Jim Schutze describes North Oak Cliff as "Brooklyn, but your parents don't have to support you." Photography by Kristi and Scott Redman

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Even Jim Schutze Is Preaching Hope This Week

The Dallas Observer columnist talks about what he's been telling out-of-towners.

While time gradually begins its work of healing Dallas’ wounds of the last week, Schutze shares what he’s been telling visiting journalists about this city of ours:

“Here’s the thing. Nobody young moves here because it was always his dream to live within sight of the Trinity River. The gen-x-to-millenial generational spectrum coming to Dallas or staying in Dallas does so for the same basic reasons my now-geezinski generation did a third of a century ago, for opportunity, for a job, to start a business, to get a foot in the door in the underwear-model trade, whatever. To make money.

But this new wave also brings with it some wonderful qualities of tolerance and what I call geographical porosity. By that I mean they can move into what had been a poor Mexican immigrant community in North Oak Cliff, walk the streets with the Mexican families, maybe shop at some of the tiendas, even speak decent Spanish once in a while, and not just try to bulldoze everybody else who isn’t white middle class right off the edge of the world as I fear we did.

Bumps and bruises occur there, as well, of course. But here is the real perspective I can bring to it as a geez, even better than my collection of skeletons and nightmares. I can see the long arc of this. I can compare what this city looked like and felt like in 1978, when I first arrived here from a small colony on the other side of Mars, and what it looks and feels like now.

The arc is all to the good. It is a rainbow carrying us to a productive, harmonious and fulfilling future, as long as we keep those skeletons locked up. And that last bit is very important. Every time you walk by, check and make sure the door is still closed and locked.”

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