The energy around last week’s raucous mayoral debate capture d the stereotypical New York of the American imagination; spontaneous, obnoxious and ungovernable. It was often repeated in the debate that New York is the safest major city in America but New Yorkers of color w are reminded every day they are not safe when they face the ever-increasing presence of police, quality of life arrests, secret gang databases, homelessness, deportations, encroaching gentrification, evictions; these problems make communities of color unstable and therefore, unsafe.
What the city has essentially created for communities of color is a microcosm of global colonialism. The ‘white man’s burden’, in this context, is to ‘civilize’ and recreate communities of color in their image. “You cannot determine what civilization is, so we will do it for you”, becomes “you cannot determine your own standards for safety so we will do it for you.” This legacy of colonialism is replete with occupation, infiltration and even colonial settlement in the form of gentrification. READ MORE