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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Where The Brothas At?

It is obvious that Utica is a homogenous community.
A non-minority, white community.
Some say anti-minority.
If you were to look at the employment stats for Private and Public sector jobs you will find minorities are not working anywhere.
If you were to look at all the non-profit boards you won't find many non-white people on them. The local school board...not one minority.
The DA's office, maybe one or two.
The Mayor... City Hall...who are we kidding.
Often times the decision makers, the people at the Round Table, happen to be white. The people that do the hiring the firing; the people who consult and suggest...are white.
The standard bearers, endorsers of all that is good and productive in The Mohawk Valley are WASPS with a sprinkling of Italian to add spice.
The WASPS say The Italians run everything.
Everyone else agrees that white folks wether Italian or Wasp pretty much run it.
"It" means The Police Department, Fire Department, 98% of private business, property and just about everything else of value in The Mohawk Valley.
Congressman Arcuri, State Senator Griffo, Assemblywoman Destito, County Executive Picente, Mayor Roefaro...the list is actually much longer than that but who's nitpicking.
It is the reality.
It is not a good or bad thing.
Anyone of Italian descent that makes a mark in Utica should not be maligned because of their monopoly on political power.
They should be studied and admired.
In the past all this power in the hands of one group was definitely a bad thing. People in these positions of power used their privilege as a leverage against any fair and honest competition. That certainly is not the case now right?
Newspaper, radio all at their (the elite) disposal to subtly mold a consensus on any issue, usually at someone's expense.
I am not surprised about white people's attitudes towards minorities. We do not exist on any tangible, visible level of relevance. Most of their contact is from what they see on television, hear in the news or witness working as a prison guard.
Historically, most of the news on or about black people has always been full of condemnation at it's worst patronizing at it's best.
I remember reading a passage from Ethnic Utica ( a must read for anyone interested in local lore) from the old Utica paper. Without researching a quote I will tell you the people, the black people, were depicted as a bunch of shiftless and dirty bunch of alcoholic degenerates who work to drink and drink to work.
That was news.
Totally unfair. Like Jim Crow.
Playing against the rules. Like Cheating.
Now, all we apparently do is sell drugs.
What about the decline of James St.?"
The O-D (months ago) did a story chock full of quotes from old Italians reminiscing on how nice it used to be on James St when: "we were so close every store would give you a tab".
Obviously the reporter did not speak to any of the current residents or business owners who run tabs now and have store credit that has nothing to do with Visa.
Separate, soon to be equal.
Just ask the Italians.
Ask Bushy Graham (not his real Italian name).
The Italian Americans who reside here weren't exactly welcome. In fact they did not enjoy to much political or economic success until Rufie Elefante and the second World War.
This is not a history lesson I'll leave that for the O-D.
The fact is there are no Black or Hispanic People in any high profile municipal jobs.
It is our collective fault(minorities). We quake in the presence of authority happy for any type of acknowledgment. We give thanks for things that everyone else takes for granted. We privately gripe and publicly smile patiently awaiting some well spoken firebrand to take the words out of our collective mouths.
Someone to represent us for real.
Utica New York is a community dominated Politically and Economically along cultural divides.
Blacks, Hispanics and Asians are on one side of the divide with little resources and no say so.
But there are those that had resources that tried to break through in this land of opportunity called Utica. They got their asses and wallets handed to them one by one. Leaving the city like soo many have before them.
The multicultural market has been ignored here forever. There are recent signs of growth but I am a cynic I have seen too much.
The sad fact is...
It didn't just get this way. It has been like this for a long time.
Ever since these rolling green hills were home to nothing but deer and The People of The Upright Stone (Oneida Nation) a few lucky people happened to settle down in the right place at the right time and have taken advantage of that good timing to this very day.
You would probably be sitting pretty too if your great great great great great great grandfather Angus purchased a few hundred acres of land for glass beads and wine.
Now it is time to share or at least get out the way.