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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Back From Nowhere

O.K. its been awhile.
I have not tapped a keyboard key in the name of blogging for almost two weeks. A lot has happened and I have remained relatively silent.
Aside from beating a Grand Jury indictment and having my freelance opportunities halved I look at the big picture and remain optimistic.
I am also torn.
Maybe I am overwhelmed by sheer multitude of wrongs I so fervently want to pontificate against.

Maybe its the local relevance that concerns me.

The backlash.

I am starting to believe in the power of the blog.
Some people I have written about do not look at me the same. I'm cool with that, everything I have written I would say in their face.
I proclaimed awhile back in a previous rant that I was through being nice.

I am.

I have nothing hanging over my head and I have a firm command of the english language.

Watch Out.

Old school tactics will not sway me.
You see, where I live there is only one African American in City Government, he is a retired cop, one of the first black cops in Utica. by all accounts a good man. They (Mayoral Administration) pulled him off the woodpile to save face with the NAACP. The thing is, he had his turn. This guy has been the recipient of favorable political appointments for 40 yrs. He always got along with the people who run this town.
He was the token.
I'm not hatin on him I would take 25,000 grand a year for part time work too.
I'm hatin on the current administration that refuses to hire a single black professional.

I'm sure they'll say we can't find one and I can say you are not looking.

His job title is laughable. Liason to the human resources recruiter for the Fire and Police Departments. He is supposed to recruit minority applicants.

He is 75 yrs old.
Does he have e-mail?
Does the city care if he recruits any minorities?
It sounds good but lets be serious. Lets be prudent- what is wrong with a young black man?

Are we so intimidating?

Do we lower the curve?

There are some people that honestly think we do.

I have been to other urban areas with sizable minority populations
and they always successfully employed qualified minority applicants. All these places have something in common.

Culture, prosperity and diversity.

What is wrong with Utica?

Until recently Utica has lacked each of the aforementioned qualities.
The new mayor has promised a new emphasis in all these areas including a new charter for the city.

Will the new Utica include all the citizens?What is wrong with a new symbol of progress?We have a few black military veterans that could use a job. We have few college grads that happen to be black and ironically chose to stick around.

But this guy?

The token?
He is an old pacifier. He kept the previous generation of frustrated black people quiet. We had one black cop for years there is only six now.

So it is safe to assume, around here, the Police arrest us and serve and protect everyone else. The only cop you can have decent conversation with is the one who comes to the bar on saturday-he's black.

Six black cops out of 173!!!!

It won't work.

It hasn't worked.

He offered these words in reference to the homogenous police department."it would be ideal to have ten or twelve black cops"

It is obvious he is out of touch.
Maybe I am asking too much, after all, black folks are less than ten percent of the population around here.
Maybe it is unrealistic to believe that the black people that have been here for generations will ever get a fair shake.
These people(black folks) are the recipients of a bad rap going back 100 yrs. I have read newspaper excerpts out of an excellent book titled ethnic utica that show in detail the colorful language used to describe the lazy and shiftless savages that supossedly made up the black community.
It reminded me of this

The imagery that the language conjurs had an effect on the people that read it. I know the power of words and images, they sustain a reality.
To white people in The Mohawk Valley the reality was: we(black uticans) were no good. That idea prevails to this day. I read the local newspaper blog section and it is the most racist inciteful garbage I have ever read in a public forum. Everyone hiding behind avatars, I shouldn't even let it piss me off but it does.
Half the problem is a lack of black journalist, a different perspective; the other half is hate.
The nature of the stacked deck never did us well in this corner of the country, but there was hope for hardworking men who could swallow their pride daily and earn a living wage as a 'good nigger'.
It is not that different today.

I worked at Clear Channel here in Utica, the only black man there.They had one of those PSA posters over the urinal in the mens room it was a picture of an orange in a bushel of apples. It read: "do you feel like you don't belong"? Hmmmmm. I wonder how long that has been up.

There are large number of native born black folks from here that have arrived. They're like the Jeffersons. They make good money, have nice houses therefore they have no big complaints. Once again I am not hatin on them unless they defend the turnkeys that let them in. Almost forgot to mention they also enjoy an elite status among the peons(including me, King Peon) that make up the black community here because there are so few who equal their success(education).

They can literally afford to look down on their brethren.
But they don't, there are too many equalizers in our community. We all go down together.

Succeed alone and fail as a group.

Remember, these are black people who would fit in nicely among everyone else in the southside of Chicago, NYC or Oakland California. But here in Utica, Black Professional is akin to an oxymoron. It is whispered in boardrooms laughed about in bars.

"I heard they spotted one at the courthouse...naw he was on trial ha ha ha".
We toil, unappreciated in the background, never one to make waves. We soldier on with quiet tenacity humbly accepting every form of rejection known to man. We cleverly maneuver around fake smiles, tasteless jokes and people who refuse to say 'good morning'.
We do all this while they lock us up for petty crimes indict us on B.S.. And let their own kids and adults out of Justice's way for (manslaughter/murder) anything and everything under the sun.

The real Mohawk Valley where a kid gets six years for spitting on and hitting a cop and the suburban kid gets a suspended sentence for his involvement in a murder.

Guess who was black.
The disparities on how crimes are reported by the press and prosecuted by the D.A. are something for another post.
My next post.
It doesn't matter. Through it all, we always remember to smile.
Well, guess what?
I am not smiling and I am looking for a job.

Some would say that is not a good combination.

It depends on the work you are looking for.

I have had some pretty good conversations in my corner of the community in the blogosphere and the real world.
Most, if not all, of my conversations revolve around transformation, alignment, unity and ultimately prosperity.

I am trying not to focus on the negatives.

It is good know there are great many people who seek out the same alignment I am writing about. The racial issues are a smokescreen and the white people of upstate new york have been bamboozled into believing the myths on a grand scale.

They are waking up-slowly.

I hope I can smile enough to get a job.


Anonymous said...

Dave, I tried writing this comment several times and each time I highlighted and cut it out because it didn't sound real.

I was going to say "fight the power", but you gotta eat.

In another comment, I was going to say "don't get angry", but sometimes keeping your sense of dignity is more important.

The more I thought about it, the more I kept asking myself "what can I white guy like me -- even if I'm of Puerto Rican parents -- say to Dave?"

There really is nothing I could say because I have never really known racism in either subtle or overt forms. Well, nothing except -- I got your back.

Anonymous said...

i second that statement made by spartacus...i got your back. man your comments resonate and touch a cord. Words of hope seem so empty, and shallow right now. All I can say is that i love you and believe in you.

Indira says:
i really hope you find a good job. I love you very much.A good job gets you real money and when you get fired from that job you can get another job with the money you got from the last job you had.

Freida Bee said...

I'm glad you're back.

I'm from a town like that, and it weren't pretty. I didn't know what it was when I was in it, and I am very glad I can see it for what it was (is?) being out of it for twenty years now.

You are fortunate to see it for what it is, even if the stupidity is disheartening. I think that means you have one (a heart, that is).

David B. Dancy said...

Thank you all for your comments. I have to vent sometimes. I feel like we (blackfolks in Utica)have accepted second class citizenship. This has ben going on for soo long.
I have interviewed just about every department head in City government and they all say the same thing. "Dave we realize how good a deal we got, we realize that all the people that look like us get the benefit of doubt" Some even expressed regret(?) about the current state.

David B. Dancy said...

Thank you all for your comments. I have to vent sometimes. I feel like we (blackfolks in Utica)have accepted second class citizenship. This has ben going on for soo long.
I have interviewed just about every department head in City government and they all say the same thing. "Dave we realize how good a deal we got, we realize that all the people that look like us get the benefit of doubt" Some even expressed regret(?) about the current state.

Jen said...

Wow David. I know I don't know you well. Frankly I'm fumbling for words right now.But I took what you wrote to heart. I'm moved.

I hope better times are ahead for you. And good luck on the job front. It's rough out there--or so they tell me.

One consolation--albeit not the best one--is that you're paving the way for future generations through your struggles. Ok so motivational writing is not my strong point.

I'm just asking: why the heck did you move to Utica? Come back to The Bay. Although not perfect either, it sounds like a nicer place. I know it's a simple non-solution.

Jen said...

And that noise you just heard was the sound of eggshells crunching beneath my feet.

David B. Dancy said...

Thank you Jen- everyone, for your comments.
I look at life like art, everyday a blank canvas for me to paint upon (yaaawwwnnn)....O.k. what i a trying to say is i sometimes look at other peoples paintings and i get angry, frustrated.
Why can't I do that?
I am staying in Utica because....hmmmmm?
I know- I have finally found my artistic voice and I am 38. I know this is not where the journey ends, i have unfinished business. I have learned a lot here. I beleive in trying ti change things , I learned that in Berkeley.
"broadcasting live from small market hell".