our family moved, in early 2009, into the quapaw quarter (in little rock). we really enjoy being so close to downtown and our neighborhood is relatively quiet and friendly. there’s a diversity of people here that you simply don’t get in other parts of town.
but i’ll get to that whole diversity thing briefly.
several months after moving in, we attended a 4th of july breakfast at the empress (our immediate neighbor) and had an opportunity to meet the large majority of our neighbors. i had a lengthy conversation with a man who, along with his wife of 30-something years, has lived in the quarter for well over 20 years. he offered a bit of history of the neighborhood and one particular story stood out among the others. he said that a little over 20 years ago, a gang of about 6 or 7 black guys jumped a white man (who lived in our neighborhood) while he was walking his dog. apparently the guy was pretty messed up and after a few days of intensive care, he died from internal bleeding. whereas several of the black guys were subsequently arrested, the two main leaders of the group got away and were never arrested.
he said, for obvious reasons, many people in the neighborhood were shaken up pretty badly and even after having some candlelight vigils and racial reconciliation-type conversations with some of the predominantly black churches in the area, tensions ran high.
he and i talked about some of the backlash and anger that, to this day, still exists in this neighborhood and we came up with only one logical conclusion.
seriously, it’s best to just keep them out. now, i get it that, legally, you can’t stop black people from moving in, but ultimately, it’s less of a rights issue than it is sensitivity to the family (who still lives in this neighborhood) of the man and the neighbors who have lived in fear of a repeat incident since that day.
my question for any black people who would want to move in is why they can’t just live in areas where more black people already live. i mean, if you just go a couple blocks south and cross roosevelt, there are black people everywhere. they’ll be welcome with open arms. violence happens all the time there. why do they have to bring it back to our neighborhood? why do they have to stir up all those raw emotions of the current residents from just a handful of years ago? why do they have to flaunt their “rights’ while stomping on their emotions and fear of the good citizens of the quapaw quarter?
now, the one slight problem is that there are already some black people living in our neighborhood. while there are more white people, there are still a decent percentage of black families. no, i don’t think we should run them out. rather, we should make sure they don’t try to have any more children or build on to their existing home. what they have now is plenty. no need to be going and getting building permits for additional square footage. that would clearly be shoving it in the face of the white people affected by the black-on-white violence of 20 years ago. just appreciate what you have, black people. you live in a predominantly white neighborhood, that was, to take it a step further, founded by white people with white values and principles.
so, you might think it sounds harsh, but i think the only fair and sensitive decision to draw from this is that black people should not be allowed to live in the quapaw quarter.