That’s what has me so upset: that it was bound to happen.
May 20, 2022 6:06 AM   Subscribe

India Walton: The Buffalo Massacre Is Rooted in Segregation and Disinvestment "There are a lot of people in this community who are devastated, but not surprised. Buffalo is racist. Buffalo is racially segregated. There’s a line that separates those who have from those who have not, and that is Main Street. Anything east of Main Street is where 85 percent of the black folks in the city live. It’s been that way."

"Right away the mayor started to say, well, he was an out-of-towner. Okay, Binghamton is some two and a half hours away. He’s from Western New York. But let’s talk about how many people from this area were implicated in the January 6 insurrection. Let’s talk about our sheriff attending a white supremacist rally in full county-paid-for uniform, with a confederate flag flying behind him, and no one denouncing it. Let’s talk about Carl Paladino, the racist school board member who owns half of the city and was allowed to funnel money into his own pockets through a development company by sanctioning increases in charter schools.

This is not new. That’s what has me so upset: that it was bound to happen. And tomorrow is going to be business as usual. The county council was in chambers today talking about giving the police another million dollars to put more surveillance in our community."

A City Divided is a look at the history of segregation in Buffalo that includes maps.

Tiana U. Wilson on the long history rust belt resilience in Buffalo.
posted by RobinofFrocksley (10 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
I had never heard of Paladino before 2010, when he ran for governor, but remember thinking he was an absolute nut job. It seemed like shortly after 2010 was when political support for Trump arose to my attention - chatter among the western NY tea party types that he ought to run for governor in 2014. I thought this was even more absurd and that clearly Trump would go nowhere in politics.
But yes, western New York has a lot of people who I, as a native of the area, would describe as devoutly nuts.
posted by Whale Oil at 7:20 AM on May 20 [6 favorites]

If anyone's interested in donating to the African Heritage Food Co-op mentioned in the article, here's the Paypal link.
posted by daisystomper at 8:10 AM on May 20 [7 favorites]

A heartbreaking interview, but I am wondering how unique Buffalo is. I could say the same thing about Louisville, KY, or Springfield, IL, or every single city in the Northeast.

"Out of every metropolitan region in the United States with more than 200,000 residents, 81 percent (169 out of 209) were more segregated as of 2019 than they were in 1990."

- The Roots of Structural Racism Project

Every city has its own racist past and baggage, but this sort of violence feels like an imminent threat in almost every US city these days. Is it "bound to happen?" I hope not, but I wish we had much more restrictions on guns.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:34 AM on May 20 [8 favorites]

Thank you for the link to to the Tiana U. Wilson article. In addition to the great history, there are organizations who are active today, including Black Love Resists in the Rust
, and here is a link to Standing Up for Racial Justice.
posted by Scout405 at 10:44 AM on May 20 [6 favorites]

There’s a line that separates those who have from those who have not, and that is Main Street

Phil Ochs - Colored Town
posted by tigrrrlily at 10:44 AM on May 20 [4 favorites]

After the shock fades, fear rises in the aftermath of Buffalo shooting [WaPo gift link, hopefully working]

Tricia Grannum pulled into the parking lot of a Walgreens in Buffalo, her foot shaking on the brake pedal before she put the car in park. For five minutes, she fixed her eyes to the store entrance, sitting almost motionless, except for her hands, which gripped tighter and tighter around the steering wheel.

It had been two days since a shooter, who authorities believe to be an avowed white supremacist, drove to the Tops Friendly Markets on Buffalo’s predominantly Black East Side and killed 10 people. As a Black woman, Grannum was on high alert, she later recalled, scanning the lot for anything that seemed out of the ordinary.

A man parked beside her with a baseball cap pulled suspiciously low over his face. A car slotted in its space haphazardly. These were the ordinary things sparking a hyper-vigilance Grannum had never before experienced.

She needed to pick up her son’s prescription, but first she needed to give herself a pep talk:

Deep breath. Okay, we can do this. Five minutes. In and out.

I found this a gutting read. I've never had much faith in or patience with this country, and it's rapidly approaching none.
posted by ryanshepard at 11:42 AM on May 20 [11 favorites]

That toothache Twitter thread was abhorrent and utterly irresponsible writing. It should have been left in Collins’ drafts.
posted by skye.dancer at 9:09 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]

I've probably written this before, but in the USA, segregation is an art form that's been practiced and perfected over centuries. As mrgrimm points out above, there's nothing unique about the class/race dynamic in Buffalo, it's as American as apple pie and mass shootings.
posted by nikoniko at 11:01 PM on May 20 [4 favorites]

The toothache thing relates to something I've been saying for years about games and media, but it's increasingly obvious that this point applies to every aspect of society:

People are great at recognizing that a problem exists, and staggeringly incompetent at describing what the problem is or how to fix it.

We've got huge groups of billionaires funding disinformation to make people even worse at this already rare skill, drowning out thoughtful engagement at every level- from slick hollywood productions glorifying isolationism and torture to tucker carlson saying poor people have all the money and yacht owners are struggling, to social media bots and the weird creeps that mimic them, all swirling around easy fake answers like segregation, or blaming the jews again, or giving the police another million dollars.

I have no idea how to get people to be better at coming up with coherent solutions that actually address their problems instead of memes that a rich psychopath advertised at them. Fake solutions to real problems that cause more real problems we can get sold fake solutions for. It's all related and it's all so incredibly wasteful and just plain dumb.
posted by fomhar at 8:37 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]

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