What OC’ers Think of Oakland

29 Aug

Since I asked my Oakland friends to share their thoughts of Orange County, I figured it was only fair to ask my OC friends what they thought of Oakland.

So I pulled out my ever-ready flipchart paper and markers – and everyone proceeded to stare at me. “What are you doing??” “Is this a workshop? Are you (gasp) flipcharting???” “What do you want us to do?” “What do you mean you want me to write what I say?” “Should I write my name next to it??” I was a little flummoxed by all the questions. I didn’t get any resistance from my Oakland friends. They knew exactly what I was doing and instinctively picked up a marker once the flipchart was taped up. But since 90% of my OC friends don’t work for nonprofits – compared to the 90% of my friends in the Bay who do (us single-handedly keeping the flipchart industry afloat), I guess the confusion was understandable.

The first words that came out of people’s mouths were “robberies” and “ghetto”…But they were too polite to write it up. These were knee-jerk responses and probably indicative of what many people here think. I get a perverse sense of pride for loving a city with such a bad rap, but we all know that I lived in a bubble and have zero street cred. I do get angry when people equate black and poor with violent and dangerous. My general rule has been to treat everyone respectfully, pay attention to my surroundings, and don’t meddle with people or places I have no connection to.

When given a little more time to think, people came up with stuff beyond the knee-jerk. Oaksterdam was the first one on the list. I lived and worked very near there. I’m all for legalization, especially for medicinal purposes, and for ending the war on drugs.

Cold and far. Diverse and the lake. Raiders and BART. Can’t argue there. I never got over the cold and the 60 degree summers. Far, but not too far, from OC was a selling point when I left for college. Diverse is essential. The lake was my center of activity. I’m not a football fan, but I’m down with the Raiders and have love for the A’s. I want to love the Warriors but I’m an unrepentant Lakers fan. I heart public transportation.

Perhaps you have strong opinions about Oakland or never really thought about it. To help you see more, I leave you with my favorite Oakland videos:
Dave Chappelle on Oakland versus San Francisco
Tongue-in-cheek Oakland travel video
Immigrant rights rally in Oakland


2 Responses to “What OC’ers Think of Oakland”

  1. Samantha August 31, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    I think I was surprised you were using flipchart paper instead of a reusable whiteboard. I sat there watching & soaking in the scene. Then I started thinking about how my dream home would have a whiteboard wall just for brainstorming. Then I wondered why you had a flipchart at home & how it felt structured but loose all at the same time. Then I focused on if the markers would smell, I wanted to know if red would be cherry. Then I remembered the task was to write down something about Oakland & then I saw a shiny object……

    • cil1977 August 31, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

      hahaha…thank you for the play by play of what you were thinking! i know of an office that has a whole wall of chalkboard for brainstorming. that could be fun. 🙂

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