Saturday, March 25, 2006

Crazy Parade Crime Blog

I was going to read the comments on the Kansas City Star's crime blog--which, on the topic of the St. Patrick's Day parade has over 300 posts--and make a few jokes at the posters' expense. Seeing a suggestion about moving the parade to the weekend, for instance, I was going to say something hilarious like "Well, that would solve the problem. Because teenage trouble makers are too busy shopping at Home Depot and attending church on the weekend to go to a parade."

Talk about funny.

But what I saw on the blog wasn't funny. It was racist. See for yourself on the parade blog listed at Someone suggested that a separate parade be held on Troost--the historical divider between white and black neighborhoods in Kansas City--with entries like the Marching Cobras--a black marching band that is one of the best acts in the parade--headlining. Someone said all the black teens at the parade were dressed like thugs. That the black community needed to get a handle on their youth. Someone even said that black people should go back to Africa. Racism is alive and well in Kansas City.

Not everyone took the parade violence as an opportunity to say ridiculous things like "It's not racist to realize we should all be careful around blacks." Bizarre tangents abounded on the crime blog. One poster blamed the problem on the parade committee not being practicing Catholics. This resulted in an apparent argument over whether the parade should be turned into a Mass.

Some black posters said white youths called them racial slurs. Other posters encouraged people to realize that most people standing in the black section (yes the parade was segregated, not by law obviously, but segregated all the same) were minding their own business. It is amazing that in 2006, that does not go without saying.

People raised the issues of Kansas City's crime problem and segregation problem and public school problem and arena spending problem. It's amazing how a specific topic can explode into a million grievances. I see it happen on my neighborhood yahoo group e-mails. Mention a shooting and you'll get a single post in response. Mention Aldi's discount store moving into the neighborhood and you've got a debate about gentrification, prejudice, affordability and poverty. Talk about a commercial business--a party bus--apparently operating out of a neighbor's driveway and a simple question of city codes becomes a lively discussion about individual rights, neighborly compassion and that phrase that makes it into every controversial yahoo topic--white trash.

On the yahoo list, people generally make really rude comments or poke fun at the rudeness of it all. Obviously it's more fun to read the latter. But like I said, the whole St. Patty's Day parade blog isn't funny. It's scary.

It's no secret that Kansas City has a violence problem. A segregation problem. A racism problem. A poverty problem. Now the city has a parade problem, too. I mentioned in an earlier post that I saw two arrests being made, police and a helicopter chasing after something. I saw kids who to me looked like they were looking for a fight. This is based on my experience of seeing guys in college and high school who were looking for fights. Unfortunately, kids pick certain venues to fight. When I was in high school it was a fast food restaurant called Kentaco Hut and a street in an affluent neighborhood next to a park.

The police broke up several fights at the parade. Is the parade now one of those places?

I don't envy the cops who have parade duty. I also mentioned earlier that I saw a man telling a police man who was trying to help him not get run over by a float shove away from the cop and say "Get your hands off me." That guy was white, by the way.

It's true that most of the parade was peaceful and fun. That the parade organizers bend over backwards to make it a family event. But I'm sure that matters little to the family who got pulled out of their car and beat up by a group of people. That is the craziest thing I've ever heard. Well almost. The craziest thing I've ever heard is blaming everything that happened at the parade on the fact that black people were there. Yet so many on the crime blog said just that.


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