It is impossible to fear the Other if one knows the Other does not exist. Warning to racists: Reading this post may cause cognitive dissonance.
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Last week, local news reported that the Giant Eagle grocery store less than two miles easy drive of us was closing February 1. My wife and I have been regularly shopping there for the last ten years, and the next closest real grocery store is five miles away in heavier traffic. We were just two of several thousand people who were upset by this development.
Anyway, my wife was angry about the whole situation for those and other good reasons too numerous to list here, and went to an internet forum dedicated to the latest developments in the local free over-the-air TV world for a distraction. Lo and behold, some white guy in his 70s living out in White Flight Land had posted the store closure story and blamed the mostly poor, mostly black, and many disabled people who lived in the towering apartment complex across the street whose notoriously negligent and predatory corporate owners accepted Section 8 housing assistance.
They were to blame because you know how those people were forced on the poor megamillionaire landlords by the big bad government, trashed their apartments, and committed God only knew how many crimes in the area.
In fact, Section 8 housing is a good bargain for real estate investors such as Donald Trump and Beto O’Rourke’s father-in-law. They get guaranteed income, let the place go to pieces by refusing to perform basic maintenance, and then either file Chapter 11 or pay a fine and/or sell the property in the next real estate scam.
Mrs. Barbarian, good Trotskyist that she is, went ballistic over this guy’s comments last night, drank a couple of Bombay gin & orange juices, and went to sleep. This morning, still fuming over this ignorant poltroon’s comments, she went to the aforementioned Giant Eagle to buy some groceries.
On her way out of the store, pushing her full shopping cart to her car, she noticed that there was a car parked next to our Hyundai. There were five young black men standing around this smaller car. All of them were wearing hoodies and dew rags. As Mrs. Barbarian pushed to cart up next to our trunk, one of them spoke to her.
He said, “Hi mommy!” Then they all smiled at her, proceeded to get into their vehicle, and drove off.
In the local neighborhood parlance, “Mommy” is a term of endearment and respect for older women. All the kids call Mrs. Barbarian “Mommy.”
So she came home, told me the story in a hilariously sarcastic manner, and observed that if that old white guy would just get out of his bubble and get to know those people he would quickly learn that he has nothing to fear from them. She also noted that not once in all those ten years had she or I or anyone we knew ever had occasion to fear the people from that apartment complex who shopped in that little shopping center.
And, praise Freya! She’s in a better mood.
Fear of the Other is such an ugly thing, and it is expertly used by ruling classes everywhere to keep the lower orders divided against themselves. The thing is, like most of the other residents of this most ethnically mixed of Cleveland’s inner ring suburbs, we are all now just fellow residents.
It is impossible to fear the Other if one knows that the Other does not exist.
It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs
You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton
January 6, 2019 at 11:05 PM #9320
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