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Neighborhood Story Reveals Cultural Divide, “Jim Crow Mentality”

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The cover story, “The Fences Between” (Feb. 3), illustrates all too well the ugly side of gentrification. While many white residents have moved into predominantly black communities and have contributed — even surprisingly sending their school-aged children to community schools and attending churches — others choose to cling to an aura of suspicion concerning their black neighbors that has racial overtones.

It appears that any gathering of nonapproved blacks raises paranoia as illustrated with the annual Men of Barton Heights Basketball tournament where paranoid white residents called the police to alert them of the eminent danger of black folks having fun. It is also odd that people who would usually consider themselves neighborly wish not to utter the simplest “hello” or “good morning,” instead opting to look away or stare. This is simply divisive. … even a stray dog will bark to acknowledge one's presence!

Another example of this Jim Crow mentality is the hypocrisy of viewing yourself as liberal minded, having no problem pushing Obama signs into your yard during the last presidential election. Yet when confronted with living, breathing black folks in your community, the emotion and ideology of fear, suspicions and old-time closet racism arise. I would hope that Style Weekly would conduct a community forum on this issue since some of these white residents would simply prefer to remain closet racist phobiacs with nicely renovated homes.

Darrl Lynn
Richmond

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