A few weeks ago, I sat in one of my favorite watering holes being lectured by a (near) complete stranger on Chicago segregation.
Let that sink in.
Already I'm digressing. Let me start the story from the top.
I had the unexpected encounter with my friend after a mid week errand found me by our usual Friday happy hour spot.
Amid the hugs and "what are you doing here's" I was introduced to his "friend." He and I had met before but it had been awhile since we've seen each other.
The course of the conversation turned to our city's fascination with guns and how now some areas on the north side are beginning to feel the effects of what the south and west sides have felt for years.
Keeping it real (and perhaps that was *my* mistake) I said that I had been predicting this almost since the day I started blogging. The inattention paid to junior thugs and burgeoning criminals where I live (It's the south side, who cares) was one day going to touch the very people who pretend the south and west sides don't exist.
I further explained, that the old rules are out the window. Back in the day, if your were a criminal of color (i.e. black), you did your dirt where you lived. Unless you put your hand on someone of color "who mattered," the powers that be didn't give a flying fig what you did or who you did it to.
Unless you started doing those dirty things in a white neighborhood. That's when shit got real.
While some attitudes have come a long way since then, my perception is that the police are in communities of color to not let things get too out of hand. Not to deter or catch criminals.
At least where I live.
Yes, I know that is another blog post in the making, but I digress.
To be honest with you, I'm not quite sure where the conversation took a turn from crime and policing tactics to Chicago's defacto segregation, but my friend's friend jumped into that part of the conversation with gusto.
"There is no segregation in Chicago" he said.
"People just live by who they feel most comfortable."
You could have heard my jaw hit the ground.
And you know what? I'm the asshole who attempted to explain to a strange man who I barely know in a bar about redlining, the disastrous warehousing of people in housing projects, block busting and housing covenants.
All thoroughly documented, by the way.
This wasn't me giving my opinion. This was me giving fact.
Do you think he would even bother to look up anything I was saying on his smart phone?
Do you think he would have even taken the opportunity to listen and present equally researched or documented rebuttal?
Because that's where we are with respect to race in this country, ladies and gentlemen.
As a black person, you can make a compelling and factual case for your opinion and still be ignored in that dismissive silly Negro type of way.
Post racial America, indeed.
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