Kung Fu and Love

Kung Fu and Love
A great gift for Valentine's day or Chinese New Year

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Community Relations

Everyone had been talking about Beyonce this and Black Panthers that. I have friends that are on both sides of this conversation. I have friends that I would not go so far as to say they are racist... but they see blacks in a certain way.. and I have black friends who see blacks that same way and who were also very involved with all this stuff in the 60's.

And then through my connections from school I have people who are more on the other side.

In any case, I felt that I had to read what the Black Panthers had to say about themselves. So I've been reading Bobby Seale's "Seize the time." I just finished the part where he was working at a poverty program as a community organizer (now I am vaguely getting more of a sense of what a community organizer is, and I realize I have been doing community organizing for a long time. It's just that a lot of community organizing in the Chinese Community and I'm not talking about the CPA, I'm talking about other organizations, a lot of it does happen through Gong Sau. Family associations, and Kung Fu organizations.)


I just finished the chapter where he organizes a meeting between cops and youth, and he says that's the first time he was seen as an enemy of the Oakland Police Department. But it's this section that makes me realize that all my ideas I have hashed out in my blogs before are not crazy.

The police reaction to that meeting was in that time period. Would the reaction today be different? I think it depends on the department. But people are more used to this type of meeting now and some departments regular have these community meetings and it does help.

Here's the thing.. in Japan, part of some of the officers jobs is to go around door to door and ask the people in his community what they would like to see the Police do. This is why I say time and time again, Japan is pretty racist, but they don't have a police brutality problem. In Japan, you can be third generation living in Japan but you are originally Chinese. You will always be Chinese. You cannot become a Japanese Citizen. Japan is racist racist racist.....
But they don't have Police brutality as a problem. That is something to look at.

I brought up the whole community policing thing with a couple of Black Lives Matter protesters in Philly and Nanzhou noodle house. They sort of paused and shrugged. They wanted to focus on the law changing. And this is really weird. Me.. as a Chinese white guy, and I must emphasize white because that is how most of society sees me, especially the way I dress now... maybe some people might see me as Hispanic, but I would say mostly people would see me as some kind of white with "a little something in there"

My point of view as a white guy who enjoys the system as it is... actually lines up more with what Bobby Seale was saying than these particular two Black Lives Matters protesters. Seale says that  changing the law won't work. Now of course I am not pro -militant stuff. Do black guys with guns scare me? Yes. Anyone marching around with guns scares me. Black, white, Asian. doesn't matter.

I am also not anti-police. I usually have a good interaction with police because I am white, I know how to talk to them, I don't commit crimes... and I only had two incidents where I felt mad, but in the end nothing actually happened to me. I am also familiar with how police think because I have worked with them.

Number one. Police are just like any other people in that they don't like to be called out and told they are at fault even if they are. Just like your kids don't like it, just like your students don;t like it. Police don't like it, except they hear shit all day from superiors and others and they may just take it out on you. They want to be praised.

You have to understand that.

Before you go on about a what if.. it's just that you have to get into people's heads if you want to change people's minds.

So far that Community meeting that Seale first organized before starting the Black Panther party, thatwas right back then. It wasn't accepted but it was right. And it is right right now. That type of thing can do a lot. The protesting hasn't really done that much if you think about it. If you had a bunch more people like Seale, and the police could work with them, a lot can change. In Seale's time you had stories and testimony. Now you have video. But people are just shouting at each other or protesting or counter protesting. You need a mediator like Seale did. I'm not saying he was perfect, and obviously I have not even finished the book. Maybe there is a whole bunch of stuff I will disagree with. But that mediation, a group of people that can go in between the police and the community and organize meetings between them. That is really necessary.

The Black Panthers were doing there thing and I can see how Police will see it as anti-police and why police are pulling security from Beyonce's concert. I can see why they are doing that and they have a right to do that, if that's how they feel. Police can protest too. And usually people with power are the MOST sensitive, because people without power are used to taking things even when they know it's crazy.

Instead I'm going to talk about Chinatown's Crime Watch. That was good because it wasn't seen as competing with police. Some would say Crime watch got out of hand sometimes when dealing with homeless. But for the Chinese in the Community, it essential achieved what the Black Panthers were trying to achieve. Now again. Different time, different politics, a lot of differences. I'm just saying if you had an organization that worked for the community and at least in appearances worked with police or seemed to make people more comfortable about working with establishment, it could be successful.

The CPA does do this, in terms of working within the law but a lot of the language is anti-establishment, and rubs people the wrong way. Whereas there are other organizations in Chinatown that even if they commit crimes, they always show respect police because it is the smart thing to do, and ultimately, if their goal was to do something for the community, they would be more successful because of that.

I have actually reached out to the Police station about teaching Kung Fu, maybe in their station or near it, where you would get a diverse group of people, including police youth, elderly, students all in the same Kung Fu class, and tat would bring the community together. I reached out to them asd several Churches. First Baptist Church was the one place that got back to me. And then JQS reached out to me. The problem is I didn't have a ton of students sign up for my class. So while I am acheiving something for my Kung Fu, it isn't reaching the full potential of what I have in mind in terms of Community.

I'm not saying I'm trying to start something like the panthers. The key is actually to get Police in my class as students, along with members of the community, that's what I'm trying to do. And then instead of shouting at each other, it will nudge everyone in the same direction, and I could maybe make a living in the process. That's what I'm saying. I just think it's funny that with all this antagonistic talk and anger and hasrh and even foul language, over Beyonce's artistic performance, that when you actually read Seale's book, what he was trying to do was not that out there. And in terms of me saying, I wouldn't d in that way." It was a different time and these guys grew up differently than I did. And more important than that, I am white. In fact I am white from a majority Black and Chinese housing project where white police an dthem helping us because of our whiteness may very well have been what kept us alive. Not towards the end, when the neighborhood started getting really nice. I'm talking about in my eraly childhood when my father and friends and neighbors were getting robbed regularly, like it was some sort of tax taken with a knife and gun even pointed at me in the stroller.

In any case, th book is quite a good read. Written like a conversation. It's worth it to take a lookinstead of just looking at meme's or quotes online. That way you can get a fuller picture of where the Balck Panthers were coming from, and then you can make a decision about how you feel about Beyonce's homage to the group.

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