For the Atlantic City resident interviews, I had the pleasure of interviewing a long- time resident of Atlantic City, Henry Hank Green. Mr. Green grew up in Atlantic city and was extremely active with sports and was nominated and won prom king. Mr. Green is now on theWND radio station which he considers to be a “platform” for voices to be heard as well as representing unheard voices for African American issues. What stood out the most to me was when Mr. Green was asked the question, ‘How would you describe the changes in Atlantic City and County over the past year? Without even talk about our fundamental and powerful concepts he immediately stated “power”. Hank stated that most people believe that the issues going on in the city are a “black/ white thing” but that is not what it is at all he went on to say that money is the real issue. In Hank’s eyes, whoever has the money has the power. When a white person holds the power in Atlantic City many blacks argue with their decisions and blame them for issues but according to Hank when blacks receive the power they run the city the exact same way. Blacks with power believe that “white is right” and will do what whites tell them to do.
Hank believes the school system is fractured, “young people have been hurt the most,teachers use issues in Atlantic City as an excuse”. According to Hank people with money take advantage of young people. In the school system, negative behavior means they will receive attention. When good kids/ students see that negative behavior equals attention they soon become bad kids. While huge funds go to the school’s students are going into high school still on a sixth-grade reading level. Teachers are giving up because of all the negative behavior. Hank for example was a good person but not a good student. He exceeded in sports but after cutting corners he later realized that he was lacking skills because growing up he had no one to give him direction and had to learn on his own.
During this interview, I noticed that all our fundamental and powerful concepts are applicable. As stated before, Hank kept bringing up how money is power. Most people who have power within the city come from money, they do not know the real issues of the city and don’t take the residents of the city into consideration and only see issues from one perspective which is not in favor of the residents. Though something may help the city that does not necessarily mean that it helps the people within the city. That applies to all urban spaces as well, one can only make the best decision if one knows the community well and has a relationship with the community. When asked about the relationship and interaction between the city and the government Hank was quick to say that the state is not about Atlantic City. Hank stated that the state government doesn’t know what they are doing which trickles down to the local government doing whatever they are told to do. Environment and behavior tie closely together in this case because of what Hank said, the environment that students live in results in them wanting attention causing them to act out with negative behavior because they associate negative behavior with attention. Along with environment being a factor in Mr. Green’s interview, the environment he lived in growing up was the stereotype of whites but it wasn’t until he traveled and explored beyond his natural environment to realize this stereotype was not true.
When Reverend William Williams came in to our class we discussed the contributions to the social stability of Atlantic City. Some of the topics that were mentioned within the discussion were investors/steak holders, education, local government, and empty promises all of which Mr. Green had touched upon. A lot of what Mr. Green was saying surprised me. Just like AtlanticCity has their stereotypes about white people, we also have a set stereotype about people who live in ghettos such as Atlantic city but Hank really showed me that this was not true. He is definitely a well-educated man whom I had grown to admire throughout the interview especially for having taught him-self most of what he knows now.