The prior days I have written about an incident that occurred in New York City between two people occupying apartments one underneath the other on floors five and six of a building. One workday night between one and two in the morning the tenant in the sixth floor apartment made sufficient noise to wake up the tenant in the fifth floor named David. David left a note telling the sixth floor tenant he did not appreciate it and that he was going to notify the management and if it happened again call the cops.
The sixth floor tenant decided that letter was a direct threat to his personal and psychological well-being and an act of violence against him. He denied making noise to wake them up, said if he did their aggressive note was unnecessary, and he intends to make whatever noise he desires in the future.
Poor David, not only did he get woken up but he now has had thrust in his hand a letter accusing him of an act of violence by the person who he complained to about waking him. This was the last thing David needed.
He wrote back: “I know this was probably dictated by the tone of my note, but please do not perceive me as just another narrow-minded white p—- scared of anything outside of his little white world. I have nothing in common with such people, and I would like to emphasize it once (again) that my note yesterday, rude as it was, was nothing more than a response to a late-night disturbance.” He left his name, his number and his email address and encouraged his neighbor to knock on his door and chat: “You know where we live.”
I suppose you can figure out by David’s response that the sixth floor neighbor was black and suggested that David complained about the noise because of that. David admits he is white but emphasizes he is not “narrow-minded” and has nothing to do with white people “scared of anything outside of his little white world.” In the face of the sixth floor tenant’s aggressiveness David folds his tent, apologizes for his letter, and suggests to his sixth floor neighbor it is all right if he makes all the noise he wishes to make. David’s timidity reaffirms in the guy causing the trouble that he is the aggrieved party.
This article in the Washington Post written by a black reporter noted that the letter of the sixth floor tenant which he put on Facebook was: “This is a perfect example of how to keep your cool when you confronted ignorance. Don’t stoop to their level… To quote the FLOTUS “When they go low we go high!” Rock on Richard with your bad self!”
#CLAPBACKOFTHESEASON Towanna Williams Thompson called it.
Josmar Trujillo, a New York writer and activist with the Coalition to End Broken Windows said: “The interaction between the neighbors in a gentrifying community is “emblematic of what people see as this oil and water relationship between people who are gentrifying into neighborhoods of color. You’re basically asking me to adhere to your norms. You’re coming in with what you feel is the right volume and the right temperature for the community and you’re trying to hang that over my head. The police are the tool that can be used to bash people over the head with those new norms.”
Get that the gentrifying people are asking the people of color to “adhere to your norms.” You know like not raising a ruckus at between one and two in the morning during a workday. I thought those were universal norms to have respect for people who have to sleep to be ready for work.
I thought the idea was for us to get along as people not to be finding reasons not to. This whole episode between two neighbors was a tempest in a tea pot. It should have remained as such. That the Washington Post thought it was newsworthy and the letter of the noisy tenant worth producing in full suggests its goal is not racial harmony but is stirring up racial hatred.
I suppose we must keep that in mind in its coverage of the newly elected president. It aims to tear down rather than build up. Maybe that is good for business but it sure isn’t helpful for a country trying to survive.