Posts Tagged ‘Racism’

Yesterday I read an essay that has gone “viral” by a young man who attends Princeton University.  It is his retaliatory response to a common phrase, “check your privilege,” which has apparently annoyed him so much that he felt compelled to defend his life of elitism.

While I am sure many other commentaries have been written, I feel compelled to respond to Mr. Fortgang myself. Not too proselytize to him or anyone else, but because there are things that dig into my consciousness to such a degree that I have difficulty sleeping and they pop up in my mind throughout the average day filled with mundane tasks.

Perhaps I’ll entitle it: “IT MUST BE HARD TO BE YOU.”

Mr. Fortgang,

It must be hard to be you.  Your days must surely begin with such strife and calamity as you saunter into your closet and try to decide which designer pair of jeans to toss on, and then consider which preppy sweater to tie haphazardly over your tailored, and monogrammed oxford shirt. After all, the classrooms at Princeton are undoubtedly rather chilly.

It must be hard to be you at the onset of a new semester, trying to figure out which classes to take, which ones will be interesting enough for you to muck through an entire semester. But take heart that at least you won’t have to worry about all the good classes filling up while you wait for your financial aid loans to be entered into the system.  Surely your schedule will be on point!

It must be hard to be you when you go back to New York to your family, maybe for a day trip into Manhattan.  I hear the city is overrun with clean-shaven Jewish boys and it’s getting hard to hail a taxi these days.  You might be tried severely by having to wait for, oh, maybe three seconds.

Yes, it must be hard to be you, to have doors opened for you while you ride on the coattails of your hardworking and long suffering ancestors, everyone expecting great things from you, because THEY survived and lived to tell the tale of horrors at the hands of one monster and his minions.  The crucible must be a difficult one to bear.

But Mr. Fortgang, what you will NEVER, EVER, EVER, have to deal with is the following:

You’ll never be cast aside before having an opportunity to even utter a greeting, simply because of the color of your skin.

You’ll never know what a substandard education feels like simply because of your residence because your whole life has been exclusive day schools, living along


banner-12-years-a-slaveI have made a couple of mistakes in recent months, mistakes which have caused me to lose desperately needed sleep, as it is difficult to settle my thoughts and I have obsessive tendencies anyway.

The first mistake actually happened several months ago when I allowed my eight year old daughter to see the movie, Twelve Years a Slave by director Steve McQueen. In my defense, she is very interested in history, particularly the history of slavery in America.  She poured over almost every biography she could get her hands on, of various African-American figures in history.  We decided it would be risky but we gave in to the pleas to see the film while it was in theaters. I didn’t get to go unfortunately, so she went with her dad and stepsister, who is college-aged.

Even though the African-American woman who saw John leave the theater with both of his arms wrapped around the stunned and tear-stained faces of his daughters, told him they needed to see the movie and they would be okay, I knew this past weekend it was just too much for her to handle at her current age.

I didn’t win any parenting awards for that decision. Needless to say, she had nightmares for a couple of weeks after the film.  But I didn’t recognize the magnitude of my mistake until I was finally able to watch it this past weekend.  

I was haunted.  

I multiplied the horror story of Solomon Northrup and his fellow prisoners in slavery by 100,000, for every slave had their own tale of atrocities to recount if they could articulate it to someone at some point.  My partner told me that history states that approximately 700,000 people were taken from Africa and sold into slavery. From those 700,000 grew generations well into the millions in this country, each with their own horrific tale that was never told.

The second mistake was watching the movie while living in North Carolina, with its subtle wavelength of racism that permeates the air like a dense patch of fog, like the smell of burning leaves in someone’s backyard that lingers over several blocks.

It’s like the White children who so politely open the door for us in the kiss and go car drop off line at my daughter’s elementary school. As they open the door, they peer inside carefully, and I wonder whether they’re expecting to see a deluge of blackness seep out of the vehicle and stain their clothing, like an enormously eager ink blot. They look at us as we say our loving goodbyes, as if surprised that people as brown as we are can actually perform such Leave It to Beaver displays of normalcy.

Maybe if I had not seen the movie Twelve Years a Slave, I wouldn’t have rented Long Walk to Freedom about Nelson Mandela’s lifelong fight to eradicate apartheid.  Yes, I am obsessive… And perhaps this story wouldn’t have kept me up last night, with a mixture of anger and sorrow quickening my veins.

At a lovely UNC doctor’s office in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the kind of offices that are scattered just as frequently as McDonald’s in any given city (except Chapel Hill), a White heavyset woman went in to have her blood drawn at the lab.  To her anger, an African-American woman would be the unlucky person who had to draw her blood.

Here’s what the coarse and monstrous White woman told the lab technician as she prepared her materials: “If you dare to even touch me with your black skin, I will slap your face!”

What would Jesus have done?

What would you have done?

I know what I would have done, but I’m torn.  Should we rise above this deep-rooted racism and maintain composure and dignity?

Or do we give in to our absolute exhaustion of living with the ignorance of the South, STILL, in 2014 and let our baser instincts fly free?

My over-working brain played with wicked joy all the probable scenarios I would have done to that woman, including licking her, cursing her, or cutting her down with an assault of words sharper than any scalpel at UNC.

The lab technician was shaken and in tears after the ordeal, offended and demoralized, which leads me to the question I have asked my mate oftentimes over the years since I have relocated to this dismal region: Why didn’t every Black person in the South leave and go far away from this evil, racist-infested land?

 Why set up roots for generations after freedom had been granted? Why continue to work for the White man?

Was it ignorance and fear? Lack of education? A lifetime of browbeating and soul-crushing that robbed them of their dignity and integral fortitude?

As I observe the community around me I have many questions, and no answers.

I like to observe people at bus stops, as I drive by.  I catch quick glimpses of their faces, moments frozen in my mind. The speed limit in Chapel Hill is a silent form of torture for a New York transplant like me, so it is really quite easy to do.

Chapel Hill, being a college town, offers a free bus system, which many people take advantage of, to maneuver back and forth with ease, all the while reducing their contribution to pollution and ozone depletion.

This week was filled with lots of rain, but when I did get out, I happened to glance over at the bus stop close to my turn on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. There was a Black lady sitting on the bench, protected from the cold, biting rain. The really interesting part in this visual mouthful was that two young White guys chose to stand outside the dry shelter and get wet, rather than stand under the alcove, or even sit next to the lady.  Fascinating.

This speaks for itself boldly, especially the irony that it took place on MLK Boulevard.

Silence is golden in Chapel Hill

Silence is golden in Chapel Hill

I have been pouring over pictures of this venerable icon in this country, and I am struck every time by the distant and introspective look in his eyes, captured so easily in photo after photo. He looks haunted, as though he knew how his efforts would turn out. Perhaps he saw this coming, and he knew:

…that it wouldn’t be easy to erase hundreds of years of deeply rooted racist sentiment towards people of color.

…that he was destined to die young, because the maelstrom he helped to ignite in the heart of a discontented country was too huge to be tamed easily.

…that humans are resistant to change and are only willing to do so if drastic measures occur which affect large masses, and devastation sweeps in under everyone’s feet.

I have learned a great many lessons since arriving in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and they have been unpleasant, but have provided me with tremendous opportunities to learn and grow, and discover who I am, what I want in my life, and for my children.

But one thing I am never going to accept, adhere to, remain silent about, and brush away blithely, is the silent yet pervasive odor of racial disparity that clings to this town like the stench that wafts from a county landfill.  I don’t ever want to be so educated and hipster, wealthy or comfortable that I embrace a falsehood of existence that looks down upon other people.  This is a huge struggle for me, to try to grow as a person, and not feel stirrings of resentment towards these condescending, supercilious, people who I was so terribly wrong about when I thought them progressive.

Equality, true equality and brotherhood does not exist here.

I hate labels.  I hate pigeon-holing.  Naturally, just as teenagers hang their entire lives on, all humans would like to consider themselves unique, different, a brighter star than the others, the ripest, juiciest strawberry on a plant of duds.  I know what people say or think about Puerto Ricans, and I’m writing about the negative thoughts, not the beautiful, stunning, and sexy ones. As an observer of people, I noted as a child, the looks on the faces of all the pristine, White families, all lined up like those stupid family stickers on cars — mom, dad, daughter, son, and maybe even grandma.  And let’s not forget them singing in unison, their perfectly make up lips opened oh so daintily, as they “Ave Maria’d” on.  What did we look like?  Brace yourself.  No mom, no dad.  They divorced so mom couldn’t attend mass because the Roman Catholic Church does not believe in divorce.  But she made sure we trudged all the way to church every Sunday.  But our clothes were mismatched, not ironed, and we were probably arguing during mass, no doubt.  I vowed I would never live that way when I grew up.  I would not be a public spectacle.  I would blend in with the white folk who seemed to rule the world.

Thus, it always infuriated me to listen to the frequent commentary by a colleague in my department who I’ll call Ed.  Now this was at Chapel Hill High School in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia.  Ed was an elitist then, and I’m fairly certain he remains one today.  Every year the teachers had to nominate seniors for some awards and scholarships for academic excellence, character, etc.  Well, Ed, whose mouth was rather large and voice extremely booming, would nominate the beautiful, polite, blond, affluent students.  He felt they deserved everything because they put everything in to school.  Even the scholarships that were not necessarily for academic superiority, but more about integrity, involvement in school activities, and character were given to them.  Consequently, on senior awards night, the same five students received everything: the money, the fame, everything.  I remember how enraged I would become as the English department discussed the nominations and because most of the teachers were overwhelmed and too busy for this anyway, they deferred to Ed’s loudness and acquiesced.

It didn’t matter how much I fussed, the majority (Whites) always won and the fabulous five seniors went down in CHHS history.  Now, I’m not knocking their great qualities.  I’m sure they were great kids, but in a school of 1,800 students I found it hard to handle that they were the only ones who deserved EVERYTHING.

Even when it came to advanced placement and honors classes, as we discussed the incoming students, some of whom did not have the previous year’s English grade to qualify for advanced classes, Ed always disparaged the minorities.  He said once that it was a waste of time even teaching them, because they couldn’t or wouldn’t do the work and they didn’t belong in those classes.

I felt like ripping his eyeballs out and shoving them up his behind.

A perfect world according to Mr. Ed.

A perfect world according to Mr. Ed.

After reading Diane Ravitch’s pos, “Does Segregation Improve Test Scores” and then EduShyster’s blog post about White people making the best teachers because they’re just BETTER, I had quite a bit to think about over my heavenly coffee.  Here are the links:


While, there is no question that White folks have the advantage because the vast majority of them lived in affluent towns, with high property taxes, which drives a major chunk of the school funding.  Furthermore, being at the top of the food chain socioeconomically and educationally provides the children with numerous resources to enhance their education.  When I coached volleyball and we went to these types of neighborhoods to play schools in affluent districts, and the beautiful blond girls mopped the floor with us, I was told that these parents had these girls in volleyball pads by the time they were in preschool.  They were beasts.  Good for them.

We can’t forget that huge disparity in the distribution of funding to schools.  Everybody knows the bottom line: in high poverty areas, there’s very little property tax money going to the schools.  Combine that with the effects of poverty on children and it makes for a failing equation.

Diane Ravitch drew attention to EduShyster’s post today.  They claim that excellence just comes better to White people than to others. Wow! (And people called me a racist!)

I have to assume it’s a satirical piece, but the piece of truth that rings in there is simply located in opportunity.

There were a couple of brilliant comments in Ravitch’s post mentioned above, especially by Pat Cristiani, who commented that integrating students does not fix the problems and attitudes between different races.  She also said people need to discuss race issues, which is exactly what I have been suggesting, based upon my observations as a teacher.

At Chapel Hill in Georgia, I noticed over the five years I taught there, that the students segregate themselves during any group activity.  At a pep rally or any assembly, the White kids always sat  closest to the courts and all the Black and Hispanic students (not many Hispanics) sat far up and away.  In the cafeteria, it ran mainly the same way, with the odd sprinkling of races for those who didn’t care about race.

At Chapel Hill in North Carolina, students did the same thing.  A much more liberal school, with off campus privileges for students, you would see the same segregation.  Eating in the cafeteria was reserved for the minorities, as the affluent White students could go off campus for lunch, and so on and so on.

It is very difficult, as a society, to deconstruct a lifetime of environmental programming between races.  Each person has their own story, and triggers, and reasons to hate or to love.  Just because a school buses poor minority children to a higher achieving school, in an effort to create a racial balance doesn’t erase the underlying problems among different groups.

In the American Journal of Sociology, James Moody explores the following on racial integration in schools:

Finding friendship segregation in heterogeneous settings should not be
surprising for at least three reasons. First, a large body of literature on
homophily suggests that people prefer friends who are like themselves
along multiple dimensions (Hallinan and Williams 1989; Kandel 1978;
McPherson and Smith-Lovin 1987; Tuma and Hallinan 1979). An individual-level preference for similar friends suggests that, all else equal, when people have the opportunity to choose relations within their own
race they will. Second, while schools may be integrated at the population
level, internally they may still be racially divided. Organizational factors
such as tracks and extracurricular activities may decrease opportunities
for cross-race contact by resegregating an otherwise-integrated school (Epstein 1985).Finally, work on ethnic threat and competition has consistently found a nonlinear relation between heterogeneity and racial relations (Blalock 1967; Smith 1981).

Source: Race, School Integration, and Friendship Segregation in America, James Moody, Ohio State University

Thus, when I add up all these opinions and comments, I agree primarily with Pat Cristiani that integration is simply not the sole answer. How do we erase the mindset that Blacks are inferior, Hispanics are illegal?  For hundreds of years, people of African descent were used, abused, and treated as sub-human.

Just the other night on “Sons of Anarchy”, (yeah, I love that show) the IRA guy called the Mexican cartel guy a “bean nigger” and my spouse and I couldn’t believe it!  The deep racial resentment between the two racial groups was deep and intense.

Yes, there is much work to be done, not just on cleaning up public education, but progressing as a society.

Brown vs. Board of Education: Second Round, by Adam Liptak

Source: New York Times

Douglasville, Georgia sits on the outskirts of Atlanta.  It’s a drive of about 15 minutes to reach the city limits.

Douglasville is a typical American suburb, where life revolves around The Mall, parents trudge to Home Depot early Saturday morning to make sure they outfit their manicured lawns with the proper upgrades to outdo their neighbors.  Lovely little girls clad in shorts so skimpy that their ribs are visible, furiously flatiron their long and highlighted blond tresses.  It’s an American oasis.

Well, a few years ago, the Atlanta Housing Authority decided to shut down some of their housing projects.  So, they subsidized Section 8 housing in Douglasville, resulting in an influx of minorities to cushy Douglasville.

Suddenly, teachers started to sweat and administrators had to scramble.  The schools became infested with transient kids from broken homes.  Mini-mansions throughout the town were vandalized, crime increased.  Racial tensions increased as well.

The “lifers” (a.k.a. teachers working until retirement) grumbled about how things “used to be” before ‘they” came to town and they cursed the Section 8 program to the depths of Hell.  The largest subdivision at the time, called Anneewakee, once a winding area of lovely homes, where blond-haired angels frolicked, became overrun by teenagers with pants that revealed boxers, and white tees that were ten sizes too big.

Well, one can only imagine how the school administrators approached the new “problem” of undesirables entering their idyllic pastures.

Something had to be done.  A new and improved athletic program was great, and the booster club revenue a delight, but these “undesirables” must be controlled.  The reputation of the schools could not be jeopardized.

courtesy of

Naturally, the course of action was heavy-handed in-school suspensions, out of school suspensions, expulsions, and even arrests.  I recall being called to the office to translate for a parent who didn’t speak English, who was in the office crying because her son, who was in ISS AGAIN, had been arrested.  She could not comprehend why her son had been arrested.  After speaking with the police officer, it turns out he was arrested for gang-related paraphernalia and marking gang-related graffiti on school property.  Apparently, while sequestered in the isolation cubicles of ISS, he was bored and began to doodle on the partition.

Although mom insisted he was not involved in a gang, the school continued with the charge and the boy spent two days in the town jail.  The mother’s terror was palpable, but she wilted in fear because she thought if she went to the courthouse on her son’s behalf she would be deported.

The loss of accreditation for nearby Clayton County Schools led to an additional burden on Douglas County, as families migrated to a school that had a great reputation and accreditation.

Although most white people will deny it, there is a deeply rooted, instinctive distrust and sometimes subtle frustration they feel toward Black people, as well as other minorities.  It’s the reason for exclusivity in country clubs and subdivisions, which America has a longgggggg history of attempting, quite successfully I might add.  It’s why some people say, “Once the Washingtons moved in, folks started packing up and moving out.”

Yes, this is a topic that makes people extremely uncomfortable, but it plays such a huge role in how schools function, how teachers deal with student, etc. that it can’t be ignored.

People who lack color look at those who have color and immediately attach a negative attitude toward them.  So let’s return to the schools…

When  teachers receive their rosters at the start of a semester, or school year, they scan the names of students.  For the non-educators, many class rosters have a column which indicates the race of the student.  My last employer’s rosters noted the race as either “Hispanic” or “not Hispanic,” which I couldn’t understand.  I can recall attending a workshop about bias in education and this SCREAMS bias to me.  Long names with hyphens that ended in vowels immediately made teachers pause, their brows to gather, and they did some quick mathematical calculations to see just how many of those “Latinos” would be in their classes.

Then it was on to the Black folk.  Typically, teachers would put a question mark next to the name of a person who might be Black, but they were not entirely sure.  Then they would quietly and subtly ask previous teachers to see who taught the suspect, and more mental mathematical calculations were made.

And so on and so on…

The truly aggressive teachers, who held on to their Honors and AP classes like a junkie to his crack, reviewed their rosters and did everything they could to discourage and ultimately remove the minorities from those classes, because everyone knows minorities can’t cut it in an advanced class.  They don’t even like to read.  There’s just no way.

In fact, a former colleague of mine, who is a minority, told me that his daughter (who was a talented and brilliant gem), who took Calculus the year before, had been told the reason she was struggling in the class was because of her minority status.  Is it possible that some teachers actually verbalize their ignorance?

When it came to testing, Douglas County had to administer a series of graduation tests in the core subjects.  The writing portion was in the fall, and the other five took place in the spring of the junior year of high school.  When this test was compared nationally, its rigor was at a 7th grade level.  Yet students in Georgia could take it up to five times before the state gave up on them.

Interestingly enough, the level of students expelled from the school, or transferred to other schools increased significantly right before the graduation tests were administered.  Schools played the undesirable shuffle and kids were bounced from school to school, usually landing at the worst school in the district, which consequently had the lowest scores.

So, if we add up all the horror stories, the sad statistics, and the madness, it all comes down to this:

The education system doesn’t believe that minorities (except Asians, of course) have what it takes to compete with their white classmates in this country.  They are economically lacking, socially lacking, and culturally lacking.

Minorities are reminded of this regularly, as the government, both local, state, and federal, offers programs designed to help them.  In Chapel Hill, the superintendent and other brown-nosing lackeys go out to the low-income neighborhoods armed with books for the poor children and they read to them for an hour or two, hoping to inculcate in them the love of reading.  The kids grab the books in their hands and run off with the novelty items for a remarkably short amount of time before tossing them aside in favor of other forms of entertainment.

Skewed budgets, corrupt officials, power-hungry administration, and unfair biases towards minorities has taken the concept of public education providing educational opportunities for all students and shredded it.  I  believe each person is responsible for his or her own success or failure.  However, if a person is consistently treated as undesirable and unworthy and unacceptable into a community, he may eventually perform according to expectations.

I can’t honestly offer a solution.  Bias is inherent to human beings.  The question though, is how can we put aside our innate prejudices towards everyone and still treat each other with respect?

Growing up in New York City, I rarely felt discriminated against.  New York has the reputation it has for a reason.  It’s tough to make it in that city.  You have to be strong, and quick, and ready.  Thus, I felt that it was a city that expected you to prove yourself and people didn’t look at color when they saw you.  If you could make it work, you were in.  The weak didn’t make it very far in NYC.

I have never lived anywhere else where I felt so accepted as I did in New York City.  The framers of the constitution had no idea, or intention, of creating a new country that was so diverse, but it has indeed evolved as such.  When will we evolve with it?

This post was inspired by the StudentsLast blog, as I read this satirical piece this morning:




Having lived in the South for more than ten years, I am just chock full of disgust at so many things.  Namely: racism.  Yes, that’s right, I said it.  Why do most people seem to freeze when the word comes up?  Have we become so terrified by the enormity of frivolous lawsuit mania in this country that we can’t call it as we see it?

Here in the “dirty South” as the rappers call it, there is some kind of polite vellum when it comes to anything remotely unpleasant that crosses over peoples’ faces.  It’s quite funny.  Perhaps you have to have certain genetic markers to have the ability to assume that mask at will, because I’ve never been able to do it.

In fact, I’m not interested in doing it.  For example, we were sitting in a small group discussion during a faculty mandatory “equity” meeting.  If you are not an educator, you may not know what this entails.  Equity meetings were established in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools to bridge the gap between the elite White/Asian populace and the African-American/Hispanic low achievers.  So, according to the facilitators, we had to have these meetings, and be “transparent” in discussions of race so we could improve the education and effectively “bridge the gap.”  Sounds charming doesn’t it?

Well, my partner and I fell for this polite veneer in Chapel Hill.  It’s the veneer of progressiveness, the allure of diversity and culture that appeared to thrive in this town.  Surrounded by professors and doctors and lawyers, all of different races excited us.  We thought we had finally found the place to raise our young children. Well, we were wrong.  Very wrong indeed.

In the small break out session, we had to discuss the research by some guy who said that to truly reach the African American males in our classes, we had to go visit them in the “hood”, ask them how they thought the class should be managed, let them teach class sometimes.  I sat there thinking to myself: did someone actually make money selling this garbage and calling it “research?”

Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to hear what my colleagues were going to say in the break out session.  I won’t bore or shock you with the inane comments made by the staff.  Okay, I’ll write about one.  One esteemed, Nationally Board Certified Teacher, said we should respect Black students who call each other “nigger” and we should try to join in with them so that we establish a closer connection with them.  In fact, this genius felt that it was a perfectly acceptable term to use to refer to Black people because when they say it to each other, it’s an acceptable cultural endearment.  To which the group nodded politely and mumbled their “amens” under their breath.  Again, my vellum face did not manifest.

Being the new kid on the block I had to say something because “administration” was watching and my  teacher evaluation depended on it (not on my ability to teach in the classroom).  So I said that the research was nonsense and offensive and that as the wife of a proud and dignified Black man, there was no way I would treat any of my Black students in that way.  I also told them about my child in first grade and how during recess, the white boys had my daughter (half Black) be the monkey in their game.  How cute?  From a parent’s perspective, can you imagine the rage? One administrator said, “Your daughter should not have to be treated that way.”  But that’s how all of Chapel Hill operates.  A colleague at the school where I taught said his daughter’s Calculus teacher told her father she was struggling in the course because she was African-American. What year is this again?

Why is the public education formula framed for only White children?  I’ll tell you why.  Because the framers of our constitution, the “founding fathers” of this great nation had not even conceived of an education system that embraced a variety of races and nationalities and ethnicities.  It was simply not part of the system.  They could not conceive of a day when our country would be overrun by hundreds of different groups of people, all trying to make a dream their reality.

There.  A bit of comic relief to lighten the post.

Money Magazine very recently posted their Top 100 Best Cities to Live In in the Country list.  Chapel Hill made number ten.  I was outraged.  OUTRAGED.

Why?  Because it’s all a facade.  It’s a joke.  It’s a scam and a lie.  This is ONLY the tenth best city to live in if:

You’re a professor, doctor, lawyer, student.

You’re annual income exceeds $150,000 annually (and you have a spouse who matches that).

You’re White or Asian.

You drive a Toyota, Honda, and the somewhat acceptable Subaru.

If you meet at least two of the above, Chapel Hill is truly a mecca.  There is a proliferation of organic and non-organic restaurants.  The cousin, Carrboro, is filled with cafes and the traffic congestion occurs right around 9:15 a.m. each day so that the diehard Mac users can get their best seat at the cafe, where they can chat with their friends and turn to their Macs periodically, all the while maintaining the hippie/grunge/detached intelligence that is so uniquely their own.  The question that bubbles from my brain down to my mouth is always the same:  Who the hell works around here?  How on earth do these people pay their bills?

So these four category Chapel Hill lovers drive their shiny minivans and SUVs around town, ignoring the mobile home parks right next to their $400,000 homes, they teach their kids to think within their bubble of elitism, and although the town pays the highest taxes in the state of North Carolina, it is only funneled to the “haves.”  A few blocks away, the poor Black people, the Burmese immigrants, the Hispanics working two or three jobs, struggle and their community centers are shut down.

Money Magazine said Chapel Hill has no crime.  Well, that’s only because they have an image to uphold and the newspaper keeps the news light and cheery, filled with bake sales and farmers market news, the latest wildflowers growing in the parks, etc.  It’s just happy land here in Chapel Hill, USA.