Monnie has a post about Bill Cosby's new book. The statistics about black people and violence bother her, as they do every right-thinking person.
When I was still in Memphis, my last job was in a very bad part of town. (Actually, the one before that had razor wire around the parking lot, and the one before that ... well, anyway.) The lab was down in the plant, with the parking lot a short distance away. If I left work at or after sundown and any of the operators saw me come out of the building, he would drop what he was doing to walk me to my car. All of the plant operators were black. Once another operator was just coming into the plant when we got to the parking lot, and he said, "How come you don't ever walk me to my truck?" "Cause ain't nothing gonna get you!" my escort replied, laughing. But that reminded me that statistically, those guys were at greater risk than I was. I started telling them when I thanked them that I appreciated their care and concern, and that they actually needed to employ the buddy system among themselves after hours. They didn't take me seriously, though. I think those statistics aren't generally known and understood.
One of the things that bothered the crap out of me, when I was in Memphis, was the amount of focus and effort and attention on things like sports arenas and fancy boat docks, and how much money the city needed to spend on those things (money we didn't have; besides there were always, always cost overruns and the inevitable discovery of somebody's hand in the cookie jar later on.) I wanted so badly to run across Mayor Herenton out on the sidewalk somewhere and to grab some random black kid - preferably a teenage boy with the khaki pants dragged down so that the crotch was between his knees and he had to duck-walk, you know how that is - and say "Look at this, Mayor Herenton - THIS is Memphis! This is the future of Memphis! Not the FedEx Forum, not Beale Street Landing - but this kid right here! How are we investing in this kid?" And to turn to the kid and ask him in what way the City of Memphis expresses to him that it cares whether he lives or dies. The park program is underfunded - public swimming pools not kept up - summer jobs programs cut - no community centers - nothing that is not privately funded or run by the churches. But by golly, we will have plenty of public funding for entertaining rich folks.
So the kids are neglected and have nothing to do, they see all the attention given to things that are and will forever be out of their reach, then we wonder why they feel disaffected and why they drop out of school and why the crime rate is so high. And it beats heck out of me why the politicians with those entertain-the-rich-folks attitudes and the hand in the cookie jar have so much popular support.