Part 1: Will Not End in a Draw
“Don’t wear roller skates
to a tug-of-war.” – Larry Wall
The Neighborhood’s 2015 Song of the Year
Losing Faith by J.P. Kallio
AMERICAN DEMOCRACY’S Beautifully Ugly
Internal Struggle Part 2: Tug of War
by Kendall F. Person
In the 1940s, a Detroit housing developer had designs on a plot of land, to build a neighborhood specifically for White people. But there was a slight problem; a self built Black Neighborhood already existed east of the property to be developed. The developer knew that the future residence would need assistance from the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) to secure their mortgages, and there was no way they would agree to such a thing with that black neighborhood in eyesight. Literally trapped inside a red line district the FHA had created to assure Black home ownership was kept to a minimum, but the developer was driven and imagined a way to use institutional racism to his advantage, and soon found a way out. His plan was a smash hit with the FHA and paid off big time for himself, and allowed White Detroiters to continue their pursuit of the idea of the American Dream.
When the one foot thick, six feet high and a half a mile long wall¹ was completed, not only did it shut down the dreams of the Black Detroiters, but the humiliation – I imagine – was crippling. With government approval, White America built a wall to separate those people from new arrivals, in the neighborhood that was already their home.
Time does heal some wounds, but since 1619 Black Americans have been locked in a game of tug of war, with perceived and literal walls to break down or climb over at every single turn. And these walls have affected the perception and mentality, on both sides. Like this….
Detroit April 12, 2018
It made no sense, when the woman of the house started screaming “Why are you trying to break into our house?” Otherwise, he would have backed up slowly and started running then. When the husband stormed onto the scene, he was still trying to explain himself, “I was trying to explain to her that I was trying to get directions to Rochester High and she kept yelling at me.”
A 14 year old kid named Brennan Wright, who was not playing hooky, but after he missed his bus, was trying to navigate the 4 miles to his high school on foot; and whose mother was not home to take him, because she worked the graveyard shift; and his father was only absent because he is deployed in Syria, no less. In the nick of time, Young Brennan realized, that the man was holding a gun, and the gun was aimed at him, and had flight or fight not kicked in, the bullets from the gun were going to kill him. So he threw his arms in the air, to demonstrate he had no weapons and was not a threat, then he turned and fled.
But when he heard the gunshot sound, I can only imagine how that 14 year old kid felt, when reality knocked him over the head, that he was no longer walking to school, but was running for his life, since a 53 year old man, whom he held no beefs or debt, because they had never met, wanted him dead.
And the butterflies, were overwhelmed and all vanished from Detroit on that day, but the search is underway.
By Király-Seth – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
When you hear Young Brennan tell the story, one may tend to believe, that he is handling it like a champ. But since – unlike so many others – this one was not fatal, the worse part is still to come in the nightmares he is not even aware, will take over his sleep. And they will unfairly taunt him for quite some time, just like the Florida kids. But damage is not limited to him nor his mother, who lives with the daily stress of her husband serving inside one of the world’s present day great war zones.
Jeffrey Ziegler has troubles, there is little doubt. A past gun conviction and according to a neighbor, sheriff cars run deep, all sent to his house. But whatever they are, they are his burden to bare and he had no right to try and take them out on a lost 14 year old kid.
But the wall you see, may physically be only a half mile long, but it proved a terribly high price to pay, forced on an American city by the FHA. The divisions have permeated so deep into the fabric of Detroit Michigan, that as of 2017 – Motown – has captured the shameful Jim Crow era-like crown, as the most segregated city in the United States of America.²
Accepting hate speech matters. Finding good and bad on both sides, when on the other side are not run-of-the-mill-garden-variety-bigots, but Nazis. When Evangelicals turn a blind eye, then justify by contorting the word of God; When an entire political party accepts vicious tirades and personal attacks to hold up a man, that would never do the same for them; When a young 17 year old kid, just a month removed from surviving a massacre at his school, along with his mates, makes more progress than any other so called gun control movement, is tarred and feather by people his grand parents age, it matters. It matters if he is not backed up, and the adults are not put into their proper place. And when Young Hogg steps out of line or goes too far – and he will since he is only 17 years old -he has parents and school mates, that should check him at the gate. Then release him back because he is making progress. He is a leader, but he can be stripped of his esteem. And the big loser is not him, but whatever group he would have led to victory.
Or when the relationship between law enforcement and young black men goes from toxic to epidemic, all the while a SOS is being screamed out from the hood. Not only leaves grieving families in their wake, but in 2017 both of these demographics suffered from the worse cases of depression and suicide in the nation, yet still we turn a blind eye and almost always blame the victim. Which in its entirety led to this….
Philadelphia April 12, 2018
In beautiful Rittenhouse Square a wealthy neighborhood inside the world class city known as Philadelphia (I cannot refer to its moniker, for the moment is lies in tatters), and with a population that is nearly 40% African American, who could ever imagine, that this could still happen. Two black men walked into Starbucks and asked to use the restroom. Denied admission since they did not make an order, so they took a seat and waited for the 3rd person in their party to arrive.
The Starbucks employees, did not find these particularly gentlemen worthy of doing what is essentially a past time, that has led to the Seattle based corporation’s obliteration of the competition. As of 2015, Starbucks had 8,768 more locations than the next 9³ coffee conglomerates… combined. They were asked to leave, and I hope with an incredulous indignation (the video does capture the interaction between them) they said “No.” and sat down. So Starbucks raced to the line and dialed 911 and law enforcement soon arrived
Six deep they rolled in as if the color of their skin was enough to take them down by force. Before the men peacefully surrender – since they were of the peaceful kind, you see – and the arrival of the 3rd member of their party – a very perplexed and stunned White man – who could not understand why they would not arrest him as well. The officers cleared the area by laying down all the tables chairs in close surround, and with an audible White female voice stating in the background “They didn’t do anything. I saw the whole thing.” only God and the Blue code knows, how far they were willing to go.
Perception, access to equal education, the right to live your life, and the pursuit of the idea of the American Dream matters to both side. When one side is denied, it stings both, because the hatred felt is not the victory hoped. But in a near majority Black metropolitan city, 5th largest in the USA and as famous as any in the whole wide world; in broad daylight, at one of the most mellow, no worries companies, that still thrives in brick & mortar, the employees felt threatened or held hatred so deep, that 911 was their remedy to customers who they saw as heathens. Awaiting a business real estate developer to discuss real estate or perhaps employment, as well. Yet they were walked out in handcuffs, and it was heartbreaking. I live on the other side of the world’s 3rd largest nation, by land mass and population and it brought me to tears and I am a 51 year old realist, who still believes peace is out there… somewhere.
But the butterflies did not fly away. In the end, the Peace Officers who were not, did not enforce any laws, as the DA refused to file charges and the men were released hours armed with an attorney. So get paid for what they did to you, because it was wrong and we cannot accept it any other way. It matters that we remind one another, that we still belong to the human race.
Syria April 12, 2018
Brennan’s father is serving his nation in the armed forces. According to his mother, Lisa Wright, he is currently deployed in Syria, to fight for the greater good of mankind. I am so grateful, that his son was not injured or killed for that would be too much pain to place upon one individuals shoulders, a hero or not.
But what about him and the other soldiers, are their communities prepared for their return? Will there be counselors to deal with PTSD and will the Veterans Affairs be fully funded with all due services, or will we be too occupied with a 400 year old mission to break your brothers down¼? After Baltimore and Ferguson and Trayvon, and since Minneapolis and Baton Rouge and Sacramento (May God rest his soul Stephon Clark) and yet we are still not ready to fully acknowledge, that black lives matter, without the taint of words of hate, which they are not. If it is too difficult to say the words even now, then perhaps for Black men in America, the search for the butterfly is futile. But then what?
But I do not believe that, since a butterfly is at my window right now.
this is… The Neighborhood and the Story within the Story
from Sacramento California
H-Y Loco w/ Super Freak
American Democracy’s Beautifully Ugly Internal Struggle; April 2018. An editorial in numbers, by thepublicblogger (chart below)
Recommended Reading: Class & Race
¹Daily Detroit – The Detroit Wall: A Tale of How Federal Policy Helped Divide A City
²24/7 Wall St. – 16 Most Segregated Cities in America
³Statista: Leading coffee house chains by number of stores worldwide 2015
¼The Neighborhood: The Righteous Juxtaposition of the Pusillanimous Kind
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