23 June 2009

A friend of mine posted a link on facebook to a website that concluded Over-the-Rhine was the most dangerous neighborhood in America? In America!? Over-the-Rhine wasn't even the most dangerous neighborhood in Cincinnati in the past four years!

According to WalletPop.com, Over-the-Rhine, between Liberty Street and Central Parkway, has the most crime per 1,000 people (266.94) than any other area in the United States. The insurance website collected data compiled by NeighborhoodsScout.com, which gathers FBI data from 2005, 2006 and 2007 submitted by all 17,000 local law enforcement agencies and from that came up with the highest predicted rates of violent crime in America. Yeah, PREDICTED.

A couple of points:

1) In 2006 and 2007 the most dangerous neighborhood in Cincinnati wasn't Over-the-Rhine. That distinction went to Walnut Hills which outpaced Over-the-Rhine in just about every crime stat--including homicides. Over-the-Rhine hasn't been the most dangerous neighborhood in Cincinnati since 2005.

2) These websites compile numbers only to make predictions and their methods seem faulty. Is crime in O-T-R? Heck yeah it is but in all of my years of ever being down there during all parts of the day and night nothing has ever happened to me or my friends or family. NOTHING!

The Cincinnati Enquirer gobbled the story up and an onslaught of racist comments followed. The problem with an erroneous story like O-T-R being the most dangerous neighborhood in America (beating out areas in cities like Miami, Baltimore and Chicago--places infamous for rates of crime so high Cincinnati looks like an utopia in comparison) gives people in Cincinnati another reason not to care about the heart of the city. It has been further demonized in the eyes of the outsiders. No one wants to care and it's that apathy that will bring Cincinnati to its demise will continue on and on and on and on...

I have plenty of faith in the people on the front lines in the city--the people who fight to win the community back from the crime that wants to consume every crevice it can. Everyone in the city and everyone in O-T-R aren't welfare receiving, ignorant, illiterate, unwed mothers or dope dealing, white t-shirt wearing high school dropouts with mouths full of gold. Families, hard working people, and young professionals reside there. If there is anyone who will ruin an area like Over-the-Rhine and Cincinnati, it will be the suburbanites who do their dirty deeds in Over-the-Rhine and the suburbanites who want to ignore the problem, add to the problem, or destroy the "problem" which, to them, is the area all together. Ignorance and apathy will destroy a community far greater than anything else.

20 June 2009

Wolf Blitzer informed me Thursday afternoon that the United States Senate issued a formal apology to African Americans for slavery in the United States. Well, that's mighty nice of a branch of Congress that only has one African American senator, Roland Burris--a senator that may not be a senator for much longer because of his alleged role in the attempt to sell that seat, vacated once Barack Obama became president, by former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. Oh the irony!

Well members of the Senate, thanks for the apology. It took 144 years but thanks! Thanks for apologizing for the hundreds of years my ancestors had to do very hard back-breaking work for lazy people. (Slave labor built the city of Washington, D.C. and an African American, Benjamin Banneker, planned the city.) Thanks because the slave owners who raped their female slaves and ripped families apart for profit sure wasn't going to say it. Thanks because those people with the smiling faces photographed in front of black bodies hanging from trees forgot to mention it. Thanks for systematic and systemic racism and Affirmative Action--now the powers-that-be can complain about reverse racism when a company made sure they had their "token" hired, passing over some who swear up and down they're more qualified.

Perhaps you all felt obligated now to say sorry now since 2009 seems to be the year for Civil Rights. Major League Baseball will hold the first ever Civil Rights game right here in Cincinnati on June 20th. Juneteenth, the celebration of the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans, is today, June 19th. Barack Obama is president. Eric Holder is Attorney General. Maybe it was time to go with the flow of things, time to make your mark in "Black" history.

To my non black brethren: If you think that this extremely late apology and the election of Barack Obama is going to erase centuries of mistreatment, disenfranchisement and Jim Crow segregation then you are mistaken big time. "Better late than never" doesn't apply here because the negative ramifications of slavery and the mistreatment that followed (and follows) afterward are prevalent today. Things have gotten a tad bit better but we have a very looooooooooooooooooooooong way to go.

To my black brethren: It's time for us to step up our game. Even with President Obama in office I doubt we would get reparations. But if we did, how would we use it? Would we waste it on material things or would we use it to rebuild our communities? It was always and will always be up to us to take care of our communities and our people, just like in the days of my great grandma Betty and my grandpa George. WE must educate ourselves and stop being victims to intellectual slavery. Our history is rich and we must take pride in it. We must stop looking to everyone else to fix the sad and sorry state of Black America because, as it is pretty much evident, no one cares what happens to Black America anymore. Black folks have even stopped caring, for the most part.

It's hard to have people who aren't black to understand what it's like being black. We all aren't about complaining about how bad everything is. It's not about blaming everyone for all the negativity that is in the black community. Our grievances are not unfounded--things are not 100% fair and as long as people remain naive then they never will be. But that just means, black folks, that we have to try a bit harder than everyone else. Yeah...it isn't fair but it is totally worth it and we are more than capable of accomplishing amazing things. It's time to tap into our potential and shut these blowhards who doubt us all the way up!

02 June 2009

I never heard of Dr. George Tiller before today but now it seems like he's all I hear about. He performed late term abortions and cheated death a few times. Now, he's dead--shot dead in the foyer of his church.

I find all of this ironic: the man who shot and killed him did so because he felt Dr. Tiller was taking lives of the unborn did just what he hated--he took a life. I don't understand the logic. It is perfectly okay to oppose something--I oppose plenty of things within our society--but when is it ever okay to take the life of someone whose opinion and/or livelihood is different from yours? It never is.

This isn't about what my views of abortion are. This is about people killing others to prove a political point. This is about people not being able to get over the fact that women are given a legal right to abort a pregnancy. This is about infringing upon the rights that allow doctors to perform these acts no matter how abhorrent one may find them.

I won't blame FOX News or Right Winged Christian extremists because we, ultimately, decide how we react in situations. I will, however, ask these people who incite those to commit acts of violence for the sake of politics to really think about what they say before they say it. Have your opinion, sure, but realize that your words can shape and influence opinion and affect--or end--people's lives.

Postscript--Perhaps instead of the "we're gonna bully and scare women into not wanting an abortion by being in their faces and yelling at them and, perhaps even, killing them" why not try a loving approach? Teach legitimate sex education (not the phony crap I heard in high school), encourage adoption and make contraception readily available for sexually active women. Folks are having sex at younger ages and just because they hear "it's wrong and immoral" won't stop them from having it as we have clearly seen in the past two decades. It's time for a new approach but, of course, it always will begin at home.