Autographed Letter Signed

A Mostly Center-Right Place For Those With Irritable Obama Syndrome and Diversity Fatigue

Live From The Obama Fallout Shelter July 27, 2010

There are certain times in life, when I maneuver conflict more gracefully than others.  For the times I don’t,  I retreat. Which is why I have been a non blog posting flake for the last two months.  Remember the old Afrocity who used to post once or more a day?  What happened to her?  Did she turn liberal again? Is she floating in the Chicago River face down with a “Sarah Palin  is a Cunt” tee shirt tied around her neck?  Clearly the victim was strangled before she was murdered and it was staged to appear as though the right wing turned on the poor misguided African American conservative.

And here lies the question.

Who can you trust nowadays?

Honestly, (and my dear readers will never have me any other way)  there are days when both sides get on my nerves.  Yes liberal readers, Afrocity does get fed up with conservatives at times. The abortion issue is one of those times.   I do not need the Christian Coalition Against Choice task-force sending me emails every time I author a pro-choice piece.

“It is not about government interference or privacy, it is about murder and against God’s will…yada, yada, yada, yada”

Nothing will make me anti-choice.  Sorry conservative Charlie.  And while we are at it, nothing will ever make me protest gay marriage.  It is not my business.  Having said that, you will never see Afrocity at a gay marriage rally either.  I check my activism at the door when it comes to matters concerning religion, life, death, abortion and marriage.  Meddling often overrides political common sense.  Gay marriage and abortion, have no place in a political discussion.  Both issues unnecessarily divide women and men who may otherwise choose different political parties if the conflict did not exist.  According to liberals, Sarah Palin could never be a feminist because she is pro-life.   In the world according to ass,  pro-life women do not want equal pay or the right to vote.  Why would a pro-life woman care about matters concerning breastfeeding in public or day care?  Pro-life women must love getting sexually harassed at work.

Only liberal women care about that sort of thing you know.

Resolutions to the abortion issue will never follow my lifetime because really, both parties do not want the conflict to end.  It creates much needed political tension and division.

Without divisions, there would be no base.

And speaking of political division… Democrats, before you begin licking your donkey chops, you should know that conservatives- the group with whom  I identify with the most- annoy me far less than most liberals do.  Far, far, far, far less.

The liberal tourist traffic frequenting the FOX NEWS/New Black Panther Party drama coupled with the press attention over the NAACP and the Tea Partiers has of late rendered me politically tone deaf.  Although the NAACP was useful during some stage in American history, after taking a look at their website site recently, I do not know what the hell they are doing besides fueling… well…racism.

Take a look at the lovely online exhibit of racist Tea Party signs the NAACP has curated:

I cannot tell you what the NAACP hopes to accomplish with this. You cannot truly fight racism unless you first cut the cancer from your own hypocritical backsliding throat.  Racism is racism.  You cannot call it racism when it only effects your special interest group.

This is the NAACP’s  pledge to “repudiate racism” in the Tea Party

  • I believe all Americans have equal rights and equal value.
  • I cherish the diverse cultures, beliefs, and values of America.
  • I believe we can disagree without being disagreeable.
  • I repudiate all acts of racism and hate, both in words and action.
  • I have faith in the promise of America – a promise built on mutual respect, common civility, and hope for a better tomorrow.
  • I commit to building that better America by participating actively and peacefully in the democratic process.
  • We are one people. We are one nation. I’m an NAACP American

That last line really troubles me. I am an American first.  Yes I am an African American.  I am a female who happens to be black.  I am surely not an “NAACP American”.  What does mean anyway?  Exploring the pledge further makes me wonder if the NAACP actually followed their own advice in the past and enforced the PLEDGE when the following Democrats said:

You think the Republican National Committee could get this many people of color in a single room? … Only if they had the hotel staff in here.”–Howard Dean

I’ve seen a lot of white niggers in my time” – Robert Byrd

He [RNC Chairman Michael Steel]has a career of slavishly supporting the Republican Party.“–Democrat Steny Hoyer

He’s [Clarence Thomas]  married to a white woman. He wants to be white. He wants a colorless society. He has no ethnic pride. He doesn’t want to be black.” -California Democrat Diane Watson

Would the NAACP ever hang this picture at headquarters?

Where was the NAACP when Condeleeza Rice was branded an Aunt Jemima along with colorful images of her clad in a red do rag and mammy doll’s clothing?

Where was the NAACP when African Americans made racist remarks against Hillary Clinton supporters- especially black Clinton supporters?

“At the end of the day, Hillary is still a white woman.”

Those words were spoken to me by my aunt- a rabid Obama supporter.  Her worry was that black women would vote for Hillary over Obama because she was a woman.  Auntie was simply reminding her politically wayward niece that color trumps gender.    I will not get into the narcotic Kool Aid dependencies of Obamabots in this post, but I knew auntie was inhaling and sending her last dollar to the Obama campaign. Her will to see beyond race was compromised by her commitment to righting the political wrongs of slavery and bondage.  In essence , African Americans were becoming everything they used to hate.

What a sad delusion.

What an abysmal state of mind to be stuck in.

The Democratic party- the party of equal rights, tolerance, diversity and most of all liberalism, is on auto-destruct mode.  Such a reversal of misfortunates.  You were once racist against me so that give me the right to be intolerant and racist against you–FOREVER.

Within the analogy of annoyances between conservatives and liberals,  everything depends on what I can and cannot morally stomach.  I hate hypocrisy.  At least the religious/holier than thou trope has always been a staple amongst conservatives. Republicans are pretty consistent about being anti-choice, anti- government and self-knowingly quite hypocritical about it.    Along with the heavy moral quotient, regardless of any fallacies committed along the way, the elephant is usually not delighting in the enslavement of identity politics. The elephant does not suffer from amnesia when it comes to the Civil Rights Era.  The elephant is not involved in some KoolAid/cult of personality  addiction narrative that seems to follow their most successful leaders (Kennedy/Obama).   The elephant in my view is not dispensing hopium to its patients and quickly escaping on a jet to play a hundred rounds of golf in Hawaii.

Is all hunky dory on the right side of the tracks?

No, of course not.  I would be lying if I said it was.   I battle everyday to get conservatives to understand why some of us Americans want to be called African Americans.  If I want a hyphen, then damn-it I can have one.  When I expatriated from the Democratic Party, I did not stop being African American.  If the GOP wants more people of color , they will have to market the brand in a way that does not compromise the values of conservatives; while at the same time showing us that it is okay to be proud of one’s ethnicity.  No watermelon cart is needed.  You don’t need a reparations bill to get African Americans to join the conservative party. Just be yourselves and show them what you stand for and how it can benefit them.

Someone may listen.

I did.

Well, back to the shelter…I may crawl out in a few days when I run out of Beanie Weenies and Gatorade.  Visit if you choose but be warned… I do not allow Kool Aid or Barney Franks.

Autographed Letter Signed

AFROCITY

PS:  Today is my mother’s birthday she would have been 71. It also means my birthday is in 6 days. We always spent the week together as a tradition. It will be lonely in the shelter this week.

 

Sunday Soliloquy: Just Wait Until Your Father Gets Home July 18, 2010

Incoming text message for Afrocity:

DAD: Come watch me run the 5K next week.  Soldier Field

AFROCITY:  (After a long pause, disbelief)  When?

DAD: Wednesday

AFROCITY:  I will try…

Wow.  My father invited me to watch him run. To support him.  The loving daughter standing at the finish line cheering dad on, waiting with open arms and a bottle of cold Evian.   Even clad in a “GO DAD GO”  tee-shirt perhaps.

Up until now Autographed Letter Signed has been terrifically informative about my relationship with my mother’s life and death.  I have never got into a deep discussion of my father’s life.  How could I?  I have only known the man since 2005 when I looked up his name on the internet.

Make no mistake, dad and I are a work in progress- nothing more to say really.  We speak on the phone and see each other in person maybe three times a year despite living in the same city.

I invite him over for dinner. He cancels at the last minute.

He invites me to a family wedding and I play paddy cake with my decision which is ultimately NO.   Too many paternal family members too fast.  One on one would be best for now.

In nearly all of the minutes that I do share with my father, I am reminded of all the time that he did not share with me.  The echo of curiosity, skepticism, and  ambivalence stalks every invitation.

Can I ever really forgive and forget? Will I let myself?

He wants me to watch him make it to the finish line at some race.  I am proud that at the old age of 63, he runs marathons. It makes me feel proud and like shit that my mother died at 68 because she was overweight and never exercised. She died of hypertension- the silent killer.

How dare he ask me to watch him be all senior and healthy when my mother dies because she was unhealthy?

What the hell do I look like cheering on this man who never changed my Pampers at a race which raises money for kids – ironically?

Kodak moment potential aside, what would my mother think of me?

Trader daughter bitch,” mother would say to me up from far above the sky’s clouds in heaven while watching the Montel William’s show in  her government subsidized housing.   “I am dead now and look at you hanging out waiting for the prodigal dad to return home just so you can knit some perfect black family life that you never had.”

Dead momma is right.

Let’s face it. Nothing you ever do Afrocity. Nothing, will erase the fact that you did not grow up African American and Cobsy Show perfect middle class.

That dream was assassinated the moment you were conceived. A causality of single black mother/absent black father life in the inner city.

According to his 2008 speech on absent black fathers, I think Barack Obama would agree that dad and I are a causality of black life. The following quote is about the only thing Obama has ever said that I do agree with:

We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception…Too many fathers are M.I.A, too many fathers are AWOL, missing from too many lives and too many homes…They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.

-Barack Obama

Young Afrocity never had to hear the ominous words

“Wait until father gets home.”

There was no father. No huge size 12 workman’s boots sitting at the front door, drying from the rain along with baby’s boots and mother’s.   Never once did I have a masculine shoulder to rest on when I fell asleep at church.  I learned over the years that a man’s absence would dominate the pattern of my life. It was not a long hiatus because he had a fight with mom.  He was gone and I lived life without him along with the rest of his children but we were living the life of the Great Society- the welfare society.

And perhaps more pathetically, I tried to distract from the void by creating a special grief club with my dad’s other crazy quilted offspring.

My younger half-sister was welcomed into my home, along with her three year son fathered by a married man.  In an entirely selfish on my part move, I believed I could rehabilitate her into a college graduate.   I was raised by mother to think that education and nit pregnancy was a way out.  My half-sister learned none of these lessons from our father.  Apparently neither did my older half-sister who has six children and currently lives on welfare.

You may recall a past post about the latter sister. She had/has ovarian cancer and relies on Government health insurance.  The same insurance that allowed her to have 10 years worth of abnormal pap smear results and did nothing. The same government health insurance that offered her virtually zero options for her cancer besides a hysterectomy.  In an attempt to be a good sister, or at the very least, a good half sister, I enlisted the help of my own gynecologist.  “Please help my sister,”  I said.  “She has ovarian cancer and  public assistance insurance and awful doctors.  No one is giving her a straight story or treating her like a an equal.”

Did I mention that both sisters- I mean half-sisters -dumped me?

The younger one, just stopped calling me out of the blue.  There I was with a box full of toys and kid books I had bought for her son to come play with when they visited.   She was supposed to let me help her with her applications for college…then poof.  She was gone. My messages went unanswered. What did I do?  Was it the guacamole dip I made when we were watching movies one night and talking about dating bad men??? I can make it more spicy next time.  I promise. Please call back.

The older, I am more forgiving of.

She was battling cancer.  While we had spoken over the phone several times and I shared my gynecologist number with her, I had never actually met this woman in the flesh.  Sure there were specific things I knew about her from our father’s amazingly insightful commentary.

“She (my sister) is ghetto. She wears this big blond weave that is fried, dyed, and slicked to the side,” explained our father.  “She is street wise- not like you Afrocity…She acts very black, has a gold tooth…”

Okay,  I thought, so we won’t go shopping together or share beauty tips but I can at least meet my father’s other daughter.

I asked her over for dinner. She said she could only eat bland foods like boiled potatoes because of the chemo.

More than happy to accommodate her dietary restrictions, I offered to make  her a nice meal of Sheppard’s pie.  What’s more bland and filling than Irish food?    We agreed on a dinner date . Shopping for ground lamb and Yukon Gold potatoes made me dwell on the oddity of the situation.  I have never even cooked a meal for my mother’s son- my half brother. I have known him all of my life.  Now here I am looking at low sodium lamb broth for some woman I have never met that shares my paternal DNA.

This recipe of  instant sisterhood requires parsley, sage rosemary and time….

What would we talk about?

“Hi, so nice to finally meet you…I understand that our dad cheated on your mother with my mother and that is how we are so close in age… Can I get you a glass of water? I have tap or Pellegrino..Cancer popsicles? Rice cakes?”

Half sister to sister, we would tell fatherless ghost stories, share pictures of our mother’s boyfriends- our “uncles”,  and look at our brown faces to see if there is any resemblance.

And therein lied the problem of such a meeting of the fatherless minds.  The recognition that no amount of tea and half sister sympathy would ever change our narrative. Three half sisters don’t make a whole father.

She never came for dinner.

I never called her to see why she never called me.

She did call several months later. I never returned the calls.

Why? Because ultimately, it does not matter. DNA is so random when you grow up black and fatherless. Strands of nothing but sexual encounters with the same breeder.    What is the use of acting as if we are characters in some sort of urban Negro rendition of Homer’s Iliad?

It will never be easy or even possible to capture what is lost when the family erodes.

No old sounds of familiarity “Daddy will get you when he gets home!!!”

Only new sounds like the ding of an Iphone when a text message arrives:

DAD: Are you here?

AFROCITY: Yes. I am on my bike. I will meet you at the finish line.”

And suddenly there I was at the race, waiting for father to come home.

An old warrior in the war on absentee dads, putting down my heavy pounds of bitterness and protective weapons to

be present at the finish line in order to begin  something we never started right in the first place.

Dad and I at the finish line. ..Finally.

Autographed Letter Signed,

AFROCITY

 

Sunday Soliloquy: Afrocity- An Accidental Study in Sustainable Design July 11, 2010

Only by the most elaborate maneuvers of denial could I pretend that I am not getting older.  Whether it is the cellulite that is taking up residence in my thighs or the pain in my left hand from ever so worsening arthritis,  Afrocity is no spring chicken.

Last Saturday, I went for sushi with a friend.  Proud of the eel and uni delectables I consumed over white rice,   I eagerly opened my fortune cookie and read something ghastly:

YOU ARE NOT OLD BUT YOU ARE NO LONGER YOUNG EITHER.

Great. Thanks for the losing lotto numbers too.

Forty-one year’s old I will be in just under a month.  I feel as though I have lived at least another twenty.  In my avoidance of aging, I have purchased a used bicycle,  bought lots and lots of creams for my face, ass, and thighs and invested in mega Omega-3 fatty acid supplements. Middle age is knocking tap, tap, tap.  I look out of my peep hole…Oh nobody’s home go away.  What mother’s death in 2007 taught me was that I needed her alive to feel young.  Now that she is gone, I am left behind with her memories and orange-peel prone hips.  “Fat Girl Slim” is the $47 cream, I purchased from Sephora to help with cellulite.  Every night I rub the caffeine laced concoction into my skin after a vigorous dry brushing.  Night time prep has gone from 5 minutes as an 18 year old, to now nearly 45 minutes.  The days of splashing cold water on my face and washing with Phisoderm are over.  My ritual is quite eventful. First wash with Perricone MD, Nutritive Cleanser,  then tone, then my eye serum to combat dark circles, then my pre-moisturizing night time treatment, followed my retinol A moisturizing treatment, and of course my vitamin C/Ester eye cream.  Pretty pathetic huh?  To end the night perfectly, I drink mint tea and soy milk. This should be the last thing that goes into my stomach at night but I am a cheater and keep a bag of Kettle chips underneath the bed.   In light of the prison which is my beauty regimen, I am actually pretty low key in other areas of my life well most areas unless you count politics.

Whereas most normal women can walk into a store and see tote bags as only tote bags, I look at the ones with 100% GREEN and SEXY plastered all over and want to barf.   I see government intrusion and crazy far left moon bat political agendas. Can’t a girl,  I mean middle aged woman just find a simple tote bag and carrying it to the market without advertising an agenda or Japanese anime sex symbols?   I get it, we all must embrace internationalism and green technology.  I see it everywhere when I shop for my make-up and “war on Afrocity aging products”  .   Green make-up had quite a different meaning when I was a teenager. Then it was that awful tacky mood lipstick. Green in the tube but changed to an irritating pink on your lips and the lips of your friends. Every friend!!! They lied, no matter what mood you where in, that mood lipstick was the same shade of pink on everyone’s lips.    Now “green cosmetics” make resounding claims to keep you looking young and beautiful while being healthy for the environment but not your pocket book.   Look, I am not an incorrigible conservative that hates anything pro-environment.  I actually care about trees and rain forests.  I have seen the IMax movies at the museum.   However, “in-your face”  propaganda and legislation just does not sit well with me.    Rushing from store to store, “going green”  is like a painful stalking form of lifestyle.  You either succumb or just die.

Walking to the fridge for a bottle of water one night, my cat was whining for a wet food refill.  I grabbed the $1.70 a can premium grain free can of food made with spring water (filtered).  As I dumped its contents into his bowl, I looked around at my laundry supplies which reside in the utility room where the cats whine and dine.  Tide liquid detergent, 100% GREEN formula.  Biodegradable fabric sheets by Arm and Hammer.  Hmmmmm. Arm and Hammer…back in the day, I used baking soda just for brushing my teeth and deodorant when mom and I were low on cash.

Now the famous muscular arm and rusty hammer are on my kitty litter, sanitary napkins and dryer sheets.    Continuing to the fridge, there was the box of baking soda sitting on the top shelf next to my green tea ginger ale .  I grabbed a bottle of spring water.  Something looked different; the bottle seemed thinner almost flimsy.

Picture of me taken on the Forth of July, last weekend. Knee length hemlines are in my future. No more short shorts or mini-skirts.

Still, I was somewhat groggy and could not really identify what it was.  That is until I tried to twist off the cap.  My right hand has trouble with small caps on aspirin bottles due to my arthritis.  Now I could add bottled water to the list.

From Bezinga.com

Pro Mach Receives 2010 Green Award for Sustainable Packaging Machinery Solutions

June 16, 2010

CINCINNATI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

Pro Mach was awarded the first ever 2010 Manny Green Award from Cincy Magazine this month for manufacturing initiatives and product innovations that helped customers improve package sustainability.

Three examples were highlighted during the award process. In the first example, Pro Mach’s Fowler division, which manufactures capping equipment, collaborated with several major bottled water companies and multiple material vendors in a solution to package water using lightweight, thinner, smaller containers and caps. Fowler set up test packaging lines and engineered the capping machinery solution that allowed them to greatly reduce packaging material and maintain line speeds. One of these companies estimates they are using 1/3 less plastic, a reduction of more than 95 million pounds at a cost savings of more than $60 million. Comparable savings are also being achieved by the other producers.

In the second example, Pro Mach’s Roberts PolyPro division was noted for producing 100% recyclable single and multi-pack handles for the beverage industry that average 5 to 35 percent less resin than alternative processes. In the third example, Pro Mach’s Orion division developed a customized solution to help a fresh produce customer significantly reduce food product loss and damage during transit.

“We’re honored to receive this recognition from Cincy Magazine,” said Jack Aguero, Pro Mach Vice-President of Marketing and Business Development. “All of these sustainable initiatives have taken a team effort from customers, material suppliers, and our staff. Without the commitment of everyone involved we wouldn’t have been successful.”

Finally I took off the water bottle cap and looked at it.  It was hardly a cap at all.  The bottle label read “Our Caps are smaller that means less plastic for a greener you”….  But now my arthritic right hand was hurting and the city of Chicago taxed me a dollar for the case of water because bottle water is supposedly not green at all.  Can I get a refund?

I closed the door to my stainless steel , energy efficient refrigerator and walked across my bamboo engineered floor to my bed covered in organic cotton sheets.  My green life was not planned.  I did not orchestrate the environmentally friendly cat litter or the strange shaped light bulb in the lamp next to my bed.   It all sort of just happened over night without my permission.  Just like the cellulite on my thighs and no matter how many creams I use, it is here to stay whether I like it or not.

Autographed Letter Signed,

AFROCITY

 

Independence Nevermore:To Live Free and Die in the Not So Great Society July 4, 2010

Artist Faith Ringold Story Quilt

On this day, our country’s 234th birthday, the fate of my fellow African Americans weighs heavy on my mind. Like most summers in Chicago, this one entered the earth with a wave of violence. Brother against brother. Murder and destruction.  My best friend who is Caucasian caused a black man to be put in jail a little over a ago.   The Taste of Chicago was in its first day, Salt and Peppa was the opening act.  People were high on the heat of summer.  My friend was walking my dog for me.  That dog being a Dalmatian, became excited by all of the strange people and noise.  Sirens and raucous late June laughter coupled with a sensitive stomach from eating too much grass at Grant Park, caused the Dalmatian to bark at the strangers as she made her way to the hi-rise doorman building.

All it took was t  “Control your dog muthafucka!”  from a black man, for an argument to ensue. This caused angry words from my friend which led to the black man threatening to shoot my friend; which led to his arrest.

Just as I was rinsing off some fresh raspberries in the kitchen sink, my friend arrived in my apartment with the panting Dalmatian.  I was planning for a bowl of ice cream but no one seemed in the mood.

“BLACK PEOPLE!!!!!”  yelled my friend.  “Stupid (expletive)….(expletive)”

He threw the police report on the kitchen counter.  I grabbed the mint green flimsy duplicate copy paper.  Crumbled up, the carbon writing had smudged. I saw the words  “gun” and “dog” very clear.  I kept squinting at the Dalmatian. She was now lying on my sofa- something that she knows not to do.  Always causing a spot of trouble, I thought.

“Do you want to hear the rest of the whole story of my night from hell?” asked my friend who was still angry and breathing heavily.

Sure I wanted to hear the details.  I wanted to know why he made the statement that he did about black people however,  the atmosphere in the room was not one of safe waters.  A recap at this point would do nothing but advance an argument on race.  An argument that began downstairs in my vestibule and would end a friendship upstairs in my kitchen.

“No,”  I said.  “I am sleepy. “

My friend was disappointed and mumbled “But-”

I walked over to the door . “Goodnight,”  I said flatly.  “We will discuss the matter later.”

"When Blacks Take Over America"- Racist Com

I closed the front door, leaving my friend standing in the hallway. Returning to the stainless steel double sink, I began to hum a tune and finished rinsing my raspberries.

All was well again.

That did not just happen I kept telling myself.

But it did and it made me feel uncomfortable.  Not because of what my friend said but rather because I understood what he said.  The blacks in Chicago were getting on my nerves too.  Killings of young people shot over stupid, petty issues like boxes of two chicken dinners.  Women —ahem, excuse me correction- I mean GIRLS with violet blue weave  hair and fake neon pink nails, pushing one baby in a stroller, another on the side of their hip, and one in her womb.

One of the obvious questions that I ask myself is when will it all end.  These are the people that my mother thought would do better than the older generations.  In 1979 these kids were our future, now our future as African Americans is what I fear.

Yes, there are many successful African Americans today. Enough to give m friend a reason not to say the things that he did about his assailant.  Enough to make me not shudder every time I see a young black mother being cursed at by black man with his baggy pants falling down his legs in the streets.   Do we not dwell on the Colin Powells, the Michael Jordans,  Oprah Winfreys, Barack Obamas?

I do- having the pleasure of being in a room filled with African Americans PhD’s.  We chat up one another in our academic discourse while munching on Carr’s  water crackers and goat cheese.   Have you read such and such?  Did you see that great documentary on…  Our lives as African Americans in that insular, far away place called… Called what?  What is that place?  Freedom? Decency?  Civilization? Acclimation?   Assimilation?  Whatever that place is, it is shielding us from the battle that rages on right outside our chamber door. Yes, I just alluded to Edgar Allen Poe’s poem, The Raven.   I loathe that poem but it was one of my mother’s favorites.   Ravens are black and cold- menace to society.

Furthermore, ravens seem to symbolize impending doom.

My heart cannot be at rest in the company of black success narratives when there is a raven sitting just outside the window.   His eyes carry the images of youth violence, rape, welfare, robbery, gang warfare.

The Raven sits at the foot of my bed, resting on my 350 thread count Tracy Guild designer sheets.  The Raven is there when I see other blacks at Whole Foods market.  Look at all of the good African Americans following Michelle Obama’s advice. Eat organic parsnips, it is better for our kids.  But what about the blacks kids who are physically fit and kill with guns and knives?  No salt and battery will not cure what ails Black America.

The Raven keeps me up some nights wondering what could have been had we not sold ourselves out to the Great Society that the Democrats promised us.

“I’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.”
- Lyndon B. Johnson

The Raven was at the Taste of Chicago last Thursday day night and so was I.

Firm in my belief that the festival was safe, I went to “The Taste”, purchased a roll of tickets, got guacamole and chips.  When you grow up in a place as tough as  Chicago, you acquire certain survival skills…Like sensing when people are packing and bullshit is about to start.  The Raven flew over and sat on my shoulder.  My chips looked good to him but not as good as the group of  backwards baseball capped young black thugs standing by Buckingham Fountain throwing up gang signs.

Stop being paranoid Afrocity, I thought.  Nervous white people grabbed their children. There were a lot of young black people and Mexicans out and…it was loud…and felt not quite right.  How does this collectivity of social ideologies interact? You have the people who are here for barbecued turkey legs (12 tickets) and the people who are cause trouble (ticket to jail).   Soon, my pursuit for an unbiased night of cultural interaction gave way to my instinct to survive.  Afrocity still had food tickets left but did not care as she exited Grant Park.  Once safe at home, I saw that my instincts were correct according to this article in the Chicago Tribune:

‘He just started swinging a knife,’ says boy stabbed near Taste

July 2, 2010

“He (the attacker) thought that the crowd was trying to jump on him and he just started swinging a knife,” Nuttall said of the knife-wielder.

As he was trying to pull his friend out of the way, Greenlee was stabbed in the lower back and fell over, Nuttall said. When Nuttall tried catching his toppling friend, Nuttall was stabbed in the forearm. The bleeding boys bolted for the Red Line subway station and headed south, where Greenlee’s mother was waiting for them at the 79th Street station.

From Chicago Tribune

When she saw her son and his grade school chum had been stabbed, Teresa Wilson became hysterical, more upset than either of the teenagers. Then the South Side mom became angry.

“I’m tired of Illinois, specifically of Chicago, period,” an exhausted Wilson said in a telephone interview this morning.

Wilson drove the teens to Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park.

“I really (became) hysterical. Bobby was a little more calmer (than me), stronger. He was like ‘Mom, stop crying! Calm down, I’m okay,’” she recalled.

Both teens were treated and released with minor stab wounds. Wilson’s son was resting at home, recovering from a 2-inch laceration to his lower back.

Nuttall said the teens, who became friends at Joplin School on the city’s Southwest Side, had no idea who their attacker was, or what started the fight.

Relieved that their sons weren’t seriously injured, both mothers were still filled with regret.

“I shouldn’t have let me child (go),” Nuttall’s mother, Patricia said in a telephone interview. “I didn’t know it was going to be like this. This is downtown, all the security and police officers down there…I’m just glad my son didn’t get hurt worse,” she said.

Wilson, who returned to Chicago 10 years ago, said she’s seriously considering leaving again, believing the city has become overridden with crime.

“Anytime you think you’re going to an outing, you have to damn-near expect something to happen and it just makes no sense,” Wilson said.

Recognition is the first step towards healing.

You have to realize that there is a problem.

For the first time I will admit something to my readers.  While I did not vote for Barack Obama, I at least thought that the violence amongst those in the African American community would subside after his election.  I especially and desperately wanted this to be true for Chicago.  But like Edgar Allan Poe, the Raven is a realist.

Lyndon Johnson’s  “Great Society” may have equated short term gratification for blacks and long term benefits for Democrats.  But nevertheless, we signed up for it as a race.

I understand that.

Having a black president does not entail overnight brown-skin success stories.

I can understand that.

It does not eradicate every ounce of racism from country.

I can understand that…Asthe late Senator Robert Byrd so “eloquently” demonstrates here:

What I do not understand is why having a black president entailed the unraveling of any civilized state of “black Chicago.”

As I saw my people scattering about State Street with the policemen in riot gear.

I thought, is this what it has come to?  Another 1968?

Photo Chicago Tribune. Police in riot gear after Thursday's Taste of Chicago Fest

Another Los Angeles?  Is this what Crispus Attucks took a bullet for during the Boston Massacre?  So that blacks in America could go from that:

To this?

“Unfortunately the answer is YES,” quoth the Raven nevermore.

Autograph Letter Signed,

AFROCITY

 

 
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