Racism in “Northern Manhattan”

Here’s how to completely negate your argument:

You receive a letter from your downstairs neighbors for talking loudly/making noise late in the evening/early morning of a weekday. Here’s the letter:


So, you turn around and post that letter on social media claiming it (and the included warning about calling the police for disturbing the peace[1]) to be racist:


Now, this doesn’t seem like a race issue. It seems like a courtesy issue – or a lack thereof.

The writer of the initial letter says:

[H]e and his wife just wanted to sleep. They didn’t know Brookshire was black until the post went viral. He said his upstairs neighbor was cursing and yelling, and it sounded like he was arguing.

On a personal note: once, at a friend’s apartment complex in Austin, we were outside walking his dog while I bitched about an ex. A white girl upstairs came down to make sure I wasn’t beating someone. Racist! Sexist! Huh? Maybe I was being too loud. And this was at a reasonable hour on weekend night.

Comments included in the story double- or triple-down on the stupidity. Josmar Trujillo, an activist with the Coalition to End Broken Windows, says:

“You’re basically asking me to adhere to your norms. You’re coming in with what you feel is the right volume and the right temperature for the community and you’re trying to hang that over my head,” said Trujillo, who is Hispanic. “The police are the tool that can be used to bash people over the head with those new norms.”

Seriously? White people have different norms about being woken in the middle of the night by the rudeness of others than black people do? My black and Hispanic neighbors would disagree.

Also: nothing in the facts mentioned gentrification (who uses “Northern Manhattan” in reference to Uptown , anyway? Someone not from there?), and this guy lived in a market-rate apartment (meaning he’s as much a gentrifier as the white folks) in the complex. Or can gentrification only be caused by white people? ‘Cause I thought it was more a money thing.

By the way, Robert Jones, Jr. is an idiot if he believes white equals wealthy and black equals non-wealthy. Look around. I lived Uptown — in Harlem. I couldn’t afford a market-rate apartment.

Sadly, when you make issues out of nothing – when you try to defend your poorly thought out actions and responses by claiming racist motives[2] on the part of others – you also completely negate your larger argument.

In fact, focusing on the white aspect of this rather than your own lack of courtesy and, apparently, self-knowledge is utterly self-defeating.

If you want positive change, we have to band together.

Believe it or not: nothing everything is about race.

[1] Personally, I’m a big fan of this. I’ve chatted with the cops over such issues many times. So I will tell you what I’m fin’ to do.
[2] In fact, looking a little more closely, if there’s a race issue involved, it is definitely one which Brookshire has the a greater history of incitement: “Brookshire, who has a Master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University, delves into issues like that on The Reparations Podcast, which explores ‘the intersectionalities of blackness, politics and popular culture through humor and frank dialogue . . . tackling the s**t you don’t talk about with your white friends.'”

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