2001-05-12 / Letters

Safer Streets

Safer Streets

Let me first start by saying I am an African American (born in the Bronx) as are many generations of my ancestors.  Being over 40 allows me to speak from my experience here in America. I know nothing else, this is home and my ancestors help build this country...we all know that.  I also remember the "colored only" places and remember feeling like a second-class citizen, right here in New York, during the 50s & the 60s, specifically.

I would also like to say I know some very nice and not so nice people. "Some" are my color, but not my kind.  I know some wonderful, beautiful people, black and white, who are part of the human race and I would never paint any of them "with the
same brush".

This pertains to the 5/5/01 article in which Martin O'Gara spouts in his
comments "the Europeans this, the Europeans, that."  His problem is that he doesn't understand the history of America, obviously.

When Blacks were freed, we were supposedly allowed to live anywhere. When we moved into neighborhoods, there was massive "white flight" because we were still viewed as second-class citizens and some white folks never got over it, Mr. O'Gara.  As quiet as its kept, services in these same neighborhoods started deteriorating.  I see it now as subtle racism.     Mr. O'Gara is either living in another world or ignorant as "bliss" to not realize all the contributions (acknowledged or not) that we've made. He says back in the day "you could go to any part of Rockaway in complete safety".  I remember it differently, especially for African American men. If they went into certain neighborhoods they were preyed on, just because of the color of their skin. I hope a young African-American man doesn't venture down Mr. O'Gara's block in the present day because his mindset is still the same as "back in they day".


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