I was a ripe, sitting target for a bully when I entered
the fourth grade at Heritage Hill Elementary School in Springdale: I was
a shy 9-year-old; my single mother was settling her three kids after
abruptly leaving our father and bouncing about in a station wagon.
Like an Old Testament miracle, Chick-fil-A founders last
week reversed themselves and decided to stop contributing chicken
sandwich money to organizations spearheading the right-wing conservative
movement to dismantle same-sex marriage nationwide.
This election-era talk about lifting, taxing or not taxing America’s middle class doesn’t land or resonate with me. When I hear numbers like the possibility of $250,000 tax breaks for the
wealthy, it’s drowned out by the white noise poverty thrums through my
head or the rumbling hunger makes in my gut. It’s official: I am distracted by my own poverty.
There is a lot wrong in the brutal beating of Pat
Mahaney, a 45-year-old white man, by six black teenagers in North
College Hill. Sadly and somehow brilliantly, this is a teachable moment
about to pass us all by if we don’t start grappling with and then
telling some truths.
Like a lot of Cincinnati neighborhoods, mine — Walnut
Hills — is segregated and there are fine, even
invisible-to-the-unknowing-eye dividing lines separating beauty from
filth, danger from safety, white from black and the strugglers from the
How is this still even on the table in 2012? Why hasn’t unprotected sex among blacks — the population
with the highest HIV numbers — been more closely associated with
self-esteem, because you must not love yourself if you let someone push