- Text smaller
- Text bigger
The shrinks tell us we are only as sick as our secrets. And nothing inspires more secrecy than race.
But since some racial topics are off-limits, what is sick often passes for normal.
As Exhibit A, consider a recent headline in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Fear white influx will erase West Oakland history.” A version of this story has appeared in every major paper in the country.
The Chronicle is a card-carrying member of the chorus telling us diversity is good. But now a bunch of white folks are moving into a black neighborhood and we are supposed to wail and gnash our teeth?
The Chronicle says the new neighbors are robbing the community of its unique character by making it too nice. I don’t blame you for thinking I am making this up. So let’s go to the instant replay:
“In any case, West Oakland looks a lot different than it did a decade ago. New condominiums have proliferated, old Victorians are undergoing renovations, shuttered factories are now artists’ studios, and blight has decreased. But gone, too, is a certain pride that sprung from what was once known as ‘Harlem of theWest.'”
Had enough? There’s more.
“‘It hurts. I’m not going to say I’m content with this,’ said Leander Muhammed, 34, a third-generation West Oakland resident who runs after-school and sports programs for kids in the neighborhood. ‘Suddenly there’s nonprofits and community gardens on every corner. Community gardens? I don’t get it – my granny was planting collards and tomatoes here for decades. It all seems crazy to me.'”
Mr. Muhammed may worry about the plague of community gardens and nonprofits threatening the history of West Oakland. And I have to admit, I would not care for a bunch of liberals moving into my neighborhood, either.
Let’s see what Mr. Muhammed is talking about.
For people whose historical memory begins in the 1960s, Oakland is the birthplace of the Black Panthers and home to political charlatans and violent thugs like Bobby Seale and Huey Newton.
Save the indignation. I read their books. They don’t deny it. They are proud of it.
The article bemoans the fact that Newton and Seale’s old house was turned into an upscale condominium and sold for over $400,000. That’s odd when you consider you could not pay most people $400,000 to move into that neighborhood.
Or as the Washington Post puts its: White people moving into a black people means that “a historically disadvantaged people has been disadvantaged once again.” Dr. Cornel West calls it the “New Jim Crow.”
West Oakland was for many years home to soaring crime rates and rampant poverty. But, thanks to gentrification – which is the expletive used for people foolish enough to invest money, hard work and themselves into this halfway house masquerading as a neighborhood – the tide of violence and blight and hopelessness is beginning to recede. Even if just a bit.
Just don’t try to convince the San Francisco Chronicle that is a good thing. Nope, got to keep the violent legacy alive.
Oakland does have a rich history, though you would not know it from local news accounts. But anyone who drives though any part of Oakland can see the magnificent buildings that once presented a proud face to the world. Oakland used to be a center of commerce, industry and shipping. I’ll pause a moment in case anyone wants to look up what those words mean.
But the same people who now say whites are somehow spoiling the history of Oakland are ignorant of how the town was built – and how it became a center of crime and decay, a center many now inexplicably want to preserve for the most inexplicable reason of all: race.
The people in the article simply don’t want white people there. And they do not care if people who read and write the Chronicle know it.
While countless gallons of ink are wasted worrying about accusations that whites don’t want blacks moving into their neighborhoods, no alarm is sounded when the reverse occurs. Yesterday it was Jim Crow. Today its Starbucks.
And we are supposed to believe they are the same thing.
They are not. But those who would have us believe that also want us to believe that the hyper violence, hyper crime and hyper chaos that marks everyday life in West Oakland is somehow normal.
And reporters who refuse to enter this part of town without armed guards let them get away with this deception. That is beyond stupid. Beyond racist.
That is just plain old sick.
Black mobs routinely terrorize cities across the country, but the media and government are silent. Read the detailed account of rampant racial crime in Colin Flaherty’s “White Girl Bleed a Lot: The Return of Race Riots to America”