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Robert Lynch

Yusaf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn

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It's scary how things hardly changed and yet here we are now. My mother experienced this as a child growing up in Connecticut and New York. I know the 60s and 70s were different, but I remember her words echoed me witnessing how my mother lived through this. She was an Hispanic woman and I believed they looked at her as some low level being not worthy of the white race, despite some Spanish, European, and mixed blood on my grandmother side.

Watching this now, I just can't believe this stuff still happens. It sucks to be sheltered so much and think everything was fine. I was a kid in '89 and lived a pretty happy life. Turns out stuff like that gets a pass. Disgusting.

Anybody saw this? 

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I think the guy from the neighborhood who was interviewed saying "Look, its a tragedy, but it wasn't racial" when the only reason those kids were all wound up was because there were black kids in the neighborhood is exactly what's still wrong in this country today.

At it's core, Keith Mondello was unable to express his anger about being usurped in a relationship by another guy - and especially a black guy - in any healthy way. He and his friends talked themselves into a frenzy over this group of "25 or 30 black kids" that were coming to the neighborhood. It was clear that a lot of the anger was kids hyping themselves up. Its also pretty clear that those kids engaged in a significant amount of premeditation (despite what the friend may have said) in that the bats were made available to anyone in the playground who wanted one, and everyone had been told about the "beef" that was going to happen.

So you have a group of 30 kids who approach a group of 4, surround them and then - before anyone exchanges a word or a fist is thrown- shoots one of the kids in the heart. And the neighborhood response instead of understanding the family's grief and giving up the shooters is simply to say "Let it go and forget about it". Its this failure to show any empathy, or to accept any responsibility for the actions that may have accelerated the incident to that point which drives black folks crazy. And again, much like the incidents that you see today, the same mentality that the victim somehow is responsible for his own death was at play here - "they shouldn't have been here" "they should have left" "this family is the one trying to turn this into a racial incident when it wasn't" - abounded. Yeah, maybe those kids would have shot a white kid, but the standing on the street screaming nigger, greeting the marchers with watermelons, and accusations of protestors being crack dealers, certainly made it SEEM racially motivated.

Those parents buried their kid, and if they hadn't made a big deal out of it, the odds that Fava would have been brought back to NYC to stand trial, or that anyone else would have been arrested for this crime are fairly thin. And just as an aside, when the only ones in your neighborhood who want to do the right thing is the Mafia - the problem might be you.

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On 8/17/2020 at 2:59 PM, Rlb8031 said:

Yeah, maybe those kids would have shot a white kid, but the standing on the street screaming nigger, greeting the marchers with watermelons, and accusations of protestors being crack dealers, certainly made it SEEM racially motivated.

I doubt they would've shot a white kid. If anything, it would've stopped at a fight. And this was absolutely racially motivated. Anyone pretending otherwise is being willfully ignorant.

I was 4 when this happened, so I don't remember much about it. However, growing up, I did know about Bensonhurst's reputation. I'm from Brooklyn, and as far as I was concerned, Bensonhurst was a sundown neighborhood.

I wasn't surprised, really, but I also found the detective's language to be telling. Yusaf didn't "look like a thug." Meanwhile, the pieces of shit who murdered him were referred to in the press as "youths" and "kids." I wonder why...

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I remember when this happened. I'm also from Brooklyn and to this day, even though things have improved minutely, Bensonhurst is STILL not a neighborhood welcoming to black people. 

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On 9/20/2020 at 6:35 PM, Sheenieb said:

wasn't surprised, really, but I also found the detective's language to be telling. Yusaf didn't "look like a thug." Meanwhile, the pieces of shit who murdered him were referred to in the press as "youths" and "kids." I wonder why...

To this day, biased language creeps in when discussing anything, even the most superficial things--Kate "lovingly" cradles her baby bump, Meghan "constantly shows it off", etc.

Even in situations where the whites were the good guys and the POC were the bad ones, the good/bad aspects are hyped to the point that it literally sounds like Jesus vs. Satan.

It's not surprising at all that Yusuf's killers are made out to be misguided youths who just lost their way. Meanwhile, despite being the victim, Yusuf is made out to be someone with the potential to be a thug, even if he wasn't one to begin with.

And I really hate that lawyer who tried to blame the whole thing on the girl who was throwing the party, basically slut-shaming her for associating with black guys.

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