Sardonic Sistah Says

Observations… Ruminations… Ponderances… & Rants from Another Perspective

All Eyes on Me, I Mean Us

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We’re baaaaaack!

And what’s better is, they know they needed us.

The month of July and August in Cincinnati used to have streets overrun with the black masses.  Well, maybe it was just a weekend here (Music Festival) and a weekend there (the Midwest Regional Black Family Reunion).  But it was enough to scare white people away from downtown on the weekends on hot summer nights because although the streets are well lit you never know when someone will roll by with hip hop music blaring from their car windows or roving teens using expletives.  They used to try to deter black people from even coming into the city for the events with hotels raising their rates for the weekend and the police creating barricades that made the streets a maze.  The black community felt like they were being like a stepchild and after the death of Timothy Thomas the call for an unofficial “official” boycott of the Southwestern corridor of Ohio was on.

Actually, I don’t think the boycott has ever been called off, it kind of just faded away along with the few black businesses that had the bad luck of being in the middle of downtown.  But with the election of Mark Mallory to Mayor, the death of Kabaka Oba, and the Cincinnati Police slow down that brought in the Hamilton County sheriff’s department to streets that CPS didn’t really want to step onto black Cincinnatians are still just as wary if not angry.

Our circumspection has historical conditioning, this is the city where slave catchers would come into to snatch us back down south.

But now that the NAACP convention is here with more black events on the way.   After a short hiatus the return of the Macy’s Music Festival at the end of July with the 20th annual Midwest Regional Black Family Reunion following close on its heels.  And at the beginning of September the Black Baptist Convention will be making their way here.  That’s a lot of black people and a long span of time for white Cincinnatians to roll out the red carpet for folks that look like us.

But mostly it puts black Cincinnatians in the spotlight.  White Cincinnatians, too, but mostly it’s about us.  People will go to the Freedom Center and say how wonderful and then travel three miles north to Over-the-Rhine and wonder how we live like that.  And the question isn’t really how can white people let this happen but how can we as a community let it happen.  We have Avondale that has never really recovered from the 1968 riots.  And I worry that we have gotten into the groove of smug in the contempt that others feel for white Cincinnatians for the way we live in racial disparity but the bad part is we African Americans have to continue to live with the brunt of an unequal society.

So black Cincinnati, for one week (and maybe more to come) all eyes are on us.  What are they going to see?


Written by rentec

15 July, 2008 at 2:30 am

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