family members believe I’m in the blood gang.

Matthew

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