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Est. April 5, 2002
May 21, 2020 - Issue 819
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From Gaslighting
Ethnic Cleansing
Small Predominately White Towns in the Midwest
As Well As the Big Cities and Southern Towns

"Any acknowledgment of African American existence must
first go through whites in control of the neoliberal narrative
and who, in turn, provide the model “ideal” African Americans
for other whites to accept as authentic, legitimate, human."

"Yes, I’ve always had a lot of trouble with people who are in favor
of some kind of pure culture because when people start talking about
purity, very often people start dying. Ethnic cleansing was an attempt
at purity. Nazism was an attempt as racial purity. The advocates of
purity seem to be quite will to rub out large numbers of people."

Salman Rushdie, Belonging & Unbelonging with Chris Hayes

Any acknowledgment of African American existence must first go through whites in control of the neoliberal narrative and who, in turn, provide the model “ideal” African Americans for other whites to accept as authentic, legitimate, human.

I’m thinking of Jordan Peele’s Get Out where whites were created ideal African American—an ideal gardener, an ideal housekeeper, an ideal companion. Why bother waiting for policies and the political apparatus to bring about the “ideal” race relation scenario in America.

Be proactive!

Gregory and Travis McMichael, father and son, were proactive in sustaining the day-to-day privileges of being white in America.

Any attempt on the part of people of color in the US to expose the narrative of white supremacy, let alone its practice, is to experience how white Americans practice a tactic of excusing, defending, or justifying white behavior toward blacks, Indigenous, and Latinx populations.

If that individual being called out is flawed, then maybe I am too, and then maybe most whites are too, and then maybe there is some truth to these blacks, for example, always complaining about racism. Racism!

And that can’t be admitted in our society! I can’t be the one to admit this and stand out for ridicule! One’s self and loved one’s can’t be implicated in the messiness of racism. So there’s no flaw in this one individual or this one organization.

Perhaps you misunderstood!

Black, Latinx, and Indigenous Americans are always misunderstanding white people. Misunderstanding what is actually happening around them. Misunderstanding what’s happening to them.

How inferior are these people!

And to think they think they are free to be human beings!


Walking with candy or cell phones—openly!

Whistling to white women!

Appealing for help at a door of another human being! An American!

Living in a town and buying a home, renting an apartment where white

Americans reside—peacefully—as law abiding citizens!

And driving on American streets as if a citizen of this great nation!

How dare black people be so insolent!


I had just returned from the hospital where three heart-related medical procedures were conducted, beginning in the morning and ending in the early afternoon. Last month, in April, tests revealed an aneurysm in my chest. So the tests on this particular Friday were part of a follow up to determine a course of action to be taken, if any. Early the following week, I’m to meet with a Cardio-thoracic specialist.

When I returned home, I could see the local building manager through the lobby’s glass door. She was with another woman who accepted my application for an apartment at the building in the fall of last year. But I had been in contact with the real estate’s headquarters and was supposed to meet with a “regional” manager.

As the local manager approached me, I could tell by the tone of her voice and the smile that “company” was in the house! Normally, I wouldn’t receive an acknowledgment of my existence, even if I stopped by the office to speak with her. If you think the manager asked about my health, you don’t know this town n Wisconsin.

Did you get my email? How about a meeting—now?

I’m just back in. I don’t own a smart phone. And why did I need to say any of this when it’s clear that I’m just entering the building.

How about in thirty minutes, she asks—or rather just says because it’s her game, and she’s in control.

This is the meeting that was to transpire last week. The “regional” manager canceled due to illness—this notification I received by email from the local manager. The following week, when I emailed asking when a the meeting would take place, I received a curt response, more appropriate for the 15-year old son this manager has back at home. This is a senior complex, and I’m old enough to be her mother.

You’ve contacted the main office “again” the email stated. I told you I’d get back in touch with you.

She didn’t and I sent an email back stating as much, to which I received an “apology.” Sorry! Her emails aren’t personal. It’s business. Perhaps she remembered this. Or maybe it’s something else.

I tend to walk into setups these days. This country didn’t need the reveal of COVID-19’s targets to act any crazier toward its black population.

When I sent the second email, I informed the manager that I wouldn’t be available on Friday because I would be at the hospital from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm. But I receive no further response. And now Friday, How about in thirty minutes?

The neighbor on the other side of my living room wall, in her fifties, apparently has plans to harass me so as to create a greater gulf between me and manager. She knows why the gulf exist: the town is frightened to death of blacks, but “uppity” ones from Chicago who see how discrimination is more the rule than exception, for it maintains the supremacy of white rule, worse than an invasion of locusts.

But neither the neighbor nor the manager could explain to you how it is that I come to represent their worst nightmare; yet, both know there are means of getting rid of the pestilence that threatens their existence as neighbor and position as manager. If you’ve been black for any length of time in America, let alone lived here while black for six decades, you know when you encounter a white person who doesn’t recognize you as human.

This was the case for me when I saw the woman assigned to manage this property—where I have my home, where supposedly I have rights. Supposedly. She reserved for me that same glance that is never direct because she is always busy, too busy to look at me. To look at me for any length of time might mean she’ll note an older woman, like her mother, perhaps. A human being. But that wouldn’t do. She had already stopped by my apartment when she first took over the position of manager, and she saw the books, artwork, plants, cat, photos…

At the meeting, nine months after I started renting here, she and the “regional” manager are forced to look at me.

Dear little one, go ahead, tell us your story…

And when I commence to do so, the manager interrupts to speak on behalf of the neighbor who is “absent” but “present” in that she’s defended, as she was to be defended from the beginning. Wasn’t this the goal of this meeting?

The neighbor is given the benefit of the doubt. “Noise” is just regular living-in-a-building noise. Nothing out of the ordinary.

I began then to bring to the table, another tenant, the one I was defending, the one I stood up for some months back when my neighbor could be heard by others even at a distance, stomping for all she was worth.

I can’t do that! _____ isn’t complaining! She’s not here! She did make a complaint!

This tenant, of course, complained about the stomping above her head before any else mentioned it to management. And yet, here at this meeting, this never happened!

I see where this is going.

You are the one complaining!

But you are the one…

And we are talking about tormenting someone. Upstairs, in my home. But here too. Here too.

There were neighbors who thought the noise was coming from my apartment. I would have no reason to pound on walls. I haven’t lost it—yet! Neither would it benefit me at 127 pounds (that’s hard to maintain, mind you, with cancer) decide, without shoes, to stomp over the physically disabled man below me. Yet, he recalls hearing a “bowling ball” over his head! Perhaps I fell too! The neighbor on the other side of my living room wall is a hefty woman. Pounding on my wall.

The daughter of a neighbor on the other side of me, would roll her eyes and seem upset to run into me in the hallway or elevator (before COVID-19). When I questioned her, she spoke of “the noise.” The Pounding. I would imagine that once this neighbor on the other side of my living room wall started just throwing whatever at it, it would have reverberated in the next apartment. The insulation leaves much to be desired and the floors are bare as are the hallways.

By then, it had been several weeks since this neighbor arrived in the building in December.

People who know me, I used this phrase in explaining myself to the women at the meeting. The second time, I was interrupted again my the local manager.

Excuse me, by why do you keep referring to “people who know me”?

I’m not isolated!

But I see where she wants me to believe this to be the case.

Don’t mention any other tenant. And outside of the two of us in this room, no one else knows you exist!

I’m to believe I’m absolutely alone in the world. What a smug smile on her face.

I glance at the “regional” manager, a little older than the manager, seated to my right. But I was unable to read anything other that remotely suggests she’s listening with an open mind to my “complaints.”

The local manager, however, was on a row.

It’s a set up. Both will inform the corporate folks at headquarters that she’s definitely not one we want in our building, our “community.”

Way too uppity!

Anyway, how can you experience anything when in fact no one else does! No white person here in this community experiences what you claim to be happening to you!

It wasn’t uttered, but it was as audible as any shout blacks have heard in our history in America, “n____r go home!” Both white women didn’t need to understand why even, yet both held up signs I could read, “whites only.”

You don’t belong! You aren’t wanted here!

Gaslighting in broad daylight. And why not?

We can and we do, and have always, worked on all fronts: At home and in the streets!

In the streets, we can and do gun down a black man jogging in board daylight and get away with it for 70 days. Even with a video! We just go home with our guns!

At home, we can and we do use whatever means to make life a living hell for those blacks and Latinx living as if human in homes and apartments near us.

We can and we do take care of our own, our home, what belongs to us—by taking care that you and your kind remain under control or are eliminated from being a threat to our personal and financial wellbeing!

And the food, she says. She’s all prepared. The food this neighbor left at her door was from a woman distributing food as charity…

No, I say. This isn’t true. I explain how the neighbor, very early on, when asked to stop stomping and pounding, delivered food to the woman below her and to me. I received something that was frozen, that might have been rice and beans. But frozen. In a bag that looked questionable. I discarded whatever it was in the trash. On two other occasions, I received food. Once a bag of greens left over night on my doormat and another time a cabbage, browning, without a bag, also left on my doormat.

But her game is to defend the one “absent” but very “present.” The one who’s name is never mentioned. But it’s understood, she is to receive all the respect in the world.

According to the neighbor below the neighbor her, this woman has set her stereo system to bass and using, high frequency, is practicing torture. Day and night.

It’s high frequency. And this older woman began to demonstrate to me what I had been experiencing then and what continues to this day: The head pressure and earaches. The chest pains. Stabling pains and earaches that cause me to have difficulty seeing to read or work at my computer.

I would never has mentioned this practice of violence. As a black woman, I would risk being discredited as a writer or thinker.

Here’s a white woman telling me what is happening; and yet, I’m not to mention this at this meeting because I’m not to mention this neighbor’s name!

And so the behavior continues as the mindset is unchanged. In fact, the mindset of white supremacy has scored a victory.

The stage is set. I’ve not been a good little negro, and, in any Foucault’s world of punishment and discipline, work on my “soul” isn’t possible, coercion isn’t effect. I’m resistant to docility. Above all, control isn’t forthcoming.

Don’t misunderstand this: Perhaps you should buy a home! Finally, the voice of the “regional” manager.


Ethnic cleansing on this micro level is hard to prove. Worse, I don’t have proof, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some time from now, maybe years, the reveal is that this practice of torture as a substitute for burning black Americans out of their homes and neighborhoods and towns, isn’t more wide spread that just in small and mid-size towns in Wisconsin. And such practices are with the full knowledge of managers and landlords.

What starts, deliberately so, as audio stomping above a tenant and pounding on my walls, ends as tactics of stealth warfare. And where is my defense?

This is America where cruelty is systemic. Whatever electronic devises are used to “get rid” of unwanted neighbors will come under scrutiny just as are the number of guns, AR15s stockpiled in homes of American citizens who have no problems coming out on the street to display their anger while tooting these weapons.

Here I sit between the white women who defend themselves, their menfolk, their children, the entire structure of white supremacy. Women who would have gleefully stuck out their foot to trip an enslaved woman as she passed by back then on those plantations.

Today, their tasks is no less enjoyable.

As for the “regional” manager. I spoke to the ally tenant I wasn’t to mention. Of course, she said she complained as late as that morning. But I didn’t speak with the “regional” manager, she said. You spoke to a leasing agent. And she mentioned the name of the actual regional manager, a woman I’m familiar with, if for not other reason, she was the first representative from the real estate I met. The agent who approved my leasing application.

That woman is the local manager’s boss, said my neighbor.

And Americans wonder why COVID-19 seeks out the black and Latinx and Indigenous people in America.

In taking this opportunity to tell this story, I do so to expose, once again, a pattern of behavior on the part of average white Americans, a pattern of behavior supported by the notion that their existence is proof of racial purity. Their existence is the ideal existence for all of humanity.

I can’t believe, sometimes, that this is 2020, and I have to write such a ridiculous statement as the one I have written above. But it is 2020, and I’m writing about reaching out to others involved in similar situations by virtue of being black in American. I’m writing to expose how experiencing the indifference of real estate associations and law enforcement and other racial justice community agencies, in specific is also to expose what racism looks like behind the walls of homes and apartment dwellings when blacks are targeted for discrimination.

Black and Latinx tenants have no right which white America is bound to respect!

The practice of racism at this micro level leads to invisible roads traveled by blacks and Latinx Americans moving from one place to another, seeking to re-coup, once again, the financial burden on moving in search of a home within a country whose white population since the conquest of this land from the Indigenous people believe themselves entitled to all and any right—and that includes the right not to live with the impure. If nothing else, the pattern of this practice makes it a viable way for average white Americans (as neighbors, real estate management, law enforcement, or community and social justice advocates) to maintain white supremacy—without engaging the corporate gun power of Lockheed Martin or Raytheon.

Make no mistake, this is a continuum of a mindset that recognizes only one way to organize humanity and that is the dichotomy between those who control and punish and those who are made docile and silenced. Ripe, in other words, for the practice of ethnic cleansing—without the bloodletting! Editorial Board member and Columnist, Lenore Jean Daniels, PhD, has a Doctorate in Modern American Literature/Cultural Theory. Contact Dr. Daniels and BC.
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