Monday, January 18, 2016

"Possible criminals on the loose"



   
     Martin Luther King Day is upon us, again, and me without a card or anything...
     See, that's the problem. There's no upside for a white guy to talk about race. It's all risk and no reward. At worst, you end up making some inadvertent slip and lose your job.
     At best? You're still a white guy commenting on race. What could you say that would possibly matter? Why bother? "Sorry, not my table. Mary will be serving you today..."
     So ... nothing about race here. Just another regular, not-about-race column. The 1958 UN Law of the Sea conference; how many Chicagoans understand its implications....?
     Oh, hell, in a for a dime, in for dollar.
     I was walking my cute little dog through the lily-white suburb of Northbrook (black population, 0.6 percent) thinking about race Friday morning. What to say? There are more black people on the Metra Milwaukee North line in recent years? A good sign! There used to be none, and now there are some. And in the street -- a black kid on his bicycle. A black guy living on the next block. We've stopped together on the corner of Shermer and Walters, across from the train station, and I've looked at him, expectantly, but he never looks at me. So whatever hale, awkward white guy greeting I would blurt out just curdles in my mouth. "Welcome to suburbia, black person! Allow me to vent my innocent white guy goodwill upon you!"


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12 comments:

  1. "Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and, when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress." Martin Luther King, Jr.

    The recent police shootings brought to mind this famous quote from "Letter from Birmingham Jail" in 1963. 53 years have gone by, and still the dams remain.

    SandyK

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  2. About five years ago I used to visit the South Shore neighborhood frequently, in the area around the South Shore Cultural Center. It was surprising at first, but blacks would often say hi as I passed them on the street, and if someone sees me often enough, they'll extend a hand and introduce themselves. It is a predominantly African American community, it seemed as if people there were going out of their way to make me feel comfortable. In my experience it's one of the friendliest communities in Chicago. The attitude has rubbed off on me, especially if someone seems nervous, I will nod and say hi.

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    1. Very nice to hear. I grew up in South Shore at 78th & Coles and it was not at all welcoming when it was all white.

      john

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  3. Optimism as another white privilege. A sad but good aside.

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  4. Just so it's clear, that is not the Mrs. G. from here.

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  5. Mrs. G. is clearly an idiot, and I don't doubt that many in the CPD also think that way. However, it might be unwise to dismiss the notion that simple fear might make non-racist cops dealing with gun toting teen agers trigger happy.

    I had thought to make the unoriginal observation that it would help if successful scientists and surgeons were held up as role models in the Black community instead of sports figures and hip hop "artists." But then that guy Carson turned up.

    Tom Evans

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    1. It sure wouldn't hurt to have some top-of-the-chart hip hop artists come together and start writing songs about stopping all the violence, instead of glorifying it.

      SandyK

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    2. That said, I do know there are many famous black athletes and musicians who spend time and money trying to help the communities where they grew up.

      It does seem to be a losing battle at times, but I don't wish to lose focus on today's subject, which is to remember and celebrate the gift of hope Martin Luther King left us.

      SandyK

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  6. You would think our evolved status at the top of the food chain with self-aware, analytical minds would be able to put reason over the genetic disposition to abhor and marginalize anyone different from ourselves. Whether that difference is based on race, religion, culture, class, sexual orientation, or physical ability and appearance, shouldn't we rise above and treat all others the same? Obviously not, and centuries of discrimination and ongoing wars fought against "those others" show things will not improve anytime soon. Martin Luther King's dream is still just that.

    Sorry for the lack of optimism, but when I see a major political party's leading candidates openly express their bigotry and fuel the hatred and fear of those against acceptance of difference, well, how do things get better?

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  7. Things should have improved under President Obama. But instead the haters became more hateful.

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  8. I think that was all because Obama is an evil Marxist. The kind that bails out banks.

    TE

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