Saturday, February 23, 2008

Mission Accomplished/Nuns with Guns/Sad Kids


(P1) Political













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(P2) Philosophical

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(P3) Poetical

When Your Mother Is Only 15 & Your Grandmother 32

Once is awhile I take a break from "serious" reading and relax with an Elmore Leonard or Robert B. Parker crime novel. This time, reading in Parker's Small Vices, I came across the following insightful passages which, more than many, seem to capsulize the trap of the ghetto. Here, private detective Spenser is speaking with a grizzled and wise black cop.

"Ellis got the same story most of the kids you can see got," Jackson said. He made a graceful inclusive gesture with his right hand.

"His mother's about fifteen years older than he is. She and him live with her mother, his grandmother. Nobody's working. Don't know who the father is. Mother does some dope 'cause she got nothing else that she knows how to do. Grandmother does what she can. Which ain't much. She's got no education. She's got no money. She don't know who fathered her daughter. When Ellis was born., his grandmother was about thirty-two. Ellis don't go to school much. Nobody at his house seems able to get up early enough in the morning to get him there. He's a gang banger soon as they'll have him. Ran for a while with The Hobarts. By the time he's a grown-up he got his career mapped out. He does strong arm, dope dealing, small-time theft. For recreation he molests women. Anybody he seen in his whole life, that he actually knows, who's a success, that's what they do. Michael Jordan may as well be from Mars."......

I watched the kids walking past us on the sidewalk. They looked pretty much like any other kids. They were dressed for each other. Oversized clothes, sneakers, hats on backwards, or sideways. Most of them tried to look confident. Most of them were full of pretense. All of them were a little over matched by the speed at which the world came at them. But these kids weren't like other kids, and I knew it. These kids were doomed. And they knew it.......

......"So I say, you people have simply got to stop talking 'bout fucking 'inner city' when you mean black. And you really got to stop taking about fucking 'parents'. Kids in the 'inner city' got the usual biological folks. But mostly they ain't got no fucking 'parents'. Mostly the only family they got is the gang, and the only thing that they can insist on is respect. And the only things they got to insist on it with is balls and a gun."

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12 comments:

honkytonkman said...

Some folks are now thinking that Bush has screwed up the country so badly that no matter who is the next President, he/she will fail. The presidency is only part of the equation. To get the ship of state back on course, a whole new crew is needed.

No one should be deluded into believing that a new president without a new congress will make a damn bit of difference. Vote out all incumbents!

Experience is what has brought us to our debacle. Let's give innocence a chance.

Ed Coletti said...

Dear Readers.

I just wanted to explain that, recently, this site, along with most others, has been victimized by stupid malicious spamming. Please don't let the destroyers win. We've implemented the simple step of requesting commentors to repeat a code and ID themselves as a legitimate email address. Please take the 2 seconds necessary for this. Those of us who spend the time to put out a product of which we're proud, thrive on your comments.

Thank you,

Ed Coletti

Ed Coletti said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ed Coletti said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Voltron said...

I think having word verification is an excellent idea! Vote out the inumbents and the Spammers!
...oh wait, can we do that?

honkytonkman said...

Good idea. The verification.

Ed of Nice said...

The piece appears to be good writing. Felt like a glass of cold water being splashed in the face.

Ed of Nice said...

Eddie my comment was about the detective story. Regarding spammers the internet is just on big ghetto. People electronically spray their thoughts on the walls. Some good, some artistic and some is just slop. Our internet world is a ghetto. Eventually many shall move to the suburbs or gentrify the landscape of the internet band they cruise.

Ed of Nice, again??? said...

One more thought: Ain't mental poverty marvelous.

Terri said...

Insightful? How about cliche' and obvious? We all know these realities. It's old news, and considering it "insightful" at this point only shows why the problem still exists in the first place, ignorance and denial. And I don't mean on the part of the "inner city" population.

Ed Coletti said...

Dear Terri,

I do understand what you mean when you consider Parker's treatment of such dead ends to be "cliche." I guess I was taken by it in its context in a detective novel aimed mostly at readers who might not have such first-hand knowledge. I just figured that fifteen year old mothers and thirty year old grandmothers might grab some of my readers who, like many of Parker's readers, might not ordinarily spend time considering the ravages of racism. Sometimes blogging is like Oprah asking naive questions of guests in order to get some in her audience up to speed with what they ordinarily may not confront. I do agree with you, Terri, that this is an all-too-old subject. But, if I tire of it, who will remind the average reader? The reader of detective novels.

Howsomever, thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

Ed

Duncan said...

terri said:

"Insightful? How about cliche' and obvious? We all know these realities. It's old news, and considering it "insightful" at this point only shows why the problem still exists in the first place, ignorance and denial. And I don't mean on the part of the "inner city" population."

I think Ed's reply to your blunt comment was accurate and it describes the way in which I took his post of the Parker novel excerpt.

I take your comment to say that you have known of these ghetto conditions for some time (old news), that you are not ignorant of them and that you are not in denial of them. Perhaps you could enlighten us on how you have acted to alleviate or correct these inner city conditions.

Or are you like so many of us who are aware, but blame others for inaction?