2001-05-19 / Letters

Frightened People

Frightened People

Dear Editor;

I would like to respond to Osandra's response to Mr. Martin O'Gara (May 12, 2001).  I can understand some of Mr. O'Gara's feelings and think the record should be set straight.  

I was also a resident of the  Bronx in the 1950s to the 1980s.  We lived in a beautiful neighborhood near Mosholu Parkway.  We Irish lived peacefully with Jews, Italians and Germans.  We were mostly poor,
working class people living with four to five kids in two bedroom apartments.

There was no crime and no fear of being the victim of crime.  I can remember as a child sleeping with our apartment door open to let the breeze cool us off on long summer nights. All this changed in the 70s and 80s.  You see Osandra, when the minorities came the crime rates in the Bronx skyrocketed! Violent, ugly crimes of murder and rape, grand larceny auto, burglaries, arson etc. Senior citizens were the particular target of this ethnic violence, many murdered in their own apartments. I am not going to say that all African Americans were responsible but the statistics indicate that 16% of the population was commiting 80% of the crimes! Neighborhoods we lived in for decades became wastelands in a few years with city services collapsing..."white flight" wasn't the result of subtle racism but a desperate response of people who were frightened for their lives. "Rome was sacked!"  

I tell friends don't talk to me of Kosovo, I lived through ethnic
cleansing and violence as a child and teenager and we ran for our lives to
Westchester and Long Island.  It's time for African Americans to get the chip off their shoulders and stop the excuses and face up to the fact that they were and are not free from the guilt of racism and ethnic violence. My family has been here in New York City since the 1830s.  They were the
policemen, firemen and laborers who built this city.  I even had ancestors
who fought in the Civil War to free the slaves.  Is this the way we should be repaid?   I think the leaders and the African American community in general, should acknowledge and take responsibility for the transgressions that many of their people have committed.  It's time to face the truth, stop the belly-aching and stop acting like you were the only ones oppressed in this country's history.


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