Yesterday, members of Northside United engaged in acts of civil disobedience to bring attention to their struggle for community benefits from the mega-development on the “Northshore.” Protestors blocked a building entrance. The media showed up and I was appalled at their condescending treatment of this exercise in their civil rights.
Here's the video from KDKA http://firstname.lastname@example.org
John Shumway of KDKA was just unbelievably patronizing. Feminist dyke rant move on. It takes a lot of freaking gaul for a white man whose path to a career in broadcast journalism was a foregone conclusion from the moment of his freaking conception to stand in MY neighborhood and speak down about a group of community activists engaging in a time proven civil rights tactic to bring attention to the plight of low-income urban residents who didn't have that privileges of birth that Mr. Shumway enjoys.
This is the same station that tracks down the limo driver from Michael Jackson's last tour stop in Pittsburgh (1988? 1998?) for the local angle on MJ's death. This is the same man who will shove his microphone into the faces of grieving family members and shell shocked neighbors to meet his yinzer exploitation quota for the evening, but he can't use his professional skills to cover a story about poverty, community activisim and corporate greed? Are you freaking kidding me, Shumway? You might want to thumb through the wikipedia entry on civil disobedience to get a little refresher on the long history of non violent actions to respond to injustice perpetrated by the man. But you are in fact someone who benefits from the man's systems so why would you need to do your homework?
I was also disappointed with the barely disguised scorn and laughter of Zone 1 Commander Rashelle Brackney. Command Brackney must have forgotten that repeated acts of civil disobedience by African-Americans and women throughout the 20th Century paved the way for her ascent to power in the City police force. I get that she is unable to condone breaking the law, but she could have acted like a leader in the Northside instead of a condescending public official. Let us not forget that she was dragged away from the very important work of ticketing cars in the Mexican War Streets that are parked the wrong direction. I used to be a fan of Commander Brackney, but the day she failed to call someone out for describing as “nuts and fruits” the children in our neighborhoods she lost my support. I guess she's willing to go to bat for certain children, but not those with mental illness and those who are gay.
It is dismaying that as corruption in our City government continues to come to light, public safety officials and the fourth estate turn a blind eye to residents trying to accomplish something good for their community. They aren't running around Pittsburgh dressed up like costume characters. They aren't raving about conspiracies. They are trying to build a better lives for their families.
A critical analysis of the effectiveness of the campaign would be fine, even deeming it ineffective. Commander Brackney could have said nothing. KDKA producers could have smacked Shumway in the head (figuratively) and sent him back to the editing room to put together a decent story.
Instead, we have another example of systemic support for corporate America at the cost of hard-working Americans who just want a shot at improving their lives.