Before I go on this tirade I just want to send a shout out to E at We Could Be Famous. He addresses city issues without ignoring the racial component where it's valid and no one is disrespected. I wish more black people would visit his site and engage in the discussion. E, I would make you an honorary Ninth Ward legend but I already gave that title to Brad Pitt and I can only give out one a year.
Lately I have been having some blogger conflict. There are many blogs about New Orleans but not many written by black people. The reality of it is that whatever popularity this page is due largely in part to the number of white people that choose to read me. I don’t have a problem with that because the color of the people who read what I have to say can’t change how I see the world. I like it because there is not enough time giving to really understand issues of black New Orleans. I don’t write trying to appease a certain group of people. Nothing in our current circumstances is simple as a black side and a white side of things. To break everything down to those terms on narrows the scope of any real solution. Take crime for instance. Everyone agrees that they want an end to crime and the thugs need to be locked away but not acknowledging the conditions of the schools and the type of education those thugs received before they became thugs will only leave the door open for the same problem to keep happening over and over. That’s the kind of issue I try to address from all angles. I am not bragging but I think I am pretty good at it.
Sometimes however things happen that make me think I should be a little more militant. Saturday I went looking for election results online. I found an article titled “Joseph Cao defeats William Jefferson”. I clicked on the article to read it and the comments section sent me into a state of anger. There was all these comments about the Chocolate City people will always vote for the black man no matter how crooked or how Africans were inferior or incompetent and how we were too stupid and should be tested to vote. That’s just a sample. The first thing I felt was offended. Then I just got mad and wanted to start an online ruckus so bad that the website might have been shut down forever and the FBI would have traced my IP address. They were making comments on a story that said Jefferson had already lost. That means whoever these folks are making the comments didn’t even read what the hell they were commenting on. They logged in specifically to make negative comments about black people. What should have been a moment where we all were looking ahead to a change turned into a few moments where I actually thought I should have voted for Jefferson myself out of spite. Whenever folks say things like this are the reason why they vote strictly along racial lines I try to tell them to look pass it but there’s only so much you can take before you get paranoid and circle the wagons to protect yourself. There's a fine line from when personal feelings about one politician turn into sweeping comments about everyone that looks like him.
I don't care how much money Bill Jefferson had in his freezer or how bad anyone thinks Ray Nagin is. When the critique becomes an attack on his genetic make up as a black man then the line is crossed and it doesn't matter what you are trying to say at that point. Since these people think they are so intellectual superior they should be able to make their arguments a lot better than I do. After all, I am just a black guy from the Lower Ninth Ward, a neighborhood so poor and pitiful it's not even worth rebuilding. These genetically superior anonymous comment makers should be able to make quick work of a cat like me in an open forum. What the hell are they hiding for? The other thing is that no one in charge on any of these message boards does anything to stop it. America has that freedom of speech thing so I guess it’s all good. I decided I will keep writing and being the anti stereotype of everything they say. Calling them a bunch of names will make me feel good for a split second but in the morning I will pass all those abandoned schools and empty houses and get knocked back into the big picture. If there is one thing I have learned in life it’s that you can’t spend much time on the ignorant.
I have a message for anyone this applied to that happens to wander to this page. My name is Clifton Joseph Harris III. I live in New Orleans East. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you truly believe the things you say send me an email and make yourself known. I will be happy to debate you and show you how a black dude from the Lower Ninth Ward can crush you with my mind and not my fist (Unless you hit me first then it’s on. Clancy DuBos told me he would come get me out of jail for anything but DWI. I promise to be sober when I defend myself). I was just playing but don’t let the jokes fool you. I am mentally sharp and battle tested. I’m not ashamed of who I am and what I have to say. What about you?
This happens to be about a local website but this kind of thing happens everywhere from CNN, ESPN to YouTube. It shouldn't be that much of an emotional challenge for a black man to surf the internet. In my opinion, this country has not progressed as much as we think.