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Letter from a Poor White Kid

Hey Colin,

I have been listening to a podcast or two of yours about white kids at black schools. It reminded me of my earlier life, (I’m 65).

From the age of 2 until 9 years old, I lived in Florida. My father/family were reasonably well off. We lived in Fort Pierce, in a gorgeous poured concrete, flat roofed house that we owned. One day my father decided we needed a swimming pool and some very extensive landscaping, so he had it done. Yacht clubs, country clubs, etc. etc.

He was gruff, easy to anger, but generally, looking back, life was pretty good, I didn’t know any difference at 2 to 9 years old.

School was ‘school’, no big deal, it took away from my fishing time, but I just accepted it as something I had to do. I didn’t know from nothin’ about race issues. Then we moved back, (I was born in), Wisconsin.

We moved to the “township”, more like the reservation, as I would come to later find out. School was still just school, lucky me, I was still blissfully ignorant of race issues, never had any interactions with ‘negros’, as I knew them to be called at the time.

Fourth, fifth, and sixth grade on the ‘reservation’, then the shit hit the fan! My folks got divorced and my bucolic life was forever changed.

My father, naturally get the house while having to purchase another for my mother and us. It was in a reasonably nice subdivision, but it was in the city. As we moved in the summertime, I still didn’t know the significance of living in the city school district, I mean school is school right?

Oh my f*cking God! What a horrid, rude awakening! I had no idea ‘people’ could/would act like that! Running up and down the halls screaming and yelling, didn’t they know any better, didn’t their parents admonish, (beat) them if/when they displayed that behavior? I’m speaking about the ‘blacks’ of course.

I was bewildered, what happened, where was I. My father was probably clueless about what he had done, I got the general impression that he didn’t like me all that well, but he would never do this to me intentionally.

The behavior ‘they’ displayed, movies like this weren’t even made yet. Walking around mechanical drawing with ‘his’ phallus exposed, another one striking a 65 year old math teacher in the face.

Then they came after me one day. After school, at least a dozen of them. I had no idea what transgression or slight I had done. After about 5 or 10 minutes of deflecting blows, I flagged down a passing car that thankfully rescued me and took me home.

I don’t remember any subsequent actions the next day or thereafter. But it was enough for me to know I ‘wasn’t in Kansas anymore’.

Anyway, sorry to prattle on.

Next stage of my life. Married, great factory job, just had our brick bungalow redone, copper plumbing, new combination wood/gas furnace,rewired with circuit breakers, new roof. We were set…until…

My four year old son comes home from riding his bike around the block and tells me, “dad some black people sent their dog after me”.

Then it hit me; we lived in the city and my son was approaching school age, we had to move. Move from this really nice brick bungalow that, oh, did I mention that we just had the hardwood floors redone? I said to my then wife, “we have to move”.

Move we did, to the ‘reservation’, to a nice English Tudor on a 700 foot deep lot,high up on a hill.

Sad to say, we got divorced and she got the house, my how times change…
But, I had one job, I got my children the hell out of that black school district. No blacks in the neighborhood either.

Letter from a D.C. Veteran

Dear Friends,

Saturday afternoon I was violently assaulted, beaten unconscious, and robbed in NE DC. Several people came to my aid after the incident, and I was rushed to Howard University Hospital, where I received excellent care. I am posting this is a general notice to friends and family, as I am currently without a phone or laptop (or ID or bank cards), as I have been for more than 48 hours.

The attack occurred while I was taking a few moments to enjoy some peace and quiet on the wooden pedestrian bridge that connects Kingman and Heritage Islands to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and the new “The Fields” complex of sport and recreation facilities adjacent to RFK stadium. I had stopped on the bridge to observe a crane in the water and to reflect for a few moments before heading off for some errands during the remainder of Saturday afternoon.

The perpetrator came up from behind me and knocked me down with a hard sucker punch to the side of my face, and he then jumped on top of me and continued his ruthless assault on my face and body. I honestly don’t remember much after that because I was beaten unconscious. I gradually regained consciousness only to find myself laying in a pool of my own blood.

I am fortunate that several people came to my aid really quickly. They sacrificed their own clothing to help stop my bleeding and went out of their way to direct police and EMTs to the scene. My injuries, thankfully, are relatively minor – lacerations to my face, mouth, and lips, and some damage to my teeth and jaw that may require surgery. 

Speaking and eating are bit inhibited at the moment. And as result of head trauma, I am suffering serious headaches and lack of mental focus. And for the robbery, all of my bank and credit cards, my license and my work ID, my cell phone, and my shoulder bag with my laptop and other personal items were all stolen. Heck, even my glasses were taken.

It may be a week or so before I am back online.Having been assaulted three times – twice during daylight hours, once while existing my office building, and once while riding on public transit – I have really lost any faith in the ability of this city to maintain a baseline level of safety and security for its citizens.

I hate to say it, but I don’t feel all that comfortable walking around outside anymore. And I am not sure what I am going to do about that. And having promoted Kingman Island to friends and neighbors for years now, I feel I must dial back my enthusiastic support for the place and the new development happening at RFK.

My unfortunate experience is borne out by the crime stats for Kingman Park generally. (I only wished I had checked the stats before visiting yesterday!) If you visit Kingman Island or check out the new amenities at The Fields at any time — even on a sunny Saturday afternoon — remain alert and vigilant at all times, go with a group, and maintain a safe distance from strangers or people you don’t know, or else you too might end up laying in a puddle of your own blood, begging for help, and asking for answers in a city that has none.


Letter from Youngstown


Hi Colin,

I grew up outside of Youngstown,  Ohio in a predominantly white suburb. I had a great childhood. Crime was minimal. People were friendly. As kids, we rode our bikes all around town and never had a fear. When I graduated high school I got a scholarship to Youngstown State University. I moved to the campus which was only 6 miles away but might as well have been a different planet. 

My first year there, my friend plotted the murders with pins on a city map. There were 40 within a two mile radius of the campus. I later moved just off campus. My neighbor was carjacked, my friend was stabbed, my friends car was stolen from our driveway, and our place was robbed twice. These were all black on white crimes. 

Despite all of the evidence to the contrary, I was still so clueless as to believe the lies in the media and the class rooms. I had been told that as a white man I was responsible for most of the world’s problems. I was convinced that I harbored unconscious racist attitudes. This belief got me in some trouble.

I was walking home down an empty street at night when a black man called to me from the opposite sidewalk asking for help. My gut said I should just keep moving but I told myself I was only feeling that way because of racism. I ignored my instincts and approached him instead. When I got close, he robbed me at gunpoint. I was unharmed physically, but it scared me pretty good. 

Months later my friends moved into a new house and held a housewarming party. There were gunshots right outside the house. Gunshots were commonplace, but these were very close so we called the police. When they arrived to investigate, we were told “You are white kids living on the North side of Youngstown, you better get used to it.” Apparently, calling the police was a big mistake. Shorty after the police left, three shots were fired into the house. There was chaos in the house as everyone crawled to a safer spot. By some miracle no one was hurt. 

I moved to Youngstown to get an education and make something of my life. Instead I ended up with PTSD, drug addicted, and dropped out of school because I couldn’t cope with the world I was living in. There is a reason it was named by Buzz Feed as one of the 12 bleakest places on Earth and it’s not relentless white racism. 

I appreciate your work and I plan to support you financially. Feel free to share my story though I ask to remain anonymous. I have a job and family to protect. I think it’s important for people to know that the lies that are spread in the media and colleges have consequences. Naïve white kids like myself who drink the cool aid can end up dead, just like the young man who moved to Detroit that you did the video about. 

Thanks for what you do.

Letter from Caroline.

Hi Mr. Flaherty,

I just listened to your latest podcast. Now, I know why the Owings Mills Mall closed! 

I read two books that have helped shape my perspective on personal safety and threat assessment. Gavin DeBecker’s Gift of Fear wherein I learned why and how and because of whom there was enacted the law in New York where juveniles can be tried as adults. Willie Bosket. Scary child.

Tim Larkin’s When Violence is the Answer taught me that we have to fight
and take the initiative when someone is about to attack us. 

A few years ago, I was driving out of my parking lot headed to work when a
car driven by a Gal pulled out and would have hit my car had I not blown my horn. She stopped and I headed to the end of the driveway when something ran into the back of my car. Yes, she followed me and ran her car into my leased vehicle. We exchanged some words and gestures but remained in our cars. Then I followed her. I mean I was on her bumper like white on rice (pun intended). When she turned, I turned. When she sped up, I sped up. When she slowed down, I slowed down. She drove into the Barnes and Noble parking lot on Reisterstown Rd. By this time, I am on my cell with 911. 

There were about 15 to 20 Gals in the parking lot! A gang!  It turned out to be some kind of Saturday morning walking club. She opened her car door and looked upset as some Gals walked over to her. She didn’t exit her vehicle. I made a show of looking and memorizing her license plate number. Of course, I had to go to work, and I stopped at the nearest safe place and checked my rear bumper. Not a scratch. The cops wouldn’t come unless I stayed which I couldn’t do at the time. 

I was confronted by a Gal at Jersey Mike’s who was clearly not standing on line and was busy with her cellphone. So, I got on line. Then I hear something to the effect of, “Hmnn, guess I must be invisible.” We had some verbal exchanges. She lost. When they end with, “Whateva” you know you’ve won. I said, “Yeah, I gotya whateva.”

Anyone who ever threatened or harassed me starting in first grade was a Fella or Gal. Sometimes to the point of taking my school bus home instead of her own so she could confront me. I ignored her. Don’t know how she made it home. 

I pray constantly for my safety because only God knows what’s around the corner. 

My heart still aches for Zach Sowers and his new bride. Fellas and Gals have caused trouble for me whenever I had them for neighbors. Oddly, 
foreigners have been very classy and kind to me. 

My co-workers wanted to hurt me when I (unwisely) told them there was no evidence to convict George Zimmerman. When he was acquitted, you could have heard a pin drop. 

A Gal friend who knew my parents before I was born cussed me out because somehow she got the idea I support President Trump (I do). So, a
fifty plus year friendship down the crapper. I don’t support the “Criminal Justice Reform Jared Kushner Law.” 

Oh, Colin. Our work is cut out for us. 

God bless and protect both of us.

Letter from Madison

Colin,

Your videos on attacks along bike trails helped me the other day. I live in a Wisconsin town of about 15,000 that is around an hour and a half-hour from the Twin Cities. I was on a bike ride on our bike trail last week, came around a bend and there were three black teenagers standing in the middle of the trail looking up and down the trail. I ride faster than most and did not have time to turn around so I accelerated even faster as I approached them. The more muscular kid looked me up and down, a look I’ve seen before when criminals are looking for someone to jack. He moved aside and I flew by. 

I had just passed by two joggers a mile back and I knew at least one of them would be running in to these kids. You’ll probably say this was dumb, but instead of bypassing the kids when I got to the end of the trail and had to turn around to get back home, I slowed to a pace so that when I turned around and got back to these kids, that jogger would be there. I was worried he was going to get attacked. 

After I turned around and rode back, there were the kids in the same place, looking side-to-side up and down the trail. I was flying even faster this time and as I passed by the kids, the muscular one said something to me. Just ahead, around the bend, I came up on the jogger. He must’ve turned around when he came around the bend and saw the kids standing there. I pulled off the trail a mile ahead and called the cops and told them there were some kids up to no good on the bike trail. They said they’d send out a deputy. I never heard back from them. 

We’re a college town that is “down with the cause.” The university removed a very old painting in one of the buildings that depicted a French fur trader from the 1600s because it’s an example of white male colonialism, of course. 

BTW, check out some of the Madison School Board meetings from up here in Wisconsin. We’re seeing a lot of the same stuff you document in schools elsewhere happening in the capital city.

Letter from a St. Paul School

Colin,


I wanted tell a story about school violence maybe your viewers would like to hear. It’s not about me. I’ll title it Minnesota nice — until they were not.

I went to catholic elementary then to public school in 7th grade. They bused kids in from a nearby area where everybody knew you don’t go in to this area at night.

My experience was minimal with black students.  If you got caught alone in the bathroom or taking the city bus to school which came out of Selby Dale area, that was not a good situation.

There was some verbal abuse of teachers but something else went on. The black girls started attacking the popular white girls. At first, everybody ignored it.  But it began to escalate over the school year from once or  twice a month to three times a week.

Everybody new about it. Girls would tell each other stay out the second floor bathroom. Then it moved to the first floor bathroom. Then the stairwells. Then when moving from class to class.

There was  no detention because the fellas and lovely ladies had to catch their bus. Finally they attacked the wrong girl. She had brothers. It got around school that she was bleeding and  got cut.

In junior high bleeding was something that happened when you wiped out on your bicycle, not in a fight.

Well,  this was 1970s St. Paul. To put this in perspective we had 5 kids in our family and were considered a small family.

If  you were a white kid picking on another white kid you better have a good reason or be prepared for 4 or 5 of his brothers hunting you down. I had this personal experience twice.

Lots of large families, with many older and younger siblings in the same school.

My own grama Flaherty, with two sets of twins had 17 kids altogether. After the one attack word went through the school in one day to crowd in the bathrooms lunchrooms everywhere, even into the senior high which was separated by locked steel doors.

We had family in the senior high every one was to meet at the school buses after school and everybody did.  400 maybe not to fight but scare or intimidate we lined the sidewalk leading to buses. We were 25 deep. The black kids would not come out of school.

The teachers came out and were dumb founded. They didn’t have clue a what was going on.  No one was yelling or threatening just standing together. The black kids were escorted single file to their bus, one bus load at a time with their tales between their legs.

Another bus would move forward and another bus load would come out single file. This went on for three days — escorted to the bus while we lined the sidewalk. No racial slurs, nothing. We just  stood there. 

I don’t know if this story means anything but for the next three years there was no more racial hostility. When I was in senior high, my brother was in the junior high and he had no problems.

This is one of my most vivid memories. I guess we taught the world to sing in perfect harmony.

I kept it short. I could have put in a lot of other details. I worry about these young white kids in schools. They don’t have an army of brothers to help like we did when in school.

Letter from a Retired Cop

Hey Colin,

I recently retired as a cop after a long year career, do the math, that included the LA Riots in 1992. Lots of fellas and lovely ladies stories if interested, however, what motivated me to email was your request for your new book on the podcast where you discussed white kids in black schools with two guests telling their experiences.

I grew up in a suburb of LA called Eagle Rock.  Not many blacks in the 60’s/70’s mostly White, Hispanic and Asian (mostly Filipinos). When I was 5 my folks had me in a local bowling league that had the brilliant idea to take us to a tournament in “mid-town” a mostly black area.

My very first experience in life with a black person, after I rolled a practice ball another little black kid got in my face and said “man if I had my knife I’d cut you, you dumb m*tha f*cka!”  apparently my crime was rolling 2 practice balls on the same lane when we were told to move over to another lane after the first ball, I was 5! I made an error in not listening…

Over the years I had hoped this was a one off and that Wakanda was a real place, but year after year the fellas proved my instincts about them right…

Letter from the Grey Zone

Oh man Collin, today’s podcast is really hitting home for me. I’m one of those “grey zone” kids too. Going to a black school in the 90’s ( 1992-93 to be precise) was almost the death of me literally (me and a small group of white guys that banded together for safety were shot at) and definitely ruined my life in terms of academics and graduating high school.

I grew up in Northeast Kansas City and went to Northeast High School , which of course is a  predominately black school in a predominately black neighborhood.
 
It was rare to have a day go by where I wasn’t at the very least called a honky, cracker or white boy but at least those days didn’t result in physical violence. Most days unfortunately had me having to get physical with the fellas. 
 
I even saw a kid get sliced down his thigh with a straight razor from one of the fellas, the reason? He was white and it was Black History Month so “The Cracker had to pay for slavery”. It was one of the scariest things I’d seen at that school. The kid never came back after that.

I was always a big guy even as a freshman I was 6 foot 2 and 300 lbs. I was what you would call country strong so it would make the black kids angry when they couldn’t always beat me one on one so then usually I would get jumped where some days I’d be fending off around 5 black assailants at once. Needless to say those days I would get my ass whipped.

Eventually I got a group of around 5-6 white guys who were bigger and sick of always being singled out to always be together and we were like a small gang I suppose. We always looked out for each other and tried our best to help the hapless other white kids who just tried to bury their heads in the sand and ignore the situation.

Eventually the fellas got sick of not being able to fight us fairly and one day while we were smoking outside they did a drive by on us, shooting at us without successfully hurting us physically but in a way it was like they killed our spirit that day.

I dropped out and there was really no repercussions for anything that happened that day because I couldn’t pick out who did it (I literally felt like every fella in the car looked alike from what I could recollect and it happened in the blink of an eye)
 
After that I just was always filled with anxiety and overly cautious to the point of overkill. To this day I still always watch my surroundings out of the corner of my eye.

I know for one my life has been harder due to the extreme amount of black hostility and violence I had to endure. I’ve never really had a good job, I drink too much and I have a lot of emotional issues. So I guess I really did die that day I was shot at, it has just been a very slow progress and instead of my life being taken away it was my spirit.

Thanks for letting me share with you, Colin you are doing important work so thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Letter from a White Kid in a Black Summer Camp

Good morning Colin,

A friend of mine recently sent me a link to one of your podcasts where you played the 911 calls from the Louisville, Kentucky mobs that targeted white people.  He urged me to share my story with you because of your episode discussing the myth of white children picking on black kids due to their race.

I’m a 37 year old white man.  In the summer of 1990, between third and fourth grade, my mother worked in downtown Louisville as a secretary at the Army Corps. of Engineers building.  Out of convenience, she put me in the downtown YMCA summer care program. I was the only white kid there for almost the entire summer (there was a two week period where there was a white brother and sister also attended). 

From day one, I was targeted constantly.  Beaten up, choked, locked in lockers, stolen from on an almost daily basis just for the fact that I was white.  Even the high school aged kids would do things like throw basketballs at my head.  One of the counselors in charge (a 25-30 year old black man) called me a “little white faggot”. 

Any black kids that tried to befriend me were shunned for it, so friends were few and far between. This place was a daily living hell.  This was the most racism that I have ever experienced or witnessed in my life and it was not in the direction that is perpetuated by our media and schools. 

Letter from Jackson Mississippi

Hi Colin,


Sometimes I can be a little dense.

It just occurred to me what “Please sir, I want some more”, represents.
The headmaster represents the “black kids causing the violence” and the kid represents “white society”.

Society is saying after a violent incident, to the black community, “Please sir, I want some more.”

So, after all the violence and mayhem caused by out of control black mobs, whites want more. Even the “out of control” blacks are astonished. “What!”
Back in the early 1980s, one of my relatives, a middle age woman, was a bank manager in Mississippi, out of Jackson.

A black guy in a minimum security prison walked away from a work detail. He got himself a gun and robbed the bank where my cousin worked. Took her hostage and drug her out to the parking lot.

He shot her and left her for dead. She spent the last about 10 years of her life in a wheelchair, a paraplegic.

Her daughter was left to care for her.

I remember seeing it on the national news at the time. They caught the guy, but I don’t know what happened to him.