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Enquiry re: a strange halloween event

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  • alarikf
    I would like to hear others opinions on an event that happened to us tonight (halloween). One could interpret it as either suspicious or innocent, and before
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 31, 2002
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      I would like to hear others' opinions on an event that happened to us tonight (halloween). One could interpret it as either suspicious or innocent, and before making any judgment I would like to hear if others have had similar experiences.

      We live in a row house facing 13th st. Tonight, around 7PM, or so, trick-or-treaters started coming by. This was great, encouraging, and they were very polite. We handed out candy to them, of course, and had some good laughs with them. At 8PM, however, we had to leave suddenly to go to the hospital for a medical emergency. As we were leaving I turned off the light on the front porch, in order to show potential stoppers-by that we were not at home. This light is about 7 feet off the ground, and is cone shaped.

      My wife and I returned from the hospital at 10:30PM. We got inside, turned back on our front porch light, and noticed that on top of that light had been snugly tied a white cloth. I was, at first, baffled. The light was tall enough off the ground that someone would have had to really work on getting it up there, much less then tying it as snugly as they did to the light.

      Then, I suddenly realized that seeing as how the light was cone-shaped, and the cloth itself therefore had a white cone shape to it, it may have resembled a racist image such as a KKK hat from the street (had I not taken it down immediately). It should go without saying that this would be utterly reprehensible to me.

      But, perhaps I am being paranoid. Perhaps it was just some kids playing some private prank on our house. It is trick OR treat, after all, and, since we weren't there to answer the door I suppose a "trick" was in order.

      However, I would feel much better if a better one, less potentially controversial or confrontational had been chosen. Again, perhaps I am simply being paranoid. But, past experiences in CH have taught me an awful lot about racism of all demeanours and manifestations, and so I believe that my concerns are not entirely outlandish. Perhaps some children really did want to put a KKK hat on my front light as a "trick." If so, it is an insult of the most base kind and were I the parents of such children I would be deeply ashamed. Furthermore, there are much more creative and enjoyable "tricks" one could play.

      In any case, it is halloween, I am likely being too sensitive, and I am probably only interested if others have had similiar experiences.

      Thanks,

      AMF
    • OTT
      Sorry about your experience and hope that all are well. What happened to your family sounds scary. If someone took the time to snugly tie the white cloth,
      Message 2 of 6 , Nov 1, 2002
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        Sorry about your experience and hope that all are well. What happened
        to your family sounds scary. If someone took the time to "snugly" tie
        the white cloth, then it would appear that someone put some time and
        effort into the prank. I don't think you're being paranoid... it would
        have crossed my mind as well. I unfortunately, had only 3 groups of
        trick-or-treaters... Far different from last year. I wondered why so
        few people came by and am now stuck with candy that I "must" eat
        myself.

        --OTT

        -----Original Message-----
        From: alarikf [SMTP:alarikf@...]
        Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2002 11:07 PM
        To: columbia_heights@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [columbia_heights] Enquiry re: a strange halloween event

        I would like to hear others' opinions on an event that happened to us
        tonight (halloween). One could interpret it as either suspicious or
        innocent, and before making any judgment I would like to hear if others
        have had similar experiences.

        We live in a row house facing 13th st. Tonight, around 7PM, or so,
        trick-or-treaters started coming by. This was great, encouraging, and
        they were very polite. We handed out candy to them, of course, and had
        some good laughs with them. At 8PM, however, we had to leave suddenly
        to go to the hospital for a medical emergency. As we were leaving I
        turned off the light on the front porch, in order to show potential
        stoppers-by that we were not at home. This light is about 7 feet off
        the ground, and is cone shaped.

        My wife and I returned from the hospital at 10:30PM. We got inside,
        turned back on our front porch light, and noticed that on top of that
        light had been snugly tied a white cloth. I was, at first, baffled. The
        light was tall enough off the ground that someone would have had to
        really work on getting it up there, much less then tying it as snugly
        as they did to the light.

        Then, I suddenly realized that seeing as how the light was cone-shaped,
        and the cloth itself therefore had a white cone shape to it, it may
        have resembled a racist image such as a KKK hat from the street (had I
        not taken it down immediately). It should go without saying that this
        would be utterly reprehensible to me.

        But, perhaps I am being paranoid. Perhaps it was just some kids playing
        some private prank on our house. It is trick OR treat, after all, and,
        since we weren't there to answer the door I suppose a "trick" was in
        order.

        However, I would feel much better if a better one, less potentially
        controversial or confrontational had been chosen. Again, perhaps I am
        simply being paranoid. But, past experiences in CH have taught me an
        awful lot about racism of all demeanours and manifestations, and so I
        believe that my concerns are not entirely outlandish. Perhaps some
        children really did want to put a KKK hat on my front light as a
        "trick." If so, it is an insult of the most base kind and were I the
        parents of such children I would be deeply ashamed. Furthermore, there
        are much more creative and enjoyable "tricks" one could play.

        In any case, it is halloween, I am likely being too sensitive, and I am
        probably only interested if others have had similiar experiences.

        Thanks,

        AMF


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      • David McIntire
        Not that it couldn t be, but I would be very surprised if the prank had that kind of symbolism. First it seems rather sophisticated for a Halloween prank.
        Message 3 of 6 , Nov 1, 2002
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          Not that it couldn't be, but I would be very surprised if the prank had that
          kind of symbolism.

          First it seems rather sophisticated for a Halloween prank.

          Secondly I don't think the KKK is much on the minds of today's youngsters.
          It has power in the minds of oldsters such as myself but as a force has been
          kaput since the 60's.

          Thirdly, I have never heard the KKK mentioned by anyone in Columbia Heights.
          Perhaps it is in activist circles but it is not in general conversation.

          When I first moved into Columbia Heights, the television series "Roots" was
          played for the first time. Remember this is only about 6 years after the
          14th St. riots. It was a national phenomenon. Everyone was watching it. And
          it was strong stuff for the time and I suppose still is although I only
          watched it that time.

          There were few whites living in Columbia Heights at the time. My reaction
          was a bit apprehensive. I said to my wife that we were likely to get a hard
          way to go over the series. We knew few neighborhood people and those that
          did expressed some puzzlement over why we had moved here. Some thought I was
          an uncover police person.

          But to my surprise, no one said anything - no epitaphs, no comments, no
          harassment, no nothing. The only thing that happened was that I was
          approached by a construction worker while walking my dog. He was upset that
          his fellow workers were ostracizing him because they felt he was sucking up
          to his white bosses and wanted a sympathetic ear to talk to.

          The only time I have ever received racial epithets is a couple of times from
          street hoodlums who spent long times in prison where they develop that kind
          of vocabulary.

          Of course, I have never felt a bit better than anyone nor did I move here
          and expect those around to change to accommodate to my way of living. I
          wasn't trying to show how important I was.

          Of course I wasn't crazy about the trash and all the rest that people
          complain about on this board but neither were my neighbors. Those complaints
          far preceded my living here.

          I have always been touched that we were so easily accepted by my neighbors,
          considering the history of our country and the social divides that still
          separate black from whites although it has much improved during my lifetime.
          It is one of the reasons for my abiding affection for Columbia Heights
          although I am much depressed and saddened by the rifts between Latino and
          blacks. I really don't understand it.

          So if you are being a good neighbor, which I presume you are, I don't think
          you have anything to worry about in the area of racial harassment. It was a
          prank, not even a destructive one. The just made you get a ladder to remove
          what they did.

          Dave McIntire


          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "alarikf" <alarikf@...>
          To: <columbia_heights@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2002 11:07 PM
          Subject: [columbia_heights] Enquiry re: a strange halloween event


          > I would like to hear others' opinions on an event that happened to us
          tonight (halloween). One could interpret it as either suspicious or
          innocent, and before making any judgment I would like to hear if others have
          had similar experiences.
          >
          > We live in a row house facing 13th st. Tonight, around 7PM, or so,
          trick-or-treaters started coming by. This was great, encouraging, and they
          were very polite. We handed out candy to them, of course, and had some good
          laughs with them. At 8PM, however, we had to leave suddenly to go to the
          hospital for a medical emergency. As we were leaving I turned off the light
          on the front porch, in order to show potential stoppers-by that we were not
          at home. This light is about 7 feet off the ground, and is cone shaped.
          >
          > My wife and I returned from the hospital at 10:30PM. We got inside, turned
          back on our front porch light, and noticed that on top of that light had
          been snugly tied a white cloth. I was, at first, baffled. The light was tall
          enough off the ground that someone would have had to really work on getting
          it up there, much less then tying it as snugly as they did to the light.
          >
          > Then, I suddenly realized that seeing as how the light was cone-shaped,
          and the cloth itself therefore had a white cone shape to it, it may have
          resembled a racist image such as a KKK hat from the street (had I not taken
          it down immediately). It should go without saying that this would be utterly
          reprehensible to me.
          >
          > But, perhaps I am being paranoid. Perhaps it was just some kids playing
          some private prank on our house. It is trick OR treat, after all, and, since
          we weren't there to answer the door I suppose a "trick" was in order.
          >
          > However, I would feel much better if a better one, less potentially
          controversial or confrontational had been chosen. Again, perhaps I am simply
          being paranoid. But, past experiences in CH have taught me an awful lot
          about racism of all demeanours and manifestations, and so I believe that my
          concerns are not entirely outlandish. Perhaps some children really did want
          to put a KKK hat on my front light as a "trick." If so, it is an insult of
          the most base kind and were I the parents of such children I would be deeply
          ashamed. Furthermore, there are much more creative and enjoyable "tricks"
          one could play.
          >
          > In any case, it is halloween, I am likely being too sensitive, and I am
          probably only interested if others have had similiar experiences.
          >
          > Thanks,
          >
          > AMF
          >
          >
          >
          > URL to this page on the web:
          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/columbia_heights/
          >
          >
          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          >
          >
        • William Jordan
          Dave s comments here are pretty much on point. However, I am not suprised that tensions exist between some Blacks and Latinos. Primarily because tensions
          Message 4 of 6 , Nov 1, 2002
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            Dave's comments here are pretty much on point.  However, I am not suprised that tensions exist between some Blacks and Latinos.  Primarily because tensions exiits among groups of Blacks, and groups of Latinos. As well between some Whites and Latinos and etc.  Sometimes, I am amazed at how well the various groups and subgroups get along, at least in terms of overt problems.  I think it is sometime hard to appreciate how diverse and complex this community really is, and how destructive, the lazy broad brush "maybe I can win a cheap Pulitizer" Post reporting on this and surrounding communities can be. Of course this is compounded by the fact that some politicians and activist believe the best forum for community dialogue is via the Post or Times.

            My intent is not to down play the tensions amoung groups and subgroups in this community because they are real and I run into them everyday. But, I also run into way more efforts of cooperation, dialogue than hostilities.   It's a challenge.   For examble PTA/Schools meetings at my children's school is translated into 2 sometimes 3 languages.  The logicistics are crazy.   Even a conversation occuring among a group of Black parents was pretty complicated.  From a distance it seemed like one like put up close it was more complex.  Parents appeared to range in ages from about 20 to 50.  Places of birth Africa (West & East), Carribean (English speaking & Spanish speaking), Eduation High School to Advanced Degrees.  

            The challenge for me is one of the things I love most about this community is its biggest challenge.  The key is finding and maintaining balance while encouraging growth.  Unfortunately petty-ism will not get us there.

            Good observations Dave.

            William



            David McIntire wrote:
            Not that it couldn't be, but I would be very surprised if the prank had that
            kind of symbolism.
            
            First it seems rather sophisticated for a Halloween prank.
            
            Secondly I don't think the KKK is much on the minds of today's youngsters.
            It has power in the minds of oldsters such as myself but as a force has been
            kaput since the 60's.
            
            Thirdly, I have never heard the KKK mentioned by anyone in Columbia Heights.
            Perhaps it is in activist circles but it is not in general conversation.
            
            When I first moved into Columbia Heights, the television series "Roots" was
            played for the first time. Remember this is only about 6 years after the
            14th St. riots. It was a national phenomenon. Everyone was watching it. And
            it was strong stuff for the time and I suppose still is although I only
            watched it that time.
            
            There were few whites living in Columbia Heights at the time. My reaction
            was a bit apprehensive. I said to my wife that we were likely to get a hard
            way to go over the series. We knew few neighborhood people and those that
            did expressed some puzzlement over why we had moved here. Some thought I was
            an uncover police person.
            
            But to my surprise, no one said anything - no epitaphs, no comments, no
            harassment, no nothing. The only thing that happened was that I was
            approached by a construction worker while walking my dog. He was upset that
            his fellow workers were ostracizing him because they felt he was sucking up
            to his white bosses and wanted a sympathetic ear to talk to.
            
            The only time I have ever received racial epithets is a couple of times from
            street hoodlums who spent long times in prison where they develop that kind
            of vocabulary.
            
            Of course, I have never felt a bit better than anyone nor did I move here
            and expect those around to change to accommodate to my way of living. I
            wasn't trying to show how important I was.
            
            Of course I wasn't crazy about the trash and all the rest that people
            complain about on this board but neither were my neighbors. Those complaints
            far preceded my living here.
            
            I have always been touched that we were so easily accepted by my neighbors,
            considering the history of our country and the social divides that still
            separate black from whites although it has much improved during my lifetime.
            It is one of the reasons for my abiding affection for Columbia Heights
            although I am much depressed and saddened by the rifts between Latino and
            blacks. I really don't understand it.
            
            So if you are being a good neighbor, which I presume you are, I don't think
            you have anything to worry about in the area of racial harassment. It was a
            prank, not even a destructive one. The just made you get a ladder to remove
            what they did.
            
            Dave McIntire
            
            
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "alarikf" <alarikf@...>
            To: <columbia_heights@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2002 11:07 PM
            Subject: [columbia_heights] Enquiry re: a strange halloween event
            
            
              
            I would like to hear others' opinions on an event that happened to us
                
            tonight (halloween). One could interpret it as either suspicious or
            innocent, and before making any judgment I would like to hear if others have
            had similar experiences.
              
            We live in a row house facing 13th st. Tonight, around 7PM, or so,
                
            trick-or-treaters started coming by. This was great, encouraging, and they
            were very polite. We handed out candy to them, of course, and had some good
            laughs with them. At 8PM, however, we had to leave suddenly to go to the
            hospital for a medical emergency. As we were leaving I turned off the light
            on the front porch, in order to show potential stoppers-by that we were not
            at home. This light is about 7 feet off the ground, and is cone shaped.
              
            My wife and I returned from the hospital at 10:30PM. We got inside, turned
                
            back on our front porch light, and noticed that on top of that light had
            been snugly tied a white cloth. I was, at first, baffled. The light was tall
            enough off the ground that someone would have had to really work on getting
            it up there, much less then tying it as snugly as they did to the light.
              
            Then, I suddenly realized that seeing as how the light was cone-shaped,
                
            and the cloth itself therefore had a white cone shape to it, it may have
            resembled a racist image such as a KKK hat from the street (had I not taken
            it down immediately). It should go without saying that this would be utterly
            reprehensible to me.
              
            But, perhaps I am being paranoid. Perhaps it was just some kids playing
                
            some private prank on our house. It is trick OR treat, after all, and, since
            we weren't there to answer the door I suppose a "trick" was in order.
              
            However, I would feel much better if a better one, less potentially
                
            controversial or confrontational had been chosen. Again, perhaps I am simply
            being paranoid. But, past experiences in CH have taught me an awful lot
            about racism of all demeanours and manifestations, and so I believe that my
            concerns are not entirely outlandish. Perhaps some children really did want
            to put a KKK hat on my front light as a "trick." If so, it is an insult of
            the most base kind and were I the parents of such children I would be deeply
            ashamed. Furthermore, there are much more creative and enjoyable "tricks"
            one could play.
              
            In any case, it is halloween, I am likely being too sensitive, and I am
                
            probably only interested if others have had similiar experiences.
              
            Thanks,
            
            AMF
            
            
            
            URL to this page on the web:
                
            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/columbia_heights/
              
            Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
            
            
                
            
            
            URL to this page on the web: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/columbia_heights/
              
            
            Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/ 
            
            
            
              

          • eheard1874@aol.com
            It certainly does appear that your heart is in the right place. Children can be mean and strange at the same time. Since you know that you did not do it and
            Message 5 of 6 , Nov 1, 2002
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              It certainly does appear that your heart is in the right place. Children can be mean and strange at the same time. Since you know that you did not do it and do not know who did, I would just mark it up to Halloween. It was however a tasteless joke, nonetheless.

              Eric
            • eheard1874@aol.com
              It certainly does appear that your heart is in the right place. Children can be mean and strange at the same time. Since you know that you did not do it and
              Message 6 of 6 , Nov 1, 2002
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                It certainly does appear that your heart is in the right place. Children can be mean and strange at the same time. Since you know that you did not do it and do not know who did, I would just mark it up to Halloween. It was however a tasteless joke, nonetheless.

                Eric
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