Last night I was dreaming of Osun. I was sleeping in an all white bed in an all white room when my partner told me Osun was on the phone. I reached for the all white receiver and when I said hello Osun appeared in the chair right next to the bed. She was truly stunning. Her hair was jet black and she had it in a loose bun on top of her head with strands hanging down framing her face. She had golden irises and some of the fullest lips I’ve ever seen done in a golden lipstick. Her skin was a smooth medium brown. She was saying something to me that I didn’t quite understand. She was upset because someone had made a comment about her lips. There was water falling out of the mirror that hung over the sink in the all white bathroom next to the bedroom.
Suddenly my partner was waking me up in real time. It was one o’clock in the morning. Somebody was trying to steal our minivan. I was instantly awake and out the door. The minivan was in its designated parking space in the little lot right off the alley in the back of the apartment building. The doors were unlocked. There was a brick sitting on the dashboard. The steering column was smashed. The papers that were in the glove box were strewn around the shotgun seat. The windows were not smashed. The doors were not broken. It looks like we may have left the van unlocked and the would be thief saw an opportunity. We believe the only thing that saved our van was that the would be thief found our Esu that we keep in our car and was suddenly seized with fear. Esu had been pulled out of his space and unwrapped. What ever it was we were thankful. The minivan suffered a little damage. But it was better than replacing an entire minivan and whatever else we may have lost like baby boy’s car seat.
The next morning we got in the minivan getting ready to drop me off at work. The minivan started and immediately died. We tried it again, feathered the accelerator, and it died. We tried it another time. The vehicle’s engine wouldn’t even turn over. Our minivan was dead as a door nail. We went back inside and called the body shop. It turns out the minivan not starting is an anti theft feature. The steering column didn’t look that bad. The keyhole for the ignition had scratches but was intact. But the damage it did suffer was enough to make it shut down. A tow truck took the minivan away to the body shop just around the corner and I had to catch the bus to work. I was three hours late. The bill is expected to run just over five hundred dollars. I was fucking livid.
I worked hard to save and buy my minivan and some selfish bastard who didn’t give a rat’s ass about other people’s property has now cost me five hundred dollars. More than likely, in my neighborhood, this was a black person. More than likely this was the type of black person that many people like to use as the model for black behavior. However, nothing can be further from the truth. This is just one depraved individual in an entire neighborhood of people who were more than happy to leave our minivan alone and let us keep it.
If I was to follow standard operating procedure I would condemn the entire black community for the poor judgment of one individual. I would start saying something that runs along the line of this is the type of thing one needs to expect living in the black neighborhood. I’m supposed to go and tell all my neighbors that I’ve had it trying to do something positive for the black community and I need to make a fresh start somewhere else, somewhere that isn’t as black. That way, I can feel better about moving my family to a much safer environment, possibly a formerly all white neighborhood. I can do the George Jefferson and take my partner “Louise” to move on up the eastside. But the fact of the matter is that crime is a fundamental part of life in America no matter what neighborhood you live in.
Case in point, I have a brother who lives in a major metropolitan area in the southeast. He moved his family out of the city into the suburbs and he bought him and his family a nice little corner spread. He was one of the first black people in his new neighborhood. His family felt a lot safer in their new digs.
One day my brother went out to his Toyota sport utility vehicle one early morning to go to work. He got in, turned the key, and his car made the loudest racket ever. He must have triggered every car alarm in the county. He quickly turned off his engine, got out, and looked up under the car. His catalytic converter had been pilfered. He was pissed. According to the demographics of his neighborhood, my brother was the victim of some white thief. While I may have been a random victim of a crime of opportunity by one of my black neighbors who may have taken advantage of my oversight in a classic example of black on black crime, my brother may have been the intended target of a crime by his white neighbors in a classic example of white on black crime. And for what he paid for putting his Toyota back together, I can do two more trips to the body shop with the minivan.
But even with all of this taken into consideration I’d be willing to bet my brother would never think to get his family out of his virtually all white neighborhood in order to get somewhere else more safe. I really don’t think such conclusion jumping thinking should apply in my circumstance as well. The would be minivan thief in the black neighborhood is no more indicative of all black people as the successful catalytic converter collector in my brother’s neighborhood is indicative of all white people in the predominantly white neighborhood. More of us should learn to keep things in perspective instead of jumping the proverbial ship that is the black neighborhood at the first transgression. The grass isn’t necessarily any greener on the less black side of the fence.