Englewood Doesn’t Deserve This

It doesn’t make sense.

I was sitting outside this Saturday morning in Panamá enjoying a fresh cup of coffee, listening to some morning jazz, getting my thoughts together for the day. As you might imagine, birds are singing and aside from the occasional bark from Jojo, (who got up early with me and sits at my feet), it’s quiet. It’s relaxing. It’s necessary.

I decide to break my personal protocol, interrupt the music, and look at my timeline. I know I shouldn’t. Not right now at least. Not only that but…how disrespectful is it to interrupt Miles?

But I do.

There it is again. Englewood. Right there in the Chi. Just two days ago, I was reading about the same area and what occurred there. The backdrop of jazz is in such contradiction to the video I am watching that I decide to turn the music off. It’s not fitting. It’s out of place. Normally, I can find beauty in contradictions – from an artist’s standpoint, that is. There is nothing beautiful about what I am watching. This is not art and the contradiction is repugnant. Continue reading “Englewood Doesn’t Deserve This”

America’s “Waffle House” Mentality (Part I)

(Photo: Denny’s, circa 1967)

Walking into Denny’s restaurant, all I could think about was that burger. I was probably five years old. Maybe a year older, I cannot remember exactly. What I did know was that I wanted that burger and fries more than anything else in the world – something starkly different from the style we would get at home: a huge ground beef patty in between two slices of Evangeline Maid white bread. Even though there was more meat in the homemade version, somehow I always felt cheated.

But not tonight.

(Photo: Flickr)

We ordered. Hopefully, we wouldn’t have to wait for what seemed like an eternity – like the last time we were there. Took about an hour for our food to arrive. My dad chalked it up to a busy night. Nothing more, nothing less. At least that’s what he was sanguinely trying to convince himself of, I’d imagine.

This night, however, while anxiously waiting for my food, I looked around the restaurant full of white people and spotted a Black family seated on the other side of the dining area. Continue reading “America’s “Waffle House” Mentality (Part I)”

M-V-P…M-V-P

(Photo: CAIR, Chicago)

I don’t think I’ll ever forget that game.

We were riding around the city when someone mentioned that there was a basketball tournament at one of the area’s high schools. A team from Gulfport, Mississippi had a star point guard that was playing that night against one of the city’s best high school teams – Washington-Marion High School – so we made our way toward the gym. Washington-Marion was, to us, the best team in the city. A predominantly Black high school located on the north side of town, I always viewed WM as a representation of our Black community – particularly through sports – even for those of us who didn’t attend WM. When any of their teams played, the Black community would be out in full force. Even as a kid, my father would take me to the football games on Friday night. Those cold-ass Friday nights in Goosport.

And I couldn’t wait. Continue reading “M-V-P…M-V-P”

“If Black, Shoot Them”

It’s going to happen again, fam. Another innocent Black person will be murdered by the police. We bear the scars of a nation that has proven itself to be the antithesis of justice and has given us no reason to believe it will change anytime soon. Handcuffed by a system and a government that refuses to do anything that will alter the outcome of innocent Black lives being taken by so-called law enforcement, I write. By choice, yes, but in large part by necessity.

We’ve heard it all before:

  • Do what the cops tell you and you won’t get hurt.  Lie #1.
  • Keep your hands where they can see them. That’s a lie, too. Just ask Charles Kinsey.
  • Don’t make any sudden movements. FOH. Even when we’re still, we’ve been shot. So what’s the right thing to do?

“Fuck the right thing. If black, shoot them.” These were the exact words last month from an assistant police chief in Kentucky while discussing a training scenario with a recruit. Continue reading ““If Black, Shoot Them””