Young black man in supermarket. I am aware that simply being black and young and male his life is at risk. How did this come about? I have never seen him before and may never again. He’s small in stature, reasonably friendly, remembering to ask and to do what he’s supposed to: do you need help with your bags? Yes he’s not at risk of lynching, but that overt kind of thing has been replaced.
Years ago now I knew everyone in the safeway; it was all the same people all the time. I knew their names. They knew mine: Mrs Moody. Most had a sign somewhere saying they belonged to a union. Then suddenly most of them were gone. The manager had been changed. There was a strange atmosphere in the store. Older people who came there daily for a moment of friendly cheer were saddened; one old woman began to cry. No more “I’ll give you five.” A few of the very old regulars stayed for a while: two black people, one Spanish but eventually they too disappeared. Now it’s commmon to see new people regularly and others disappear. This is structured alienation: you cannot make friends; the union labels all gone. I need to read Randall Jarrell’s Sad Heart at the Supermarket, written 1950s, before the change to large supposedly anonymous stores.
I remember the laws passed in the 1960s: civil rights, voting rights and the immediate ugly backlash of “Christian schools,” which began the undermining of our public schools. What I did not know about until the last 5 years was the equally almost immediate girding of loins of rich and powerful to change all in the US slowly; to elect a Reagan; alter the supreme court, take over local politics everywhere. I did not notice the slow repudiation of Roe v Wade either.
And yes alienate and desolate individuals in their daily lives.
As to foreign and domestic policy, an important story related there too: The first women to be called a terrorist is a woman who continues to demand change from our oppressive militarist capitalist order; who spoke out against racism then, the prison system now; the evidence shows Joanne Chesimare was framed in the 1970s; why do the authorities bring this up now: using the Boston massacre atmosphere to terrorize anti-war, pro-animal activists, environmentalist, all activists:
Mychael Denzel Smyth: Assata Shakur no terrorist.