Kudos go out to Allegheny County Councilwoman Amanda Green Hawkins for making a stand and NAACP Pittsburgh Unit President Connie Parker for having her back.
Amanda stuck by her guns and didn’t back down from the big powerful Rivers Casino. The result was that there really was a problem of the Rivers’ security over reacting when there was a large group of Blacks, especially Black males. And she made sure they faced and dealt with this problem and didn’t just wash it over as Black folks being paranoid, by calling an incident racist when it wasn’t.
Lets’ face it folks, most White people get nervous when there’s a large group of Blacks, especially if they aren’t in suits and ties, and they are males. But let’s be for real; so do Black folks. Shooting, fighting, killing and being rowdy by a few Blacks has closed a lot of places. But that’s no reason all Blacks shouldn’t be able to have parties or social events in public non-Black venues.
Of course there’s always one or two who are going to make it tough for us all. But like the president of the bikers club said, just let the head people know and they can take care of the problem. Don’t punish all for the actions of a few.
We all know these people. We have some in our families that we hate to invite to our family gatherings, especially once they get a little alcohol in them. But it’s far past time that White businesses realize that if they are open to the public they can’t run away from Blacks, and they can’t treat us just any kind of way. We are to be treated with the same respect as Whites who pay for an evening of entertainment. Many Whites after they get a few drinks in them aren’t exactly beautiful people either.
While we as Blacks must also realize that many places are closing to us because of that handful that after a few drinks start acting like fools, wanting to fight at the drop of a hat, and every other word is B and MF; a party is supposed to be loud, and people should be having a good time but not disrespectful.
Some people called it pilling on when Connie Parker, president of the Pittsburgh NAACP, held a separate meeting with the Casino. I don’t. I call it having the elected official, Amanda Green Hawkins’ back.
The NAACP is an independent organization, that was created to fight for the human rights of Black people. So letting the Casino executives know that they have their eyes on them, and expect them to do the right thing in regards to Black people, puts added pressure on the Casino to not only do the right thing in this situation, but in the future.
This also keeps all the other White establishments in the area aware that they can’t treat Blacks any way they chose, because we are not going to tolerate it.
But it also says to Blacks that when we have public functions, that we must not tolerate misbehavior by our people as well. If we give respect then we can demand respect.
Speaking of having one’s back, I was somewhat surprised at the Zone 5 controversy. According to a letter the Courier received, some of the police officers in Zone 5, which covers Homewood and parts of the East End, are unhappy with some statements in a story the Courier ran a few weeks ago where Commander Timothy O’Connor apparently said that the officer who had a confrontation with a Courier photographer and a school teacher leaving a community meeting was wrong in creating the confrontation and the arrest of the teacher. A judge released the teacher the next day, which basically said it was a bad arrest.
Wrong is wrong. Why is there a problem? Police officers can be wrong just like anyone else. Why can’t their boss say it? Why can’t the FOP say it?
We all have made mistakes because we are human. Yes supervisors and bosses are supposed to stand behind their people, when they are right. But not if they are clearly wrong.
But just like two wrongs don’t make a right, one wrong doesn’t make all the officers of Zone 5, or throughout the city wrong or racist. There are good cops and there are bad cops. We, the Black media and the community, just have to make sure that the bad cops don’t rule the streets, the zones or the communities. We, the media, along with Zone Commanders and elected officials must be willing to have the good cops back, while standing up against the bad cops.
To all the good cops out there who are fighting crime and the violence on the streets while realizing that all Blacks are not criminals, by treating Black people in and out of the community with respect—We Got Your Back. To the others, We Have Our Eyes On You. And that is true of the White and Black venues serving the general public.
(Ulish Carter is the managing editor of the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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