Neighbor Chuck Nwoke published an essay in Salon over the weekend exploring race relations in the neighborhood titled, “Did my black life matter?: When I was roughed up in front of my house, I was surprised by who helped — and who didn’t.”
It is a long and enlightening read centering around an incident where Nwoke was jumped after side swiping another vehicle with his car.
The day after I was jumped, on Labor Day, hours before the West Indian Day Parade was set to kick off, I packed our car for a day at the beach with family and friends. I didn’t want our friends knowing about what had happened to me the night before. White, thoughtful and liberal-minded, they would have been beside themselves with anger and demanded justice. “That’s not right,” they would have said, but they thought a lot of things weren’t right and did things about it. They changed laws, created jobs, chose diets and dictated etiquette. Their expectation that people adhere to the laws of the road created by them, within their infrastructure, was a level of entitlement that I don’t possess, and that most black Americans I know don’t possess. If there was black entitlement, it didn’t come without an old white guy positioned as middle man.
We recommend reading the entire piece, which is a nuanced exploration of race and gentrification.