You guys are no better than the Washington Post! Dan Gilgoff played the official party line in “The Battle of Shiloh” (12/10): gentrifiers versus de po’ black folk. Shiloh Baptist Church ain’t poor, and I ain’t no gentrifier. The issue is Giuliani-type quality of life in this neighborhood. Shiloh’s rotting buildings are rotting teeth. They are ugly, smell, and spread decay. Eventually, they fall out and become church parking lots. Shiloh would love to tear down its properties and use the ugly gaps in the urban landscape for tax-free parking for well-heeled suburban parishioners with big expensive cars like its neighbors, Metropolitan Baptist, Tenth Street Baptist, New Bethany Baptist, New Bethel Baptist, John Wesley AME Zion, Fifth Street Kingdom Hall, and Metropolitan Community Church, which are assured more money in their collection plates with each parking place they carve out of the architectural landscape.
Shiloh is the church of the “I Have a Scheme.” Your article makes it seem as if their properties are recently vacant. Some have been empty more than a quarter-century! And always lots of talk about grand schemes—but no action. You did not have the balls to say you photographed me standing between the mounds of “Jammin’ Java” trash behind the church’s day care center—which had been closed until recently due to yet another fire on their properties. The church sold off a few of its holdings near me to raise cash to pay off bills for the new church building; the properties were developed and sold at market value by independent developers, not to help poor people in the community. For decades, we’ve been hearing about one scheme after another as church properties continue to rot. The scheme for a senior citizens’ home is as old as Methuselah, and you bought it. The coffee house, when? In Y3K?
You, like the Post, conceded to Shiloh’s, Metropolitan’s, and the other Afro-racists’ “keep-it-black” philosophy. Keep what black? The crime, the drugs, the trash, the vacant properties? What benefit is this thinking to the community and the city? “Keep-it-black” appeals to paranoid suburbanites and urban Afro-racists who think Congress passed apartheid laws maintaining this and other neighborhoods as dangerous tribal homelands. Can you imagine if P.G. County residents advocated identical “keep-it-white” policies from their pulpits and press? Don’t you think they too want to hold onto their property—despite plummeting property values and rising crime there? This homie don’t play into the Bertolt Brecht Threepenny Opera scenario, where Mack the Knife (the criminal underworld that rules the community), Police Chief Tiger Brown (who thinks he can keep the alternative criminal enterprises confined to one area), and Jeremiah Peachum’s Beggars’ Supply Store (in our case, the churches with their intentionally ineffective povertician “programs”) conspire together to bilk the city out of tax revenues and to profit from the urban decay. This is the capital of the United States, for God’s sake! This city and this neighborhood, particularly with the new convention center in the offing, ought to be a showcase to the world. We should be ready to show our best face to folks coming here from the square states, instead of being the criminal headquarters for Rayful Edmond, Little Man James, Leo Gonzales, the Ibex Club police murderer, the Pamela Basu carjackers, the 5th and O Crew, and the hosts of others who prosper from Shiloh’s and other vacant properties.
By the way, Kazebee plays a mean jazz trumpet—and he does know a hell of a lot about the genre. He’s got a right to be snotty.
NOMA (not Shaw)