--Bill Cosby, May 17, 2004
Inez J. Baskin, the pathbreaking black female reporter who covered the civil rights movement during the 1950s, passed away late last month. According to her Associated Press obit in the Washington Post, she was quoted in the Advertiser in 2005 as saying: “There wasn’t very much you could read about blacks at that time, unless they were really famous. The rest of us only ended up on the front page if we stole a can of sardines and a box of crackers.”
I’m sure that Ms. Baskin was, in her older years, looking over some foolishness from those times. She was born in 1916, but even before then W.E.B. Dubois documented a bunch of foolishness among blacks in Philly. But even if she was looking back too fondly, compared to today...those must have been the days! Black people getting featured in the news for stealing sardines and crackers! If only we could go back to those times, minus Jim Crow’s boot on our necks.
I’ve heard similar statements from other older blacks. When I interviewed Professor Walter E. Williams on the radio a few weeks ago, he discussed saner, safer times. As he has also written in columns, there was a time that blacks felt unsafe in white neighborhoods, and that they didn’t feel safe until they got back to the black area. He has also written that when he was a youngster, troublemakers in schools played hooky, passed notes in class, or chewed gum. A young person being killing someone was very rare.
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Sunday's Washington Post had an article about a black man accused of shooting and killing a 13-year old black girl. According to the article, just before midnight on June 29, something named Kevin Mark Warren allegedly shot into an ice cream truck, killing the child.
Yes. He shot into an ice cream truck. Somebody want to check into reports to see if anyone has held up a newspaper delivery boy recently? Warren should be a suspect in any other recent particularly stupid crimes.
There may have been stories about blacks in the past robbing ice cream trucks--but shooting and killing in the process?
I’m not saying that criminals are dumb—but I will clearly state that they are criminals. You would think that even a criminal would know that he probably wouldn’t be able to get much cash from an idle ice cream truck ‘round midnight. This isn’t to teach criminals about the appropriate time to steal from an ice cream truck—the message is don’t steal!
I say this to point out that if you are willing to rob an ice cream truck, and with a child present, there isn’t much you aren’t willing to do to get a few bucks.
You are a menace to society.
I’m not saying that criminals are moral—but I will point out that they are criminals. A few years ago I got into a discussion with one of my close relatives about crime. As I recall, a black man had just gotten caught robbing a nursery school or some other type child focused facility. My relative was shocked that a criminal would rob a nursery school. Ever heard the phrase “stealing candy from a baby?” A real criminal is probably more concerned about the opportunity to steal something from someone, not about the place. As I heard when I was growing up, there are some people that will steal the gold out of your teeth and the sugar off a cake. If a criminal is willing to shoot up an ice cream truck, why wouldn’t he shoot up other things?
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A month or two ago when I was hosting the Casey Lartigue Show on XM radio, I tested out a feature called “The Black Race Can’t Afford You No More.” That phrase may have a long history, but the first I heard of it was in the movie A Soldier’s Story. There are truly some black people that the black race can’t afford. While activists and intellectuals like to focus on folks like Clarence Thomas or Ward Connerly, the black people that need to be eliminated are the thugs who make black neighborhoods unbearable to live in, uncomfortable to visit, and unpalatable to conduct legitimate business.
Back during the Million Man March of 1995, Louis Farrakhan criticized business people who go into bad neighborhoods to conduct legitimate businesses. Well, he didn’t call them business people, he called them bloodsuckers.
But I say that the real bloodsuckers are the thieves, murderers, and rapists who devastate black communities and truly harm black families and individuals.
There is something wrong with you if you rant about Clarence Thomas but fear giving aid and comfort to white racists by complaining about black hoodlums. The white racists are always going to find a reason to indict blacks. But black neighborhoods will remain unsafe as long as black hoodlums are allowed to remain free. A black criminal should fear the wrath of a black community more than we (or they) fear racists. If we must lose a debating point with whites by locking up another hoodlum, so be it.
That’s one reason that the drama over Don Imus was laughable, pitiful, and a complete waste of time. There are black women—and black girls like the 13-year old in the ice cream truck—who are harmed by black men every day, but our leading activists don’t spring into action until a case involves white criminals, alleged or otherwise.
The fake Duke rape case is another example of this. Jesse Jackson’s organization offered to pay college tuition for the black stripper who said she had been raped by the lacrosse players at Duke. Of course, Jackson’s organization is free to burn up its money, that’s not my point. But wouldn’t it make sense to help people who have actually been harmed?
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My co-host Eliot Morgan and I talked more about The Black Race Can’t Afford You No More features than we actually did. It wasn’t for a lack of material! It was too easy, in fact. One week, there was a story about a young black thug, Deontae Edward Bradley, in Detroit who beat up black WWII veteran Leonard Sims. I thought about mentioning that story again as XM 169 celebrated the 82nd birthday of Malcolm X on May 19. After all, if Malcolm X were alive today, and living in Detroit, he might have gotten bopped on the head like Rosa Parks was a decade earlier by a thug named Joseph Skipper. Or beaten up, like the WWII veteran did a few months ago. It may sound like a joke or a cynical comment, but based on some of the mayhem, how could you say with any confidence that it would not have happened.
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Assuming that the facts of the case as have been stated in the ice cream truck shooting, it is truly sad. Here’s a black family that had a business selling ice cream. According to the Washington Post, Briona Jasmine Porter, 13, and her mother and aunt were out shortly before midnight testing the machine’s operations.
They probably thought Warren was joking when he demanded money. I mean, who robs an ice cream truck? With their goofy music and trucks, the business selling ice cream has to be one of the least threatening on the planet. He’s selling ice cream!!!
According to a different article, the mother tried to drive off. In retrospect, comfortably typing at my computer, I’ll say that was probably not a good move. I’m no longer 19, but I still think I could outrun an ice cream truck, at least for the first 40 yards. Warren opened fire, shooting into the truck several times, killing the 13-year-old Porter.
As I was reading the obit on Baskin this morning, I was wondering—if she had ever met Warren, he would have tried to rob her. He was willing to rob an ice cream truck, and to shoot at its occupants when they didn’t give him money they probably didn’t have, so who knows what he would have done to an old lady, even one who used to hang out with Martin Luther King, Jr.
People, rightly, quote Bill Cosby's "Pound Cake" rant. But I was touched by the intro--that Cosby was angry as he looked up at the older blacks attending the 50th anniversary of the Brown decision, thinking that they had fought so hard for fools who would steal a pound cake and for leaders willing to defend them. We can now add the ice cream killer as a footnote...