The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

This Was the Apology That Alicia Rejected

The Q would like to formally apologize to Alicia Boyd and MTOPP and any black leaders who have taken offense for any of my gadfly ramblings. I have a big mouth. I like wordplay. And despite fighting with Ms. Boyd in public, I've continued to remark both on the blog and privately that she is an extraordinarily ambitious and effective activist. I thought we were engaged in political debate, but she believes I have attacked the black community as a whole, which she says she represents. She made it clear that by attacking her I'm attacking African-Americans generally. And so...

This will be my last post.

I'm very sorry to have offended. Truly. I enjoy a vigorous back-and-forth; I guess I went too far and for that I apologize.

I also made statements that Ms. Boyd is using her non-profit for electioneering. In fact, I have no inside knowledge about how she uses her money. Though I am a trained professional in the realm of non-profits (my day job), I could be mistaken. It's not up to me to decide who has broken the law - that's for law enforcement and the judicial system. 

And while out of context some phrases in my more than 2,000 posts could seem to suggest that I want anyone to come to harm, I really don't harbor any violent or malevolent feelings for Ms. Boyd or anyone else in this community for that matter. I love my black, brown, pink and tinted brothers and sisters. I really do. There are particular politicians and public figures who I strongly disagree with, or find to be corrupt or ineffective. But I have never advocated for a white politician in Central Brooklyn, nor do I intend to. All of my heroes in this neighborhood are black or brown, and I've tried to call attention to their exploits when I can. When I wrote "Bye Bye Black Brooklyn" it was a lament, since Bed-Stuy will be mostly white by the next census, and that just seems crazy to me. I love black Brooklyn, and if that post title hurt feelings then it wasn't worth the wordplay. Not everyone shares my dark humor, and anyway, if you don't find it funny I can respect that. These are stressful times.

The Q came to this neighborhood 15 years ago. I've now been in Brooklyn for 31 years. I love Brooklyn. I felt like I came home when I crossed the Brooklyn Bridge after college. I've watched it change tremendously, and on this blog and elsewhere, I've sought solutions for the very real problems of shitty landlords, displacement, affordable housing, racism in the schools, electoral apathy, and most of all white hypocrisy. Man do I hate hypocrisy! Especially among liberals. Which means, I guess, that I hate me when I'm hypocritical. That's been part of my process - understanding how my life went from college radical to middle-age bore.

I moved onto a block of nearly 2,000 people when just 3 were white, besides me and my wife. Now the street is lousy with whitey. The subways, the 8 coffee shops (can you believe there were basically none for my first half dozen years?), the restaurants and upscale businesses, thankfully many of which are black-owned. So guess what, I'm part of the "problem." I could be counted among the very first gentrifiers of (yuck I hate the name) PLG, outside the coveted Lefferts Manor, where the single-family covenant and house tours have attracted some whites to stay or buy even after red-lining and block-busting.

What brought me to my knees was that MTOPP and BAN planned to protest and call me a racist in front of my job, my colleagues, bosses, and very critical donors to my workplace that I love dearly. I simply can't let my reputation and job be destroyed for...for what, a blog? I've only ever written opinions and profiles and snapped a few pictures. It's basically a glorified scrapbook. And MTOPP and BAN and any other acronym - I firmly believe in their right to organize, protest, mobilize and even rough things up a bit. But my family is more important than calling bullshit on people or ideas. And I don't want to have to defend what's in my heart, even when I lash out at things I find distasteful. 

Mostly I've wanted to understand. I'm curious. And when I write I tend to think about stuff clearer, and then the commenters get to argue and I have to defend my positions. And then sometimes I change my mind, or get it changed for me.

And as I've been reminded a lot recently - nobody wants to hear what a paunchy middle aged white guy has to say about race anyway. Or anything, really. It's time for us to shut up and listen. Obama had just been elected when I started this thing, and I felt optimistic, that it was time to talk turkey, get real, lip up a bit, get smacked down, the whole nine. Times have changed. The country has become a hell-hole of hate, resentment and out-liberal or out-conservative each other. It's gross. I don't need to add to the putrid olio.

Today I'm apologizing and shutting down the Q on Sunday, per my arrangement with Alicia. It's been a fun ride. But there are more important things than rides, and I wish Alicia success in stopping gentrification and displacement. At least she doesn't give up.

The Q, over and out.
tim thomas


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're back. Yes, I don't agree with everything you've said over the past eight years, but I've appreciated how much you care about the community. For that I'm grateful for your voice.
Don't allow her to shut you down, the neighborhood needs you more than ever. She has hijacked the community, and has taken over our Community Board-enough is enough! We stand by you.

Unknown said...

Did you grow up in Iowa? I lived in Iowa City for years. Live on Parkside now. Diane

Anonymous said...

Don't let Boyd or any other bullies silence you. What are we....2 years old? You have a good blog and it's too valuable to Brooklyn to be shut down because one woman cannot play nicely in the sandbox.

That's pretty much the long and short of it.