Down at the Low Dive Cafe, Part 5
By Arthur J Miller
Next Dil brought over a young Black Man who sat down and Dil introduce him as Low Tide Malcolm.
Dil said; "Under the Low Dive is a small inlet from the sea that was once used by smugglers. We use it to feed our aquatic friends. We start by chumming the water with some raw meat at the point where the inlet meets the end of the docks. Then our friends know to come into our inlet. Well, one day when we were down below getting ready to do some chumming, it happened to be low tide, and we saw a person under the docks cold and shivering. We explained to him that he had better get out of there before high tide or he would find himself under the water. This person turned out to be Malcolm who was hiding out from the cops who were prowling that waterfront looking for him. Since that day we have called him Low Tide Malcolm."
Professor Armchair thought for a moment and then asked Malcolm: "What do you think is the relationship between crime and being poor?"
"First off" Malcolm began, "you presume that I may have committed crime other than being born a poor Black Man. You are just like most others in this racist society. You see a young poor Black Man and your first thought is 'There is a criminal.' In this society you have such 'crimes' as DWB, Driving While Black; WWB, Walking While Black; SWB, Standing While Black; and EWB, Existing While Black, but next to never is there, IWB, Innocent While Black."
"I grew up in the projects, my mother tried hard to raise her three kids, but the deck was always stacked against her. My father was framed up and sent to prison because the cops needed a Black Man to take a fall for a crime that they did not want to take the time to really investigate."
"My mother name me Malcolm after Malcolm X, with the hope that I would not fall into the ghetto trap that so many other young people have fallen into. She often spoke about the conditions of poor Black People and that one of the things that kept the conditions so bad is that most of those who were able to escape from that hellhole would turn their backs on their people as if they no longer existed. I decided that I wanted to be different. Yes, I wanted to struggle my way out of the projects, but I also wanted to bring something back to my people."
"I was hoping to become a doctor or a lawyer. Not only did I work hard in the near worthless school that I was in, but I also spent many hours at the public library studying."
"One night when I was returning home from the library --- I hadn't meant to stay there so late, for every poor Black Man knows walking alone at night is viewed as a crime --- two cop cars came up to me. The cops jumped out of their cars with their guns pointed at me and demanded that I hit the ground. After a few kicks to my ribs they handcuffed me and stood me up against a wall. They then said that there had been a holdup a few blocks away and that I fit the description of the robber."
"I told them that I had just come from the library, but they wouldn't even check that out. I was thrown in jail, and charged with a crime that I did not do; it was just like what happened to my father. After a few days a court appointed lawyer came to talk to me. He didn't give a damn about the truth. All he would say was that if I was willing to cop a plea the judge would go easy on me because I didn't have a record, but that if I kept on insisting that I was innocent and went to trial they would convict me. Then I would have hard time to do."
"I asked the lawyer what evidence they had against me and he stated that he did not know. But it did not matter, he said, because who would a jury believe, a young Black Man from the projects or the cops and the white victim? Seeing there was no one around to help me and knowing --- as every poor Black kid knows --- that the system never works for them; I went along with the scam. My easy time turned out to be 6 years in an adult prison, even though I was only 16 at that time."
"I did my time and when I got out I went back to live with my mother. A few days after I got out one young brother came up to me, as I was walking home from trying to find a job, and warned me that the cops had raided my mother's apartment looking for me. There were cop cars speeding all around the area so I took off, even though I had committed no crime. And I ended up under the docks hiding when Dil and Juan found me and took me in."
"The so-called justice system is nothing more than a farce, a myth to keep people from seeing the reality of the racist decadent society we live in. Like everything else in this damn system, the true purpose is to make wealth for a few and to protect that wealth."
"First you must look at the crimes themselves. Crimes by the poor, no matter how simple they maybe, are prosecuted. A poor person can steal a loaf of bread or knock someone over the head for their wallet and the Man will come down hard on 'em. But a boss can cheat a worker out of wages or sick-pay, even kill folks by the pollution from their money-making machines or from the produced protect itself, and all the Man will do is to protect the bosses right to do it. The reality is that the justice system is a class system."
"Next you have communities that are kept in fear, which is a means of control, by the Man's media scaring the hell out of them with continuous news of so-called crimes --- that is the little crimes of poor people and not the big crimes of rich people. That is both done to produce wealth, sell papers and what not, and to keep folks from seeing what it is that is really messing over their lives. That is called diversion of attention."
"Then you have an entertainment industry that is selling the people fantasies based upon their fears of crime, violence, perversion and other such things. In other words they scare people, then turn around and sell that fear back to them. In the meantime, entertainment itself is conditioning people to except the images they want them to believe and produces further profit while doing it."
"Then you have all the lawyers, bail bonds people, cops, judges and so on that make their living off the crime that their society instigates. All those folks would be out of a job if there were no more crime. Crime is in the direct economic interest of all those folks."
"Then there are the prisons and all that cheap labor. Now they even have privately own prisons making profits."
"The industry of crime is so large now that if crime would end there could be an economic depression in this country. What you have here is a self-perpetuating industry of crime production, and that, my friend, has nothing to do with justice or the safety of communities."
"To the greedy criminals on top, crime means social control and profit, just like everything else in their rotten system. So the poor have but two ways to go; they can either play the foolish pawn or fight back. I say we should fight back and give the rich criminals a little taste of their own medicine. If they need crime so badly, then I say we stop the crime against our own people and communities, and redirect it at those that seek to profit from it."
The professor was feeling more unsettled with each person who spoke to him. At this point all he really want to do was to get the hell out of this place and return to the safety of his ivory tower community. He made a mental note that he would never again venture outside of his world again, then looked at his watch and said to Dil; "I only have time to listen to one more person."
He looked around the room at the different eyes that were fixed upon him and wondered who among all these low-lifes Dil would bring to him next.