“Western Hills As The South Phoenix Of Tucson”, by Christine Dee

An analysis of Eric Brown’s article, entitled Livin’ and Lovin’ the Ghetto

110*, Issue One, Fall 2001


            There is one theme that shines through in the article by Eric Brown.  Although he is only fifteen, Brown swells with pride concerning his neighborhood.  Actually, he lovingly refers to his neighborhood as the hood.  His mother’s family is from Western Hills, while his father and his gang “run” Park, Tucson’s other hood.  Both are similar in characteristics of Phoenix’s own hood, South Phoenix.  They are predominately Hispanic, often function as barrios and are full of rich history.  And that is precisely why Eric is so proud of his hood.  Family history, traditions and memories fill the overcrowded streets and run-down homes with the richness to truly enjoy life’s happiness. 

            As Eric reminisces about his past few years, he writes about the gunfire, smoke and the dopeheads that wander the streets of Western Hills.  But most of all, he feels the greatest disappointment from the police.  Everything form racial profiling, police brutality and lack of protection weigh heavy on the teenagers mind.  On the upside, he does enjoy the Boys and Girls Club and has many positive memories and experiences from there.  Unfortunately, shortly later, Eric is reminded of the sudden death of his close friend, Willie Dawson.   Since his friend’s death, Eric and his friends have made a pact to stay together for their own protection.  Overall, Eric’s piece on Western Hills was a reflection of his past few years of growing up in Tucson’s hood.  In many ways, his comments and thoughts mirror those of children in South Phoenix who also grow up in battle zones.  They try to offer one another protection within their own barrios and work hard to preserve their hood.  They are proud to call it their home and gladly accept the challenge of keeping their hoods nice.

            In conclusion, Eric’s piece was a wonderful insight to life in the hood.  He is still a normal boy with his own dreams and aspirations.  Unlike most other kids, he is not eager to leave his home on the first opportunity.  Instead, he hopes to continue working hard in his hood to promote the positive side of Western Hills.