Thursday, June 07, 2007

Quiet Riots in the African American Community

Here's a link to a CNN post by Roland Martin about Obama's comments regarding the growing despair in the African American community. Martin quotes from a speech given by Obama at the Hampton University Annual Ministers' Conference on Tuesday during which he said...
(Quiet riots) happen when a sense of disconnect settles in and hope dissipates. Despair takes hold and young people all across this country look at the way the world is and believe that things are never going to get any better.

You tell yourself, my school will always be second rate. You tell yourself, there will never be a good job waiting for me to excel at. You tell yourself, I will never be able to afford a place that I can be proud of and call my home.

That despair quietly simmers and makes it impossible to build strong communities and neighborhoods. And then one afternoon a jury says, 'not guilty' -- or a hurricane hits New Orleans -- and that despair is revealed for the world to see.

Here's what Roland Martin had to say...
What Obama spoke of I see every day. I can look out our bay window and see men and women going to work each day, trying to make ends meet, and they often don't. I see women walking their kids to school just to keep them safe, but inevitably, some don't come home, like the 31 students from Chicago Public Schools who have been murdered this year. Oh, I definitely see the urban terrorists -- gang members and drug dealers -- who tear the fabric of the black community apart with their rampant violence.

People shouldn't have to endure "quiet riots." They should be shouting from the rooftops, and we should hear their pleas.
Martin criticizes the bloggers who "know nothing about the conditions of the nation's urban poor, want to sit in their ivory towers and pretend that if you just read, write and work hard, all will be well. And there is no doubt that the work ethic and willingness to do better is paramount, and encouraged -- even by African Americans. But it's also critical to know that there are many who are working and working and working, and don't seem to be making any headway."

Here's a link to the full text of Obama's speech.


JP Paulus said...

Your buddies at WhatTheHelen help perpetuate that in Uptown, as they condemn the low income housing, but don't make any significant efforts to give hope. When you read how they talk about the "new Cabrini Green at Wilson Yards" , which are just 2 buildings, like 2 that are in the neighborhood...they act like that people in that condition are stuck there, and all they will do is bring down the neighborhood.

Many of those who live in such buildings in Uptown moved there because they were in dire situations on the South & West Sides, and came North to break the cycle of hopelessness.

Martin's last line that you quoted "But it's also critical to know that there are many who are working and working and working, and don't seem to be making any headway." is interesting...does WhatThe Helen & IrishPirate know anyone like that....people who aren't lazy or criminally intent, but are honestly struggling? And even if those two do, how about the rest of "The Community" (or really, the PORTION of the community that don't feel served by Helen Shiller).

IF there ARE a number of people who connect, they need to coomunicate that to the public. Otherwise, they appear to be just like the ivory tower people.

JP Paulus said...

DOH! Sorry -- Arloa...i haven't had my coffee yet...i got confused with your blog, and another blog called "ItsMyMind", by a guy (Levois) who 's from the South Side, writes on politics, but praises the efforts of the Anti-Helen-Shiller blog, WhatTheHelen (by 2 people known only as WhatTheHelen and IrishPirate).

Levois has written a blog or two about Roland Martin as well as Obama (positively) , and got that stuck in my mind when i wrote my response -- how does he support one type of thought and praise a contradictory type of thought.

Please feel free to edit & delete -- sorry to add such anger to your blog. Even though i've moved to Chatham, and my block is African American middle class, i am seeing more of the South Side, and learning much more.

...but i still keep up with Uptown, going to the message board at, and amazed at how they are still on a crusade against Helen SHiller, and not realizing there are small ways they can help reach out to people in the middle -- those who DO care about crime in the neighborhood, but ALSO about affordable housing.

Again, forgive my anger...but it's so frustrating to see people perpetuate injustice, especially int heir own neighborhood, and not be willing to get to know their neighbor!

JP Paulus said...

One last random comment...i saw in your "library" you are reading a book called "There Goes the Neighborhood: Racial, Ethnic, and Class Tensions in Four Chicago Neighborhoods " i know they change the names to protect the guilty...but what are the neighborhoods they are REALLY describing?

Arloa Sutter said...

To be honest I have yet to start reading that book JP. I have it but it's still sitting on my stack of books I haven't read. If you find out which neighborhoods they are writing about I would really like to know too. The friend who recommended the book to me said he wished Wilson would have named them, but evidently there are some pretty racially charged conversations in it that they felt needed to remain anonymous.