Cleveland: It's No Longer Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

Against the backdrop of the Cleveland kidnapping saga and the heroism of rescuer Charles Ramsey, Nikki Woods explores at BlackAmericaWeb.com how the concept of community, when everyone knew their neighbor, has been lost.

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Neighbor Charles Ramsey recounts the rescue of kidnapping victims. (WEWS screenshot)

In light of the Cleveland kidnapping saga and the heroism of rescuer Charles Ramsey, Nikki Woods explores at BlackAmericaWeb.com how the concept of community, when everyone knew their neighbor, has been lost.

The Cleveland hostage situation has sparked a lot of conversation about who's actually living next door ... and what you know about them.

When I was growing up, we knew every single person that lived on Hinsdale Court and we were very involved in each other's lives. In fact, more often than not my neighbors knew more about what was going on in my life than I did ... in a good way. I was raised in a loving community.

Back in the day ... It was the one neighbor you DIDN'T know in your hood that was the person of interest.

These days, we tend to only know one or two neighbors -- if that -- and now, we're wondering whether that needs to change.

Who knew the practice of not reaching out to your neighbor actually had a name?

Well, it does. Cocooning.

"Cocooning", according to those who study it, is a growing trend of people retreating into their homes and socializing less often in public. Some of the reasons given are dependence on social media for everything from chatting with friends and family to shopping. Many of us have designed our homes to provide every single comfort making it almost unnecessary to leave ... not even to go to work. One in 5 or 60 percent of Americans forfeit their daily commutes to do their jobs from a home office ...

Charles Ramsey has been the butt of lots of jokes because of his appearance, his animated interviews and later the reports that he had a checkered past. But when his neighbors needed him, he was there. The woman that ran to his arms might not have given him the time of day if she'd seen him on the street and neither would a lot of us.

Read Nikki Woods' entire blog entry at BlackAmericaWeb.com.