By Teka Lark (January 8, 2020)
In Newark & Los Angeles, when I would go to protest I would have to step over Black people. I would have to step over them on the way to train, on the way to the march. I would have to pass over places where my friends used to live. But now they live in their car, at their grandmothers…. I had a good friend, a comrade try to get a job in NJ ,and this Black man, despite having a college degree, could not get a job. He was political, far left, but he paid for college through the military. It was not his desire to choose this Robert Frostian path, but after much resistance he had no choice but to reenlist in the military.
The best draft the US has is racism and classism. You get some amazingly talented, smart, and able Black people who are highly motivated to not die on the streets of Newark, Los Angeles, Chicago….
You will sign up to do a lot of things when you’re hungry.
I myself was never able to obtain employment in New Jersey, despite having a Masters degree. I was never able to obtain a job that would give me enough money to pay my rent. In NJ a place with the biggest and best paid middle class in the entire United States.
The poverty rate for Black people in Newark is 30%. I would be part of that 30% if I had been born here and was not able to obtain the experience and social capital (social capital is key and hard to come by in places as hypersegregated as NJ) to access jobs in other states that hire Black people.
If you are Black stay out of this place, seriously.
I can’t help but see over and over again college educated Black people in NJ with no job, no prison record, constantly hustling to fight unemployment and underemployment.
But you know, I feel that being a high school drop-out shouldn’t doom you to starvation; but I also don’t feel that being Black should doom you either.
I don’t mean to bash people, but context is everything, I can’t not be Black or pretend that Black people aren’t here when I do my political work, I don’t have the privilege.
I am anti-war and that would include being against the constant war on Black people. I can’t walk over homeless Black people to do a political action, I just refuse to do it. I am willing to do many things, but I just don’t have the cognitive dissonance needed for that kind of thing.