Last night, Black Friday, my wife and I toured a Littleton, Colo., traditional holiday event, the 31st Candlelight Walk. I couldn't help comparing what I saw to what has gone on in Ferguson, Mo., this fall, and still continues.
Littleton is one of Denver's outer-ring suburbs (defined below) that's 92% white, with a median family income of $65,000; 6% of the population is below the poverty line. Ferguson is 67% black, with a median, family income of $43,000; 18% of the population is below the poverty line. [from latest Census]
We passed hundreds of the thousands of people who attended. I checked them out. Fewer than ten families looked Chicano or mexicano. One girl might have been half-black; another, possibly an exchange student. I saw no black woman, but I did see one black man.
The mood was festive, peaceful, family-friendly, secure and financially thriving. Compared to what I know about Ferguson, it was another world. And it is. And there's reasons (explained below).
I didn't see any police presence--not one cop--other than flashing lights at the ends of the streets, blocking off traffic from the festivities. I assume they were somewhere here. And there must've been more black people than I spotted. But I was overwhelmed by how white Littleton appeared to be. How happy. How un-Ferguson-like. It felt so unfair. Not that white people get to live like this, but that Fergusonites, and other minorities in America's barrios and ghettos, don't apparently deserve to live the same. There's reasons, explained below. And they're not all about white flight.
We left as the Candlelight Walk began and before the Tree Lighting ceremony. I had lost whatever holiday spirit I entered with. But, maybe it was just me....
If you're a student of U.S. history, especially of black, Chicano, or the oppressed's history, this new report will become required reading, a classic. You can substitute Chicano, Puertoriqueño or Dominicano, for black. Substitute barrio, for ghetto. Then you will have a more complete picture of how to segregate, impoverish and ghettoize a nation's people of color. You can read a lite version here, or the scholarly, but lengthy original here. Below are highlights:
"21st century segregation is in transition – to whiter central cities with adjoining black suburbs, while farther out, white suburbs encircle the black ones. Every policy and practice segregating St. Louis over the last century was duplicated in almost every metropolis nationwide.
"A powerful cause of metropolitan segregation in St. Louis and nationwide has been the explicit intents of federal, state, and local governments to create racially segregated metropolises. This story of racial isolation and disadvantage, enforced by federal, state, and local policies is central to an appreciation of what occurred in Ferguson when African American protests turned violent after police shot and killed an unarmed black 18-year-old. Policies that are no longer in effect and seemingly have been reformed still cast a long shadow. In the case of St. Louis, these intents were expressed in mutually reinforcing federal, state, and local policies that included:
· Boundary, annexation, spot zoning, and municipal incorporation policies designed to remove African Americans from residence near white neighborhoods, or to prevent them from establishing residence near white neighborhoods;
· Urban renewal and redevelopment programs to shift ghetto locations, in the guise of cleaning up those slums;
· Government regulators’ tacit and sometimes open support for real estate and financial sector policies and practices that explicitly promoted residential segregation.
"The federal Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that “segregated housing in the St. Louis metropolitan area was in large measure the result of deliberate racial discrimination in the housing market by the real estate industry and by agencies of the federal, state, and local governments.” Similar observations accurately describe EVERY other large metropolitan area."
It's our deliberately segregated, barrio-ghetto America. And it's time to change our cities. Gentrification will "develop" more Fergusons.
[All these photos from Economic Policy Institute article.]
Thanksgiving Day – Why we need a new Turkey Day
My Mexican-Chicano family celebrate T-day, adding our own tradition of frijoles and green chile, and with other non-Pilgrim foods. There are at least three forms of this day.
1. A Pilgrimish T-day, if you're in the East and white or middle class or whatever.
2. A non-Pilgrimish T-day that most Americans celebrate. The food, pumpkins, autumn leaves on the table, maybe a prayer before the table orgy.
3. NDOM T-day, how Native Americans and others mark the day. [see details below]
If you're like me, you might be stuck between 2 and 3. You know the history has been Dizzyland-distorted, but your family elders practice a #2 traditional T-day. To go along with that and ignore #3 seems wrong. What to do?
Frankly, I don't know. If it's held at my house, I'll need to help create some 4th type of T-day that's has something of #3 [plus the green chile] but doesn't demoralize everyone by giving details like those below. I'd welcome other people's ideas of how to "celebrate" T-day next year. In some way that would meet my responsibilities to what's owed the Native American people. Remember--the Spaniards, Catholic church, and Mexican gov't sometimes acted as barbarically as the Pilgrims and the 7th Cavalry. Here's info about #3, NDOM:
|It didn't happen like this.|
|It happened like this.|
"Thanksgiving Day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of their people, the theft of their lands, and the relentless assault on their culture."
"After the Pilgrims' arrival, Native Americans grew increasingly frustrated with the English settlers' abuse and treachery. Metacomet (King Philip), a son of Massasoit, called upon Native people to unite to defend their homelands against encroachment. The resulting "King Philip's War" lasted from 1675-1676. Metacomet was murdered in Rhode Island in August 1676, and his body was mutilated. His head was impaled on a pike and was displayed near this site for more than 20 years. One hand was sent to Boston, the other to England. Metacomet's wife and son, along with families of many other Native American combatants, were sold into slavery in the West Indies by the English victors."
"Since 1970, Native Americans have gathered in Plymouth to commemorate NDOM on Thanksgiving. Many Native Americans do not celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims and other European settlers. To them, Thanksgiving is a reminder of the genocide of millions of their people, the theft of their lands, and the relentless assault on their culture. Participants in NDOM honor Native ancestors and the struggles of Native peoples to survive today. It is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection as well as a protest of the racism and oppression that Native Americans continue to experience.
|Discounted slaves were the 1st Black Friday bargains.|
1. a bargain day, for cheap slaves
According to one site, "Black Friday stemmed from slavery, the day after Thanksgiving when slave traders sold slaves for a discount to assist plantation owners with more helpers for winter." Black slaves for Black Friday. When you shop-crazy on this day, are you helping to keep former traditions alive? Is that really worth a shopping cart-full of bargains?
2. If you gave thanks yesterday, pay it forward - Boycott WalMart
"For the third year, United Food & Commercial Workers Union and OUR Walmart, a group of employees, are striking and protestlng at 1,600 of the 3,400 Wal-Marts in the U.S., They seek minimum pay of $15 /hr. and full-time work on regular schedules. 825,000 of the company’s 1.4 million U.S. employees make less than $25k/year, making them food bank recipients."
So, if you cross that picket line to save money on supposed bargains, you are simultaneously increasing your taxes that go to SNAP (food stamps). When Wal-Mart agrees to worker demands, the load on your taxes will be lightened. That would be a bargain.
Sand Creek Saturday
Today, 11/29/14, marks the 150th anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre. Last week Colorado admitted that the eastern half of the state was built on the coerced cession of Arapaho and Cheyenne homelands. An illegal process that violated U.S. law.
To know the true history, don't go to the History Colorado Center; their attitude and exhibit show they don't understand and accept the truth. However Gov. Hickenlooper's executive order creating the Sand Creek Massacre Commemoration Commission admits the facts of this horrendous wrong: “The controversy surrounding this Civil War Monument has become a symbol of Coloradans’ struggle to understand and take responsibility for our past. On November 29, 1864, Colorado’s First and Third Calvary, commanded by Colonel John Chivington, attacked Chief Black Kettle’s peaceful camp of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians on the banks of Sand Creek, about 180 miles southeast of here. In the surprise attack, soldiers killed more than 150 [to 200] of the village's 500 inhabitants. Most of the victims were elderly men, women and children."
The Colorado General Assembly's 2014 resolution unanimously recognized the Sand Creek Massacre as an unjust killing of peacefully assembled Arapaho and Cheyenne which reverberates today upon their descendants:
"Be It Resolved by the Senate of the Sixty-ninth General Assembly of the State of Colorado, the House of Representatives concurring herein: That we, the members of the General Assembly, acknowledge the devastation caused by the Sand Creek Massacre and seek to raise public awareness about the tragic event, the Cheyenne and Arapaho people, and events surrounding it."
|At Sand Creek, it still says "battle!"|
Today when you hear, "T'is a privilege to live in Colorado," it's not about how expensive the cow town has become. The privilege you share is that the eastern half of the state, part of which you might own, was land illegally transferred to you or your ancestors, and none of the money ever went to the native population. They were forcibly removed, if they survived at all.
Have a Happy Sand Creek Saturday.
Es todo, hoy,
RudyG, a.k.a. Rudy Ch.Garcia, author of stories of fabulist mextasy, a new genre