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Unread 09-13-2009, 02:15 AM
 
1,551 posts, read 2,137,612 times
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Default Where Will I be Happy in Northern Virginia (or anywhere in the DC area)

Not to ride on the popularity of another form, but after seeing the results of individuals who have experienced excessive sadness from making some decisions as well as the helpful responses, I'm really concerned for my self-happiness as well.

My situation: I'm a recent college graduate who's 22 and on the verge of attaining a job within the next few weeks (possibly as soon as next week). I'm willing to (and would prefer to live) near the city, and am willing to live with room mates (as long as I have my own room). Now you would think that I would be a perfect fit for DC and the nearby mini-cities, but according to my personal experiences, it seems like anything but. Here's the problem: I don't know a lot of people in the DC area (at least people who are genuine), I don't come from a financially affluent background, and lastly.....I'm black. Now I've come to find that Northern Virginia is overall progressive in the sense that there is a lot of racial integration and interracial couples; but the problem is I see most of this racial affability in the areas where the families and older people are (Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties). I, however, haven't seen this as much in Arlington and Alexandria, places where more people of my age are concentrated. Not that those places are that bad, but the integration pales compared to the outer beltway counties. However, DC and most of Maryland is pathetic IMO when it comes to racial affability. Not only there's a great racial divide, but it seems that I get the crap from both sides. On one side, I receive subtle prejudice of not being wanted because I'm part of the "wrong minority" despite being non-stereotypical; I usually experience this in places like Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, and places immediately Northwestward. On the other side, I receive overt prejudice of not being wanted by people from my own race because I'm non-stereotypical and have no interest in the things that the "Black community" concerns itself with; that basically takes me out of the equation of living in any "black yuppie" areas of U Street or the Howard-U neighborhoods. The reason why I have a concern over this is because I've found racial integration and cordiality to be a critical factor for me in having a social life and hence my overall happiness and ability to adapt to a new environment. It's been about four years since I've really been able to attain a constant state of content and happiness by branching out and meeting new people; this was when I was a freshmen at a racially integrated college (not the college I graduated from), and I just want to make sure that I'll be able to move into a neighborhood where I'll be able to socially adapt into without having race as a barrier, especially in the covert sense that I've personally experienced in many of the DC's neighborhoods.

Last edited by Do a Barrel Roll; 09-13-2009 at 02:33 AM..
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Unread 09-13-2009, 05:06 AM
 
715 posts, read 1,260,350 times
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I think the key for you is to nail down a job which will determine your work location. Then, you will be able to determine what areas to consider to live in.

This area is not like NYC which is a much larger melting pot, but for you, I would consider Dupont, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Shirlington, Gaithersburg, and Rockville.
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Unread 09-13-2009, 06:10 AM
 
Location: Fairfax County
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If you feel comfortable doing so, please post more about your line of work/work location (in the District itself? In Arlington? Alexandria?) to help spur some ideas.
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Unread 09-13-2009, 10:09 AM
 
Location: Expatriate Philadelphian in Northern Virginia
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I'm surprised that you feel as if you're receiving a negative vibe from 20somethings in Arlington and Alexandria as I've always had the sense that they would be among the most ethnically harmonious in the area.

Nonetheless, as others have said, your job location and your budget should be the driving forces in your decision on where to live. You may find it harder to meet singles outside the Beltway as there doesn't seem to be many cohesive places where they may congregate. As has been suggested often on this forum, the "Orange Line" area of Arlington aka the Ballston-Clarendon Corridor is most likely where you'll do your socializing if not living (unless you hook up with roommates). Old Town Alexandria may seem a little, well, old for you... although you may impress a date with some of its more sophisicated eateries.
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Unread 09-13-2009, 10:12 AM
 
1,551 posts, read 2,137,612 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeFish View Post
If you feel comfortable doing so, please post more about your line of work/work location (in the District itself? In Arlington? Alexandria?) to help spur some ideas.
My line of work will involve entry-level positions from various companies, and the locations vary, from Tysons Corner to Greenbelt. As for selections, after dealing with years of the ways of Maryland, a state whose government and citizens are gratuitous to either those who are already rich or those who would rather sit on their ***** and refuse to work than to get a job. And after the years of double-sided discrimination from that place, along with the deep-south level racial strife I've experienced in the main "state university," I've just about had enough of the state! Virginia seems to be the only decent spot, but I'm seeing that as more of the case in the suburbs rather than the urban youth-dominated areas. Sorry to ask a question many people would consider a "sensitive topic," but 1) I've had enough of my sanity, social life, and happiness withheld for long enough, and 2) there seems to be a lot of yuppies and liberals who'll quickly give out the subtle racist signs of "You're Not Wanted in my Neighborhood" but not a lot of them will admit it up-front, even on the damn internet! I'm just trying to find the real deal about this irony.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tone509 View Post
I'm surprised that you feel as if you're receiving a negative vibe from 20somethings in Arlington and Alexandria as I've always had the sense that they would be among the most ethnically harmonious in the area.

Nonetheless, as others have said, your job location and your budget should be the driving forces in your decision on where to live. You may find it harder to meet singles outside the Beltway as there doesn't seem to be many cohesive places where they may congregate. As has been suggested often on this forum, the "Orange Line" area of Arlington aka the Ballston-Clarendon Corridor is most likely where you'll do your socializing if not living (unless you hook up with roommates). Old Town Alexandria may seem a little, well, old for you... although you may impress a date with some of its more sophisicated eateries.
It's not in Arlington and Alexandria where I'm receiving the most negative vibes. The people there are more neutral in that aspect, and I've actually seen a fair share of racial integration involving blacks (who are obviously more "assimilated"), but it surprisingly less integrated compared to the suburban counties westward. It's DC and suburban Maryland where I'm facing the most subtle prejudice. And most likely when I receive a job, I'll be looking in the Clarendon-Ballston corridor as a consideration for a place to live (with room mates, of course). I would just like to specifically where these neighborhood jewels of racial integration that everyone brags about are in this area.

Last edited by Do a Barrel Roll; 09-13-2009 at 11:10 AM..
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Unread 09-13-2009, 01:00 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
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I can somewhat understand completely what The Fairfaxian is saying. Here in Reston most people love to flatulate and pontificate about how "progressive" we all are for being founded upon principles of socioeconomic integration and diversity (even as we now tilt towards catering to the upper-middle-class), but when you dig a little bit deeper you'll find that many of these same people are just "tolerant" at face-value to look good. When you actually confront many of these same folks with an opportunity that may very well alter the face of the community for the positive in terms of integration you'll start seeing the true colors of some people. For example, it's amazing the number of people in the Greater Reston area who are opposed to the construction of Metro's Silver Line here, and that's largely because these folks fear the "city element" (a.k.a. "minorities") flooding in and increasing crime and decreasing their property values. As an avid mass transit supporter who hates the car-centric lifestyle many Restonians currently indulge themselves in my counter-arguments have always been to look at places like Arlington's Ballston-Rosslyn Corridor, Bethesda, Fairfax, or other areas that have convenient Metro accessibility and to show me how people there are "suffering" because of it. On the contrary property values tend to SKYROCKET shortly after a new Metro station is built (i.e. some of these very same folks fearing the "element" moving into Reston will likely be hypocrites who won't bat an eye on cashing in on the elevated property values the new Reston Metro stations will bring).

From another perspective as a "straight-acting" 22-year-old homosexual male I can also know how hurtful it can be when you perceive subversive discrimination. Granted this has improved as my peers continue to become more educated and enlightened, but I've noticed that while most in the nation would proudly say they "have no problem with gays" if asked directly, many still do. My former subdivision in suburban Scranton, PA would be a prime example, as I was disgusted with some of the muttering going on when an educated lesbian couple from Philadelphia had been pondering purchasing a home in our development---hysteria from fellow educated and "open-minded" people. Before I "came out" in high school I can still recall how a number of male heterosexual peers expressed disdain and extreme discomfort about having to share a locker room during gym class with a suspected homosexual (not me). Even to this day here in supposedly "enlightened" Northern Virginia I see many instances of social injustice towards various minority groups---not only African-Americans or those in the LGBT community. Shameful. Truly shameful.

People love to lie when it can prove to be advantageous. If supposedly every person you bump into says they have "no problem" with gay people, then why do 50% of them oppose same-sex marriage? If supposedly every person you bump into says they have "no problem" with African-Americans, then why do they call them the "element" when opposing any effort to better link a place like a large and rapidly-growing area like Reston to the heart of the metropolitan area? This entire nation still has a LOT of maturing to do, and hopefully our generation will be the one to herald in a new era of social progression.

Fairfaxian, I'm sorry, but I'm afraid you're going to likely sense at least a marginal level of subversive discrimination no matter where you go. Even in so-called "liberal meccas" like Boston or San Francisco you'll still find a hearty helping of individuals exhibiting socially regressive behaviors. It's not something that can be escaped, and unfortunately people like you and me may be able to "sense" more about what people are trying to conceal than what they may like to imagine. Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate McDonnell is a fine example of this. He claims to be 100% tolerant, open-minded, yada, yada, yada, but when the Washington Post did an in-depth story about his past---an era in which he belittled women and gays alike---he just brushed it off. It's thanks to this that he lost my vote (as well as the vote of many friends), and I was a former supporter of him.
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Unread 09-13-2009, 02:59 PM
 
Location: Expatriate Philadelphian in Northern Virginia
7,411 posts, read 10,355,296 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Fairfaxian View Post
It's not in Arlington and Alexandria where I'm receiving the most negative vibes. The people there are more neutral in that aspect, and I've actually seen a fair share of racial integration involving blacks (who are obviously more "assimilated"), but it surprisingly less integrated compared to the suburban counties westward. It's DC and suburban Maryland where I'm facing the most subtle prejudice. And most likely when I receive a job, I'll be looking in the Clarendon-Ballston corridor as a consideration for a place to live (with room mates, of course). I would just like to specifically where these neighborhood jewels of racial integration that everyone brags about are in this area.
I believe that people are just generally scattered everywhere, with the exception of some relatively working-to-middle-class neighborhoods that might have a relatively high percentage of Blacks and Hispanics... and perhaps of dearth of such in some upper-income communities. It's basically the United Nations over here - meaning Arl/Alex/Fairfax/Loudoun(?) -compared to MD. It would be hard to pinpoint any neighborhood or city in particular.
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Unread 09-13-2009, 03:14 PM
 
3,835 posts, read 5,620,968 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
....Here in Reston most people love to flatulate and pontificate....

Flatulate?? Scranny, are you making up new words?

At first I thought flatulate was the verb form of flatulence (oh no, on top of everything else, they fart a lot in Reston?)....but no, after consulting the Merriam-Webster dictionary, no such word exists...

But, I must know, do Restonites produce an inordinate amount of methane gas?
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Unread 09-13-2009, 05:29 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
25,404 posts, read 42,157,353 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by car54 View Post
Flatulate?? Scranny, are you making up new words?

At first I thought flatulate was the verb form of flatulence (oh no, on top of everything else, they fart a lot in Reston?)....but no, after consulting the Merriam-Webster dictionary, no such word exists...

But, I must know, do Restonites produce an inordinate amount of methane gas?
Well I just ate a spicy TV dinner, so we shall see while I'm watching King of the Hill!
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Unread 09-13-2009, 07:10 PM
 
3,166 posts, read 3,789,311 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by live_strong28 View Post
I think the key for you is to nail down a job which will determine your work location. Then, you will be able to determine what areas to consider to live in.

This area is not like NYC which is a much larger melting pot, but for you, I would consider Dupont, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Shirlington, Gaithersburg, and Rockville.
Dupont? Perhaps, if the OP is gay. Gaithersburg and Rockville for a young single person? Not a chance. why Shirlington? Takoma Park and Silver Spring have too many ghetto sections for a professional to want to live there.

I do agree that it all depends on where the job is. I see the bigger issue has age and living near other young people, and not his race.
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