kitchen table

Ralph “Bucky” Phillips & a comment on the coverage
September 11, 2006, 1:30 pm
Filed under: Buffalo, City life, Racism

I work in politics so the past week has been anything but quiet. The Primary is tomorrow and I dreamt somewhere in there of posting about the industry of Election Products and Services (everything from bumper stickers to nail files to GOTV paid canvassers). No time though now, no time.

I do want to comment on the Ralph Phillips fever that has shook Western New York. For those of you fortunate enough to not know about the case, here’s a little background: Ralph “Bucky” Phillips escaped from jail in April, has been hiding out on the loose, shot a few state troopers throughout his run (one ended up dying), and was finally surrounded and caught last Friday night. Here in Buffalo, all of three of the local networks cut in to their regularly scheduled programs for over four hours
so that breaking news and press conferences could be aired on a moment’s notice.

Fine, it was a big story. Even made front page of the New York Times. What I’d like to comment on though are the countless number of white, rural folks interviewed by the news cameras who, through tears, told us all how happy they are to return to a normal, safe life. One man, during last night’s 11 o’clock news, said he was glad that he and his neighbors could go back to, “not locking our doors when we run out to the store.”

I’m glad for them, sincerely, but I cannot help but wonder why the press isn’t staking out the East Side of Buffalo. This is the area of the city where most of the year’s 54 or more homicides have taken place. This is the area of the city where innocent residents are most at danger, where children literally can’t play outside without fearing stray bullets. Where’s the uproar here? Is this not a story?

Update: While writing this post, I read a couple pieces over at the Buffalo News on the Phillips case. Ever willing to say something ridiculous, columnist Mary Kunz Goldman has suggested punishing people who “even associate” with a gang as a means to combat crime. Although I appreciate that she made the same connections between the Hunt for Phillips and the wave of violence in the city, I don’t think that turning our city into a police state is going to create the kind of peace we desire.

I want guys with camo and guns in front of my house. I want roadblocks and helicopters,” she says. Yikes.


news from Addicted to Race
August 28, 2006, 3:50 pm
Filed under: Blogging, conservative craziness, Racism

I’m coming out of the depths of my ongoing illness to shake an angry fist at the following discovery: Survivor, that pioneer in reality television, will be dividing tribes by race in the upcoming season.

Yeah, that’s right. By race. The Ladies at Addicted to Race have some analysis up on their site.

Update: I was telling some of my friends about this and one of them pointed out that if the show really wanted to portray accurate racial politics, the White team would show up the first day to find their shelter already made. A team of lawyers would be standing by with the deed and a list of all the other luxuries they inherited. Meanwhile, the other teams would be appropriately scrambling. Fucking Survivor, I hate this idea.

Root causes
July 26, 2006, 8:13 pm
Filed under: Activism, Buffalo, City life, Film, Racism, Radio

On of the guests on Talk of the Nation this afternoon was James Allen Fox, a criminal justice professor at Northeastern. The topic was the increasing violence in American cities. During his segment, one of the callers spoke about moving out of New Orleans and into a town in which the sheriff and another official were called out on their lack of “political correctness.” The caller kept referencing this idea of “political correctness” and said that he was willing to move his family to an area that had less “political correctness” because “thugs don’t come” to those neighborhoods. Just so you get it right: “thugs” don’t come to neighborhoods where the sheriff isn’t concerned with being “politically incorrect.”

Perhaps one of the pitfalls of having this “PC” shit enter our vernacular is that it is clearly being confused with racism. Thugs—don’t you mean black men, sir?—don’t reside in neighborhoods where the officials are politically incorrect (i.e., racist).

Blah. The segment with Fox was great though, good discussion about the root causes of violence. The man is really on the money. I tried to call in but it was too late; what I wanted to share was a plug for a documentary made in Buffalo. Forgotten City is written and directed by two young men, Addison Henderson and Corey Green. Both were born and raised in Buffalo. Story goes like this: Addison’s friend was murdered by Korey’s. After the death, the two came together to make a documentary about Buffalo, its segregation, economy, and violence. I saw the film a couple weeks ago and it was excellent. Time after time, the individuals in the film cited the lack of jobs as a major cause of violence, drug use, and racism within the city. Jobs, jobs, jobs. It ‘s almost incredible at how often it was the answer.

I think it’s an important film to see, copies are available on the website. If you’re involved in any sort of community where you are—campuses, non-profits, churches, etc—I think it’s worth it to have a screening and discussion.