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Discoveries in Ypsilanti

05.03.16 | Comment?

I took my dog for a walk today after work and discovered that the railroad tracks on the far east side of the township divide streets that were once connected, obvs. Not only that, they have different names on the other side. Over by Lamay and Michigan, one street is called June Street between Michigan and the tracks, and Oregon Street south of the tracks. I also realized that it would be an excellent location for a train stop. The neighborhoods over here are nice on both sides of the tracks and we need some livening up over here.

Many things are stressful in my life right now, work and money and lack of sex, in particular. Maybe you have many of your own stresses. I just said lack of sex online and you know my name and what I look like. I had to take a pause between the time that the thought appeared in my growing brain and on the screen before me. Am I really going to fucking write that shit? But then I did, and I’m pretty sure nobody died. I’m still here and everything’s cool. That’s a normal thing that happens to everybody, a missing sex life. It’s regular. It’s a big fucking bummer, but it’s fine. I’m alive, and pretty mother fucking healthy, and my kids are all my favorites, so that’s good.

ANYWAY, I felt like a tired little bitch after work and feeding the kids and showering (I farm), so I decided to take my dog Bells (I can reveal her identity here, she’s an animal, not a human) for a walk. For nearly the whole year and a half that we have lived in this neighborhood, I have stuck to one primary path down Forest and Cross and the streets in between all the way to Prospect Park. Yesterday, I walked with two of my kids to Kroger to get a few groceries and left the dog in the fenced in yard. She escaped through a space in the fence and was running around the neighborhood. Normally, she runs a bit and then comes when I call her a few times. But last night, that little asshole was darting all over our neighborhood and I was yelling like a moron through the streets after her. Maybe we’ll bring the sun out and bring some life to this neighborhood.

So tonight I decided to follow her path that she set yesterday instead of making all the decisions for her and we walked down Lamay toward Michigan,

Left on Michigan

Right on June

Across the tracks

It’s a very pleasant neighborhood. It smelled fresh. The yards were green and clean. The houses were all unique and interesting. Nice big trees. A very nice neighborhood.  There were some children playing in their yard so I decided to walk until I reached them and then turn around. It was almost 8:30 so I wanted to get back home to chill with my kids before tucking them in to bed. The kids said hello to me and asked if they could pet Bells, which was super smart of them, and I said yes. She’s super sweet. Then, the three of us and Bells stood by their mailbox and chatted about whatever they wanted for a few minutes. They told me about police cars visiting the neighborhood a while ago, which is troublesome to everyone in the neighborhood, and then they told me about things being stolen in the neighborhood.

This is significant, but there was something more significant about the conversation. Just before telling me about how bikes were being stolen and police were coming to their neighborhood, they pointed out the house with the black family.These children were white. They are friends with the boy who lives in the house. They told me his name. They spoke innocently and sweetly about it, like children do. But why were they pointing it out? They hear it in their home, maybe in other people’s homes, or other spaces. White people say terrible things to other white people because they think it’s safe. That shit needs to become the minority.

I spoke to these beautiful, innocent children with love in my voice and pointed north to my street and told them that my lawnmower was stolen last year out of my yard. I do not have a garage or a shed, but I plan to build something soon. But actually, I think it’s going to be a small green house, so never mind. I understood that they were being told in many different ways that increase in crime and blackness are directly linked, even if the people stealing the bikes and bringing the police to the neighborhood are all white, and it’s pretty god damn likely that they are, runonsentence.

That was a terrible sentence, actually, a failure of a paragraph, but I’m leaving it anyway.

I grew up in a town where the arrival of a black family to the COUNTY, NOT EVEN THE TOWN, THE FUCKING COUNTY, was a noteworthy event. North Judson, Indiana. Own that shit, bitches. Lots of racism running around there. I don’t know if Starke County is still so fucked up in terms of viewpoints on race, gender, sex, identity, religion, economics, class, work, labor, healthcare (this one time, in college at NYU, a fellow student exclaimed after proofreading my essay, “you like to make lists, don’t you! “), but there is everywhere I look, so it is probably still fucking up white people in North Judson. Children carry the lives and words of their parents, even if we don’t mean for them to. Whatever we do, whatever we say, shapes them into who we are. That does not mean that we should feel shame or guilt or wish to change the past. None of those things help us ever. All we can do is our best. Try and do better. There has never been a time where a person thought, boy, I’m super joyful since I decided to treat myself to all that shame and feel responsible for everything that goes wrong and look backwards all the time. Yeah, dragging the past along in a giant sleeping bag is just excellent for my health. Let’s keep going with that.

Nope.

Leave it. Leave it behind. All of it, but the racist shit. Leave that shit behind. Let it fucking compost. It will. Stop giving it power. Shut down the white people who perpetuate it. Not the children. Give the children all of the graces, always. Teach them. But the adults should fucking know better and need to be shut down. That’s enough of this bull shit. I’m tired of seeing and hearing and reading it. People of color have fought long enough. They don’t have to. White people need to shut down other white people.

Most of the time, I am very friendly and pleasant toward everyone I meet, but sometimes I am thunderstorm angry, and racism (by white people against other people – that is the accepted definition of racism in my world, there is no reverse) always tips me to that level. I have no time for it. No one should.

I love pop music. Here’s an appropriate song. Maybe I’ll keep including music.

 

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