The War Has Almost Civilized Me

Young Black Man

x_in_snow

On the evening of Thursday, February 12, 2015 a young black man/local supporter of all things Ypsilanti made a daring attempt to visit his favorite art installation, located down at Water Street Commons. The north entrance, near Michigan Avenue at River Street, was inaccessible (due to snow and poor planning). Determined, the young black man/local supporter of all things Ypsilanti nonetheless made an executive decision to park at the only official available lot, which just happens to be one hundred and fifty or so yards east of Water Street Commons.

Without hesitation the young black man/local supporter of all things Ypsilanti decided that it was best to park away from the big-box store shoppers. Again without hesitation the young black man/local supporter of all things Ypsilanti parked his vehicle near a group of pipe fitters (who appeared to be enjoying a break from work) and utility vehicles. At 4 p.m., it was –2 degrees and the wind howled as it billowed snow into anything and everything. The young black man/local supporter of all things Ypsilanti quickly walked over to Water Street Commons to take a picture of one of his favorite art installations. The wind muffled the sound coming from one of the disturbed contract workers, but the young black man/local supporter of all things Ypsilanti assumed that the contract worker said, “Hey, you! You can’t park here!” Unbothered by the yelling contract worker, the black man/local supporter of all things Ypsilanti made it down to the Water Street Commons after trekking through several inches of snow-covered ice. Two or three minutes passed before the local supporter of all things Ypsilanti was able to return back to the only available and accessible parking lot.

(In a two-to-three-minute timespan, a contract worker was able to report undesirable behavior, and a YPD officer was able to respond to the call for service by blocking the black man/local supporter of all things Ypsilanti in between a bank of snow and the officer’s $60,000 squad car.)

The officer, frantic, said, “What are you doing here?” Followed by, “Give me your license.” The compliant, young black man/local supporter of all things Ypsilanti made available his ID and explained that it was disheartening to see the entrance blocked by a mound of snow. The officer’s mood changed after realizing that he had made contact with a local person of color who had in public vehemently expressed dissatisfaction with local law enforcement. The officer’s mood quickly transitioned from “frantic” to “snarky.” The officer said, “Hey! Why haven’t you joined the YPD Citizen Academy?” The young black man/local supporter of all things Ypsilanti reminded the officer that he is a very busy young black man and reminded the officer that he is not available nor interested in the YPD Citizen Academy. After doing something with the ID, the ID was returned to the young black man/local supporter of all things Ypsilanti by the officer, who said, “A concerned person reported that you might have stolen this vehicle.”

The black man/local supporter of all things Ypsilanti chuckled before returning to the reported “stolen” vehicle and drove westward, in the direction of his place of work/employment.

The entire interaction with the YPD officer happened in ten minutes (or less). I was able to park the vehicle, walk over to the Commons, take a picture of Malcolm X, and return to the parking lot (all under ten minutes). As soon I stepped back onto the dollar store’s property the officer arrived. The officer was able to respond to the call for service, run my ID, give me a hard time, and let me go freely (without further investigation).

After the officer drove away, and before exiting the lot, I did stick up my middle finger at one of the contract workers (the one contract worker who had insisted on eavesdropping in on the conversation between myself and the officer).

2 comments

  1. alanhaber

    A problem is: the young black man/ supporter of all things Ypsilanti
    is not a supporter of all things Ypsilanti as he discovered when some things Ypsilanti treated him as they did. Like Ann Arbor, there is the ideal Ypsilanti, and the real Ypsilanti, and the real one is divided and the arrogance of the powerful can be seen in this case and …many others.

    And the middle half of a peace sign won’t fix it.

    Neither will the picture of a raised fist.

    Brilliant writing, (already done) is a start.

    Action and organization are needed to follow… “filing complaints,” calling meetings, demanding accountabilities, speaking truths to power, linking with others, making a union and sticking with it.

    Its a long haul to transform and get rid of all things not Ypsilanti

    Then the young black man/ supporter of all things Ypsilanti, will be able to leave his car safely to walk to the park to see the public art and return elevated

    Until then, be careful, have your papers in order, and a Plan B in mind.

  2. Pingback: Remarks to Council, Dec. 6, 2016 | Keep Ypsi Black

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