North Dallas/South Dallas: Somewhere Willie is Smiling
For centuries we as African-Americans have divided ourselves, on many levels. As a matter of fact, those who brought us here in shackles and chains have taken every available opportunity to promote separation within our race, be it physical, mental, or spiritual. You need look no further than The Willie Lynch Letter to see that there was a deliberate and systematic plan to divide those who were enslaved, and ensure that it be a permanent condition. The document does not try to hide the intention of these slave holders, as it suggests how differences should be used to instill distrust and envy amongst it’s property:
On the top of my list is “AGE” but it is there only because it starts with an “A”; the second is “COLOR” or SHADE, there is INTELLIGENCE, SIZE, SIZE PLANTATIONS, STATUS ON PLANTATION, ATTITUDE OF OWNERS, WHETHER THE SLAVES LIVE IN THE VALLEY, ON THE HILL, EAST, WEST, NORTH, SOUTH, HAVE FINE HAIR, COURSE HAIR, OR IS TALL OR SHORT….DISTRUST is stronger than TRUST, and ENVY is stronger than ADULATION, RESPECT, or ADMIRATION.
The Willie Lynch Letter
In 2006, we are still divided along many of these same lines, but for the sake of today’s blog, I want to focus on differences that Black Dallasites make according to which part of town we call home. More specifically these debates and discussions generally divide along northern and southern boundaries. I’m just as guilty as any brother or sister who uses place of residence as a divider, but I can say that I do it knowingly. For the past 6 years my family and I have lived south of downtown, having lived in Grand Prairie and now Southern Dallas. I often joked with close friends that I became nauseous as soon as I drove north of 635, and blacked out once I made it to the George Bush Turnpike.
Personally, I won’t begrudge a man for where he (or she for that matter) chooses to root his family. There are any number of factors that go into where one chooses to set up shop. But I don’t hesitate to challenge a black man or black woman to examine their motives, and be honest about whether or not they are participating in their own form of “white flight”. Dr. Claud Anderson suggests that as soon as a predominantly white neighborhood becomes 10% black (or “minority”), FOR SALE signs immediately begin to pop up. In this town our white brethren flown darn near to the Oklahoma border. But they better know we won’t let them leave us too far behind. So Little Elm, Prosper, Fairview, Anna, you better get ready, cause we’re coming for you too.
We must all realize that this is a bigger issue than where I can afford to live, and getting the most house for your money. Economic factors are at the top of the list when deciding to buy a house, but life has got to be about more than black folks coming home to a fat crib in Sache closing the door, never to be seen or heard from again. Every other race of people realizes that the sum of the whole is greater than its parts. There are Little Mexicos, Little Saigons, and Little Indias in every reach of the city. While our immigrant brothers and sisters are moving together and raising communities, black folks are trying to get as far away from one another as possible.
Our political and economic power is strongest when we are together. This is a majority rule country, who gives the minority little more than lip service. They have given this to us as a label should tell us know what they think about us, and where they intend for us to stay: MINORITY. Whether it’s Frisco or Southlake, Highland Village or Highland Park (check that, they won’t let us into HP) we are diluting the power of our voices, our vote, and our dollar as we move on up and move on out. There are more black people in Southern Dallas than the entire city of Atlanta. We can go to church in the hood, but we can’t live in the hood. The kids in our “urban” neighborhoods could be blessed just by seeing successful black families milling about the grocery store. But too often they are tied up waiting in line at the Cheesecake Factory or checking out the North Park Mall expansion. We MUST rebuild our communities, and a good start would be bringing our “Talented Tenth” back home.