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  •  I think that's mostly a cultural thing. (4+ / 0-)

    Roaches are associated in our culture with "poor people" and accordingly are considered "dirty" and a sign that the place they are in is "dirty".

    As a student, I lived for a time in an apartment in a big old Victorian house in New Haven that had been subdivided. The first year, there was an occasional roach, which I found unsurprising because that's what I'd expect in any city; it taught me to keep everything in glass jars or in the fridge.

    Late (blessedly) in the second year, the building changed hands, and it was then we learned, indirectly, that the former owner had been having an exterminator in periodically. Same building, same tenants, but within a couple of months, that place was crawling with roaches. No more scuttling along baseboards in the dark -- they'd just be strolling around the walls in the middle of the day, while I was in the room. No one would visit me! Since I had no food out for them to eat, they started eating paper. Yes, the roaches ate my homework. When I moved out, I had to pack by picking up every individual item I owned, down to socks and underwear, shaking it out, and putting it into a plastic trash bag that I was holding shut with the other hand. I had to take the back off the clock-radio to eject the guests.

    So, I hope that at least one crop of white kids with a fancy degree didn't buy into the meme about roaches, but when you live in suburbia, or in a well-maintained urban building, it can be easy to accept "I don't have roaches because I am clean (and those others are not)." Actually, it's not that far removed from "I'm well-off because I am smart and virtuous (and those others are not)", which is also very alluring, yet incorrect.

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    by belinda ridgewood on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 02:16:13 PM PDT

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