March 12, 2008

Occasionally folks will come up with the right gesture at the right moment. Occasionally you can feel a little bit proud of folks, sometimes.

"North Carolina State University is asking all students, faculty, staff and alumni to wear Carolina blue Tuesday in remembrance of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's student body president."

UNC's student body president and good Lord, she is a blond woman named Eve, was shot point blank in the face and killed last week. It was so ugly and brutal, that it took them days to even figure out who she was. It was gang violence perpetrated by idiotic little boys who didn't want her new car, her new cell phone, or her credit card. What they wanted was a feeling of belonging - and an initiation into some gang. The Crips and the Bloods. Blue and Red.

And the irony of NC State's nod to UNC, especially that it is expressed by the wearing of colors, taking off the red jersey and putting on the blue, is not lost on me. Profound. These boys probably have no way to understand how it could have been different. How they could have been enrolled in school and studying "in the gang" there. What it might mean to affiliate yourself with a gang devoted to intelligence and reason. How power can be expressed, gained, held, used, to further your life and make it bigger.

These boys are both in custody now. One is 21. One is 17. What are they thinking, sitting in jail? I imagine, they will get the death penalty. I imagine they didn't guess how deeply they challenged a gang that holds a kind of power they can't really fathom. Did they know she was SBP for UNC? Did they know they would rivet the whole state of NC? Did they understand that feeling of power they, perhaps, felt when they shot this girl? How brief and small and fleeting. How tiny.

Can you deny the echo of race and rage here in the deep south? These black boys shooting this white girl? Can you feel the disparity of wealth and privilege escalating here in our once small town, now growing metropolis? Are they going to cover this in school today? Can anyone reach into a ghetto far enough to fix this? The Crips and the Bloods, play it out on so many different levels. All of our heads turn.

One mighty gang nods to another, in a small gesture. So tiny, the gesture. See how real power can move on a mere breath? All of our heads turn to witness.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Good for State. I had not seen that. The rivalry, I hope most people realize is done in good fun and goes back to the time when there were only the two major universities in the state. Even a diehard Wolfie, like me , has many connections to UNC; friends from high school and family members who went to school there. I am so saddened by this. What a horrible waste.

Amy