Prince George’s County

One of my internet buddies made these comments/questions below about Prince George’s County.  Please join in if you have suggestons or comments

What’s up Native son. I’m not from Prince George’s, but I went to college in Washington, DC so I always used to watch the local news and read the Post. When I first learned that the county was so affluent, I was under the impression that it was like Fairfax or Arlington, but it really isn’t (unless you count National Harbor..but that’s another story..lol). Crime is off the hook, but it seems to be confined to certain parts of the county. I went to the Blvd. at the Capitol Center a few times, and I generally liked it because it seemed to provide services that were lacking in the county (plus the Gladys Knight restaurant is pretty good). However, I saw too many cursing, reckless teens who were unsupervised and TOO many tennis shoe shops. How many Shoe City stores does the area need? lol. I try to imagine myself as a middle-class African-American dad with kids in a few years. Would I want my kids to be exposed to cursing and a low variety of stores, or would I drive to White Flint or Tysons Corner (or even M Street in Georgetown)? I would like to live with other educated African-Americans, but if the schools are overcrowded and amenities are poor, you have to question whether its worth it–especially since homes in P.G. have appreciated so much. Its sad there is a lack of cohesion among parents in the county because I think the schools could be a lot better. There are places in the county where the average income is $100,000 or more yet the state test scores are like Baltimore. I don’t get it…and I know the kids can do the work.

Also…do you think the county should be fighting for Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, The Cheesecake Factory, Whole Foods, etc., to locate in the county, or is it a misplaced priority? I think the state of the schools is way more important, but I also think some of the stores aren’t locating in the county because of racism and the people deserve MUCH better. If you make $150,000 and live in a $600,000 home, yet the only retail establishments near your home are dollar stores, I think that’s bad. I think county residents have been disrespected, and even though National Habor is there, it seems like it was built for visitors with residents being a secondary concern. Maybe I’m just being cynical however.

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14 Responses

  1. Hey Jon:

    You need to read my blog post about the BLVD, we almost sound the same with our concerns.

    When discussions first started about the BLVD project; one of my conerns were what types of stored would be there. I was thinking that we would have an anchor store such as Macys or Nordstrom. That was wishfull thinking. Instead we got a few nice stores with a mix of atheletic stores including Shoe City. Ugh!! does the county really need another Shoe City…lol

    This counrt does not have its priorites in order. I can’t even blame it on racism because the majority of the County leadership including the county executive are black. Then we have all of the ‘affluent’ black folk in our county who are onyl concerned with their housing developments. They could care less about the surrounding cities and/or neighborhoods, because they can jump in the Mercedes, Lexus or Cadillac and drive to Montogmery County or VA to shop at upscale stores.

    As far as crime is concerned, it is getting bad even in the well to do cities in PG. I grew up in Fort Washington in the 80’s 90’s. My parent still live there and it has changed a lot. A new element has moved in and it is not how it used to be.

    So who is to blame?” The residents of this county are to blame. With all the educated middle and upper middle class black folk in this county, we should be in Upper Marlboro demanding that our county do its damn job and make them accountable. But the folks here in the county are so complacent, that they don’t care…

  2. Native Son:

    Thank you so much your insight. Its nice to hear the perspective from an actual longtime resident and not the media. Also, kudos to you for your mentoring program…it is much needed. With the way I see kids act today, I worry about being too overprotective if I have a child in the future (especially a son). I read the Post every day and it seems like a young black male is shot or killed on a regular basis in Washington, DC. Some of the guys don’t even think they will make it past age 21, which is really sad.

    I checked out your old postings about the Blvd. I think instead of Golden Corral, they should have pushed for a Cheesecake Factory and maybe a Houston’s. I think a third of the patrons of the White Flint Cheesecake Factory are probably from Prince George’s County, and all those tax dollars are going to Montgomery County schools, which are already good. You are right–the county needed a nice Macy’s and a Nordstrom. Those would probably be some of the highest performing locations in the country if they were built, but I feel as though corporate executives see “majority-black” and ignore the potential. One time I went to the Macy’s at Prince George’s Plaza and the selection was awful, but I frequented the Metro Center store and the selection was always excellent. The disparity was so stark, and it shouldn’t be that way.

    I’m sorry to hear your Fort Washington neighborhood isn’t the way it used to be. I’m a ’90’s kid, and my neighborhood is still fine, but its much more transient and the neighbors aren’t as friendly. The sense of community has gone downhill in so many ways.

  3. Jon:

    We also have a white population in our county as well; I don’t want to forget them. This county needs new leadership

    If you ask the majority of people in this county who their local councilmember is, they would not be able to tell you. They don’t realize that all politics are local. People never hold county or state officials accountable for the quality of life in their area and needs to change.

    And you are correct about black men in this area; they are killed often and 9 times out of 10, by another black person. I get so frustrated sometimes because most of the murders are senselss. People killing other people because of the street they live on.

    What really annoys me about these neighborhood beefs; is that most of the people who are keeping these beefs going, don’t even own the property that they live in. How to argue and beef over property that is city/count owned or by a private companies?

    To make matters worse, most of the neighborhood beefs that the young people are engaging in are passed down by their parents who also grew up ion the same neighrboods and had the same beefs. I could go on and on about the problems that we have in the black community in the D.C. area.

  4. Your internet buddy is right about Prince Georges County. I have lived in the county since the 70’s so I have definitely seen the changes going on.

    The county may have become more affluent since more black residents moved to the county but the crime rate and the poorly ranked schools are something the county cannot brag about. And because of the crime situation and the low ranking schools many black families are leaving Prince Georges County and moving to Charles County.

  5. “And because of the crime situation and the low ranking schools many black families are leaving Prince Georges County and moving to Charles County.”

    I’m one of them. P.G. is a joke to me.

  6. This is a really good post! The conditions are rather similar with the Chicago suburbs. It seems like people are more interested in the futures of the stock market than the futures of their children.

    It is rather alarming though to know that people want to move to a place that’s not all its cracked up to be. It escapes me…but then again, a lot of things do.

  7. @ Native Son

    This part of what your friend wrote resonated with me:

    I try to imagine myself as a middle-class African-American dad with kids in a few years. Would I want my kids to be exposed to cursing and a low variety of stores, or would I drive to White Flint or Tysons Corner (or even M Street in Georgetown)? I would like to live with other educated African-Americans, but if the schools are overcrowded and amenities are poor, you have to question whether its worth it–especially since homes in P.G. have appreciated so much.

    I don’t have to imagine. I am already there and this is part of the reason I decided to live in Northern Virginia. I have friends out in PG County that rib me for being out here, but I just can’t see it – at least not now. This is a very real problem

  8. NS, Your friend’s observations are on point. I’ve lived in the county my entire life and I’ve seen both the good and the bad. One thing that has always disappointed me is the disparity between the attention that the County government directs toward communities inside the beltway and outside.

    I think the bottom line is accountability. We must hold our elected leaders accountable when it comes to addressing our needs but more importantly we must hold ourselves accountable. I’m a father of three boys. Up until now I’ve chosen not to run away to a neighboring county (although I’ve thought about it) because I still believe there is a lot of good here and a lot to be proud of. I also believe the county’s deficiencies can improve if it’s residents stop being silent.

  9. “We must hold our elected leaders accountable when it comes to addressing our needs but more importantly we must hold ourselves accountable. I’m a father of three boys. Up until now I’ve chosen not to run away to a neighboring county”

    Wayne: I like your comment about “holding ourselves accountable”. But I think your comment about “running away to another county” is misplaced. You’re a father of three boys, I’m a father of one. I chose to “move” (not run) to another county because I did not have faith in my fellow P.G. neighbors. The county administration can only do so much. As a father, and as a taxpayer, I don’t think we have to wait until a county can get its act together. We have to make decisions based on the best interests of our families. Just because P.G. has a problem doesn’t mean that my family should have to endure that problem.

    Arguably, many of the residents who held themselves accountable left P.G. for the same reasons. In many instances (e.g., D.C.) this results in having the people who don’t hold themselves accountable–and who are willing to accept the status quo–left behind.

    I know that Tammy Wynette once wrote a song called, “Stand by Your Man”, but I don’t think that applies to standing by P.G. as it goes further down the tubes.

  10. WOW! the post just described South DeKalb County in Georgia. presumably, running a close second to Prince George County for affluent Black folk, DeKalb County suffers from poor schools, low test scores, predominantly Black middle & high schools that do not meet the AYP for No Child Left Behind on an annual basis, $200,000 income households, $500,000 houses, every luxury car known to man… and then strip malls with the obligatory beauty supply and weave shop, nail shop, barber shop, Chinese restaurant, and a glut of Dollar Stores. to find a Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Parisian, or Cheesecake Factory, one has to travel to the whiter suburbs on the north side of metro Atlanta!

  11. Afripino: I’m in total agreement with a father doing what he feels is in the best interest of his family. In this case, whether you wish to call it moving, running, relocating, or fleeing to a neighboring county, you have to do what you have to do. Like I said, I’ve thought about doing the same thing and haven’t totally ruled it out. However, I on the other hand do have faith in my fellow P.G. neighbors and while many good people have chosen to leave, there are plenty who choose to stay and continue to be a part of that which is positive in this community. Don’t be quick to assume those that do are accepting the status quo of the county’s negative element or are simply waiting for the county to get it’s act together. There are plenty of good people putting in work. This county is our home and just like the physical home you live in, it requires maintenance, upkeep, and occasional repairs – none of which can be done by moving out because of them.

  12. I hate that the Blvd and the Bowie Town Center is the best we have.. One of the questions was is this a misplaced priority .. maybe but dayum, i’d like to be able to shop at high end retail stores And as far as restuarants … there is very few that are more than one tier above fast-food.

    ~blk

  13. I appreciate reading the different perspectives on this issue. I’m from Louisiana originally but I bought my home in Prince George’s county last year because I have some family in different areas of the county. And I know how frustrating it is to live here sometimes. My neighbors in my HOA complained about a yard sale I had, yet two weeks later none of these people came to our National Night Out Against Crime event. But I will keep doing my part to stay active and informed. I love that local papers like The Gazette highlight positive stories happening in our communities regarding youth, non-profits and businesses.

  14. just found this site……great insight here……

    I am a black county resident. For me, suffice it to say that until black county residents, civil servants, and politicans display more diversity in their BLACK POLITICS, blacks in the region will continue to have substand ammenities, low performing schools, and underperforming managers, with respect to most of the businesses currently located in the county.

    Our county is with wealthiest county (for blacks) in the U.S., and at the same time, the worst school system in the state, next to Baltimore.

    Why?

    My opinion is lack of divirsity in black polltics. We need to take take time out to heare what black conservatives have to say, don’t you think? Maybe there could be some refreshing ideas out there.

    And maybe, just maybe, the reshaping of black society will begin………..

    FYI, Stats show that at least 80 percent of a county’s retail workforce comes from the county public school system. Based on this fact, coupled with the fact the PG county schools score low–do you really think a Nordstroms or a Saks Fifth Avenue would invest in putting a store in PG county? Ever notice the difference in customer service and leadership between a McDonald’s in Oxon Hill versus a McDonald’s in Alexandria?

    Blacks must consider more diversity in Black Politics.

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