Black in America



I could be Rekia Boyd. Easily. I can’t tell you how many warm nights have included me hanging out in the park with friends. Just shooting the shit you know? Have we been loud? Probably. But there’s a reason it was an off duty cop “new to the neighborhood” & not a patrol car.

People who grew up in the area wouldn’t call the cops over something as mundane as people hanging out in the park. Because they know that Chicago police can be trigger happy, and no one wants that on their conscience over some hollering. I don’t buy the idea that a large group of black bodies = crime, but I know a lot of people who trumpet on & on about the joys of gentrification do. Lawndale is definitely facing gentrification as the West Loop gets to be the newest hot spot. Garfield Park & Lawndale are right there & full of big cheap houses that could be worth millions in a few years.

So, there are new neighbors who talk about how great the properties are & how scary the long time residents are even if they never quite say why they find them so frightening. The cop mistaking a phone at someone’s ear for a gun? That’s part of the same system of scary black man myths that killed Trayvon Martin. It’s so embedded in America’s collective psyche that we’re criminals that it probably didn’t even occur to this cop that black people could be out enjoying one of the warmest March days in history & that not be a reason to suspect anything more than an impromptu block party. No weapons were recovered at the scene, a woman is dead, a man is injured & has been charged with assault for standing outside on his phone. That’s what it means to be black in America.

Black in America — Originally posted at The Angry Black Woman

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3 Responses to Black in America

  1. 1
    sc says:

    i work in garfield park; it sure doesn’t seem like it’s facing gentrification. nobody’s trying to move west of the metra tracks; i don’t believe any white folks are really looking to move next to the Holy City in lawndale neither.

  2. 2
    RonF says:

    Was this on any channel other than WGN? I didn’t hear anything about this. I didn’t see it in the front section of the Trib, either. Damn. I wish I could say that something will be done about this cop, but history teaches us that everyone involved on the City/police side will do all they can to sweep this under the rug or to delay proceedings until it falls from public notice.

  3. 3
    RonF says:

    O.K. I saw a story about this last night. Apparently a young man who was there got shot in the hand by the same cop during the incident. He wants some answers. He was pretty explicit about that during the interview, BTW, not that I blame him a bit. Seems to me that he (and that poor young woman’s family) deserve them and I hope he gets and they get them. But this is Chicago, after all. I wouldn’t even bother trying to get anything out of the Chicago cops. I’d maybe give the State a week or so and then go to the FBI if the State doesn’t move fast.