In a scene from the 1971 Oscar-winning cinema classic “The Godfather,” one of the heads of the five families made this six-second statement: “In my city, we would keep the traffic in the dark people, the colored. They’re animals anyway, so let them lose their souls." No matter where the Black community is located in this country, it's the same game with different names.
The political killing of Black men doesn’t just happen by gunfire because Black elected officials, for years, have been unwitting participants in the demise of our community – one block at time. Clever Federal legislation that has been on the books for years, for example, has now resulted in policy and procedures that are designed to place Black people – who are disproportionately jailed and sentenced harsher than their white counterparts – in a series of trap-door scenarios that will bring a lifetime of overwhelming challenges. We are now witnessing one of those devastating impacts as affordable and low income housing and communities are disappearing via gentrification.
Some of our elected officials may know what they are doing and some may not, but at the end of the day, history will show that it all occurred on their watch. If you’ve never read the book entitled: “The Color of Law" by Richard Rothstein, you should pick it up because it is a very interesting, educating and exposing read into what is happening in your neighborhood, today.
From drug “Captains” and pushers in Overtown, Model (Liberty) City and Opa-locka to Carol City, Little Haiti, areas in between and in South Dade alike, we were not only played out of our community but we were also played out of low-income housing. How were we played? Here’s the formula: by suppressing legitimate opportunity and access through substandard education, discrimination and disenfranchisement, the government allowed for foreign criminal empires to entice young, poor, uneducated and disenfranchised Black Americans to sell drugs for them on the streets of America’s Urban Core. And while we thought that we had earned respect and honor with family, friends and associates, we were, in-fact, laying the foundation for a sweeping invasion to exterminate our way of life.
The “Matchbox” housing project that was on Northwest 199th Street, now known as “Honey Hill Townhomes,” was one of the first low-income housing projects bulldozed. Then there’s “Larchmont Gardens," which is still standing but privately owned. The third was James E. Scott, also known as “Scott Projects.” The fourth was, and is, Liberty Square also known as the “Pork-N-Beans." Then there’s “Little Haiti” that is now soon to be trampled over for the benefits of gentrification. With Miami-Dade County set to “convert” over 6,000 public housing units under U.S. HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) initiative, we are about to witness the full harvest of bait and switch politics that pumped guns and drugs into our neighborhoods, in exchange for the lives of Black men, women and children with their blood being spilled in the streets on the land that they called home.
What happened to the foreign criminal empires who enabled these poor, disenfranchised Black Americans? During the final years of the Obama Administration, the Federal Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) cracked down on shadow foreign companies whose unidentified owners were buying property with cash using dirty money. They were ponzi-schemers, racketeers – and drug lords. The ones who just may be the same as those who ruined our neighborhoods in the first place. The two focus areas of the FinCEN crackdown? Harlem, which experienced massive gentrification, and Miami, which is in the bulls eye of gentrification today.
As much as the world wants to blame Black Americans for their own demise without any acknowledgement of external influences, now you know better. You know that drug dealing and gun toting aren’t just signs of suppression and apathy, but an international strategy of deceit for investment in your neighborhoods that’s powered by our blood being spilled in the streets. So while we play the blame game with each other, just know that the game show hosts are politicians.