I read Second Wind by Bill Russell years ago, long before I realized that Russell was basketball’s GOAT, and one of the things I remember clearly was that he described how after moving to a new Boston-area neighborhood, coming home one night and his house had been vandalized.
If memory serves, there were windows broken, feces smeared across the walls and I’m pretty sure an N-Word appeared in a few places in marker, burned in or painted.
And while, of course, this type of treatment to Black people moving into white neighborhoods is nothing new – it is, indeed the impetus behind cross burning – I was a little shocked that Russell had been treated that way.
I mean, Bill Russell had started winning chips for the Boston Celtics from the season he arrived.
You’d have thought his new neighbors would be honored to have him.
Of course, the opposite is never the case.
Anybody Black who now lives in a gentrified or gentrifying neighborhood knows that the absolute worst the new white neighbors can expect is maybe a wrinkled expression at the corner store and perhaps some random cursing from a drunk.
Some Black long-time residents of recently gentrified neighborhoods could even report that their new white neighbors walk around the hood like the long-timers are the interlopers!
The block on Fulton Street between Franklin and Classon used to be one of the worst in Bed Stuy and I remember one time last year during a casual stroll a bunch of white dudes walking up on me all abreast like they expected me to move.
I didn’t, thinking all the while that if something popped off then, paraphrasing Richard Pryor, that’d be an ass whipping I had to take.
Now I’m reading about this white bitch Valerie Smith out in Long Island who, among her lighter offenses, thinks she can call her nearly all-Black neighbors “niggers” citing Eddie Murphy’s comedy routine as a reference.
Personally, I’ve never cared whether or not white people used the word “nigger” but the fact that Valerie Smith felt that she needed to justify her usage – and such a lame justification at that – proves that she knows that she’s potentially being offensive.
The thing is, Smith called the police on said niggers for “drinking Hennessy” outside her house and is reported to have called the police between 100-200 times for the spectacularly minor offenses of her nigger-neighbors.
Three other insane things about this bitch are the fact that not only does she consider herself a “pioneer” for moving into a Black neighborhood as if folks of African descent are also indigenous to Southampton but also that she takes credit for cleaning up her former “rodent infested dump” of a hood and she has the nerve to be running for office!
Doesn’t take a genius to realize that the reason the neighborhood may now seem cleaner is because government agencies, sanitation included, notoriously give better service to white people or provided it when they’re around.
So, it’d be a great time for Black people in Southampton to put that ‘Stop Snitching’ ethos to some pride-restoring effect when the cops come around asking whodunit, and in the meantime, get out some kindling and gasoline and light up the night.
More likely however, and because we’re such an apathetic and self-loathing people, the Blacks in Southampton will actually end up voting for this bitch.