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Posts Tagged ‘race’

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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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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In four days, Americans will either undergo a “Racial Exorcism” or embrace the “gluten for punishment” definition.

In the racial exorcism category, IF Obama wins, it will be because a sizable number of White Americans have placed aside race and decided to choose a President who in my opinion cleary demonstrated that he is the better candidate, white or black.

In the gluten for punishment category, it is clear that John McCain plans to continue the Bush Doctrine in making the Bush tax cuts permanent, continuing to keep troops in Iraq for an indefinite period and using “cowboy” or “maverick” type of decisions that are more shoot from the hip then they are intelligent types of decisions.

If voters vote McCain into the White House, it means get ready for more war, more jobs being lost oversees, more illegal immigration ( I like the way the twisted the issue and made it a Democrat created problem the past 8 years when It was ole Dupya himself who essentially did not enforce immigration laws until 2007), lower wages, and higher gas prices (oh, they will increase back to their summer 08 numbers is McCain gets back in).

We shall see what happens…

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I’ll just have to go to another blog site. Or better yet, get my own domain. it’s funny. All along I thought you were exactly what I was looking for. A place where I could say “What’s on a Brotha’s Mind”. Little did I know that your no better then the fools I post about.

YOUR AN ATYPICAL CORPORATE ENTITY THAT WANT’S TO SUPPRESS THE TRUTH ABOUT THIS RACIST COUNTRY.

i see all types of post’s that display curse words in their post titles and all other innuendo that certainly is racist in nature. Yet I constantly see that my posts are not shown in the tag areas in which I designate within my post. Later own, apparently when someone stumbles across them after a search, I’ll see that they were viewed.

Typical site skewed towards suppressing the black voice.

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Even with a screw up performance tonight by Palin , McCain will still be within sticking distance of beating Obama. Why? Because Obama’s black and quite a bit of the voting public just can’t get past that. No matter the train wreck the McCain/Palin ticket is.

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My post a week or so ago on “What’s Wrong With Blacks” was met with attacks by blacks who blog about the lack of a focus on white acts of racism and their double standards.

My facts focus on how WE act within our own communities and our lack of respect for one another and how slack we are on calling out our own.

Now I got Stockholm Syndrome?

I’ll tell you what I got.

I got passion for my people that tells me that we equal whenever the playing fields level. Hell, one might even say we’re superior.

I’m not hearing ya when you say the only way to better our own is by tapping on the keyboard about the wrongs those fools keep perpetrating on us. Why?

Cause they ain’t hearing you! But really, i do. It’s just that I want to say more about how we cause our own sores in the community that we all live in.  I do this while also understanding that the core of our problems is still the man.

That’s all brotha sista (my fault). When I say “Focus Man” (or in your case, “Woman”), I say that cause you doing the work of the man, not me, by coming after someone who see’s that his little black angels will have slim pickin’s for a mate.

Take the time to see where someone is coming from before you judge. Isn’t that ONE of the problems WE have with them?

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My post on “What’s Wrong With Blacks” was recently commented on by “brotherpeacemaker”. Basically, he summed up my post as my congering up a vantage point that brothers who are doing less with their lives were looking me up and down because I had on slacks. Additionally, he said that maybe I was the one with the problem in that I didn’t understand that I did not have the right to look them up and down and judge them.

Well, gotta say your post on black unity is some what needed. I gather you don’t live in the south. I know what I see and I know what a mean mug is when I see it. Your post is par for the course with respects to the “black unity theme” of old. It needs a tune up.

In the same way that Barack Obama has commented on how blacks have to embrace responsibility, I’ll respond to your response.

When Bill Cosby came out years ago and criticized blacks in great detail on how they were squandering the progress that so many DIED FOR, I was in agreement with him. In brothapeacemakers post, he said that it’s easy for many of us black people who do well to “look down” on those who are not. Furthermore, he comments on a lot of my quotes with a perspective that “Why don’t I/people mention how there are white people with the exact scenarios that I mention as examples of our plight”

I think it’s fitting that these posts are tagged in victim mentality. My wife, who’s black by the way, has from time to time in the past accused me of displaying a victim mentality when something I KNOW HAS NEGATIVELY AFFECTED ME BECAUSE I WAS A BLACK MAN has happened to me. I identify very well with the topic.

I’ll start off by saying honestly, I don’t give a damn about white boys still living with their mothers and squandering their lives. I care enough about black young boys and girls that I have actually won Volunteer of the Year at the local Boys and Girls Club Teen Center here in Raleigh. Yea, by volunteering.

I remember a teenage black girl, after seeing me in the center after several days, asking me why I was there. Before I could answer, she followed the question with a quick quip, “What you gotta do community service?”. When I told her that I was just there as a volunteer, she put a bewildered look on her face that struck home with me. Bill, the teen center manager, would soon tell me that volunteers at the center are few and far between. One day while signing in on the volunteer log, I noticed that only I had signed in as a volunteer for the past several weeks that the log displayed. This spoke directly to what Bill had told me.

I know, I know. give me a hero cookie, right? The only reason I’m mentioning this is to qualify that I’m no hypocrite. BUT I SURELY DO HAVE A WAY OF VIEWING A LOT OF BLACK PEOPLE WHO CHIME IN ON THE TOPIC OF BLACK UNITY AS HYPOCRITES. What I find is that most of them will write something or take a position in conversations, like brothapeacemaker has, when the facts are that they themselves are all talk no action. LIKE THE BLACK CHURCH. LIKE MOST OF THE SO-CALLED BLACK LEADERS IN THE U.S. OVER THE PAST TWO TO THREE DECADES.

We just saw how Jesse Jackson’s “This nigga’s got the nerves to talk down to blacks” went over. The fact is, everyone needs someone in their lives to check them. Not coddle them. I will not coddle my people. As far as me doing well, I’m struggling to stay afloat like most. But I was fortunate to have been raised in a family in Gary, Indiana that, while not perfect, surely put the sense of no give up in my soul. In fact, having grown up in Gary, I was given examples daily on what giving up had in store for me. Didn’t want it and never will allow it to happen.

As far as me looking down on the brotha’s wearing the knee length white T’s that I accused of basically looking down on me. I’m guilty as charged. And I will continue to do so. But not in the way that you insinuate. In most of those white T’s, I see potential bankers, enterprenuers, land scapers, construction workers, accountants, group home owners, administrators, college freshmen, division II college basketball/football/baseball players (I say division two because it’s actually hard on average to make division I). Because the playing field in life is not level, most of them will not take these paths.

How do we level the playing field. I’m tired of asking white folk to alter their ways. One thing at 40 I have learned, especially through law enforcement, is that you can only change yourself. You have no control over anyone else but yourself. As a people, we don’t have any control over white people. The fact of the matter is that when your black, what that black male in the long white T does in society DOES AFFECT ME!. What the identical white male in a long white T does in society DOES NOT AFFECT OTHER WHITE MALES!

This is why I care brothapeacemaker. While working in the teen center, there were some rough looking young men in there. I mean, to the common white person (and even some blacks) they looked like thugs. I’M FROM A CITY THAT IS 95% OR MORE BLACK. These were the bay-bays and shine dogs that I grew up with when I was a young kid. I saw the kid in these teens. After they get to know you a little, the tough shield starts to dissipate and what’s really there is a teenage kid that has hopes and dreams that are constantly being challeged by OUR culture. Not by a white teacher that’s telling him or her that they can’t be a doctor or a lawyer like what happened to kids our age who went to predominately white schools. But by these fool rappers out here or ballers that their single mothers have dated who are constantly saying ‘your a sucker if you think gettin a job is gonna get money”!

Brothapeacemaker, this isn’t propaganda. This is reality. The facts are that blacks in this country have the greatest opportunity to succeed in life than any other black in the world. WE DON’T HAVE TIME FOR OLD WAYS OF CALLS TO UNITY. We need to realize that the poorest of the poor blacks in this country IS NOT EVEN POOR as far as WORLD standards go.

I just put myself in a self made recession funding a trip to China this past month for my daughter. The reasons for my wanting her to go differed from those of what others suggested in conversations I had with them about her going. Quite simply, I wanted her to see what real poverty was. She did not go for the Olympics. It was a language immersion trip so they went to provinces that were in the Chinese communities that aren’t fancied in mainstream media. And poverty she did see. The kind of poverty that I saw in the countryside of Korea or the Phillippines when I was stationed in Okinawa, Japan.

When you see people who don’t have running water, electricity, infrastructure. In the worst projects in this country, people have a refrigerator let alone running water and a frickin toilet to shit it. There is no open sewage to deal with in the projects( benjo ditches as they called them in Korea). This is why when a foreigner from a REAL poor thirdworld country steps foot on this soil, they have a hunger and an appreciation for the opportunity that has been presented them that push most them to excel at living a quality life. EVEN THOSE FROM AFRICA/Haiti/Jamaica!

But us? Now I’ll never say “get over slavery”. That to me is a call to arms like a Jew standing next to an anti-Semite. But I will say these minorities from these other countries that are coming here. THEY DON’T GIVE A SHIT. In fact, they see how we are still hung up on the victimized mentality of the situation that they say “good for me. I’ll take their spot”.

I truly believe that one day, the white race will ultimately pay for their sins of enslaving our ancestors. In the mean time, I gotta survive. Make sure my daughters thrive. THEY WILL NOT BE NEGATIVE STATISTICS in any matrix!

FOCUS MAN! We gotta get on our own so we can move ahead.

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