Wednesday, January 18, 2006

"Liberal" New York

Homeowners won't back down from vandalism
Despite racist graffiti on new North Valley Stream home, family vows to stand ground, move in


January 18, 2006

The racist graffiti spray painted on Roy Burke's new North Valley Stream home hasn't deterred him from living there at all. In fact, Burke, who is black, wants to move into the four-bedroom house with his family more than ever.

"This has given me a stronger conviction to move [there]," said Burke, 43, a mortgage consultant. "Especially because of the fact they did it on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. These people are trying to tell me I'm not good enough for the neighborhood. That's not going to happen. It makes me want to move in even more."

Between 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Monday, someone painted black swastikas, "KKK" and the message "Move Out --," a racist expletive, on the garage door of Burke's Frances Drive home, Nassau police said.

This is the second time racist graffiti has gone up in the neighborhood since October 2003. The last time occurred at a black man's house about three blocks from Burke's.

Investigators believe the two are linked, Burke said police told him.
This isn't Alabama. This isn't Mississippi. This is a so-called "blue state" and is doubly shameful for that reason alone.

Nassau County has seen, over the past twenty years, a large influx of middle- and upper-middle class minority residents, lured by the promise of good schools, safe neighborhoods, and a tract of land with a yard.

The same reasons white people moved out to Long Island starting 50 years ago, with one big difference: those folks were moving out to escape "them". These folks are escaping people as well, but as I posted the other day, it's not about race anymore.

It's about economic class. And while New York City has seen a miraculous rebirth in the past thirty years, from the days when Gerald Ford would tell us to drop dead, rather than assist us out of probably bankruptcy, that rebirth was very tenuous in certain sectors: blue collar workers saw their textile jobs flee south, and then overseas; service sector jobs barely cover transportation to and from them; lower-middle class office workers, the secretaries, the bookkeepers, saw automation and downsizing rip those jobs away.

Leaving behind a class of people desperate to make a living, sometimes with two incomes, sometimes with one supporting children, the other parent dissolving into the rain of economic uncertainty like a snowman. To pay their taxes. To afford a doctor. To be able to feed a family.

And some made it, like the Burkes.

Now, the ones who are making it are running smack dab into the backlash of the folks who left in the first wave: the bigots who claim to be liberal, and yet have raised their kids (for that's who is doing all this) to hate people who are different, who have different cultures and different beliefs.

Shame on them. Shame on them all.

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