Friday, June 09, 2006


We talked to a lot kids who were hanging out after-school. Three very self-assured girls, Rock, Shorty and Sonara, told us that this was East Oakland. They described it as even more dangerous (than West Oakland), crazy and hyphee. I said, “HUH?, What does hyphee mean?” Short said, “It’s, ya know, dumb, but in a good way.” And then all the girls laughed. Since our conversation I have seen and heard the word being used all over the place. Check out the definition in the Urban Dictionary here and here.

Another student, a high-school age girl answered our questions by stating: "I don't really care where West and East Oakland are because it's like claiming your territory."

One guy we talked to wasn’t too pleased about the project; when we asked him three words to describe East Oakland, he said, “The opposite way.” Then he told us: “Why don’t you leave well enough alone.”

We talked to another guy who was on his way home from West Oakland:

“When I tell people I live in East Oakland, they say ‘OOHHH’. But when I tell them that I live in the Laurel District, they say, ‘That’s really nice.’” He had just moved from Emeryville where he feels that the all of the development is causing the sense of community to dissolve.


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