I don’t know, why I remember so vividly the humid summer nights living in the 3rd ward of my hometown. It was the 1950s, and I was just an unremarkable Colored boy, one of twelve siblings. But I do have many good memories from this time period, despite some of the outright racist attitudes, that some people held against Negroes. I remember these hot summer nights, walking down to get ice cream at a local vendor and sitting on the curb and slurping an ice cream cone beside my older sisters. I remember capturing worms and fireflies with the Moore Brothers. However, days later, my mom would throw these worms and fireflies out, after she discovered them rotting under my bed. Gee, I never seemed to mind.
I can recall playing goal-line-stand in the front yard with Butch and Johnnie Oliver, and sometimes re-enacting the Alan Ameche’ touchdown plunge into the end zone, which beat the New York Giants in 1958 NFL Title game. I have recollections of coming back to the neighborhood in the evenings from Seabreeze, a local amusement park. My father would be on the back porch cutting up a watermelon for us kids. Later, being a completely obnoxious little brother, I would take great delight in spitting the watermelon seeds on my sisters.
I also remember paring down the street on these summer evenings and seeing two policemen walking the beat of the neighborhood. I guess today, they would call this community policing. But for everyone, who lived in the 3rd ward, it was just part of the cultural pulse of the neighborhood. There was one cop, whom we all remember. His name was Chris. I suppose he had a last name, but I never bothered to look at his name tag. Chris would often stop, along with his partner, and just talk with people in our multi-ethnic neighborhood. Of course, as a kid, I remember Chris would always have some candy or stick of juicy-fruit gum to pass out to us. Sometimes, Chris would even remove his police gear and take a moment to throw a football to us kids, often make believing he was Johnny Unitas, faking a hand-off to Lenny Moore, (played by me sometimes) and going deep to the endzone for a touchdown.
It was also a time when neighborhood crime and other manifestations of criminal behavior were not so conspicuous as it exists in my hometown today. Chris and his fellow officer would not put up with it and protected all of us, regardless of color. It was before the day’s multicultural awareness and the societal tome of cultural diversity; which in today’s America has turned out to be a dangerous form of tribalism and balkanization touted up as congeniality. Unlike in today’s supposedly culturally diverse and sensitive America, people despite our differences as Negroes, Germans, Italians, Irish, Puerto Ricans didn’t tether ourselves to an ethnic identity. We didn’t dogmatically marinate in our hyphenated, racial, or gender centric enclaves, waiting to feel injured, aggrieved, or angry at God knows what.
By the nature of our upbringings, we, (black or white) didn’t fester nor were we encouraged to hyphenate as Americans. Today, our so-called intellectual betters, who have gained full control of schools, the media, and popular culture, would have us to believe, that the most important thing about who we are as Americans, fall under the secular heresies of race, gender, and social class.
Were there racist back then? Hell, yes! No doubt about it. And as Americans, we were in the mold of correcting these disparities, but not at the cost of fracturing ourselves as a nation under the guise of a neo-segregationist agenda, that underpins much of today’s identity politics. Yes, Chris was a white policeman, but even in these so-called bad-old-days, and some of the shortcomings of the police and individuals in our society, we were able to maintain a perspective, that didn’t demonize the police and many of our institutions, like the BLM Global Foundation and unfortunately, many politicians including the first Black President have a propensity to do. The professional athletes who are now taking-a-knee to protest racial inequalities and police misconduct are actually making it more dangerous for inner-city residents.[i]
Sidebar: Here are some stats. Since 2010 in the City of Chicago, Barrack Obama’s old political stomping grounds, more than 25,000 blacks have been shot and over 8000 killed by other blacks. During this same time period, less than 250 blacks have been killed by law enforcement, most of which were justified. Nevertheless, the political homilies being proselytized during last week’s Democrat Virtual Convention, by Barrack and Michelle Obama, Kamala Harris, and their BLM Global Foundation supporters, must believe that some black lives matter more than others. They conveniently said nothing about the self-inflicted carnage in Chicago and many other Democrat-controlled cities.
Professional athletes like Lebron James, smugly hold their heads high, kneeling, thinking they are helping. In actuality, their misguided actions will most likely get more black folks killed. But no matter. They are seen and adored by the CNN-NPR-BBC media cloister, as hip and edgy social warriors. When all is said and “not done”, they will go back to their million-dollar lifestyles and congratulate themselves. In the meantime, more inner-city residents will continue to be abused, harassed, and murdered. [ii]
But there is a dubious silver-lining to all of the protest for racial and economic justice. Liberal Democrats, BLM Global Foundation, and their MSM media can always blame Donald Trump and the Republican Party for the acrimony, coarseness, incivility, and mayhem, that is a daily feature in many inner-city communities.[iii] Such a deal, isn’t it?[iv]