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Sunday, July 11, 2010

South Street Mobs

Tonight after attending a Femi Kuti concert at the Theater of the Living Arts (TLA) on South Street I witnessed something that I really don’t understand. There were mobs of young African- Americans everywhere. But so were the police. You could barely walk down the street. Now I don’t understand what the deal is about flooding South Street at a time when most of the stores are closed and restaurants are starting to shut down. I walked from 4th & South to 11th & South to wait for the 23 bus. As I was walking I saw a lot of young people who clearly were too young to be out on the street after 12 midnight. When I got to 11th & South I heard the police telling the crowds that were coming from Broad Street that they had to turn around because they would not be allowed to go any further.

After waiting at 11th & South for about 5 minutes a police told me and 3 other people that we could not stand on the corner to wait for the bus. He told us that we had to go either one block south or north to catch the bus. I decided I would walk one block south. Now there was a young lady and two guys on the corner with me and they started walking south also. I thought that they all were going to catch the bus.

 Apparently the young lady was going to catch the bus and one of the guys was trying to talk to her. I thought they were a couple because when I first got to the corner they were in a tight embrace (I mean so tight air could not get between them) against the wall. As they were walking the one guy was trying to get the young lady’s telephone number and was saying some things that I thought were very inappropriate. But the young lady was also saying things that were inappropriate, like making references to the size of the guy’s penis and how she did not feel anything when he hugged her. That made him angry and his friend encouraged his to stop talking to the young lady and walk to Broad Street.

 So the young lady and I were standing on the corner waiting for the bus. She did not look anymore that 13 or 14 but her body was very developed and let just say that her clothes were very tight. As we stood on the corner waiting for the bus men driving by were either whistling or making very sexual comments to the young lady. I decided to take a cab to 11th & Market Streets. I could not see leaving the young lady standing on corner by herself. So I asked how far she was going. She stated that she will take the 23 bus to Germantown. I suggested that she get in the cab with me and she did. I had to ask her why she was on South Street by herself and what is so great about coming down to this area. She stated that she was with some friends and she got bored just walking up and down the street so she left them. I asked her if she had a curfew she said “No that’s really old fashioned”. I asked her why she was calling her friends to see if they got home when I did not see her call any of her family. She said that since they all came to South Street together she knows that some of her friends’ parents would be worried. I asked her about her parents she stated, “I guess my mom would be concerned”. I went on to give her some advice about her behavior and dress. She seemed to listen. Once we got to 11th & Market Street we both got out of the cab and walked across the street to the bus stop. I encouraged her to call her mother which she did and to make sure she goes straight home.

Now call me old fashioned but when did having a curfew go out of style. I wonder how many parents knew that their children were on South Street after midnight. Even though I am not a parent I feel like I have some responsibility to these children too. Each of us has a responsibility to talk to the young people in our families and neighborhoods. Even if the young lady would have gotten upset with me I still felt that I needed to address her behavior and dress. I know that society says that children should have the freedom to express themselves but I believe that we have let go too far. When I was walking on South Street I saw young girls wearing next nothing while wearing six inch heels (I call them killer heels because it you trip or fall you definitely could kill yourself). Some of the young ladies were using language that would make you cringe. They were discussing who they had been with; if it was good while calling each other b’s, slouts and hoes. Their language was worse than the guys.

I wish I would be younger than 18 and out after 12midnite wearing nothing. I know that my parents especially my father would come looking for me. Okay some people would say that some of the parents are out on the street themselves but not all of them. Since I have witnessed this mob thing first hand I am more likely to be more proactive when talking to the young people I come in contact with. I pray that they were not major incidents on South Street tonight. I also hope that people will take a more active role in breaking the “mob mentality”.