Filmmaker Spike Lee recently made some shocking remarks regarding the influx of white residents into traditionally black neighborhoods. Decades after the American civil rights movement marked the end of our shameful segregation policy, Lee apparently wants to bring back the institution by keeping Caucasians out of his New York neighborhood.
His lengthy rant, complete with the liberal use of profanity, left little doubt that he wants to maintain exclude whites “in the south Bronx, in Harlem, in Bed Stuy, in Crown Heights” and other traditionally black communities.
“You can’t just come in the neighborhood and start bogarting and say, like you’re [expletive] Columbus and kill off the Native Americans,” he said. Lee asserted that whites bring with them their culture and effectively ruin the experience of being black in such neighborhoods.
Willfully ignorant of the extreme hypocrisy of supporting a policy against whites that had been used against his race in previous generations, he said “a code” exists to keep his preferred communities exclusively black.
“I mean, they just move in the neighborhood,” he said. “You just can’t come in the neighborhood.”
While he claims he is “for democracy,” he complained that whites “can’t just come in when people have a culture that’s been laid down for generations….”
The raucous noise he came to identify with these communities, he explained, is now being threatened by whites.
“There were brothers playing [expletive] African drums in Mount Morris Park for 40 years and now they can’t do it anymore because the new inhabitants said the drums are loud,” he protested.
Lee further noted that, with the gentrification of these inner-city neighborhoods, public works and other services are improved. Apparently, this is something he feels should be discouraged.
When he was growing up, he explained, the “garbage wasn’t picked up every [expletive] day” and the “police weren’t around.”
Lee also lamented the marked improvements of the area’s public schools in recent years, blaming middle-class whites for the ostensible problem.
“If you can’t get your kid into private school and you’re white here, what’s the next best thing?” he asked. “All right, now we’re gonna go to public schools.”
He complained that whites refer to neighborhoods with different names than blacks and, in some cases, dare to embrace their own culture.
“How you walking around Brooklyn with a Larry Bird jersey on?” he asked. “You can’t do that. Not in Bed Stuy.”
One can only imagine the understandable outrage of the mainstream media had the races in this diatribe been reversed.
Not everyone from Lee’s background, however, agrees with his isolationist racial viewpoint. A local CBS affiliate interviewed one black resident who said the improvements brought about by white residents should be embraced.
“If [Lee] needs something to complain about,” he said, “focus on some other stuff – shootings, drugs.”
–B. Christopher Agee
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Photo Credit: David Shankbone (Creative Commons)