Random flotsam from the shattered windmills of my mind

Me, history, politics, Washington D.C., photography, sex


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"All blacks are violent"? Hardly!

I live in Anacostia, in a building which (other than me) has two white boys in it -- both Jehovah's Witnesses (which is why they are here, not because they want to be). Nearly everyone in my building is terrific! My floor has great neighbors, the two teenagers next door come over when they get locked out by accident, and I don't mind rowdy.

But poverty exacts its toll, wouldn't you agree? And where I live (which is one neighborhood of D.C., which is all I can speak to), that poverty is extreme. A recent visitor to the city -- a member of the Obama campaign -- was so horrified at the extreme poverty in Anacostia that she compared it to a Third World slum. She would be right.

One of the effects of poverty is hopelessness. Another is rage. Combined, those effects turn those afflicted with extreme poverty into near-psychotics. Some survive it; some geniuses even thrive under such conditions, and emerge to be great scientists, thinkers, artists, leaders. But those exceptions prove the rule, and cannot be used to justify doing nothing about the extreme poverty here.

I know a lot of the younger black men in my building. I've lived here in my building nearly five years, and almost none of them have held jobs. I can see the changes in nearly all of them: Increasing rage, increasing gang-related behavior, increasing levels of violence. Some of them have taken gunshots at their best friends, for nothing more than having accidentally stepped on a foot (scuffing their "prison whites") or for kissing a girl.

And it's not African Americans, either. The Asians, the Latinos -- if they're extremely poor, the hopelessness and despair hits them, too. (Of the Caucasians in this neighborhood, which are very very few, most of them are middle-class and elderly. There are some deaf students from Gallaudet living around here, due to the very low rents. And they're all middle-class or lower-middle-class.)

Extreme poverty turns anyone into an animal. I live in a 99 percent black neighborhood, and the extreme poverty is destroying my neighbors.

What galls me is that no one wants to do anything about it.

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