I'm glad you posted in relation to your story in these week's hard copy because I thoroughly enjoyed reading the article. I thought it was very well written and informative
If only your Slog pieces were as easy to understand.
I agree! Great article.
The entertaining part Charles didn't post:
Here’s a funny detail of the story. I was drinking with a friend that night, and she had the tab on a credit card. While the paramedics were checking me out at the bar – I was slumped over but still on my stool, with a hole in my ribs – I looked up to see the bartender sliding the credit card back to her with one hand, doing a little wave with the other hand, and whispering “Don’t worry about the bill.”
You do realize that this means people will get themselves shot to get out of paying their bar tab, right?
Yeah, and I'm sure it was all a lot less painful than if I had been sober.
thanks for the heads up on hidmo....i guess i wouldn't be welcome there....you know....whitey the gentrifier. we were going to try it.
Wow, I've never met a man with such a great oultook on taking a bullet.
A friend of mine, while sitting in his car outside the bar, had a gun shoved in his mouth while the perp felt around for his wallet. Thankfully, it he had the sense just to take his money and nothing further occured.
Now when that place was the Party Hall, there's some real stories there.
woah -- that was a good article, charles.
Saba and Ibex are both really good.
Oh, I get it: Influx of East Africans, Mexicans and Central Americans = Good. Influx of white joggers who don't want to get mugged = Bad. Glad we got that race thing settled.
there is no such thing as black on white racism....
The systematic subordination of members of targeted racial groups who have relatively little social power in the United States (Blacks, Latino/as, Native Americans, and Asians), by the members of the agent racial group who have relatively more social power (Whites). The subordination is supported by the actions of individuals, cultural norms and values, and the institutional structures and practices of society.
Gah. I used to love the Twilight Exit. A fave grungy hole to hang out and listen to shitty karaoke and deal with crackheads looking for a bump. But once the clubs closed and everyone was milling about outside, there's was always some brawl next door (or across the street once it moved) or just a lot of drunken yelling. For me, it lost it's charm.
Besides, a club with special police parking spaces in front of it doesn't exactly instill a feeling of safety and comfort.
Great article, Charles.
I was one of the two people who were jumped in front of Thompson's Point of View that night. My friend and I were walking over to see if Thompson's was open so we could have a few drinks.
We were pretty excited to get some soul food and some drinks, and we'd never been to Thompson's POV before and were excited about that, too.
Thompson's was closed but we didn't realize it.
As we walked past the little alley where some Dumpsters are stored, we saw a couple crackheads about to smoke up next to them. They turned away to 'hide' what they were doing. Two other guys were hanging out with them. My friend and I are used to passing people smoking crack in this neighborhood, have never had any trouble before, and thought nothing of it. We continued on.
As we got closer to the front door of Thompson's, my friend yelled out "Hey, stop that!" and right then I felt a hand on my back pocket. I whirled around and knocked the hand off me, keeping my wallet.
I looked up at the would-be pickpocket, expecting him to run the other way. Instead, he and his friend started swinging. I put up my hands to block and turned away. As I moved out into the street so I wouldn't be cornered, I hollered for my friend to call 911. As she got her phone out I was able to break free. One of the attackers moved in on her so she wouldn't call, and I was able to get my own phone out and start calling 911 as well. I shouted at them that I was calling and they ran off. A lens popped out of my glasses, and I got a scratch on the bridge of my nose and a few bruises, but other than that we were unharmed.
The police showed up w/in about 4 minutes, and we got in the back of one of the squad cars while they filed the report. Several more cars arrived (as I walked away I counted 7), and a K-9 unit. The dog raced off. A neighbor called in and reported two kids running into his backyard that fit the description we'd given, so they knew where to go. While we sat in the cop car waiting to see if they'd be caught, the cops brought up a random black kid that happened to be walking down the street. "Is this one of the attackers?"
No. No he wasn't. I felt like a piece of shit for casting doubt on this guy who just happened to be walking down a street in his own neighborhood. Sorry man, I really am. This right here is exactly what I didn't want to happen: Somebody accused of being a crook for walking while black. That fucking sucks and I don't know what to do about it.
I've only lived in the neighborhood for about 4 years, and am definitely aware that I am one of the gentrifiers, even if I rent from an East African who owns half the block.
I'm sorry if our response seemed at all racist. classist, or paranoid. That is far from what we intended or believe.
I agree with Charles that we certainly don't want to exacerbate any sort of us vs them/black vs white/rich vs poor mentality. We want people of all backgrounds to be able to enjoy this wonderful neighborhood in peace, and I think we're all open to suggestions on how to acheive that.
Gunfire in ANY neighborhood is a fundamentally BAD idea.
Hit by stray bullet "In December 2003, Mahmoud Sourakli, who wasn't a Mr. Lucky patron, was shot in the neck by a stray bullet during a gunfight outside the club between rival gangs battling over drug-dealing turf, said Sourakli's attorney, Becky Roe. Now paraplegic, Sourakli is suing Mr. Lucky and others for unspecified damages. Roe said the owners of Mr. Lucky have denied any responsibility."
More about Mahmoud
#6: I don't quite see how you got the message that you wouldn't be welcome at Hidmo. Charles only mentions it as the setting of a conversation. And I can tell you that as a white person who frequents Hidmo, I find it to be a very welcoming place.
#11: Good, thank you. There can still be plenty of prejudice, but you're right it's all about power.
#10: The point is that because of racist economic and social structures, the presence of different ethnic/racial groups has different effects. With more white people comes higher real estate values and higher rents, which forces others out. Also, with more white people comes more police. This is not because white people make property better or because they are more worth protecting, but because white people benefit from a distorted social order that privileges them over others.
From what I understand, People of Color don't like getting mugged either.
Great article, Charles. Ending needs work though... it is very hard to compare Holden's hippie hemp with the crack and meth that fuels the street drug scene and its related violence, turning addicts into "zombies" (your term). Weed might be an illegal drug just like crack is -- but it doesn't turn a human brain to permanently scrambled eggs anywhere near as fast as crack does. Some might choose to read that as racist-coded language, but it's just the facts. Nobody ever talked of a "weed epidemic."
It is also a bit odd to see you refer to the gentrifying "white joggers" who have replaced the junkies around what used to be Deano's -- very much like the white middle-class "strollers" contrasted with the black "loiterers" in your "Going Under" article of a couple years ago. I live less than a block away from there, and have hardly seen anyone jogging around our neighborhood, before or after CC and Deano's closed. The main difference is that people feel safe walking to the store or on either side of the street at any time of day or night, unlike before. The sound of automatic weapons is gone. The addicts crapping in the alley or the front yard are gone. Plenty of black people still own or rent in the area and shop at the Safeway, and plenty of non-whites are snapping up new townhomes.
I have to agree about the ending. I don't understand how one can lament a "crack epidemic" in one paragraph and then suggest we let the dealers do their thing as long as they don't shoot anyone. I'm no detective, but I think there may be a connection between drug dealers and drug addicts. (And, yes, both are, in part, the result of larger network of social causes.)
Plus, many of the addicts I talk to are not living peacefully. I think maybe they're actually a little distressed. I often tell myself they're just doing their thing in peace. But I think this is a lie I tell myself when the burden of caring becomes too great, which it always does.
I take exception to Jace's comments in the article. If the police had indeed left the drug dealers alone for the past 20 years, does that mean they should then be allowed to continue to sell crack on the street for the rest of eternity?
And where he says it's all because the white people want black people out of the neighborhood? Yes, the arrests correspond with the "gentrification" of the neighborhood, which does include more white people moving in -- but he makes it sound like a conspiracy rather than the socio-economic transformation that gentrification inevitably is. It has good sides and bad sides, but getting rid of the drugs and crime is good for everyone -- the black community included. Is it "disregard for the community" as Kondabalu says, for people to insist that the neighborhood be safe and free from muggings or gunfire? How strong and healthy is the community to begin with, if it has such an embracing attitude towards hardcore drug dealing that arrests of street dealers are viewed as the invasion of the white people?
"Eight different people who were there when a man began shooting on a crowded Pioneer Square street corner, killing one man and wounding two others, told a jury they couldn't say who did it. . . . They didn't see, they claimed. Didn't know. Couldn't remember. . . . Witnesses in the Superior Court trial talked of a "code" on the street that keeps some African American people from snitching on or testifying against one another, which made it tough for police to get straight answers about what happened. . . . 'I believe that Kevin Monday would have gotten away with murder, literally, if we didn't have the video,' Deputy Prosecutor James Konat said."
It makes me think of what a white neighbor (renter) said a couple years ago when moving out in response to a black-on-black handgun murder very close to home, after a summer of not-so-infrequent gunfire. He said, "I used to be the most liberal person you could imagine. Now I don't think I could ever live in a black neighborhood again. This is the sort of thing that creates racism."
On the flip side, I remember hearing Wynton Marsalis talking in an interview about how people in his hometown could talk a lot more honestly about race -- he remembered having a conversation where some white friends asked him, "why can't black people get their stuff together?" I think they were citing all the other kinds of people who came to the US with little or nothing, but didn't have the same problems. His response was something along the lines of what 300 years of oppression does to a people's culture or psyche. He has a point.
While I think white people generally understand the history of slavery, post-slavery oppression and discrimination, etc. that got us to where we are, I think many white people don't realize how far-reaching and seemingly inescapable the effects are for black people. But the question remains -- where do we go from here? As the person who was mugged wrote above, I think we're all looking for suggestions on how to achieve a neighborhood (and city, and society) where people of all backgrounds can live with safety, peace, and opportunity. I would argue that black people can't do it by themselves, even though sometimes both black people and white people think the black community just need to go off on their own and save themselves. That hasn't exactly worked with the African American Academy on Beacon Hill; it also hasn't worked for crime in the CD. MLK knew that the fates of blacks and whites were intertwined, that we can't be separate and equal, that we can't solve a lot of these problems while judging each others' character by our race.
So in summary, I think Charles is right that the dialogue needs to be much farther along, that we need to be developing a language to share greivances and work things out.
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