2001-08-04 / Columnists

From the G-Man by Gary G. Toms

Hey people! Okay, I have to make an official announcement. In recent columns, you may have noticed a kinder and more courteous G-man. Well, I’m going to have to leave that guy behind this week in order to address some very serious developments in and around Rockaway this week.

The first thing I want to do is take on someone who claimed that I am not "Black" or "conscious." The idiot made these claims after a telephone conversation with me at the Wave office over whether or not the drowning of the three young girls was racially motivated. He felt that there should have been signs posted in their language to warn them of the potential dangers at that section of the beach. He also went on to say that if this had been a white area, there would have been all types of security and signs posted to prevent this type of situation.

I politely disagreed with him, and he asked me if I happened to be Black. I asked him what my ethnic background had to do with the topic of discussion, and he responded by saying, "Because you don’t sound Black". The last time I heard those words was when the lead counsel at a major law firm I worked for, who was white, said them to me. I ripped the attorney apart for saying it, and this fool is about to get it even worse.

The jackass made three crucial mistakes. First of all, he pissed me off when I was having a really great day. Secondly, he is assuming that the ill-fated young women did not speak or understand the English language simply because they were Moslem, and there was no information put forth to indicate that they did not. Finally, if he had bothered to do the research he would have realized two other swimmers, a mother and her daughter, drowned along the same area last year. In that case the victims were Caucasian! So, I guess that destroys his "white area" theory.

It’s because of people like him that major issues affecting the Black community are not taken seriously, and many whites develop the attitude that we are continuously playing the race card.

I don’t care if people disagree with me. I don’t care if people say that I am a terrible writer or egotistical bastard. I can live with that. What I cannot, and will not, tolerate is someone challenging my "Blackness" because I don’t agree with their brand of "Black logic". I am as African minded and cultured as they come. Chris Tucker, Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock should be as African as I am!

If he’s reading this, and I suspect he is, you just remember one thing. You throw jabs at me, directly or through the community, you’d better expect a literary ass kicking. I truly hate saying that because, as Africans, we are supposed to be one. However, since you boldly stated that I am not "Black", that totally changes the scope of things. Please, let this be the last time I have to address you.

The other thing that’s getting to me is the amount of construction that is going on around the East end of Rockaway. One community spokesperson stated, "Oh, it’s great to know that a beautification process is underway in our area. More affordable homes and better roads are being built, and a number of trees are being planted throughout the community."

Indeed, it’s a great thing, but why the hell do they wait to do it during an election year! Have you ever noticed that? I know I’m not the only one. It never fails. When jobs are on the line, or political dominance is up for grabs, that’s when things get done. These projects should have been implemented years ago. It’s only now that people in power are trying to save face, at the state and local levels. What they are failing to realize is that it may be a case of too little, too late, and that could prove to be the case in the upcoming elections.

In closing, I would like to issue a challenge to the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce. While it has truly been a pleasure to attend your luncheons to welcome the Mayoral candidates, I would like to see you somehow incorporate the East end of Rockaway into these events and others that you sponsor. To my understanding, the two sections have not exactly seen eye to eye in the past, but it’s time for that to change. The Chamber represents all of Rockaway, so that should include the Eastern section as well.

I do not hold the Chamber solely responsible for this situation. Those in the Eastern sector must find a way to bridge the gap as well. No longer can we afford to be separated as the "white and minority" ends of the peninsula. It does us no good, and it only serves to create a lack of understanding between the cultures. No one brings this up because too many people are sensitive about race and interpretation of lifestyles. Well, I have the balls to put it out there, and I hope a dialogue will begin. Liz, if anyone has the guts to try and make it happen, it’s you. I hope my brothers and sisters on the East end are willing to comply.

Damn! It felt good to get all that out. Now I’m going to go and get a nice, cold Root Beer soda.

See you next week!

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