Those People and Pickles

Three of my favorite words are crapulous, soporific and lothario.

For the life of me, the other day I couldn’t remember the word for the
process of taking a cucumber and turning it into a pickle.  I knew it
had something to do with vinegar.

I have a theory.  It’s not
really mine but it goes like this.  We’re all connected.  At lunch the
other day we were talking about PG County.  That’s Prince George’s
County, btw, if you’re not local.  It’s adjacent to and east of
Washington, DC.  It’s urban.  It’s rural.  Got a miltary base.  Lots of
black folk.  Escalating crime rate.  Lots of car jackings, murders and
what not.  It has been postulated that gentrification is driving poor
black people out of Southeast DC, which has a reputation for being
downright dangerous, into PG County. 

So PG County has a bad
rep.  People think it’s a black thing or a poverty thing.  Or a black
poor thing.  Or whatever.  You know what I’m saying.  So I point out
that school shootings and serial killers tend to be white or that
corporate executives who decimate tens of thousands of lives in one
fell swoop of corruption are white and old but that doesn’t make people
scared of white guys in a general, prejudicial way.

I say that
any time you have a group of young men with nothing to do, you’re a
stone’s throw away from trouble.  Sometimes literally a stone’s throw
away from trouble.  You just might get hit by a rock.  If you have a
population of young men with nothing to do, well … you’ve got
trouble, baby.

But the thing is, people look at the crime in
PG or see black people all over the news doing stupid s— and think
that it’s about “those people”.  Any part is a microcosm of the whole. 
If your left foot developed a big, bloody sore there’s two things, off
the top of my head, to consider.  One.  What caused this?  Because that
question can lead to a cure of the problem, as opposed to the
symptoms.  And two.  If this is happening in my foot, what’s going on
in the rest of my body?  Will it spread?  Is it the source of the
infection or more likely a result of an infection?

I see the
school shootings committed by young, middle class, disenchanted white
guys killing their classmates as the same phenomenon as young, poor,
disenchanted black guys killing each other.  Or young, bored,
testosterone-addled white guys beating the s— out of homeless men,
attacking while they sleep.  Same phenomenon as young, black guys
stealing cars or robbing strangers.  Brutal displays of force for the
thrill of it.  Ecstasy, beer, vicodin, percoset, methamphetamines? 
Marijuana, crack, malt liquor.

If mass school shootings start
happening across the country in suburban neighborhoods, something is
very wrong.  And we’re all going to feel it … through group fear,
crackdowns, metal detectors, and political decrees guaranteeing safety
if nothing else.  If random violence in poor black neighborhoods, or by
poor black guys in rich neighborhoods, starts climbing … something is
changing.  Societal forces are in flux.  Neighborhoods are shifting,
wealth is shifting.

Yes, I’m generalizing but that’s kind of
my point.  Painting a monochrome word picture to capture two extremes
and illustrate that they’re not really that extreme.  They’re two sides
of the same coin.  Consider inner city schools with high dropout
rates.  From Baltimore’s City Paper:

“As we fast-forward to
the year 2003, many whom work within the Baltimore City Public School
System have revealed that the unconfirmed rates exceed 70 percent.”

Imagine that.  Seven out of ten young black guys with nothing to do and
no economic future to speak of.  Is it any wonder the crime rate is

But if city officials sit back and allow this situation
to continue, what does that say?  If the State can’t or won’t help.  If
we will allow 70% of black guys to drop out of society how many
troubled white kids will we ignore?  How many kids of Hispanic
immigrants?  And who will those people be in ten or twenty years?

I think that the popularity of hip hop, the fact that the majority of
it is consumed by white kids, goes to support my hypothesis.  The same
outlet for the people that society is scared of and the ones that we
think of as “our children”.

Man, how and why did I end up
writing this?  Sorry.  Kind of slipped out.  Being the only black guy
in a social scene … you end up defending an entire race by proxy. 
Through what you do and what you say.


Underworld: Evolution was very, very bad. I’m not kidding when I say
this; my favorite character in the movie was the helicopter. That’s how
bad it was.  I wanted to see Bloodrayne to compare but the latter was
in theaters for about 45 minutes and then was pulled.  I think that
literally 45 minutes into the first showing they stopped the movie and
pulled it out of theaters nation wide.  Oh, Ben Kingsley.  Why?

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