As a part-time resident of the city, I feel a similar vibe as I do about my homestate of Mississippi. Willie Morris once talked about building a wall around the state and posting a "KEEP OUT" sign, not wanting to share the celebrated and diverse culture that is so specific and beautiful to the state (to those who truly understand it); however, not to allow others to see and share how very far the state has come (further than any other, I would argue) regarding race relations, artistic achievements, musical accomplishments and contributions to the country, etc., would be selfish and sinful. I agree with the latter opinion. The challenge is separating the GENUINE visitors - those with open minds, hearts, and willing to immerse themselves and participate in and add to the REAL culture - from the experiencial seekers, gawkers and poseurs. I think the optimistic (and proper) perspective is this: Hope that the gawkers and poseurs change; furthermore, help facilitate their change... A challenge, indeed. Whether one takes an optimistic view of the "share" idea is a personal decision -- but I have always gained much satisfaction in opening blind eyes and trying to touch the artistic soul of those in search of things about which they, themselves, may not even be aware.
Great article. Keep 'em coming.
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