Addressing The Stereotypes In Our Communities
To Whom It May Concern:
I just want to start this off with – We are NOT all Kimani Gray. I have been a resident of the East Flatbush neighborhood for years and can tell you that I have been stopped by police on numerous occasions. I have been asked for identification, questioned, and let go without incident. Why? Because I have done nothing wrong and I did not run from police officers.
The problem is that I fit the description of some vague black male who caused problems within the community. One source of the problem: violence is done in the community by the people (males) who live in it and victimize each other. This is a problem dealing with a way of life and those who live in the area.
If Kimani Gray was not following in his father’s violent past (and possibly present) or older brother’s violent behavior, then he might have been carrying school books or, better yet, home studying rather than “hanging out.”
He learned that violence from his parents and peers is a problem and that all of the protesting did not address but condone more violence. The flash mob at Rite Aid represented Kimani Gray, the fools yelling and walking up and down Church Avenue represented Kimani Gray, and the idiots who threw objects at police represented Kimani Gray. THEY ARE KIMANI GRAY!
I saw members of the press (TV and print media) come by the shrine at East 55th Street; I watched a reporter from News12 Brooklyn rehearse her lines while the cameraman of the same station went to the truck to get more equipment. I watched a man from Channel 41 set up his tripod and camera. I also witnessed Channel 7 drive northbound on East 55th Street, cross Church Avenue and park on the north side of the intersection. I saw reporters walking up and down (east and west) on Church Avenue between East 55th and East 54th streets looking and hoping for a story. No one who knew some backstory was talking to the press! The backstory is the violence that is endorsed and taught to the next generation.
So now, the mother/parents settled monetarily with the police (neither of whom were actively playing a role in raising Kimani Gray – another elusive backstory to reporters), the protesting has died down and in this section of East Flatbush the behavior of violence can continue.
Why? Because people will continue to have children with no major support system, release them into a community with the presence of gangs (other people’s children whom they either refuse to raise, incapable of doing so, or train in violence).
The sensational display has ended and the real, true long-term work could begin, but it will not. To stop the violence requires active and smart parenting (by mature adults and not older “adult” gang members) and a change in how the community condones violent behavior - but that requires work and it is not as much fun as yelling, throwing things, and stomping.
There are those of us in East Flatbush that are tired of the violence and when we see a newborn in a stroller, all we can think of is that in another 10 years or so that child will grow up to be a terror in the area.
WE ARE NOT ALL KIMANI GRAY.
Pardon me if I do not send this as an email or use my name.