Sixteen months ago in a gated Sanford,
Fla., community patrolled by a zealous, jittery and armed volunteer
neighborhood watchman who felt threatened by the mere presence of an
“unfamiliar” black kid walking alone, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin died on a sidewalk of a single
gunshot to the chest.
And even in the vestiges of his boyhood
in his overtures toward independence, he does what all our children,
grandchildren, nieces and nephews among him do. He is looking for his family. Even when he is letting go, he is holding on.
It all started, as it always does, with fried chicken. Offenders reducing a black man’s identity
to a deflated stereotype — especially one boiling down to food — have
usually felt like the oppressed in their own lives because they are
losers on some level; they cannot quite reach that elusive gold ring of
I’m sick of the Tailhook nature of
navigating daily life when people are so blithely rude they let doors
slam in the faces of the people behind them, they jostle and slam into
others without so much as an “excuse me,” so by the time I retreat back
to home base I feel like an abused slab of dough.
Forget the bickering, back-and-forth and ballot measures. What we’re now doing — and I use “we” to
mean whomever accesses city coffers or pulls capital and/or operating
budget purse strings — is putting the streetcar before public good and
Politicians here are like helicopter
parents, mishandling the city in the same blatantly narcissistic manner
as parents who bear children for the sole purposes of shaping those
children in their images.
It makes me sad, angry and bewildered
every time I see a black person littering, just blatantly tossing down
with impunity and careless disregard for their surroundings the remnants
of their ghetto diets and their ghetto lifestyles
At the end of past spring classes I’d
spend weeks in a thick-headed fog, obsessing over the state of America’s
education system; I was confused by our simultaneous political
demonization of China and our dependence on Chinese students to grow and
improve our science and technology departments.Wow, I used to think. Then in spring 2009 — after three years of teaching it — I realized how piously I had been thinking.
The only movie I can clearly recall seeing on the West Side screen is Lady Sings the Blues in 1972. My parents were finally splitting up the
same year that movie came out and I took to the darkness in movie
theaters from that point on as my own private Idaho of insular thinking,
mourning and disappearance. Darkness: visible.