Over the weekend I was furiously working at my writing partner’s home, a deadline hot on my heels. Â Her home on the west side of Los Angeles is a sort of haven for me–she plays jazz (the real kind, not the elevator music) has a beautiful, three-bedroom condo in the hills and from her living room I can see Hollywood, Century City, and Downtown. Â The view is breath-taking.
But last Sunday I was drawn to her patio for a different kind of view. Â A cluster of black boys and one Mexican boy about 12 or 13 (the same age as my oldest daughter) illegally entered the propertyÂ to climb over the gate and onto the top of the garage roofs to cut over to the park you see in the photo. Â We could hear them spitting expletives and hurling threats at other boys who watched them stomp and hop on the roofs.
I came out onto the balcony with Hollywood in the background and a punk boy in the foreground. Â Looking as if he’d just got caught stealing, the black boy looked at me with doe eyes and innocently said, “We just climbin’! Â You ‘gon call the police?”
I leaned over the ledge and looked him straight in the eye. Â ”I’m going to stand here until you stop doing what you KNOW you’re not supposed to be doing. Â But the lady who lives here IS calling the police.”
As Janice was on the line with the Los Angeles Police Department, she hollered back to me to grab her camera so she could have photographic proof of the incident, because this isn’t the first time the development has had problems with trespassers and vandals. Â I grabbed the camera and pointed it straight at them and told them to smile big for the camera.
The next thing that happened didn’t exactly shock me, because these boys are a walking, talking byproduct of what has gone wrong in the black community for a steady 40 years. Â They Scattered like rats, but not before shouting, “Fuck you, hoe! Â We’re gonna come back and bust all your windows! Â Come suck my dick, bitch!”
Just an aside, my writing partner’s home is not in “the hood.” Â Right up the street are swanky, fancy-pants mansions. Â But I know that there’s a 73% chance that those boys don’t have a dad at home to ring them up by their collars and tell them that if they ever heard them speak to a woman old enough to be their mother (or ANY woman) again, those boys would lose a tongue. Â I asked them if they thought this was what made them look tough. Â They replied with more “fuck you bitches.”
I was the brave one, shooting the photos despite being called the worst names you could call a woman, and after the boys scattered, one black man, who owns a condo above my partner’s came strolling out after it was all over. Â He heard them shout expletives at me. Â He saw me take the pictures and stand up to the boys, and he stood by in the shadows and did nothing. Â He did not stand up for my honor. Â And he didn’t feel any need to disabuse those little miscreants of the idea that it was not okay to talk to a woman like a rapper on a MTV video.
So here’s where we are. Â Still think everything is fine? Â Are we okay with who these children will become in the next decade?