Back from Nowhere

Barry Max

O.K. its been awhile.
I have not tapped a keyboard key in the name of blogging for almost two weeks. A lot has happened and I have remained relatively silent.
Aside from beating a Grand Jury indictment and having my freelance opportunities halved I look at the big picture and remain optimistic.
I am also torn.
Maybe I am overwhelmed by sheer multitude of wrongs I so fervently want to pontificate against.


Maybe its the local relevance that concerns me.

The backlash.

I am starting to believe in the power of the blog.
Some people I have written about do not look at me the same. I’m cool with that, everything I have written I would say in their face.
I proclaimed awhile back in a previous rant that I was through being nice.

I am.

I have nothing hanging over my head and I have a firm command of the english language.

Watch Out.

Old school tactics will not sway me.
You see, where I live there is only one African American in City Government, he is a retired cop, one of the first black cops in Utica. by all accounts a good man. They (Mayoral Administration) pulled him off the woodpile to save face with the NAACP. The thing is, he had his turn. This guy has been the recipient of favorable political appointments for 40 yrs. He always got along with the people who run this town.
He was the token.
I’m not hatin on him I would take 25,000 grand a year for part time work too.
I’m hatin on the current administration that refuses to hire a single black professional.

I’m sure they’ll say we can’t find one and I can say you are not looking.

His job title is laughable. Liason to the human resources recruiter for the Fire and Police Departments. He is supposed to recruit minority applicants.

He is 75 yrs old.
Does he have e-mail?
Does the city care if he recruits any minorities?
It sounds good but lets be serious. Lets be prudent- what is wrong with a young black man?

Are we so intimidating?

Do we lower the curve?

There are some people that honestly think we do.

I have been to other urban areas with sizable minority populations
and they always successfully employed qualified minority applicants. All these places have something in common.

Culture, prosperity and diversity.

What is wrong with Utica?

Until recently Utica has lacked each of the aforementioned qualities.
The new mayor has promised a new emphasis in all these areas including a new charter for the city.

Will the new Utica include all the citizens?What is wrong with a new symbol of progress?We have a few black military veterans that could use a job. We have few college grads that happen to be black and ironically chose to stick around.

But this guy?

The token?
He is an old pacifier. He kept the previous generation of frustrated black people quiet. We had one black cop for years there is only six now.

So it is safe to assume, around here, the Police arrest us and serve and protect everyone else. The only cop you can have decent conversation with is the one who comes to the bar on saturday-he’s black.

Six black cops out of 173!!!!

It won’t work.

It hasn’t worked.

He offered these words in reference to the homogenous police department.”it would be ideal to have ten or twelve black cops”

It is obvious he is out of touch.
Maybe I am asking too much, after all, black folks are less than ten percent of the population around here.
Maybe it is unrealistic to believe that the black people that have been here for generations will ever get a fair shake.
These people(black folks) are the recipients of a bad rap going back 100 yrs. I have read newspaper excerpts out of an excellent book titled ethnic utica that show in detail the colorful language used to describe the lazy and shiftless savages that supossedly made up the black community.
It reminded me of this

The imagery that the language conjurs had an effect on the people that read it. I know the power of words and images, they sustain a reality.
To white people in The Mohawk Valley the reality was: we(black uticans) were no good. That idea prevails to this day. I read the local newspaper blog section and it is the most racist inciteful garbage I have ever read in a public forum. Everyone hiding behind avatars, I shouldn’t even let it piss me off but it does.
Half the problem is a lack of black journalist, a different perspective; the other half is hate.
The nature of the stacked deck never did us well in this corner of the country, but there was hope for hardworking men who could swallow their pride daily and earn a living wage as a ‘good nigger’.
It is not that different today.

I worked at Clear Channel here in Utica, the only black man there.They had one of those PSA posters over the urinal in the mens room it was a picture of an orange in a bushel of apples. It read: “do you feel like you don’t belong”? Hmmmmm. I wonder how long that has been up.

There are large number of native born black folks from here that have arrived. They’re like the Jeffersons. They make good money, have nice houses therefore they have no big complaints. Once again I am not hatin on them unless they defend the turnkeys that let them in. Almost forgot to mention they also enjoy an elite status among the peons(including me, King Peon) that make up the black community here because there are so few who equal their success(education).

They can literally afford to look down on their brethren.
But they don’t, there are too many equalizers in our community. We all go down together.

Succeed alone and fail as a group.

Remember, these are black people who would fit in nicely among everyone else in the southside of Chicago, NYC or Oakland California. But here in Utica, Black Professional is akin to an oxymoron. It is whispered in boardrooms laughed about in bars.

“I heard they spotted one at the courthouse…naw he was on trial ha ha ha”.
We toil, unappreciated in the background, never one to make waves. We soldier on with quiet tenacity humbly accepting every form of rejection known to man. We cleverly maneuver around fake smiles, tasteless jokes and people who refuse to say ‘good morning’.
We do all this while they lock us up for petty crimes indict us on B.S.. And let their own kids and adults out of Justice’s way for (manslaughter/murder) anything and everything under the sun.

The real Mohawk Valley where a kid gets six years for spitting on and hitting a cop and the suburban kid gets a suspended sentence for his involvement in a murder.

Guess who was black.
The disparities on how crimes are reported by the press and prosecuted by the D.A. are something for another post.
My next post.
It doesn’t matter. Through it all, we always remember to smile.
Well, guess what?
I am not smiling and I am looking for a job.

Some would say that is not a good combination.

It depends on the work you are looking for.

I have had some pretty good conversations in my corner of the community in the blogosphere and the real world.
Most, if not all, of my conversations revolve around transformation, alignment, unity and ultimately prosperity.

I am trying not to focus on the negatives.

It is good know there are great many people who seek out the same alignment I am writing about. The racial issues are a smokescreen and the white people of upstate new york have been bamboozled into believing the myths on a grand scale.

They are waking up-slowly.

I hope I can smile enough to get a job.

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~ by barrymax on April 17, 2008.

8 Responses to “Back from Nowhere”

  1. Even here in Salt Lake City, the whitest place in america, we have black cops. I dated a retired homicide detective who was black and had been a cop all his adult life–and he was Baptist, not Mormon. What’s Utica’s problem? They should send their recruiters to Utah. I’ll take them to the black Baptist church I used to go to.

  2. Thats what i’m talkin bout…what is wrong with Utica

  3. I have to admit that this was a pretty shocking post to me. I would never have imagined that Utica, the home of Utica and Hamilton colleges, have such a culture. But then again, “college towns” often do not benefit from the culture and diversity of their student bodies in the way that colleges and universities in cities (i.e., Boston, New York, etc.) tend to thrive off their educational institutions.

    A question though, I understand from my Croatian pals down here in Beacon that there has been an influx of Bosnian “refugees” (if that is the right term) into Utica and surround areas since the time of the Balkan wars. Are these people being embraced by the community?

  4. What’s keeping you there?

    We have plenty of no jobs down here in Louisville, but at least it’s equal opportunity unemployment.

    A writing career has to be one of the most difficult to establish.

    It has little to do with talent, and is more about who you are, and who you know.

    I feel you D.

  5. it would easy for a tiny little white girl like me who doesn’t live in America anymore to say America sucks unless you are a white man born into a family of means. But shit more and more it’s starting to look that way. I spent quite a bit of time in Buffalo a few years ago and found that people do better when the whole city is going broke. I talked to all kinds of people and they said the biggest problem other than lack of jobs was lack of respect for minorities who wanted to work.

    I’d love to be one of those people who say they are so “shocked’ that something like that happens in the 21st Century but honestly Barry I wouold be a typical white person if I said that and ya know I aspire to something a little higher than that. Great post man I wish you well.

  6. Anita- There are many Bosnians. The Mohawk Valley Center for refugees has bee responsible for bosnia myanmar, cambodian and african refugees which acount for the majority of people actually moving into the area.
    The bosnians have been readily embraced at least the ones who could talk around the accent and changed their muslim names. The africans are having a harder time.
    I’ll be back barrymax is fake cryin

  7. Barrymax:

    I echo Tommy-Gun’s words. It’s easy for me to dump on Upstate being 6000 miles away in a place where skin color is not of tremendous importance but bring a “gringo” is a big negative, all the while speaking the language and “passing” not that I even need to.

    There’s a big world out there. A person with street-knowledge, book-knowledge and can SPEAK AND WRITE in any language can survive without a lot of bullshit.

    It’s up to you whether you want to fight the system or try to change it. Or take care of yourself and those closest to you whom you love.

    You have choices. How much longer one of those choices will last for you is anyone’s guess?

    Be well.

  8. You know, we hear about this out here in the west and it puzzles us and once I brought it up on Air America, and was booed off the stage.Oh no, this doesn’t happen they chirped. But it does. I can’t imagine living in that type of a circumstance, it would stress me out and piss me off and I’d really want to kick someones ass. Oh, they would say…she’s just so, you know, not old money.

    Fuckin right about that.

    Good luck, sorry for your dilemma, I really am.

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