People have a hard time understanding a point I often make that because we’re mostly all black here in Chester, many Chester folks don’t relate to race issues like people from other communities. Yet, Chester folks know when they cross the city line in every direction and land in mixed or all white communities, the rules and comfort level changes. 

The price black folks pay for living in an all black community is underfunded education, poor housing stock, health and wellness issues, a lot of Dollar Stores, pollution, and receivership. Yet, folks would rather put up with all that than to live beside neighbors who don’t want them there. 

That type of neighbor gathered up their motorcycles, pickup trucks, confederate flags, and surely their guns, to harass a Black Lives Matter march going through Ridley Township yesterday. 

The Delaware County Daily Times reports that one of the review stands for the locals was the Herbert W. Best VFW Post 928 on Sutton Ave which can’t even been seen from MacDade Blvd (sort of across from the Wawa on 420 at MacDade). 

At the VFW were a vast majority of white middle-aged people with various American flags while the BLM marchers consisted of folks of varied races and ethnicities and ages ranging from infants to elderly in wheelchairs, with many in that crowd in their 20s. The two groups started exchanging unpleasantries as they passed the VFW.

A quote from someone at the VFW went like this…

“We’re here to support all veterans and first responders. That’s what we do. It’s part of our mission statement. The VFW is private property and we’re here to protect it in case of any kind of vandalism. We’re here for the community, 100 percent here for the community and all our first responders – our police, our firefighters, EMTs, everybody and U.S. military. We’re here to support their families, too.”

Those marchers passed dozens of businesses on their route. I may be going out on a limb here, but in my opinion, the last place they’d consider vandalizing is a VFW. There are a lot of black veterans of foreign war. Maybe they didn’t fight along side the Ridley Township veterans.  

If he was really there to support the community, you’d think he’d join the march.

Obviously, it was getting tense in those streets to the point that organizers advised women and children to move towards the middle for their safety and have the men walk on the perimeter.

The Daily Times states…

mostly white men bum-rushed Black Lives Matter protesters as they neared the township police station before police separated the two sides.

I wonder what ‘mostly white men’ means? Where there black men bum-rushing Black Lives Matter protesters, too? Maybe there were white women. Who knows? 

As their Senator Kearney tried to say a few words, the motorcyclists drove by several times and revved their engines. I guess that’s the equivalent of a loud disrespectful fart. 

Somebody from the motorcycle flag waving crew hollered out “Go home!” only to be reminded that “This is our home,” which someone retorted. Then there were two dark pickup trucks stopping in front of them, revved up, and spewed clouds of black exhaust smoke on the walkers. I guess that’s another fart. 

Senator Kearney did get in a few quotables like…

“Systemic racism is real. It’s real and … it’s really hard to unpeel that onion. But, I’ll tell you now that this is a moment on that arc towards justice.”

I’m not a big fan of the 31-flavors of racism like Systemic, Structural, Implicit, Institutional, and the other 27 flavors. It really all comes down to racial policy which gets played out on many levels. 

Like the VFW guy said, he’s there to protect his community. He knows that if there is too great a presence of black folks in Ridley Township, it can effect how larger outside corporations and their bankers decide to invest in their town. As of Census 2010, the racial makeup of the township was 90.0% White, 5.7% African American, 0.1% Native American, 2.2% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.9% of the population. In his mind, he’s gotta protect those numbers.

Ridley Township is home to a slew of national chains and a large mix of mom & pop businesses and Chester City can’t get a single Wawa even though every Chester person shops there. There’s policies in place that allow those sort of things to be okay just because of demographics and it’s defined as systemic racism.

I really like that part where the Daily Times says the VFW was rocking Neil Diamond’s “America” on the sound system. Yet, if the marchers were blasting Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” Katy, bar the door. 

It would be nice to hear a statement from the political leaders in Ridley Township. Will they take umbrage to what went down on Saturday or were there fine people on both sides? 

We’ll just have to wait and see.