In what has turned into an illuminating series of posts and comments on Public Enemy, Elvis (P and C), race (naturally), and other related topics, I brought up the issue of black anger as reflected in the music of PE (see comment #6 on this post). I said such anger is probably not helpful on a personal or political level, but is certainly a legitimate topic for art, and is justified – even now – by our sorry racial history.
As if the Fates were listening in on the discussion, I picked up today’s Aurora Advocate, our local weekly, shortly after making the comment, turned to page 13 and read a story by reporter Dave O’Brien (it isn’t online):
- Two Streetsboro [brothers], who are white, have been sentenced to a maximum of six months in jail for their role in an alleged racially-charged road rage incident …. found guilty .. of chasing a car driven by 19-year-old Auroran [I’m leaving out all names] who is black, with their trucks through Shalersville.
…[Auroran] and a friend were visiting a mutual friend in Shalersville … [Brother 1] drove past them and used a racial epithet directed at [Auroran].
….As [Auroran] drove away and approached Bartlett Road … [brother 1] then cut off [Auroran], pulled in front of him and stopped.
As [Auroran] attempted to back up and pull around, he saw another truck, driven by [brother 2], approaching…[Auroran] made a right turn onto Bartlett Road, with the trucks driving alongside him, switching lanes and trying to get in front of his car. [Auroran] pulled into a driveway, where [the brothers] cornered him, got out of their trucks, began kicking and banging on his car and shouted racial slurs. [Auroran] managed to drive away with the [brothers] in pursuit…
Imagine the horror of a black kid from upper-middle class Aurora running for his life away from two white goons who hated him and wished him harm (at best) SIMPLY BECAUSE HE WAS BLACK, just a few miles from his “safe” home, in the enlightened year of 2002. Thank God he got away.
Now picture this: this incident, of which I was unaware before today, began right in front of our old house WHILE WE STILL LIVED THERE, and the brothers were our next door neighbors. Racism doesn’t hit much closer to home than that.