Friday, February 27, 2009

progressions can't be made if we're separate forever

For some reason, the shooting earlier this week seems to have brought out the worst in people. I hear some of the dumbest racist comments by people who consider themselves oh so enlightened and liberal and it just makes me my skin crawl. I'm not so oblivious to think that people don't think this way, but I wasn't raised like this. It goes so much against my way of thinking and my way of life.

It seems like every three days someone is murdered on our streets but the only time anyone makes a big deal about it is when it happens to someone from the suburbs rather than some 17-year-old who lives on 79th and whatever. Suddenly everyone goes "that could be my child," but you know what? That could be anyone's kid who ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time, whether or not they were doing the wrong thing.

I know that stereotypes often have some origination, but this kind of crap is so toxic to the way we live our lives and the culture of this city. Saying that everyone who lives on the east side is a "thug" is just as stupid as saying that everyone in Parma is racist or everyone in Lakewood is gay or that everyone in Westlake or Beachwood is stuck up. That's not going to get anyone anywhere.

When I first heard about Eric Holder's speech, I understood where he was coming from, but it does not reflect the reality of my life and the lives of many others that I know. Me and some of my east side dwelling friends joke about how we've ripped the space-time continuum because we cross over the river to hang out with each other and haven't let history or geography prevent us from having a good time.

It's a beautiful thing, and I wish people knew what they were missing out on when they knowingly isolate themselves.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Hi, I came across your blog through a link on I absolutely agree with you.

I frequently read the comments on news articles on there, and you're right - when a young black person is murdered (like the young man murdered for his rims), people automatically assume he or she must have been a thug, was asking for trouble, etc., even though there's no evidence to suggest so.

The young man who was killed for his rims was a high school graduated, worked, no criminal record, respectful to his parents and other adults, etc., but I remember at least two people saying so what - young man was just working as a security guard, he wasn't doing anything special, that he shouldn't have been spending his money on rims, and that he basically set himself up to be robbed and killed by having nice things.

But then look at how people are reacting to the murder of the two young men downtown. Because they were white and had white collar jobs, somehow their lives are worth more than the young blue-collar, black man killed for his rims?

Oh, and what gets me too, is that there's some speculation that the two young men had attempted to buy drugs from the guys who shot them. If that is the case, no, they still didn't deserve to be killed, but it amazed me how many people were so quick to run to their defense, while if it was two young professional black men in the same exact situation, lured to the park to buy drugs, and then robbed and killed, people would be having a field day with it, saying they were thugs themselves, scum, deserved what they got, etc.

I've lived in the Cleveland area my entire life, and sometimes I have to stop reading comments on articles because they make me so upset. I dared (God forbid!) to suggest that thugs don't care about race - they'll murder anyone who has something they want, black or white, and I got so many nasty responses.

My husband is black (I am white) and his youngest brother was murdered in 1997 - shot in the head while walking home from a bus stop in Garfield Heights one night. A distant relative of my husband's by marriage, a young black Marine, home briefly from Iraq last year, was robbed and shot to death while waiting for a bus after shopping at an Aldi's store with his girlfriend.

But when I mentioned those incidents, and said (in response to those people who act like there's roaming bands of black thugs out just looking for white people to victimize) that being black didn't spare my husband's brother, or the Marine from being murdered, and that the vast majority of people who are murdered will be murdered by someone of their own race, I again couldn't believe all the nasty responses I got.

I've even read comments from people who want to associate Obama with the shooting downtown! Why, because he shares the same skin color as the thugs who killed those young men??? Did Obama personally hand those men a gun and tell them to find some white people to rob and kill? I think not! I don't see Bush I or II, or Clinton, or any other white president for that matter, having been blamed whenever a white person committed a crime during their administrations.

Yet, the same folks who will get on and make blatantly racist remarks, will insist either that racism died the day Obama got elected, or worse, that racism never existed at all.
Sometimes I'm really sad for our city and country in general.