Public housing: plot or paradise?
Posted by Jarvis DeBerry, Staff writer December 21, 2007 1:08PM
"And let's look at that word 'project.' Another word for 'experiment.' " -- Chuck D of Public Enemy on "Apocalypse '91 . . . The Enemy Strikes Black."
Do you believe that the American government was engaged in a conspiracy against black people when it began building huge apartment complexes that served to concentrate poverty?
Or, do you believe that the American government's hatred for black people is evident in its decision to tear down huge apartment complexes that were occupied exclusively by the poor?
Of course, you are free to believe that neither is true, that there wasn't a conspiracy then and that there isn't a conspiracy now. If, however, you are one who believed that the projects were built for black people's destruction and degradation, don't expect to be listened to now if you're arguing that the destruction of said projects is a plot against those same black people.
A foolish consistency may indeed be the hobgoblin of little minds, but a foolish inconsistency is symptomatic of even smaller brains. Either that, or such inconsistency indicates the refusal of that person to be honest enough to try to work toward a real resolution. Fisticuffs indicate the same thing.
A fight broke out in the New Orleans City Council chambers Thursday as people opposed to the demolition of some of the city's housing projects struggled to exert some kind of influence on that morning's meeting. But if we were to go back 15 years or so -- about the same time Chuck D was the frontman for Public Enemy -- one imagines that a similarly activist crowd would have been decrying what they saw as the government's grand scheme to ghettoize and pin down the poor.
Read the rest of DeBerry's post on the Times-Picayune blog, and view the many and varied local reactions in the following comments.
It is quite enlightening.