Peace Peace! (That’s my greeting.) Oh, this is going to be fun.
Please choose to come to the Great Land – as we love tourist dollars!!
If you are looking for a BORING column about life in Alaska – please continue clicking through Google’s results page. This is NOT that column. I do that already in other forums and in this column, I would like to have some fun
YOU do not yet know me, so, please allow me to introduce myself. (I’ll get to the serious, philosophical – let’s blow your mind and not allow you to return to the planet Earth anytime soon – discussions in due time. Believe me, if you meet me on Facebook, that is all that I am talking about.)
Over the past two decades, I’ve repeatedly dipped in and out of the Lower 48 to gain greater skills in community organizing. The Lower 48 is the name we Alaskans use to reference the continental United States. Like anywhere else, the Last Frontier (another name for Alaska) has a slang system all of its own.
A cheechako is a rookie to an Alaskan winter cycle.
A snowmachine is what the Lower 48 calls a snowmobile.
In my travels, I end up having to answer two basic questions over and over again:
Question: Do you know Sarah Palin?
Answer: Yes, I have met her a few times. I’ve been a community organizer for the last 20 years. City. State. Fed. I loved Sarah Palin as Governor. I voted for her. I wanted a woman Alaskan Governor. I support women. She was wonderful on the issues. She killed on talk radio up here, which is huge. (You don’t understand my State. You have to master radio as a politician.) Her speeches were prepared and good. Then, she received that phone call from the big boys at the RNC (Republican National Committee). She performed well at the Convention, even producing some memorable lines. That was the Sarah Palin that we knew, the one that delivered the Vice Presidential acceptance speech. After that . . . I don’t know. Seriously.
Question: There are Black people in Alaska?
Answer: Yes. My entire childhood was spent inside a historic neighborhood in Anchorage, Alaska. I’m a 70s baby. When I was born, my city was a sleepy hallow of 50,000 souls. We are a bustling city of 300,000 nowadays. Approximately 3-4% of the population is my tribe, or African American. I usually quote approximately 16,000 – 18,000 persons. Depending up how many soldiers are walking to and fro, the number will rise and fall.
Mountain View in North Anchorage is the jewel of the sub-arctic. It has the reputation of being the most diverse neighborhood in the country. Arabs, Somalis and Samoans all live together, in relative harmony.
Mind you, social conditions here are no different than conditions in the Lower 48. While diversity is celebrated to a commendable level, racism is the culture of the United States of America. Mountain View, just like any other concentration of people of color, is a colonized neighborhood. The police force which serves that neighborhood is 82% White. The educational system is administered by a staff which is 75% White.
Part of the reason I can rattle off these numbers is because I attended a small gathering of Black men on October 16, 1995 called the Million Man March. I raised my hand to return to my community – specifically Fairview – and make it a better place. I am proud to say, I have yet to take my hand down.
Please allow me each month, over the course of 600 – 700 words to give you a glimpse into the world I inhabit – the alleys and byways of Anchorage.
I should send you pictures.
Well, maybe NOT some videos. As, that could be incriminating.