I think the person may have misread the tone of my blog, and misunderstood my intentions, but they were right to call me out. I don't believe any of my comments were racist (it's kind of racist to read race into my comments about neighbourhoods, but let's not go there), but I do believe I was insensitive, and for that I thank my offendee for calling me out. I found it disproportionately embarrassing (I was still pretty weepy at the time and was having some culture shock issues as it was), but I did learn from it.
I made sweeping statements about certain neighbourhoods which were intended to be an exaggerated, comical depiction of the ups and downs of NY apartment hunting. I do see how those sweeping statements would be offensive to people who actually live in those areas, know people who live in those areas or make a living in those areas. I also see how my statements may reinforce annoying stereotypes that inhabitants of those areas likely spend their lives having to disprove. For that I genuinely do apologise. It annoys me when people make unintentionally condescending presumptions about South Africa (or Africa in general), but I do try to remember that I have many blind spots of my own (case in point), laugh at their ignorance and enlighten them with more accurate information. (Other times I confess I make up ridiculous stories which they will hopefully repeat to the next South African they meet...).
So I apologise for my insensitivity. I won't update my blog, because I said what I said, even if I said it badly, and I learnt from the experience. Which is what I'm here to do. I appreciate being called out on it.
Also, I love Brooklyn (all of it) and everyone who lives there. It feels far more like home than Manhattan (which is fun in a different way). I admire those who come from edgy neighborhoods (and let's be honest, some are more edgy than others), and would love to know all their stories, because I'm sure I have no idea what their lives are like. To be frank, I probably grew up quite sheltered and spoilt, but there's nothing I can do about that except try not to be ignorant about how others grew up. I'm probably also a white hipster gentrifier, but there's not much I can do to help that either, except try to be a considerate, rather than a presumptious, version of that. I do want to live in a neighbourhood where I feel my wife could walk home safely from the subway at 2AM, even though I come from a country with notorious violent crime rates (the difference is; in South Africa, we know how to be street smart. Here; we're still learning).
Anyway, as long as I'm learning, I'm grateful. If any of this came off insenstivie, let me know. I'm still learning & I want to know. Thanks for the lesson, New York!