A Critique of “The Wire” as an Outsider’s Tragedy Narrative

written by a Baltimorean and a fan of the show: The closest the show gets to presenting an autonomous Black solution to Black problems is Cutty’s boxing gym, and the fate of the young people who cycle through there frame the effort largely as a failure. more (via Loftus)--among other things, looks at how Simon's choice of genre (tragedy of institutions) locked him into a narrative where the important forces work on black communities from the outside.I agree w/Loftus that there's an u … [Read more...]

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Leaving Addis, Losing DC: Dinaw Mengestu’s “Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears”

I can't remember the last time I read a novel where I was the villain.The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears is a novel about the thwarted romance between a failing shopkeeper from Ethiopia and a white divorcee whose mixed-race daughter comes into the convenience store after elementary school to read The Brothers Karamazov. Two people who have fled their past lives come into D.C. right at the moment that the money started to pour in; before they can get their bearings, the tidal wave of … [Read more...]

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Standing in Front of Your Own House (While Black): Washington City Paper Investigates “Incommoding” Arrests

The chitlins were making Alex Dennis sick. Dennis, a 20-year-old with dreadlocks that graze his shoulders, found himself getting nauseous in his apartment while his uncle and aunt cooked soul food for Thanksgiving.Dennis walked outside to get some air, but ended up right in the grasp of the Metropolitan Police Department.Stepping outside an apartment for fresh air doesn’t draw police attention in, say, Georgetown. But Dennis doesn’t live there. Instead, he lives on Buena Vista Terrace SE, … [Read more...]

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“These Cops Are Tired of White People Getting Freaked Out By Their Black Neighbors”

Washington Post again... The stories pile on. A white security officer tells of the year he and his black wife lived in an apartment complex. "She got cops called a total of 9 times in the year we lived there I got zero," he says. A retired cop recalls the time a "lady called scared to death because some black guy was sitting in his truck across from her house" -- it was the water meter reader. more … [Read more...]

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Neighbors and Strangers: Edward P. Jones’s Tales of Black Catholic D.C.

The title of All Aunt Hagar's Children gives you an idea of one of the strengths of this short-story collection: Edward P. Jones has woven a tapestry portrait of a community. Or, to switch metaphors, he has laid a table where everyone in the family can come, get their due, and have their say.The stories aren't linked by anything other than their setting: black D.C., mostly black Catholic D.C., from the late 19th century to the latter half of the 20th. These people are farmers and porters … [Read more...]

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From Edward P. Jones, “Root Worker”

Long before they reached 1st St., N.E., Glynnis found that so much had changed, disappeared, but everything that was important to white people remained. (from the collection All Aunt Hagar's Children) … [Read more...]

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“Downwardly Mobile for Jesus”: Al-Jazeera America

from 2014, but well worth your time now: ...For people like Loftus, it’s not coffee shops or home values drawing them to places like Sandtown. It’s Jesus. Shortly after Loftus started medical school in Baltimore in 2007, he began worshipping at New Song Community Church, a racially diverse congregation in Sandtown. New Song is part of the same Presbyterian denomination as the church Loftus and his 14 siblings attended as children in Harford County, Maryland, 40 minutes outside the city.New S … [Read more...]

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