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Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco, a weekly chronicle detailing life in this locale.

According to a PBS News Hour segment featuring visually impaired Professor Georgia Kleege of UC Berkeley, people with disabilities feel the eyes of everyone riveted on them as they move in public.  Even the visually impaired have an uncanny ability to feel the gaze of thousands of eyes singling them out. Likewise, people of color feel stigmatized as we travel throughout the social order, as if violating the unspoken rule of no black faces in white spaces. The sudden presence of police enforcing this rule confirms black folks’ suspicions.


This common white/black dance unfolded as usual last Saturday in my South Beach neighborhood choreographed by social construct, a construct my Southern parents danced until their move to California. Dance rule breakers who violate this covenant must be punished, even if it’s an eight-year old child. In a departure from the play, however, social media helped write police out of the script by a well-crafted Saturday, June 23 Instagram Post dubbing the aggressor "Permit Patty."


In short, my neighbors had a dust up and police were averted from the scene; however, the legacy left in the cloud will linger forever.  Were there chances in this exchange between community members to alter the black/white dance and dismantle racism entirely or just to punish the offender? Did public outcry set in motion a possibility for healing on both sides so as not to allow for a repeat event?


If we’re not making systemic change to oppression which prevents it from operating in society, if we’re not calling out structural racism and calling in people not yet woke to defeat evil systems with us, "we are of all people most miserable."  We simply perpetuate harm. A very wise man once said…


"When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil SYSTEMS. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the SYSTEM. MLK Jr."


Until we are able to address oppression as a conglomerate beloved community, I guess I will continue to live my parents’ Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco.



GEORGINA KLEEGE, Lecturer, UC Berkeley: “It’s a common experience for people with disabilities to feel that they are being stared at or to notice they are being stared at.   And in fact, blind people can feel that, too, a kind of collective intake of breath even if nobody says anything, you can tell when you attract attention..”    July 6, 2017, PBS News Hour

This Week in Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco, a weekly chronicle.

Week 1 - December 2 - 8, 2019


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the musical Hamilton Tuesday night at the Orpheum Theater here in San Francisco.  The set designs and music were phenomenal! The choreography grand!  Each player’s step were timed perfectly with a rotating platform to simulate motion on a static stage.

The next morning, around seven, I witnessed a comparable choreographed play as I walked the four short blocks to catch an uptown train, and there they were, at the corner, timed perfectly with my steps as if enveloped into my dance.  I've witnessed this dancer's steps many times before, the hysterical hipster with hound of the #GentrifyingGeorge type!  They moved in concert with my black/white dance to the corner, in tandem with my move to the identical spot. 

Were they reminding me that I was breaking the rules of the black/white dance in the "hood?"  Were they transporting me back in time to a historical place in the social construct of race?  Transporting me to the path of my ancestor, Harriet Tubman, chased by hounds on the Underground Railroad?


Thursday, December 5, 2019

I rode home on my bike and was greeted around three in the afternoon with a parade of neighbors, lining the street.  Were they there to welcome me home or check my dance moves in the black/white play?  Still on my bike and Just a few feet from my front door, a SUV backed out, rapidly in reverse, in front of me, nearly running over me.  Again had I missed a step in the dance?  Did I commit a party foul in this Jim Crow dance?


Friday, December 6, 2019
Mob Hysteria danced with me today at my front door.  We locked steps as my taxi drove up.  One actor in the routine feigned snapping images of the stunning Bay Bridge.  I yielded to this performer and they exited stage left, their dance number complete.  Then, as if scripted, a second dancer in the black/white play rode up on a bike costumed as a delivery person, calling for others to join the black/white dance in my building's lobby.  At that point, I exited stage left as the previous actor, down the stairs. 


But most strange was the out of character actor dancing pass me on the stairs.  This performer did not blend well into the theme of the dance.  This actor seemed Improperly cast for the black/white production.   Had the play’s director erred in placing this actor with skin like mine in the role of oppressor?   Was this actor injuring another black person in the absence of the oppressor?


Sunday, December 8, 2019

On Saturday, I rode down to a local haven for those of us seeking the “warmth of other suns,” those of us seeking a respite from the daily drudge of Jim Crow acidity.  This haven holds those of us of African descent in high esteem.  It has a way of neutralizing the singe of Jim Crow mainly with sacred gatherings.  However, my bike ride to the rays of the other suns was marred by unexpected dancers of the black/white play.  All lining the three-mile route to the sacred space.  Each one I passed singed my psyche, their optics reeking of oppression.  The symbols they held with an eight-foot line tortured my great-grandparents in the antebellum and in the fight for integration.  What possessed these actors in the dance?  Had the stage been expanded outside of South Beach?

This Week in Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco, a weekly chronicle.

Week 2 - December 9-15, 2019


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Has the performance between black and white dancers extended outside of South Beach?  Is the theater universal? 

This chronicle’s premise is that the author experiences daily, racially based harassment similar to the author’s parents.  ProPublica supports this premise in “Get Out”:  Black Families Harassed in Their Own HomesOur Documenting Hate database shows that the terrorizing of people where they live is alive and well decades after the civil rights movement.


Friday, December 13, 2019
It's logical that the stage is universal in the Jim Crow black/white play.  Dancers from other districts in the black/white dance follow the same script; fixation on the black body much like the white women who danced with Marc Peeples in Detroit.  Marc’s dance partners attempted to vanquish him completely from the stage through complex choreography.   But a very discerning judge observed the white women’s moves and awarded Marc points in the dance.  Conversely, Judge Bryant deducted points from the white women’s routine, labeled them stalkers and harassers since these white women initiated all contact with Marc.  During a criminal trial, Judge Bryant stated: 


"This is disgusting and a waste of the court's time and resources… [the three white women]…engaged in a very targeted and constant harassment of the young man" that appeared to be racially motivated.  "I found their testimony to be offensive.” 


Do my black/white dance partners in South Beach use the same complex choreography as the three white women cited above?   Do they instigate all routines without my permission?   Don't I have a say  if I really don’t care to dance the black/white dance with anyone?

This Week in Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco, a weekly chronicle.

Week 3 - December 16 -23, 2019


Friday, December 19, 2019
Days when the black white dance is suspended are refreshing.  Friday, was that type of a day.   As I boarded the train, a young woman yielded her seat to me.  This kind act made me feel so well respected, no longer feeling less than human.   It’s so inspiring to be graced with the kindness of the younger generation.  Later, in a crowded dining hall, this same young woman welcomed me to her table as we both got breakfast.  It made my morning!

This Week in Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco, a weekly chronicle.

Week 4 - December 23-29, 2019


Monday, December 23, 2019
This week began with a brown, glass bottle smashing a few feet from me onto the Brannan platform just as I exited from the train.  It was around ten in the morning.  The bottle was thrown so hard it shattered into shards as it hit the platform. 


Sunday, December 29, 2019

Most memorable during this last week of the year in the black and white dance is the kindness of others.  It’s the hope of this writer that random acts of kindness become infectious in the new year.

This Week in Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco, a weekly chronicle.

Week 5 - December 30 - January 5, 2019-2020


Saturday, January 4, 2020

Yesterday, on Friday, I got a tender reception from staff while visiting a center devoted to serving others.  The warmth, comforting and affirming atmosphere drenched me in love!  It was great compared to the many times I visited this area of the city and felt chased out and harassed.


This entry is the first in the new year.

This Week in Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco, a weekly chronicle.

Week 6 - January 6-12, 2020


Sunday, January 12, 2020

This week was like all the weeks in the black and white dance here in South Beach, San Francisco, filled with intense scrutiny of the black body.  Makes one wonder which black bodies can walk, shop or bike without eyes on them?  Which black bodies are welcomed as peacemakers?

This Week in Living My Parents' Jim Crow in South Beach, San Francisco, a weekly chronicle.

Week 7 - January 13-19, 2020

Monday, January 13, 2020
One knows they’re in a beautiful town not only because of how expensive it is to live in the city but also because of the stunning sunrises that frame the town’s bay waters!  Viewing light on the water contrasted with the early morning sky electrically charges the senses, reinvigorating the joy of being alive!  These dynamics graced my bike ride over the Mission Creek channel early Monday morning.


Conversely, what distracts from living in an enviable locale is the Jim Crow, black and white dance, ever present and ever denied by those who fixate on the treks of black bodies in this luxurious town.


Midday I sat with a racially mixed crowd as we learned about our hidden bias, the bias white players in the Jim Crow dance can’t bring themselves to face and as stated above, ever deny.   It’s the White Fragility Dr. Robin Di Angelo lives to overcome.  According to Di Angelo, white people fear a personal introspection of their race relations to the detriment of People of Color.  So much so, that they fail to identify areas of possible growth.

  

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
What constitutes and unlawful assembly?  Do neighbors have the right to antagonize and picket another neighbor because of that neighbor’s expressed belief or immutable characteristics?  Such an assembly showed up around 5:30 p.m., Wednesday along a neighborhood block near home.  Bizarre, reactionary crowd.

 

Do they believe they’re seeking justice or just punishing a person?  Do they term their presence, peaceful, non-violence protest?  What are they protesting?  Are they misguided to believe justice stems from imposing one’s will on another?  How can their hearts be filled with such disdain for a neighbor to pester them so?   Are these actions in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. who rallied around loving individual people as opposed to hating, harming individual folk?   As he stated, we defeat evil systems, not other human beings!

“Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men. 
It is the refusal to defeat any individual. 
When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power,
 you seek only to defeat evil SYSTEMS.

Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love,

but you seek to defeat the SYSTEM."  MLK Jr.