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Posts Tagged ‘Gary Indiana’

Having gone to West Side,  I always noticed how our school played second fiddle to Roosevelt in the minds of the elders in my neighborhood as well as the sports writers. I understood history was on their side.

As I understand it, Roosevelt was the place where black kids attended high school during the segregated times of the city…before white flight. Though all Gary High Schools were all black during my time, Roosevelt always seem to get the attention AND ALL THE CALLS whenever they played West Side.

Didn’t matter to me. I was a proud Cougar. Could have gone to Horseman but had to follow in the foot steps of my bro and sis as well as several other close neighbors and attend the best school in G.I., West Side! I went to ALL the games before I got to West Side because my bro and sis went there, and of course I went to all of them when I got to high school. I was and still very passionate about my Cougars.

I remember how Winston Garland used to stick it to the Side when he played at Velt. I remember it all too well. I guess El Dubb alumni can understand when I say OH HELL NO to a Velt Alumni coaching West Side. They’ve had to go through it with Notty.

I think the people on that school board are F’d up. They are botching the coaching hiring of football and now they choose the enemy to coach West Side! That’s like the Bulls signing John Starks… just makes no sense.

I’m sure he’ll be a great coach. But couldn’t they have found someone with Cougar blood! Hell I’ll take ole Ike back before I’ll take this. I now understand what John Boyd was talking about when he left the Side for MC. He mentioned how he could get NO RESPECT, being one of three coaches in Gary history to win the state championship ( the other two- Mallard and Heflin- coached at that scrub school Velt).  I mean, Boyd was an alumni of West Side! HE WON THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP. WHILE COACHING IN GARY! He went there, taught there, ran his mouth there ( I went to school with him and boy could he do this!). AND he was a hell of a coach there.  now I know why. The people on the Gary school boards are Panther Homers. 🙂

I would take Omar (Wirt’s old Coach) over a Velt alum. Wirt was chumps anyway. The rivalry between West Side and Roosevelt will just not be as good with Garland at coach.

HE’S GOING TO CHEAT FOR VELT. When the games on the line, he’ll pull his best player or something like that!

JUST KIDDING. I’m not that much of a fanatic.

But I do think its a sad day in the history of Gary West Side high school basketball… But it could have been worse. We could have gotten Notty. Oh hell no!

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Even if things change by tomorrow, the verdict is in…the leaders of the Gary Indiana School system from top to bottom are inept.

Enough of th excuses. To not have the high school football coaches INTERVIEWED 3 weeks before the first games are played is unacceptable. Especially if the decision was made to actually interview basketball coaches before the football coaches. Plain and simple. This is a leadership issue. The haters are all out there (Crown Point, Hobart, Merriville, Valpo citizens alike) licking their chops. Your giving them the meat to feed there contempt of all things Gary with your lack of leadership on something that really should not be that difficult.

The real sad part about this is that it’s the kids that are being HURT by this more then anything else. If sports is an outlet, Gary’s youth need more of it, not less opportunity to participate in it. This is exactly what this has caused, a lessened opportunity for Gary youth to participate in something that will keep them out of streets! And lets face it, Gary high school football needs as much practice as it can get.

It’s bad enough this debacle has caused the loss of one of Gary’s prized coaches, John Boyd of West Side. It’ll be even worse when one of those potential West Side/Lew Wallace or Roosevelt students gets into some negative situations during times in which they’d normally be in practice.

Gary’s summers are normally rough incident wise.

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West Side Alumni Chris Hunter was signed by the Knicks after having a stellar season in the NBA D-League with Fort Wayne.  He is the first player from Northwest Indiana to play in the NBA since Glenn Robinson.

There’s no coincidence that both hail from G.I.. Though that area (or region as they call it) continues to cheat Gary youth by harrassing them and their teams in the Indiana High School Boys Basketball Tournament, Chris Hunter is Gary’s shining example of how to just “jump over” those road blocks.

He did it at West Side, leading them to a State Championship and he did it here, overcoming being relegated to supporting cast status during his playing days at Michigan and playing in Poland as well as the D-League.

Look for West Side’s Xavior Jones to make it there as well as Brandon Dawson and Dejaun Marrero of Lew Wallace and Bowman Academy. Goes to show you that playing in in the Northwest Indiana Conference preps kids for the D-1 as well as the NBA.

No other “region” conference can say this. Keep making excuses to avoid playing Gary schools. And keep hurting your players chances of getting better opportunities.

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That bang is on MY drum. That’s right. My blog is MY drum. It just took me reading several comments from (what I believe to be)  members of the white race to realize what my blog really is.

In 2009, I’m bangin on it like I’m at a ZULU tribal dance. I’m bangin on it like I’m at a South Miama Reggae set in Cutler Ridge. I’m bangin on it like the participants of the Gary Drill Team Competition stomps their boots on the floors of West Side High Schools gynasium.

Like FOREVER, I  become TOTALLY irritated whenever I hear someone white try to tell a black person what is or is not racist.  My blog sets free my voice on topics that affect ME and MY family, relatives and friends.

I don’t and I won’t qualify anything that I say about these concerns because I DON’T HAVE TOO! I know what the hell racist are. What a racial situation is.  And what constitutes a racist moment. Why?

BECAUSE  I’M A BLACK MAN.  EVERY SINGLE F__KIN DAY I DEAL WITH THE LITTLE SLIGHTS THAT ALL BLACK MEN AND WOMEN HAVE TO ENDURE. Hell, some days, their certainly not little.

I WILL NOT TOLERATE SOMEONE WHITE TELLING ME WHAT IS AND IS NOT RACIST WHEN IT COMES TO SITUATIONS WHERE A BLACK HAS BEEN AFFECTED BY A RACIST ACT!

PERIOD.

Most of the time, if your black, you get it.  I’d suffice to say that the majority of whites (I presumed they were because they’d start their comments off with ” I ‘m a white guy or a redneck girl…) get it- in reference to my 2008 blogs.

2008 is the year that I started blogs. 2009 is the year that I find my voice and say what the hell I want to say;  in whatever way I want to say it; and whenever I want to say it!

Check a brotha out…

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This blog represents the first in a series of blogs that will attempt to chronicle “what’s wrong & right with the City of Gary, Indiana”. The blog is written with the sole purpose of creating forward thinking dialogue on how to improve, not lambaste, the City that I grew up in.

No, I no longer live there. However, it’s where I was born and raised. My parents raised my family there. Worked and lived there for 30 years. I have a connection there that will and cannot ever be broken. The place has so much to do with who I am today as well as “how I am” as a person.

As I told my wife the other day in a conversation, I believe in laying blame. I know, I know. I’ve been around many a situation in the corporate setting where a “leader” has espoused the type of statement that “placing the blame is useless” when addressing a major issue that needs fixing.

The thing about the topic of Gary that differs from that of say a business setting is that what ails Gary is of a social nature. Yes, business or lack there of, is a major component of what ails Gary. But from a social vantage point, I believe, we first have to solve, or improve, the social environment of Gary before ANY type of viable business structured solution can be brought to the City.

In solving, or improving the social environment, we’ve got to call out those who seek to continue or contribute to the spiraling fall of the city where I was brought into this world.

Yes. Gary is a predominately Black city. I therefore feel that it’s problems are predominantly those of the Black citizens of the city. Essentially, I get the impression that my former neighbors who have decided to stay in Gary and “tough it out”, feel they are powerless at effecting change in Gary. They do vote. They pay their property taxes. They are not the problem. They have aged and contributed to the city and the elected officials there have let them down in return.

Sure, this sounds like the post is going into the direction of, say, a Post-Tribune or a NWI Times editorial written by some outsider person of the White race who, it seems, takes great joy in pointing out the ills of Gary.

However, I am not White. Though I am now an outsider, I still have a connection to that city in which life long friends and neighbors still traverse the mean streets of Chase St, 5th Ave, Grant St., Broadway, Burr St and Taft St., among others.

I understand when a friend who calls me and tells me he just came from Gary, helping his mother purchase a lawn mower and comments on how bad the city looks, or that someone I grew up with just died and how they died, I understand the sorrow in their voices. It’s different then the tone of a editorial written by some White resident who lives in Merrillville or Hobart or Crown Point who harbors a stereotypical mindset towards Blacks due to the history of the existence of Blacks in the Lake County area. Gary in particular.

That tone is one of innuendo and hate filled propaganda. The tone of my friends when they tell me things about the city they still live in, there is a tone of hurt, despair, and love. They dearly wish the place would see better days. The tone of the Post Tribune columnist is one that gives the impression they couldn’t care less if the people in Gary all killed themselves and died a horrible death.

So Fuck Them. (This the only time you will see such an offensive statement in this blog about Gary, I promise)

The emotions that I have on the whole issue of my UNDERSTANDING as to how Gary ultimately arrived where it is today, is fueled by my distaste for those people who essentially have kept a death grip on Gary financially while living outside of it’s boundaries. Those would be the “White Flighters”.

I have purposely, in the recent past, traveled to Gary with my daughters who for the first time were old enough to see Gary and remember it after the visit. I can argue that the place looks nothing like it did when I first took them there when they were very young, that type of thinking is directed towards the neighborhood I grew up in. More importantly, the house I grew up in.

I loved that house. I loved my street. I certainly remember the days, years, that everyone (well most everyone) took pride in how their homes looked. Kept up their quarters. I had a beautiful childhood on 8th and Taney. I would not trade it for any other type of childhood experience. And yes, it was a 100% and viable Black neighborhood!

There are some who think there was no way this was possible in the City of Gary. As far as most Whites in particular are concerned, Gary has been a  S-hole since at least the early 70’s. Well I can attest to the wonderful upbringing I had in the city. I take the good memories with the bad.

So I’m driving down Broadway with wife and girls and showing them our sparkling, dynamic downtown. Yes, the first thing they notice is that all, yes every building is boarded up. I ask them to take a CLOSER LOOK at the boards that were on the store fronts. I asked them to take a close scan of the buildings that were dilapidated. I then asked them to identify one sign that informed anyone as to how to purchase or lease any of those buildings.

THEY COULD NOT FIND ONE! Then I explained something to them that I found out when I returned to Gary years ago at a time that I myself was a business owner in Nashville, Tn. I had an interest in how one would go about purchasing one of those buildings. The thing I found out is that for the most part, they are not for lease or for sale!

Most of those entities who abandoned Gary in the 70’s under the guise of White Flight has retained ownership of the business store fronts they abandoned while relocating their shops and businesses in places like Hobart and Merrillville. They have a vendetta against Black Gary citizens. Yes the Black ones who essentially voted in the nations first Black Mayor of a major city, Richard G. Hatcher.

The way Hatcher ascended to power contributed to the lingering resentment that those former White citizens of Gary have towards Blacks today.  I explained to my girls that Hatcher ascended to the position of Mayor of Gary on the coat tails of the Black Power Movement of the late 60’s. I explain to them that even today, any type of black political figure that was or has been associated with the “Black Power” movement of the civil rights era, is a hated figure in the racist part of the White community and is often identified as examples of racist blacks by modern mainstream media and White politicians the like.

I explained to my girls, there is a deep hatred towards Black citizens of Gary by the suburban White citizens of Lake County Indiana who still own those store fronts on Broadway. Essentially, Blacks stood up to what was then a racist City of Gary government that treated black citizens as second class citizens much like the way Blacks were treated throughout the country at that time.

The big thing was that Blacks in Gary chose to use ideology more in line with Malcolm X then that of Martin Luther King to effect change.

You know. The line Bernie Mac used to use to open his shows on Def Comedy Jam.

Well for now, read this article in the Post-Tribune for an example of one our own (Black Men) who clearly has been taking the citizens of Gary for a ride with their tax dollars…

Glen Park group forgets about ‘that’ $100,000

Like I said. The Post Tribune does a good job at making sure the ills of Gary are on display. I’ll use it to make a point. I promise to dig deeper then the sarcastic tone the journalist who wrote the piece clearly has taken.

(to be continued…)

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This post kicks off the 2008/2009 Gary Indiana Boys and Girls Basketball season. If you’ve found this post and you either live in Gary or are formerly from G.I., please leave a message on your feelings/thoughts on this upcoming basketball season, as well as those types of thoughts on past seasons.

I just find there is a lack of such a place on the net and decided to give this a shot. One thing you can count on; I myself will be posting a weekly statement on my thoughts from afar on the state of G.I. B-Ball.

Please, feel free to chime in with scores, hype, trash talk or just plain thoughts down memory lane…

GO WEST SIDE!

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Martin Luther King used the term “UpSouth” to characterize his thoughts of the State of Indiana whenever he traveled to it.  Essentially, he was inferring that unlike other non-southern states north of the Mason-Dixon line, the fervor of the racist climate was as negative in Indiana as it was in, say,  Alabama.

Having grown up in Gary , Indiana, I understand those sentiments all too well. It is not surprising to see that Indiana, though being viewed as a potential “swing state”, is polling in the favor of John McCain.

The term “isolation breeds ignorance” identifies with, in my opinion, the back roads of Indiana.

Essentially, outside of Gary, Indiana and Indianapolis, you won’t find too many Black Americans living amongst back roads the great John Cougar Mellencamp sings about in his songs. While this is also true in places like the back roads of Iowa, white citizens of the State of Indiana have carried a prepackaged 20th Century anti-black vantage point of blacks into the 21st Century, while citizens of the back roads of Iowa have not entirely, evidenced by Obama’s win there in the Iowa Caucus during the primaries.

Why did Iowans not display the same type of behavior towards Obama as Hoosiers did during its primary as well as in today’s polls, I cannot answer. I have a limited knowledge of Iowa, so I have to take a pass on that. But I do have a take on the behavior of Hoosiers then (during the primaries) and now, pre-Nov. 4th election day.

To put it bluntly, white lower class and middle class citizens of the State of Indiana have had to compete with black citizens for industrial jobs since the industrial revolution brought hundreds of thousands of them to the State of Indiana via textile mills and steel mills. I truly feel that this “factor” has had a great deal to do with a lot of the animosity that White Hoosiers have towards Black Hoosiers (trying calling a black person from Indiana a “Hoosier” and watch the odd look on their faces).

Though agriculture has remained a large part of the makeup of Indiana, quite a number of Hoosiers who grew up on farms and in small towns throughout Indiana, migrated to places like Gary, Hobart, East Chicago, Fort Wayne, Hammond, Crown Point and Portage to snag good paying jobs in the steel mills of the then second largest steel producing area of the United States (to Pittsburgh).

In my opinion, it’s the City of Gary itself that fuels most of the animosity towards blacks in the entire State of Indiana. Iowa has no “Gary, Indiana”. To be honest with you, I don’t think there is another Gary, Indiana in the entire United States of America. It is a unique place that’s full of civil rights history that, to me, has never really had it’s story told as it should be told. The quintessential misunderstood city.

It’s my home. I take it with the good and the bad. It’s painful to see what it’s become. This of course, is exactly what most Whites who either previously lived in Gary or nearby points to whenever they want to provide an example of “how blacks really are”. This sentiment has “trickled down” throughout the State of Indiana and most White Hoosiers are resolute in their belief that blacks are dangerous, “Just look at Gary”…

I will one day break down my critique of that vantage point, but now is not the time. In fact, I’d probably have to pay for extra space in WordPress to provide such a vantage point. Maybe in a book. Who knows.

For the sake of the upcoming election, I’m calling the State of Indiana for McCain. I have no confidence that the White citizens of the State of Indiana, collectively, CAN set aside their animosity towards Blacks and vote a Black man into the White House.

If I’m wrong, which I hope I am, it would be a great day for that State. Racial polarization, especially in Northwest Indiana, is a cancer to the State. I fear that it will never be able to move ahead collectively until the issue of race is put to rest.

I believe this is true for the entire country. If we can EVER put aside the issue of race collectively, we will see that this country is still the best in the world. THERE IS NO OTHER PLACE LIKE IT.

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Those of us who TIRED of black people making excuses for our race need to jump behind Obama and his call for the black community to be more responsible for their own actions. Though this is nothing different then what Bill Cosby has said on numerous occasions in the past.

Case in point. The very house I was raised in in Gary Indiana was broke into countless times before my parents retired, BY PEOPLE I WAS RAISED WITH IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD.

They’ve since retired and moved from Gary. They sold the house to my sisters best friend for like $18,000! That’s after 30 years of ownership. Now I find out my sisters best friend has had to deal with some punks doing the following:

  • Fools LITERALLY driving a car through the front of the house (smack into the bedroom that I shared with my brother), back out, drive off while she was chasing after them, and never get caught!
  • Deal with a break in where they took quite a bit of stuff out of the house.
  • A month after the first break in, they broke in again. Because they had trouble getting the big TV out of the house, they decided to F it up by busting it up.

When my parents were still living in the house, I remember becoming infuriated when I came to visit them when I went into the Den room, only to see where my parents had put up a 2X4 barricade on the back door to prevent assholes from kicking in the door and stealing everything or worse, doing something to my mother when my dad wasn’t there. It was like my parents were scared in their own home.

Keep in mind the next door neighbor had guys my age that grew up with me. They didn’t have my back? My peoples back? HELL NO! Why? Because in the hood, fuck a ni__a is the motto of the day.

This is essentially the problem. Places like Gary, Newark, Baltimore, East St. Louis, they know about this problem all too well. I found out that my best friend had sold drugs to the young sister of a dude who had looked out for him when he was younger. It was then that I knew that he was no longer the same guy I had grew to love like a brotha when we hung tight.

People change. Situations change. The guys that got caught breaking into my parents house when they still owned it was a guy I grew up with next door (on the other side of the house), and two other guys that I played with as a kid. It was PAINFULL to learn they had did what they did. It was then that I learned that when people are on that stuff, or dealing in that stuff, friendship don’t mean shit!

It made me turn against G.I.. I’ve never looked at the place in same light since. Before, man I used to get goose bumps when I approached the city limits on I-65. I’d have this excitement in me that only those from G.I. understand. Then, it was gone.

I’ve been back twice in the past 3 years. Each time, I certainly did not have that feeling. Nor did I have the desire to see people that I certainly would have looked up in the past. It was fitting that both times, I was in the area for funerals. Maybe I just grew up. I don’t think that was it.

Now I don’t want to pile on Gary, like the racist ass whites who fled Gary and purposely have kept their hands around the throats of the city financially since the days of Hatcher do in the Post-Tribune or the Northwest Indiana Times. But I do believe that when Obama talks about how blacks need to start taking more responsibilities for their actions, G.I. is the epicenter and a case study on the topic.

Though I know the institution of racism is alive and well, I am also aware of the penchent for my race to default to identifying with sterotypical descriptions of blacks.

  • “CP Time” (colored people time)
  • Using “you know what I mean” after making a statement
  • Always talking about food
  • Bling Bling is the measure of success
  • Flashiness
  • No snitchin
  • hustlin
  • gettin over
  • saying the word Nigga in public indiscriminately in broad public

We are our own worst enemy. So I say this. Jesse, Barack has the right to ‘talk down” to black folk or “niggas” as you said on Fox. by the way, you know Fox threw you under the bus on that one.

We have to have someone do it. Nas aint doing it. Kanye ain’t doin it. Jay Z damn sure aint doing it. We’ve got to fight the power of ignorance thats in our own community just like we’ve been fighting the institution of racism.

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I recall reading about John Boyd (Coach of West Side) sounding bitter about the circumstances of a charter school (I think Bowman) affecting where the ever thinning basketball talent pool goes to high school in Gary.

Having been born and raised in Gary in an era where charter schools were not a problem, I can only speak on this subject from the “outside looking in” perspective. I will also attest to having limited knowledge of just what a charter school is.

From what I understand, Gary now has 5 high schools remaining: West Side (always 1st), Roosevelt, Lew Wallace, Wirt and then Emerson.

Horace Mann was closed some years back and I believe I’ve read about whispers of “HISTORIC” ROOSEVELT HIGH SCHOOL closing this year. Whew…

That’s hard to imagine. Especially when I read about Bowman Academy.  With Gary’s dwindling population, I’m sure that Bowman’s siphoning of students from the rolls of schools such as Roosevelt is contributing to the chatter or need for a school such as Velt to close.

Am I missing something here? Keep in mind that I was born and raised in G.I. and I completely understand the challenges the citizens of Gary face in the area of getting their children a quality education. I will say this, for all the negative critique of the Gary School System, I sure do have a lot of former classmates and hear of a lot of former classmates and friends doing some good if not great things with their lives.

When I left West Side, I did so with an ability to read/write/think with the best of any other 18 year old in the country. I don’t care what the Post Trib or NWI Times says. In my adult life, I see it everyday in what I do for a living, people of all walks in life, degrees from the best or 1st tier universities, especially white , who simply don’t impress me with their ACTUAL ABILITIES” to do white collar tasks on a consistent and quality basis.

Sure their degrees are from UNC or NC State or Duke, but I’ve learned to look beyond that and focus on their actually abilities. You’ll be surprised what money or a legacy can buy…

Back to Bowman. Of course the issue comes down to Gary’s past time: HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL! I saw last year how Bowman, I think, beat Roosevelt and played West Side and Lew Wallace tough (they may have beat el dubb).

I guess I’m a traditionalist when it comes to this topic. Seeing the Gary Holiday tournament won by Bowman Academy instead of Side, Velt, El Dubb, Wirt, or Gary Mann is like WTF?

From the sounds of the chatter coming out Gary, this is a possibility this upcoming season.

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So Obama might just be the next president of the U.S.. While I applaud his position, I also have to signal the need for his black supporters to “wake up and smell what’s brewing”.

I mentioned in previous post how a Barack win will bring about a new type of perspective on blacks in the eyes of quite a bit of White America. The first thought that comes to mind is that since he is articulate (like millions upon millions of other Blacks) and (if) he actually wins the presidency and does his time in the White House, then this will provide a step forward in the area of racial relations in this country.

Then comes: Racism? What Racism”.

This is where the “wake up” comes in. The Obama-Clinton race for the Democrat nomination demonstrated just how much racism is still in existence in this country. It’s true the mere fact a black man can be seen as a viable candidate for the Presidency and receive millions upon millions of votes from white voters is surely a sign that race relations have taken a monumental leap from the year I was born (68).

On the contrary, the venomous campaign approach Clinton used to stay in the race showed just how easily it is to stoke white racist feelings about black men and people in general, and use it as a motivating tool to go against anything that involves the improvement of black people, whether it be in their personal lives or the perception of black life/people in all of the Americas.

Which brings me to this; A blacks ability to advance in this country is going to take a DRAMATIC change with an Obama Presidency.

Expect more heated and intense challenges to affirmative action from whites.

Expect even more scrutiny when the need to use anti-discrimination laws justifiably arise

Expect more charges that blacks are racist towards whites

Expect there to be a perception that everything is level now. We do have a black president, you know…

The days of a Shaq rapping about Kobe (justifiably) and using the n word without receiving heat are gone. Shaq got a taste of that years ago when he mocked Chinese dialect when making a statement about Yao Ming.

Black people, if we are going to cry a hissy fit about a guy like Imus saying the N word or something racist, we’ve got to expect that we need to be held to the same standard.

It’s a unique time for black people here in the U.S.. I for one believe it’s going to be a good, positive change overall. It’s going to be tough. The majority (whites) still and will continue to do things that WE blacks know are racist.

It happens to me at least once a day as a black man. Every singe f_ckin day. Sometimes in small subtle occurances. Other times in ways that simply Makes Me Wanna Holla!

It’s time for us to police our own. We have alot of growing to do within our own community. Our own little Zimbabwe’s and Mugabe’s across the country within our own communities. We’ve been needing a jolt and I believe the Obama experience is and will catapult us into the next episode.

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