The streets, no place for dreams, no room for heart

The placard read, “Heart of the Streets”.

I’d seen it before, standing in the record shop window, possibly a notice of a rapper’s upcoming CD, maybe something “indie”.   I thought it an ironic turn of a phrase, especially in light of all that’s been happening lately and because truthfully, the streets have no heart and if you’re hanging out on them, thinking that they’re going to afford you a ready conduit to success or happiness well, you’ll not only find out with the quickness that they have no love for you but also that they’ll kill you if you don’t recognize their lethality and act accordingly.  That means get the hell off of them. Continue reading

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Lack of empowerment drives rage, education channels it

As much as I’m critical of some young African-American male’s behavior in the wake of the Michael Brown killing, I understand where the violence comes from.

There was a time when a young man coming of age actually meant that something good was going to happen. It was a time of unfulfilled and expectant joy in his life.   It meant that before him was a period of wide open promise where the world was his oyster and the pearl, although maybe not that obvious was nevertheless there somewhere for his picking.

But for black or brown men today, such joy is hard to imagine. They look around their communities and they see almost nowhere where there is an example of African-American empowerment. They don’t see many examples of black businesses or the upward mobility associated with a successful home-grown commerce culture that they feel they’ll be able to assimilate into and profit from. Continue reading

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Crime and looting shift focus in Ferguson

Why was Michael Brown killed? What exactly happened that day? Why was the officer in such fear for his life that he had to use deadly force? Was Michael that imposing and threatening a figure? Did the young man have a weapon? Was there any dash-camera footage? And, if the answer is no then why not? Finally, why is it taking so long to have these questions answered and answered fully?

Last night, and today even, I see we’re no closer to having any of the above solved than we were three days ago. That’s what looting during a protest brings to the table. It allows the real and necessary component of the demonstration to be nullified. Continue reading

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An incursion into the inner city

A tenuous cease-fire holds in the Gaza strip while thousands of miles away, the city of Ferguson momentarily slips into anarchy as citizens legally and rightfully protest the killing of an unarmed black teen while others in the community seize the tragedy as an opportunity to commit crimes for their own advantage.

At first glance, a person would think that neither has much to do with the other but I’d say look again. Continue reading

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Their Last Battlefield

As a tenuous ceasefire begins, I remember something I read at the beginning of the Israeli incursion.  The statement appeared in a story online in Israel’s National Post.  It was a quote offered by Hamas spokesmen, Sami Abu Zurhi and read simply, “The ground offensive does not scare us.”

I thought at the time, as I always do when debating the goings-on in the Middle East that I can never imagine what either side goes through, so subsequently I’m reluctant to offer even the slightest of critiques.  But that statement stuck in my mind; I mean, bombs going off outside my front door would surely scare the hell out of me.  Continue reading

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