As any of my five readers know (Tim, next time I see you,I owe you a Red Stripe on me. Hooray beer!), I have been critical of Mansfield Frazier's writing (see my post from April of this year called "Imus and Gangsta Rap") on CoolCleveland in his Straight Outta Mansfield column. While I appreciate the fact that CoolCleveland has a black writer, he is very critical (though some of it is deserved) of youth -- especially black youth.
This week's column is no different. Mr. Frazier makes some strong points about the complacency of councilpeople in areas that started to brown over the last 30-40 years. Instead of creating structures that promoted racial harmony such as Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights, they let the people in the neighborhoods (mostly white) see them as a threat simply because of their skin color. I partially blame realtors (I think that any realtor that said sell because "they" are moving in should be punished...and not in a nice way.)
The youth that Councilman Polensek railed against (which is quite unbecoming of a representative of the City of Cleveland) was acting up not just because his mom didn't raise him right. I don't know her or him so I can't really say. But, I can say this. Many kids, black and white are getting the short shrift from the city. Where is the rec center that was promised to the Collinwood neighborhood years ago? Where are the after school activities? When kids have nothing constructive to do, some become destructive. While personal responsibility should govern every young person's actions, they are more likely to make constructive choices when there are more constructive options are available.
This kid is an example of what neglect of neighborhoods has done to Cleveland. It's not just about black kids, white kids, Latino kids, Asian kids or Native American kids. It's about the green that these kids grew up without because if any of these kids had parents with green, they wouldn't be in this environment. The massive selling off of Cleveland's jobs, the expense of retooling and the inability for the educated to find jobs have created a downward spiral for all of us.
The mom of the kid threatened to sic Al Sharpton or George Forbes on Councilman Polensek? What are they going to do? Please, don't get me started on black "leadership"...if Councilman Polensek did make the race of a kid an issue, then black Collinwoodians should remember this when he comes calling for re-election and proceed to use their vote to get him out. As far as if he would do the same to a white ne'er do well, only Councilman Polensek can answer that one.