Don’t worry. Laurie Cumbo isn’t saying that Jews with bags of money are responsible. She’s just “passing along” what she’s been hearing.
The blacks of Crown Heights have “grievances,” that most haunted of urban words.
Laurie Cumbo, 38, who is black and newly elected to the City Council representing part of Crown Heights, told us that when she was campaigning she heard many in the African-American and Caribbean community complaining that “Many of the buildings are owned by the Jewish community and [black tenants felt] there was a deliberate movement to push them out of their homes. What they would say to me is [the Jews are] doing this, not fixing that, making noise, they’re trying to push me out.’
“They tell me, ‘You better do something about this.’ They fear an ultimate takeover,” Cumbo continues. “Many [blacks living in private homes] talk about how proud they are, that no matter how many ‘bags of money’ were brought to their doors [by Jews] to buy their homes, they’re not selling.”
Young blacks might be picking up on the resentment. “It may be one of those things,” says Cumbo, “that when they come home their parents are talking, ‘those damn Jews,’ not that they’re talking to the kids but kids hear.”
And council members repeat. And imply that if the Jews stopped expanding, maybe this would go away.
“Many African American/Caribbean residents expressed a genuine concern that as the Jewish community continues to grow, they would be pushed out by their Jewish landlords or by Jewish families looking to purchase homes,” Cumbo wrote. ”I respect and appreciate the Jewish community’s family values and unity that has led to strong political, economic and cultural gains… While I personally regard this level of tenacity, I also recognize that for others, the accomplishments of the Jewish community triggers feelings of resentment, and a sense that Jewish success is not also their success.”
And also no one is paying attention to black people being shot… not by Jews with bags of money.
I am challenged with the reality that a 66 year old grandfather was shot and killed earlier this week while dropping off money in Fort Greene’s Walt Whitman Houses to help a family pay for Thanksgiving dinner. There was no public outcry or calls for swift legal action for this loss of life or for the dozens of others that were killed in the public housing developments this year in the District.
Probably because it can’t be blamed on the Jews. Anyway knocking out Jews is really bad. But it shouldn’t ruin the lives of those youths doing the knocking out.
Cumbo said violent behavior “is not to be tolerated… At the same time, we don’t want to ruin the lives of young people who are too young to understand. We want to do this in such a way that this kind of immature and dangerous behavior does not condemn individuals for the rest of their lives.” She called for black-Jewish dialogue. “Perhaps a basketball tournament, perhaps a youth panel discussion, where young people can talk about each other’s culture.”
After the breakfast, one Jewish participant, who asked not to be identified, was incredulous: “Basketball? A youth conversation? If women were being raped here, would we tell the women to dialogue with young men before we caught the rapists? If there was a Ku Klux Klan rally, we would tell young blacks to play sports with whites, until we knew which of the white kids was at such a rally?”
Multicultural Jewish-Black-KKK basketball… is there anything it can’t solve?
As an African American woman, this is challenging, because I recognize that it is Black children and not Jewish children that are playing the “Knock Out Game.” Why is this? In many ways governmental neglect, outside uncontrolled influences and failed leadership have led to the breakdown that so many young people of color are currently facing. I feel torn because I feel apart of the very system that has caused the destructive path that so many young people have decided to take while I am simultaneously demanding that they be arrested by that same system.
I am concerned that the media attention around the “Knock Out Game” is divisive and will erode the real progress that has been made over decades. The recent November 26th article published in The Jewish Week, paints African American teens in a dangerous light, and could cause the vast majority of innocent young people of color to be seen as criminals in the Crown Heights community as a result of the actions of a dangerous small minority. At the same time, there are some people in the African-American/Caribbean community who foster stereotypical views of Jewish people, which is why it is important that we create a more open dialogue.