Black Lives Matter leads to Questions about Malden Police

I hope that Black Lives Matter leads to real changes at interpersonal, local, national and international levels. There is a lot of work to be done, especially among us white folks. Uncovering the racist acts of individual police and examining the complex interactions among racism, police, and governing bodies are a good place to start.

Black Lives Matter logo

In 1990, I chose to live in Malden, a city of 60,000, just north of Boston, heralded as “the most diverse in Massachusetts.” Malden is neither the least “white” (about 50%), nor the most black, brown or Asian. Rather, we are a mix of races, cultures, ethnicities, economic classes, religions, etc. We have a plethora of adults who were born in other countries (I believe 37%), and 77 languages spoken at home by students at the high school. Diversity doesn’t mean that racism and white privilege aren’t prevalent: they are. Everywhere.

I wrote to my city councilor on June 12, 2020. Today, I modified it for clarity to post here, and to send to the rest of the city council, the police chief, and the mayor.

The Letter

Dear Malden Officials,

The resurgence of Black Lives Matter has refocused my attention on the systemic racism that surrounds and is within us. I’ve seen many of the connections before, but this round of furor has deepened my thinking and my desire to push for changes.

Brave people with video cameras posting on social media have, once again, exposed police brutality in the killing of George Floyd. I think the Malden police do a good, civil, job without undo force. But then, I’m white and live in the west end of the city. USA Today has made available a database that contains records of police misconduct. I wanted to see if have been any reports made in Malden, but Massachusetts is not one of the 44 states from which they were able to get data. The New York Times has an important article on the role of police unions in covering up misdeeds. I’ve read a lot in the past about the war on drugs (a.k.a. on poor and black people), and about military equipment and grants made to local police to stop terrorism (Timothy McVeigh?). Continue reading Black Lives Matter leads to Questions about Malden Police

Me and my tent

Some truth hidden in a lot of nonsense

“Noun!” Instructor Jennifer Crystal pointed at one of my classmates. “Lion!” my fellow student immediately responded. Jennifer wrote it on the board. “Okay, adjective,” she gestured to the next person. “Beautiful!” Some of us were quicker at this game than others. I think for “verb,” I finally came up with “punch.”

After several go-rounds, we had constructed a twenty-entry list comprised of nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, proper names, exclamations, and a color, place name, and number. But this was no grammar class. We were working on personal essays. Today, instead of answering a traditional prompt, like “write about a scar,” Jennifer assigned us each to take the next half hour to create a story that used all the words on our list–sort of a reverse Mad Libs.

Lion, Beautiful, Rapidly, Fly, Hallway, Swollen, Holy crap!, 2, Roger, Lake Michigan, Tyra Banks, Pogo stick, Prissy, Quickly, Punch , Wow!, Magenta, Ziplock bag, Tent, Cozy

Continue reading Some truth hidden in a lot of nonsense

For Love of Moxie

See if you can figure out the writing assignment that made me produce this ridiculous piece.

Moxie: her country side

Acceleration is not Moxie’s strong suit. Bodaciously blue, she is a baby butch. Ceding genuine butch to my friend Ruth’s larger Subaru Crosstrek, I steadfastly maintain that my Impreza Sport, tricked out with extra trim and interior delights, is cuter. Dykiness aside, Moxie’s driver’s seat fits me, which is important given my height impediment. Ergonomically, she hugs me tight, and her seat warmer soothes my muscles after I play soccer.

Furtively, I admit that she doesn’t have enough space in the back to accommodate coaching. Groceries are squeezed out by soccer balls, cones, spare uniforms, and other gear. Having the back neat and tidy is important me, but just not possible. Ice packs run loose, stuffed into tiny voids. Jumper cables worm around the spare tire that hides under the cargo area. Continue reading For Love of Moxie