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Gentlefication: Accepting Change to Evoke Civility, Humanity and Peace

Gentlefication: Accepting Change to Evoke Civility, Humanity and Peace
George Carroll

George Carroll

On Friday George Carroll, 42, a writer and actor had just left dinner with his wife, Christina Romero Carroll,  when they came across a group of people. They were walking down Monitor Street, the block that they loved on in Greenpoint, where they passed a group of men near a SUV. Carroll and one of the men locked eyes and the was confronted with “what are you looking at?” Carroll responded with “I’m…looking at you.” He was then chased and stabbed. As the men took off in the SUV. Carroll was taken to Woodhull Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The Carrolls moved six months ago from Cypress Hills for what they thought was a safer area. Police handcuffed two young men of color and took them in for questioning. Neighbors talked off camera about rowdy teens who smoked weed in the park and in front of the school.

James Pyecka has a show about gentrification called Liv’in The Dream at the NY Summerfest addressing this issue. Here is his newest article on the subject that we are publishing in light of what happened to George Carroll. Maybe this will make a difference.

I remember a quote that Michelle Obama made to The Denver Post on making history as America’s first black First Lady. She said “After 8 years of working really hard for this country, there are still people who won’t see me for what I am because of my skin color.” With an incredible amount of respect, I say I am neither Michelle Obama, the former First Lady or Black, but I feel the very same thing sometimes living in the inner city of New York City. I love this country and what it stands for. And I love New York City in all it’s diversity. In my small way, as an artist and an observer, I am trying to offer a glint of hope to help this ever changing world move closer together in harmony. As a part of humanity, I choose to make a conscience difference. We are not as different as we choose to believe. Our outward perceptions, many times fool us. In my over 50 years on this planet, I have never seen a more separated world. Maybe “disconnected” is a better word. Our technology has offered many opportunities, but has also taken away a lot of social nuances. When I say world, I mean my world New York City. But this microcosm of America enables me to see in full intensity the pattern that America is falling into. The Republicans, the Democrats, the rich, the poor, the Black, the white, the Dominicans, the Mexicans…. we are divided as never before. Economically and socially. And with the stress of day to day survival, people are getting more and more aggressive, impatient, and are choosing to stay in their own

racial communities, where they feel more comfortable. To make matters worse, we have a leader who has no filter. He does not heed to protocol or any process of due respect. He is loud and insecure. Unfortunately he is indirectly sending a message that it is okay to cross the line of respect and diplomacy. My hope and optimism has always told me to see the humor in the situation and learn from it. To view him as a kind of “Mr. Magoo” or “Archie Bunker” or even the explosive “Tasmanian Devil” and enjoy his entertainment aspect. Not really sure that the executive branch of the USA should be viewed as a reality TV show but unfortunately I cannot change that image. We, as an intelligent species, know in our hearts and minds what is right and good. In all my optimism, I really do believe that. Sometimes it is all our responsibility to send a clear and well thought out message to our fellow men, women and children. Is it possible for most of us to concentrate on social manners , good behavior, and respect?  I used to ask myself if we really need it to get manners from posters on the subways of New York City, but if some are not adhering to protocol of simple etiquette, we need to get it from somewhere. Two days ago I was spit on by someone. Twice. He came in on a subway near spewing expletives, speaking on his phone at the top of his lungs. After a long day and a long subway ride, I put my head down and covered my ears. He did not care that children were on either side of him as he continued his boisterous and inappropriate behavior.  When a man next to me sneezed, I said “bless you”, and the man previously on the phone got up and spit in my face, calling me fag***, motherf****** and… worse. In my disbelief I tried to reason, saying I was just being polite to the man next to me who sneezed. He must have not heard me. He spit in my face again and goaded me to get up and fight him. He said he would “cut me”. When the doors opened for the next subway stop he got out of the subway car(his girlfriend was with him she said nothing). I got up to see where he was going so I could report him and before the door closed he reached in the closing door and hit me in the face. Not one person said a word. They scattered and left me alone in the arena. With blood streaming from my face I called 911. The policeman said he was probably angry that I covered my ears with my hands. I am not angry. Not at my accoster, in any case. I am angry that we accept disrespect and ill behavior and do not say anything against it. We see our leaders doing it so we feel it is okay to do it to our fellow man. This is not an All in the Family episode, this is not a cartoon show, and this is not reality TV. This is the message being sent by the highest office in our country. Racism, disrespect, lack of correct policy, and total lack of correct diplomacy and humanity. I reiterate, I love what the USA stands for and I do not want to give up on it. I feel it is time to stand together and be UNITED again. No bullying. Respecting our fellow men and women and communicating in a rational way. I love a good cartoon or TV show, but I do not want to live in one. I see the antics and acknowledge the humor and even insecurity, but I am also optimistic of good people doing the right thing and stepping up to promote change for humanity and civility. We the people, can do this. Let us stand together against racism and bigotry.

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