Part of my problem withstories like the one linked in this post, and with discussions that begin with “you can’t raise a family in the city” anyway, is that they’re essentially classist and are about people who have a choice one way or the other, but never ever ever acknowledge that.
The other thread is the “people want to live in cities until they have kids then it’s too hard.” I get that quality of local schools is a genuine issue, but otherwise I’m rather confused by the “can’t raise 2 kids without a minivan in the suburbs” attitude I see from lots of people. People can and do raise kids in the city and manage just fine. Really not sure what the difficulties are.
It drives me wild when people say, “you can’t raise a child in the city,” because, um, POOR children have always grown up in cities. But screw them, they’re poor, and probably their parents could have saved them from the horror of not having a yard if they’d just bought cheaper groceries, so we don’t care about them. We mean OUR children, the nice ones, who are most likely white and made the virtuous choice to be born rich. For fuck’s sake, if a city is such a toxic environment in which to raise your child, then it’s a toxic environment in which to raise ANYONE’S child, but things only become trend stories when rich people do them, after all.
(Obligatory middle-class disclaimer: I can totally see where you want space and a yard and such with children. “Go outside and play” would be a lot easier if there was, you know, outside that wasn’t infested with people who don’t know how to drive and speed through alleys WHO DOES THAT I ASK YOU. Living in the city with any dependents or none at all is a pain in the ass sometimes. Right now I would commit murder for a heated garage. I HATE scraping off the car. I hate moving the car around based on street cleaning days and I hate, in general, the snowblowing goatfuckers who start up their horrible machines at 9 p.m. and sometimes I really hate hearing the neighbors’ TV. And in the summer I long for central air. But if I had a lawn to take care of and a roof to worry about, I’d hate that too and bitch about it all the time. Bitching about our living situations is what human beings do.)
I’m not saying you then have to stay in the city or should even want to stay there, I mean, do whatever the hell you want, but at least acknowledge that fact in the conversation. “I didn’t want to raise my kid with crackheads in the alley” is a different thing than “You can’t raise a child with crackheads in the alley.” One’s a statement of preference (shit, people rasie their kids with crackheads in the next room), the other’s acting like your own situation wasn’t a choice you made.
Which ignores a whole swath of the population we really shouldn’t be ignoring when we talk about how to make decent lives for kids.