Posts tagged violence.

When you tell Black & Latino youth they are disposable & they read you for what you’re saying:

Sidenote on some of the last post about different people’s struggles actually being Black people’s struggles co-opted.

Newtown CT isn’t all that far from New Haven, where I live and work and where most of my students live. It’s closer to Danbury than New Haven, but even still this is a pretty small state so it’s within an hour drive. But when Sandy Hook happened, they had never heard of Newtown. That’s intentional. Most other towns make sure to be as removed from the major cities (New Haven, Hartford, and Bridgeport) as possible. They stay in places that are geographically separated, they build ring-roads as borders, and in some cases, such as the city line near where our school is, they build physical walls because they’d rather lose potential business than have that business come from residents of public housing.

Nothing I’m not used to, coming from Chicago, and my students have lived with it their whole lives.

So all of a sudden there’s national attention on gun violence because—and some people may think this sounds heartless but it’s actually just our reality—wealthy white kids were killed. And need to be spared from ever again having that threat.

40 minutes away in New Haven, our homicide rate yearly is higher than that, except 2012 when it dropped sharply, thank goodness. But it’s still a threat that my kids live with daily.

And they know that that threat would never attract national attention.

Granted, people are attracted to sensational news—they could never imagine a mass killing—and ignore the day to day news that whittles us down. That much makes sense.

I had a conversation about all this the other day with one of my students, a quiet but incredibly observant, astute, and creative Puerto Rican young man who lives in the city. He made a few really good points:

  • In terms of how the new gun control measures will affect youth, it’s more about adding on to the situation rather than taking factors out. So we have threats of violence in a single school that never had it, while POC schools have long had those threats, and the response is to add cops and security and other people who can arrest kids and who carry guns. The focus is less on deescalation as far as having guns and police state measures in POC young people’s environments.
  • Police departments are getting the green light to get bigger guns (NHPD just happened to get the approval they’ve been pushing for to carry AR-15s in their trunks). That doesn’t scare people on the street from having guns—it pushes them to get even bigger guns. Then the cops have to outdo civilians, and it keeps going up and up, instead of deescalating.
  • In Obama’s press conference about the new gun control laws, he was surrounded by little kids, mostly white kids, because that makes people get sappy and be more easily swayed. Those kids didn’t represent the youth in cities that have to deal with violence regularly.

So in the end, the attention is on keeping white kids safe, who are presumed innocent if they’re ever victims of violence. Their safety can be boosted by further criminalizing youth of color, and youth safety is only important when it affects white youth in isolated incidents. The rest are throwaway kids, and they know it.

So when people ask me why city youth “act up” (which, for starters, is often a racialized designation itself), I just need them to imagine what it would feel like to know you are a throwaway kid. To know that if violence is inflicted upon you, you’ll be assumed guilty as well rather than allowed to be an innocent victim of the crime. To know that adding safety in other kids’ environment means decreasing safety in POC kids’ environments.

Thinking about safety for youth of color has had me all kinds of messed up since something that happened at the beginning of this past summer, and it seems like it keeps getting worse and worse and more blatant.

Resources for talking specifically to youth of color / city kids about Sandy Hook?

Swear this isn’t just me being grumpy, actually asking from personal experience: does anyone have resources specifically for talking to young people of color in inner cities about Newtown/other mass traumas? All the things I’m finding (and being sent at work) center around naive narratives of safety and trauma and education that are generally only accessible to white middle-class suburban kids.

Like I’m finding advice like, remind them the cops are there to protect them, assuming they’ve never been around mass violence before, home is a safe & stable place to go back to, school is a place you feel protected, shielding them from images of violence can be done by turning off the news, etc. And I know from daily working with my students that those narratives pretty much match none of their experiences, so I’m not going to use a false narrative as part of taking care of them.

Cause from my own experience undergoing trauma as an adolescent and as a person of color, a lot of the usual stuff that was supposed to be reassuring was actually just more damaging, alienating, and ended in reaffirming the idea that mental health care is for white girls. So…any better resources?

Also part of what’s relevant is that Newtown is about a half hour away from us but my students probably don’t know where it is because it’s one of those isolated towns that doesn’t interact with the city.

apatheticsexlife:

ghoulkitty:

smashedwordbrokenopen:

Dude wait wtf

Wtf

Wtf?

I don’t know how I feel about the situation but no ones screaming “thug” at the white kid who murdered his parents in their 480000 dollar house

Like y’all

You don’t know enough to profess your “love” for jake Evans (welovejakeevans is where this was reblogged from)

Just stop

Are you fucking kidding me?

This white boy shot and killed his mom and his sister. In the 911 call he confessed he didn’t even fucking know why, and he was more concerned he may have nightmares over witnessing violence than he he was over the fact his mother and sister were dead. He straight up said his biggest fucking concern after murdering them was that he may have a nightmare.

Yet people are honestly excusing him? How? We are honestly socialized to care about white boys who enact violence against others THIS much?

People can listen to a 911 call where he confesses to murdering two women in his life out of the blue, to having planned it in advance, and to not feeling ANYTHING after… and feel sorry for him? This is the sort of individual our society tells us is sympathetic. So so gross.

Of course those are all white girls. Before reading the commentary, I was going to write that this Jake Evans guy must be white. And lo an behold. How the hell are you going to have sympathy for someone that murders his mother and sister in cold blood. Fuck him and fuck all these people that “feel bad for him”. I have nothing but contempt for all of you. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Please remove yourselves from society.

Seriously, what is this fucking society’s fucking love affair with homicidal white boys?

Compare to images of young men of color. Specifically let’s remember what’s still being said/dug up/misidentified/made up about Trayvon Martin, for being killed. Boys of color are a threat and denied innocence even by being victims; white boys are still allowed innocence when they are the perpetrators.

I’m really hoping the Jake Evans support blog that the photo came from is a hoax…?

#race  #violence  

The guy that shot up that movie theater in Colorado? Cause he’s white, the news wants to talk about maybe he has a mental disorder, they want to talk about maybe he’s depressed, what went wrong, let’s understand how he’s feeling. If he was black, no one would try to understand him. If he was black, he’s just bad. If he was hispanic, he’s just bad. They wouldn’t be asking questions like that.

one of the smartest, most astute, bad-ass young women of color I know, who happens to be one of my high school freshmen-bout-to-be-sophomore.

We’re making plans for doing a project looking at media portrayals of people of color as criminals and drug users vs. actual crime statistics (and likely how those are skewed as well) as part of her algebra tutoring for the summer, and this came up today.

Liberal freudian slips

inhellsdespair:

abaldwin360:

readnfight:

  • When you say something against police brutality and a liberal gets upset and says, “But not all cops are like that! Why do you have to insult the cops like that?” or some shit about how we’re all the 99%. But you just laugh because you never equated police with violence, they did by being offended for all cops.
  • When you talk about white supremacy as an everyday thing and a liberal starts defending white people, and you never once said anything about all white people—again, they’re the ones who equated white people with racism.

I’ve seriously never understood why people are so quick to jump in and defend cops whenever cops do something fucked up (which is pretty fucking often).

Actually white supremacy is already associated with racism, and has been for a long damn while. The title claimed by current white-power entities like Neo-Nazis and the KKK. So when you describe someone or something as ‘white supremacist’ you are referencing in most peoples minds the most active pro-bigotry evil shit they can wrap their minds around. 

So why the hell some people decided to use it for everyday thing when it has that kind of history is beyond me.

Oh cool, please do tell this black woman more about my life, then. I know what white supremacy is. I know it firsthand. I know that it’s “associated” with racism, if that’s how we’re putting it.

It’s a strange assumption that overt, active white supremacy wouldn’t be part of a black woman’s everyday life. Even if you’re defining white supremacy as only being overt racism (which, I definitely wouldn’t, and I know most of the people of color I’m around wouldn’t either). Overt, intentional neo-Nazi level white supremacy has been an everyday thing for years-long periods of my life.

We use the concept of white supremacy in describing everyday things, however minor they may seem to you, because we see smaller things adding up. We use it precisely because we know it “has that kind of history” and that we know firsthand that history isn’t dead yet.

Here is an example of this sort of cyclical history that builds into a larger picture: My grandfather’s family, black and descended from slaves (only a couple generations after emancipation), was chased out of the South by the KKK. They had a few hours’ notice, got out of town and headed to Chicago, and never once went back. They were part of an entire generation of black people in Chicago (The Great Migration) who had been pushed there by racial and economic violence.

Turns out, Chicago is one of the most segregated cities in the US, and only a few neighborhoods would rent to black people at the time. So people who had migrated were mostly packed into neglected neighborhoods. My granddad went to a state college (like who even heard of a black law student in 1935) where he wasn’t allowed to live in the dorms and had to adhere to unofficial Jim Crow-type laws (remember, this was in the North). So that was the climate he escaped into.

Fast forward to my generation, and Chicago is still extremely segregated but is now reeling from racist manipulation of the city’s geography, like tearing down public housing without regard for how dispersing people randomly will affect social relations (gangs, etc.). It is so segregated that even the neighborhood I grew up in was clearly divided by race and class within itself, with physical boundaries being intentionally built to keep my part of the neighborhood out (the black part, what a coincidence).

Imagine then going to grade school at a gifted, test-in public school that’s mostly black and latino kids but on the wrong side of one of those physical boundaries. And imagine that that part of the neighborhood has, no joke, an open skinhead population. Like flying Confederate flags on the Southside of Chicago like that even makes sense. And imagine how fucking salty white people are gonna get when all these black and brown kids are coming through for a special school that their kids couldn’t test into. We’ve all seen the kinds of knee-jerk things white people are willing to do when they’ve been bested by kids of color; in this case it involved swastikas and racial slurs being carved constantly into the doors and walls of our school, and none of us loitering after school a single minute.

Now over the past two weeks, I’ve had to revisit all that to explain to the person closest to me, who is white, why kids of color in segregated neighborhoods might resent white people that we don’t know being in the neighborhood and acting scared of them. And I’ve had to explain that I feel that same resentment and always have. And that at some point, bored and neglected and disregarded and disrespected and harassed and kettled in kids of color sometimes explode, and sometimes what sparks that explosion is the way white people can just float through without interaction or investment and see kids of color as a threat, when meanwhile those kids of color are seeing white people showing up as a threat, cause they’ve already had enough run-ins with cops and teachers and landlords and gentrifyers that are tearing down parts of our neighborhood.

And it bubbles up into random violence, and no one totally understands it and that’s really scary, but there was violence just below the surface all along.

Making sense of these things and empathizing with multiple parties has been emotionally draining. It has been an everyday thing for me the past two weeks, and that’s just that one incident. Before that, it was a different one, and before that and before that and before that, and before that it was my grade school where everyday it was carved into the door that I was still only a nigger because someone couldn’t handle that I had a really fucking high vocabulary at 6, until I got depressed and slacked off.

So white supremacy really isn’t an everyday thing for me? These are my everyday things. Those kettled-in kids in my neighborhood that have nothing to do for the summer but explode are, at least some of them, students of mine. Very literally, how they are doing and how they’re being treated is a good chunk of my everyday things, and is also determined in many ways by white supremacy.

And this is common vocabulary that we have from these experiences. I can have these conversations with students of mine who can barely read on paper but can read the dynamics of our school and their neighborhood, and who then fight like hell to fix it. I can have these conversations with women of color that I’ve literally met randomly on the street and never see again. I grew up having this conversation with my granddad about how they left the South and all the things that didn’t change by coming north.

Despite everything, lately I’ve been simultaneously homesick for Chicago and stoked on work being done by youth in my current city, because I’ve never been in a setting where white supremacy wasn’t a glaring, driving force in what everyday life looked like, so I might as well be where we’re getting work done against it and in spite of it. I’ve never been somewhere that I was safe from that being one of my everyday things, but that sounds nice.

(via sosungalittleclodofclay)

mijajaja:

hey err’body. 

i am part of a collective called the Rabble Rousers, made up of people of color. We have started a project called Self-Destruct to Reconstruct, a youth violence intervention program in Chicago. We formed because of the staggering rates of homicide and shootings since March, where there were 60-something shootings in a 10 mile radius within a two day period. The violence has continued to rise as the days get hotter with at least 10 murders each weekend, many of them victims under the age of 21 

- We, as a group, recognize that the individuals perpetuating this violence are acting as a direct result of the way they have been failed by our system 
-WE’ve narrowed down the neighborhoods with the most violence: Englewood, Austin, Lawndale, South Shore, and Humboldt Park.
-These hoods have been historically underserved by their schools and have the SMALLEST concentration and access to community resources 

All of us, as Rabble Rousers, are from these neighborhoods and we have put together the SD2R project, where we have gathered volunteers to set up anti-violence arts workshop pop-up spots in these neighborhoods. It is important to us that WE be the ones doing the work, as people of color who know the dynamics of these neighborhoods, vs outside sources/well-intentioned folk who don’t understand the community (but usually have the $$) 

In each neighborhood we’ve contacted a community space to utilize so that our volunteers can host 1 hour workshops using the arts as a way to encourage social change and community change, starting with our participants, who are mainly youth between the ages of 8-18. The 2nd hour will be dedicated to providing the participants with information on resources outside of their community that they can utilize (affordable housing, healthcare, arts programs, tutoring, counseling, etc) 

We have workshops on 

-creative writing
-self-love / self-care
-using the internet/technology as a resource
-performing arts
-graffiti
-DJing and sampling
- identity & pride in your ethnic background
-poetry
-Breakdancing
-Storytelling

& more. Workshops just started this week and will span all summer. 

We must pay each site location 250$ to compensate for using their space and for materials, which means we need to raise about $2000. About $1,000 will be granted to us via grants/community funding. 

If you can afford to donate, even if it’s a dollar, it would be greatly, greatly appreciated. 
You can donate here: http://theprofessionalrabblerouser.wordpress.com/donate/

Here’s more info if you want to read more: http://theprofessionalrabblerouser.wordpress.com/sd2rhotspots/what-is-the-sd2r-project/
“Rabble Rousers have organized 6 Hot Spots, 54 workshops, and the involvement of about 50 Black and Brown people to continue in the efforts of taking back our streets.” 

thanks.

Please donate!! I love that people are doing this work, but I hate that it has to be done. I’m from Chicago and am always stressing about things going on there.

Anyone involved in posting photos of (a different) Trayvon Martin with grills and giving the finger as evidence that he was a “bad kid”:

Have you ever been around a teenager before? They’re fucking obnoxious just for the sake of it!

When I was in high school I used to go downtown and play pranks on strangers and make messes and break things that I didn’t intend to clean up and try to buy porn and yell at boys to suck my dick and sneak around the cops when they tried to kick us off school property for loitering after school and say really stupid shit really loudly. Then I went to school and got almost straight A’s and did my homework and only got in trouble when it was for political rabble-rousing and graduated and went to an ivy league college.

These things are not mutually exclusive; they were all going on concurrently. That is how teenagers develop and learn what boundaries to push and what ones to respect and where to set my own. Like if I had had any money, best believe I would have had a ridiculous grill while I was sitting there in AP Calculus. And best believe if facebook existed when I was in high school there would probably be photos in the ether of me giving the finger with one hand and reading political philosophy with the other.

None of that would have made me a bad kid.

And if those photoshadbeen on the same Trayvon that was killed, it wouldn’t have mattered. He wouldn’t have been a bad kid, and he wouldn’t have deserved racial violence from the police.

Our goal needs to be supporting black youth—not the “right” or “good” black youth, butallof them. What are we saying to that other Trayvon Martin, the one who actually was the one photographed giving the finger and wearing a grill? That he would have deserved to be profiled as a criminal?

Fuck that. One of my favorite students, one of the smartest people I know (not just in the school, but in general), picked the wrong battle recently. I can’t give details on it but I had to defend him to someone not affiliated with the school who wanted to just brand him a criminal based on a few actions and profiling him as a young black man. This was just before the photos were put online of the other Trayvon, and I had to start worrying even more then about my students being labelled murderable in that same way. I’m sure every one of the high schoolers I work with and adore can be seen on facebook giving the finger or something similar. But they’re all so much more complex than that.

So what is the black community doing to tell the other Trayvon that had he been in the “wrong” place at the wrong time, he also wouldn’t have deserved to be murdered? What are we telling young people when we say that the Trayvon that was killed was a “good” kid, that he got good grades, that he stayed out of trouble—especially when those are markers of succeeding in a system that is set up against black youth?

The students that I’m most excited to work with are the ones that get in trouble, the ones who are angry and have outbursts and aren’t afraid to yell at authority figures and who have hobbies besides getting good grades. I’m really open about that with both students and staff. Those are not “bad” kids, and they are no more deserving of racist violence than “good” kids are. (And, if anything, my tendencies toward following the rules made me a hell of a lot more boring than my students now who make their own rules and get their own shit done, but that is a whole nother project to get into.)

Building a black community that really fights, that is a culture of resistance, means we gotta get complicated and we gotta let people be complex. And young people are really fucking complex. That’s why I love working with teenagers, they’re at a point of figuring out how the world treats them and how they want to move through it and making sense of what they’re up against. Sometimes that involves flipping off a camera, and in the age of facebook that’s gonna end up on the internet.

So when I want justice for Trayvon, I mean both Trayvons, but I also want justice for all black youth who aren’t allowed to be complex multifaceted developing people the ways white people are. And I want justice beyond labeling someone a token “good” black kid and settling for that, and I want justice beyond putting one token individual in a racist prison system that is generally set up against black people. Basically I don’t want to settle for anything that doesn’t deeply feel like justice, that isn’t clearly enough.

Black male-on-black male homicide would not exist if it were not encouraged and reinforced by notions of patriarchal manhood and white supremacy. For if it was just about manhood shootouts, black males would be killing white men at the same rates that they kill one another. They buy into the racist/sexist assumption that the black male is valueless and therefore when you take a black man ’s life you are just taking nothing from nothing.

bell hooks (via hiphopcheerleader)

Exactly what I’m thinking about / trying to put together / some time going to write about

(via strugglingtobeheard)

Would putting George Zimmerman as an individual into a prison system that is used for racial warfare against POC really be justice?

I want to demand bigger, but I am not Trayvon’s family. But I am a big sister and cousin and teacher and neighbor. Hopefully I will never be the family of the next Trayvon.

But would this be justice? Is that all we mean when we demand justice? Of course that isn’t all, or shouldn’t be, but would a prison sentence be justice enough for us to settle for? Or can we keep demanding bigger, unattainably big conceptions of justice?

Saturday night thoughts / why I haven’t yet said much about Trayvon / what I’m wrapping my head around eventually

think-progress:

Million Hoodie March in NYC for Trayvon Martin.

Bottom picture: Trayvon Martin’s parents, at the same march. Credit: AP/Mary Altaffer

(via strugglingtobeheard)

"What’s the life expectancy for black guys? The system’s working effectively, that’s why."

I am getting really fucking stressed out for my students, most of whom are black and/or latino young men, compounded by the world + working 10 hours at school + a fucked up faculty meeting where I spoke up tho for the kids I work with because I was too tired at that point to give a shit about pissing off white teachers who say derisive things about hip-hop while asking “What does success mean to our students” and then referencing Kim Khardashian who our kids do not give a shit about.

And I don’t want to be a sucker for the old stand by your man shit but I also don’t want to do a politics that abandons men of color and especially young black men. I don’t want to do a feminism that doesn’t get why so much of my energy is spent on worrying about black and latino men in my life who I have this urge to protect while knowing that it’s probably a losing battle.

And white teachers scoff at “rappers” as their only answer to “Who do our students think of as successful?” and after subbing 4 classes, 3 of which involved me being the asshole giving them busywork, I don’t have the energy to go into a character evaluation of Kanye West whose music I am listening to right now and who speaks to me far more than that room of white teachers ever could and same goes for those students who they don’t know how to communicate with but do know how to scoff at behind closed doors.

And then a white lady writes off the smartest kid in the school, the kid who comes to me to borrow books on black history because he isn’t getting it in school and who isn’t afraid to call a pompous white teacher a stupid asshole, and also writes off a kid who has amazing but completely uncontrolled energy who has fucked up things going on that I’m worried will wind him up in the same spot as Trayvon Martin but without a march for him. And another afterschool staff person runs in looking for me to tell me how fucked up it was and I start yelling in the afterschool office and cannot handle all this shit. Just yelling, and someone has to close the door because I’m yelling things like “THEY DON’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT SHAKESPEARE”

and I cannot handle the erasure and history and am suddenly furious when I’m at school in a bad mood without the kids around. Cause when I’m in a bad mood, the kids who know me recognize it and usually try to help me out on it.

And I’m here reading about violence that young men of color are hunted down by, because what else is there to read about? That’s the news. People are marching for Trayvon Martin, and I am marching for my students and thinking it would be great if I were sure their teachers were too, and hopefully all of us will get somewhere and tht somewhere is JUSTICE and ends with Trayvon and Troy Davis and Sean Bell and Amadou Diallo and Malik Jones and Oscar Grant and all my students who I no longer need to worry about just COLD CHILLIN.

Tomorrow we are doing some basic media literacy by looking at portrayals of black men in the news and talking about youth voices and playing a round of Tell Em Why You’re Mad and I’ll admit to them that I’m PISSED.

things i need white feminists to do before i will take you seriously

so-treu:

i need you to come to terms with the way white women have facilitated some of the most unspeakable violence upon black and brown and indigenous people, bodies, and community. often in the name of white womanhood. often in the name of freedom. often in the name of feminism.

i need you to understand that you killed Emmitt Till. i need you to think about all of the black men and boys that have been murdered because either you accused them or your men took it upon themselves to defend *your* honor. i need you to look at pictures of lynched bodies and think about what role you played in it.

i need you to know the names of the women raped by U.S. military in countries we invaded, in part because feminists said we needed to save the women and/or children and supported the various invasions.

i need you to know that those reproductive rights you all are up in arms about were created via the destruction and maiming of black and brown bodies. i need you to know who Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsy are, and what was done to them. i need you to know the names of the Puerto Rican women who were lied to and who died so that The Pill could bring you your precious sexual liberation. i need you to know the central role white women played in sterilization programs that targeted black women, poor women, anyone they deemed too “feeble” to procreate. i need you to think about why more big name feminist organizations are up in arms about the most recent kick up about contraception than about sterilized black women getting compensated for what was done to them.

i need you to understand that at this point, it’s not about privilege. it’s not about you being able to find products that work with your hair no matter where you go. it’s about people’s lives. it’s about WOC lives and a centuries old disregard white women have shown for them. it’s about that fact that white women have been an active agent in the destruction of our communities, our histories, and our families. for centuries.

and WOC don’t owe you a damn thing. not. one. thing.

so get that through your skulls then maybe we can work together. maybe.

I can’t believe there are white feminists who can talk about Sisterhood out one side of their mouths, and then get up in arms about a statement like this out the other side.

It seems to me like studying history would make you a good feminist, no? So why the refusal to acknowledge the less pretty parts of that history? (When was the last time you think I, a black woman, picked up a standard US history textbook and found pretty things about myself that made me feel good about myself?)

When it comes down to it, what I understand least is how white feminists can respond to a statement like this by selling themselves so short. Someone wants to talk about the role of white women in the histories of lynching, and you refuse to engage? Those are historical facts; how can you possibly benefit from pretending it isn’t true? Emmett Till was lynched because white men thought white women so fragile that a woman couldn’t even be whistled at by a black 14 year old boy; how does it speak to your strength if you then refuse to fight against that?

But in the meantime, there is plenty that I feel amazing about being built by people of color. Y’all probably haven’t noticed (at least til it becomes tokenizable and trendy). If you want to be a real ally to people of color, make it happen. Put in that work. But we have things to build and no time to just wait around for you.

Had to flee or 'I might be dead,' victim says of racial attack Cops: 3 white teens put noose around black teen's neck ›

Joshua Merritt said he had no reason to be suspicious when one of his friends texted him, asking him to hang out with two other teenagers they both knew.

But after Merritt, 17, arrived at the home of one of the boys in Chicago’s East Beverly neighborhood Dec. 23, he realized his friends weren’t simply looking to have a good time.

The three teens, who are white, allegedly put a noose around the neck of Merritt, who is black, and hurled racial epithets at him before one of the boys held a knife to his throat and threatened to kill him, police and Merritt said Thursday.

The teens were apparently upset about Merritt’s relationship with one of the boys’ female cousins, police said.

People wonder why I’m so grumpy all the time: this happened two blocks away from my parents’ house, the house I grew up in. In fact, I just wrote about 2 weeks ago about the threats of violence that come from growing up black in such a segregated and racially tense (racially fucked up?) environment. And now here we are, and I am not surprised but wish I were.

This is exactly the sort of stuff my mom warned me about when I was a kid, about not going past the cemeteries alone because that was how the white kids jumped out to beat the shit out of you when they were drunk, and why no one stayed around my grade school once classes got out.

Meanwhile, my parents’ block just became the border of their ward, because Chicago had a ward redistricting fight going on and the two blackest, lowest-income streets were a worthy thing to compromise and kick out the ward.

Why I don’t often go back home, and why I’m mad about it even when I’m not there. In my zine class we’ve been talking and writing about our neighborhoods and conflicts and violence, so they’ve been asking me what my neighborhood growing up was like. This is all I’ve got for them.

on my block

This morning, immediately after I posted a live Max Roach video about black liberation and said it was one of 3 options I’d give my students to watch and write from today, I rushed to get out of the house to catch the early bus to work. But because I’d gotten caught up watching videos at home, so I’d have some good videos for us to talk about our communities and violence, I missed the bus I wanted and ended up waiting a long time for the next one.

So, I was on the street a block away from my house where I catch the bus, and which is kinda like a black Main Street through my side of town. I got a cup of coffee and was waiting at the corner nearby.

Very short story even shorter, while I was standing there, a drive-by happened no more than about 30 feet from where I was standing. There were about a dozen of us standing nearby for different reasons; there’s a cornerstore that I was in front of where a lot of older dudes hang out, and another spot across the street where people hang out.

It was scary because there was nowhere for me to go, standing pretty much out in the open, and it was so close to me. But mostly it was scary and depressing because it was the middle of the day, a little before noon, in an area that’s full of people. No one was hit, not even the targets, but there were still a lot of us standing around not knowing what to do besides shake our heads and say, “Damn, man.”

I got to school, we watched a video (“My Block" by Scarface), talked about what our neighborhoods are like (pretty diverse but a lot of them are rough), and I told them about the shooting which had happened about an hour before by that point. They thought it was funny I stayed at the same bus stop still waiting for the bus, but I was like, "Well what was I supposed to do? I still gotta come in here and work with you guys!" Also really ironic that I was standing there thinking about how to facilitate our discussion about our neighborhoods and violence, and then that went down in my neighborhood, and none of us who saw it were surprised.

Anyway, just…..depressing. Not shocking, just depressing.

Okra, tomato & kidney bean stew, brown rice, and fried cornbread cakes. Made this while watching Bastards of the Party about the relationship between the LA Bloods & Crips, and the Black Power movement.