Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Lie We All Live In

Earlier this week, my next-door neighbors Devon and Trina Ward noticed the letter N sprayed into their front lawn, accompanied by an empty container of Skoal, beer bottles and chicken bones. Soon after it became mailbox conversation and sidewalk small talk.

On Friday, police officers were canvassing the street, interviewing neighbors about the unfortunate incident. I myself got a ring at the doorbell from officer Rodriguez. None of us had noticed anything out of the ordinary. The police downplayed the incident and advised the Wards to cover it up.


The Wards reached out through other channels; local papers, WBAL TV-11 News and myself.
Melissa Carlson and John Cassini from WBAL interviewed the Wards, my mother and myself. Do I feel safe in my own neighborhood, they asked.

"Its the lie we all live in," I told Carlson. Its Columbia and anyone who thinks civility is the categorical imperative of our town needs to add Tom Paine to their bumper. Einstein said time and space are relative. I think he should add safety to the list.

Now I'm asking the readers of this blog and other local blogs to spread the word. The "not in my neighborhood" mentality ends where the driveways meet the streets. And on Columbia's summer streets, many a youth walks around with nothing to do.

So if you've got nothing better to do, or you'd like the details, tune in to 11 News at 11pm for the story and thanks for reading.


Dr. Spaulding said...

Please post the video clip for those of us without cable!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I can't believe that happened. I just sent Trina and Devon a note expressing our sympathies and support.
I grew up in Columbia and never encountered racism like that. Except for that one idiot whose house backed onto Cradlerock Way and flew the Confederate flag off of his balcony, until everyone pitched a fit.
I didn't discover true racism until I joined the military and started to see other parts of the country. Columbia is definitely a 'bubble', I love your Einstein quote adaptation, couldn't have put it better myself.

The intriguing thing is that the Wards are one of many black families on the cul-de-sac. Their next door neighbors are the Kahns, Sunni-Pakistanis, across the street from them, another black family the Washingtons (who raised their now 40 year old children in that house), go down the street and you'll encounter 2 more Pakistani families, and three other black families. A very multi-cultural street. My guess is the Wards were targets because of their house location, being on a corner provides the opportunity for more accessible vandalism.

True shame.

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