If you grew up in the Midwest, chances are that your parents or someone-you-know’s parents are now spending some or all of their winter along the Gulf coast of southern Florida. Maybe Marco Island. Perhaps Sanibel. Or, in my case, Naples.
There are many things to like about visiting your parents on the west coast of south Florida. A break from winter’s chill is at the top of the list. Quality time connecting with family ranks high. And multiple slices of Key Lime Pie can't be beat.
Despite the pleasures, I always leave Naples with an overwhelming sense of its whiteness. I don’t mean the white sand beaches. Or the gentle white caps of the Gulf of Mexico on a windy day. I’m referring to the fact that everyone here is … white.
I’ve been in Naples for two days now, and I’ve yet to see a single Asian, Black or Hispanic person, or even someone with even a small dab of any of the above. As my friend Paul says, “Even the checkout people at Albertsons are white.”
I have nothing against white people. In fact some (honestly, most) of my friends are white. But in a place like Naples, I’m just struck by the homogeneity of it all. From the outfits to the condo design, there is so little diversity. And that’s my beef with Naples.
But rather than complain, I’ve decided that I'll keep on coming to Naples, keep on playing mini-golf, keep on enjoying the condo that looks exactly like the set of Golden Girls, and keep on being glad that when I’m ready to leave the sunshine and family fun, I’ll be heading back home to two more months of crappy, cold weather in a town full of people of every color, shade and style.