I have been called racist for my opinion about my local police.
Here in Kalamazoo, we had a protest march that ended in the shutting down of Mall St. and the killing of small business sales on their busiest night of the week. The people protesting fell to the ground and stayed in the street for over an hour. The protest didn’t take place outside the courthouse or the police station. The protestors didn’t march through the high crime neighborhoods where young black people are most likely to be shot by the police.
Instead they picked the one street in the entire city that was built with a heating system underneath it to melt the snow in the winter, thereby preventing it from needing to be plowed. For people trying to make a point, they chose the most comfortable place in town on a night that reached the mid twenties in temperature. This protest seems to have taken place in a way that doesn’t directly start any kind of change. The protest was a show with little thought behind it except for what will look good.
They didn’t appear to ask the question “where will this be the most effective?” Instead, I see their question as “where will we be seen by our peers?”
I live in the highest crime section of Kalamazoo with a diverse population of races. In the past ten years I don’t think there is too much I haven’t seen happen here.
The first year I lived here a girl was shot in front of my house walking home from school with her friends by a guy shooting at a rival gang’s car. He missed the car but hit her over fifty yards away. I have seen cars fire bombed over arguments dealing with drugs or women. I watched a man stabbed repeatedly in the head with a steak knife last summer after a fist fight. On memorial day, a thirteen year old boy was shot to death by three teens over a feud. Those three teens showed up at my neighbor’s house with a 9mm Berretta, uzi, and .38 revolver threatening to shoot up the house while I was on the phone with 911.
I have seen cars pummeled by bricks because they live on the north side. I have seen fist fights started in the street because people were insulted by the south side. I have watched drive by shootings. I have seen girls prostitute themselves for $20. I have been woken up in the middle of the night to an argument about a dice game that ended in a shooting. I have heard men assault a prostitute in the alley behind my house for a trio of crack rocks. I watched a man punch, smash, kick, and rip apart a car after he learned the owner shot up his mother’s house.
I have called the police after hearing automatic gunfire down the street and later learned the police arrested a man with a fully automatic AK-47 and a second with a .357 magnum stolen during a home invasion. I have had crack cocaine thrown in my yard while a man was evading the police. I had a neighbor find a dropped gun while cleaning her yard. I have seen men do lines of cocaine off the hand rail of a deck in the alley.
I witnessed a men deliver a right cross to the face of the women he was arguing with. I have been less than ten feet from a man shooting at a house with nothing but a wooden fence separating us. One of my neighbors was given life in prison for executing a man while he was working on his car. In one summer we had five people shot and killed. I watched a female police officer try to fight off three men while arresting a forth for illegal possession of a firearm.
This is the neighborhood I live in, and why I support the police of my community and question the protestors on Mall St.. To not support the police is to ignore all they have done for me and my neighborhood since I have lived here. I would be spitting in the face of every cop that had come to help me.
The most disturbing part of the white middle class involvement in the civil rights protests is how they are marching for race equality, yet live their lives supporting racial inequality.
I live in a lower income multi-cultural neighborhood. I see what law enforcement deals with everyday. The lack of respect they receive is insane in our society. Yet the people marching in the streets will drive home to the suburbs, new development housing, and upscale condos feeling they did something. Yet, they don’t live in diverse neighborhoods. They have no idea what the reality of my world is.
They look at me and call me a racist for waiting to hear the verdict instead of being enraged like they are. While the same people shut down highways and bridges trying to prove they aren’t racist, we should be asking, “why don’t they live in racially diverse neighborhoods?”
What questions did they ask when they were searching for their six figure housing?
When they go back to their day jobs feeling better about themselves, what do they see when they are reading job applications?
What is their motive?