Posted on September 6, 2017
The herringbone brick walkways that pave the College of Charleston’s campus make walking nearly impossible without falling victim to the Charleston shuffle.Sadly, the bricks that pave Downtown Charleston are the only part of the city that most students at College of Charleston will ever see. Students comfortability and willful ignorance allow them to serve as tourists of The College because many of them will never get out and explore life just beyond these bricks.
“Charleston shuffle” (v). the art of tripping over old bricks and cobblestone.
I have lived in Charleston for the past three years and I can’t say that I’ve seen much of the city. It wasn’t until my internship supervisor, Daron, asked if I have ever been to the “East Side” of the city that realized how detached I was from the broader Charleston community. Throughout these three years, I have remained in the downtown area without really exploring anywhere past the Battery or the Waterfront.
“East Side” please view map of Charleston communities here.
Quite like students, Charleston’s tourists only see one part of the city. They only see where the money is spent, and they don’t tend to steer away from the cobblestone and bricks located near Chalmers Street, and in the French Quarter. Once upon a time much of Charleston was paved dirt roads that became very muddy when it rained or the tides were high. Cobblestones first came into Charleston during the 17th century because ships used them as ballast. Soon after the colonists realized that they could use these cobblestones for much more than ballast. They then used cobblestone to pave some of the first hard-surfaced streets.
Many students and tourists will never realize that there is so much more to Charleston if they just travel past the bricks. Beyond the bricks people are experiencing the negative side of racial inequalities regarding employment, housing, and education.
The launching of the Race and Social Justice Initiative Charleston County Racial Disparity Report will bring light to the inequalities that plague communities of color. Hopefully, this will force lawmakers to do something about these racial inequalities.
In the upcoming week, I’m excited to travel to the places highlighted within the Disparities Report that way, I can grasp a better understanding on the vast difference of Downtown Charleston and the communities that are hardest hit by inequalities.