Indiana Banned Books

Banned Books 2022

In January, I put together a list of books that various far-right protest groups in Indiana were trying to get banned from Indiana school systems in various towns (Carmel, Fort Wayne, Greenfield, Pendleton, Indianapolis). There are a lot of books that have either been challenged or soon will be – 148 titles and counting.

What these groups are doing is taking book titles compiled by a national organization as “inappropriate books” and searching online catalogs or sending people into school libraries or public libraries to see if those books are available. If they are, they report back to one of the local organizations to get a letter-writing campaign from people in that district to protest the books. They’re also sharing books in a couple of facebook groups to get disruptions going on in as many school systems as they can around the state.

The books are called “inappropriate” if they teach about racism, history of marginalized people, LGBTQA+ subjects, immigration, sex education, gun control, sexism… anything that would challenge white male hegemony.

It sounds like these same people are in connected to the legislation going through the statehouse as well – they’ve referenced it.

Some links where I gathered lists of books they are working on banning:

Unify Carmel – How To Search For Inappropriate Books
Facebook page – Mary In the Library
Facebook page – Mama Bears in Carmel Clay Schools
Facebook page – Moms for Liberty – Hamilton County, IN (PUBLIC)

I put together a wishlist on IndyReads online store at if you are interested in helping me put some of these books in our little free library. I’ve been buying diverse books for the last couple of months, but I’d be happy to have more.

  • The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story – The New York Times Magazine, Caitlin Roper, et al.
  • The 1619 Project: Born on the Water – Nikole Hannah-Jones, Renée Watson, et al.
  • #Blacklivesmatter: Protesting Racism – Rachael L. Thomas
  • 10,000 Dresses – Marcus Ewert and Rex Ray
  • A Big Mooncake for Little Star – Grace Lin
  • A Good Kind of Trouble – Lisa Moore Ramée
  • A People’s History of the United States – Howard Zinn
  • A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches – Martin Luther King
  • A Young People’s History of the United States: Columbus to the War on Terror – Howard Zinn and Rebecca Stefoff
  • All Are Welcome – Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman
  • And Tango Makes Three – Peter Parnell, Justin Richardson, et al.
  • Antiracist Baby Board Book – Ibram X. Kendi and Ashley Lukashevsky
  • Ask a Queer Chick: A Guide to Sex, Love, and Life for Girls Who Dig Girls – Lindsay King-Miller
  • Ask Me How I Got Here – Christine Heppermann
  • Autoboyography – Christina Lauren
  • Back to School: Why Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Education – Mike Rose
  • Backwards Day – S. Bear Bergman and Kd Diamond
  • Beautiful – Amy Reed
  • Berlin Boxing Club, the PB – Robert Sharenow
  • Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Beyond the Gender Binary – Alok Vaid-Menon and Ashley Lukashevsky
  • Black Lives Matter at School: An Uprising for Educational Justice – Denisha Jones, Jesse Hagopian, et al.
  • Blankets: A Graphic Novel – Craig Thompson
  • Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope – Jodie Patterson and Charnelle Pinkney Barlow
  • Breathless – Jennifer Niven
  • Brick by Brick – Heidi Woodward Sheffield
  • Call Me Max – Kyle Lukoff
  • Call Me Tree / Llámame Árbol – Maya Christina Gonzalez
  • Calvin – Vanessa Ford, Jr. Ford, et al.
  • Cemetery Boys – Aiden Thomas
  • Count Me in – Varsha Bajaj
  • Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement – Kimberle Crenshaw, Neil Gotanda, et al.
  • Dead End – Jason Myers
  • Dear Martin – Nic Stone
  • Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z – Irene Latham, Charles Waters, et al.
  • Doing It – Hannah Witton
  • Don’t Hug Doug: (He Doesn’t Like It) – Carrie Finison and Daniel Wiseman
  • Don’t Touch My Hair! – Sharee Miller
  • Drama: A Graphic Novel – Raina Telgemeier
  • Dreamers – Yuyi Morales
  • Dreaming in Cuban – Cristina García
  • Dress Codes for Small Towns – Courtney Stevens
  • Exit Here. – Jason Myers
  • Full Disclosure – Camryn Garrett
  • Full, Full, Full of Love – Trish Cooke and Paul Howard
  • Gender Queer: A Memoir – Maia Kobabe
  • George (Scholastic Gold) – Alex Gino
  • Ghost Boys – Jewell Parker Rhodes
  • Graceling – Kristin Cashore
  • Hands Up! – Breanna J. McDaniel and Shane W. Evans
  • Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi
  • How to Be an Antiracist – Ibram X. Kendi
  • How We Fight White Supremacy: A Field Guide to Black Resistance – Akiba Solomon and Kenrya Rankin
  • I Am Enough – Grace Byers and Keturah A. Bobo
  • I Am Jazz – Jessica Herthel, Jazz Jennings, et al.
  • I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter – Erika L. Sánchez
  • I Am Rosa Parks – Brad Meltzer and Christopher Eliopoulos
  • Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story about Gender and Friendship – Jessica Walton and Dougal MacPherson
  • It’s Not the Stork!: A Book about Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends – Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley
  • It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, Gender, and Sexual Health – Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley
  • It’s So Amazing!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families – Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley
  • Jack (Not Jackie) – Erica Silverman and Holly Hatam
  • Jacob’s New Dress – Sarah Hoffman, Ian Hoffman, et al.
  • Jamie Is Jamie: A Book about Being Yourself and Playing Your Way – Afsaneh Moradian and Maria Bogade
  • Jesus Land: A Memoir; With a New Preface by the Author – Julia Scheeres
  • Julián Is a Mermaid – Jessica Love
  • l8r, g8r – Lauren Myracle
  • Leah on the Offbeat – Becky Albertalli
  • Let’s Talk about Love – Claire Kann
  • Let’s Talk about Race – Julius Lester and Karen Barbour
  • Lexicon – Max Barry
  • Looking for Alaska – John Green
  • Making a Baby – Rachel Greener and Clare Owen
  • Malala: My Story of Standing Up for Girls’ Rights – Malala Yousafzai and Sarah J. Robbins
  • Marvin Redpost #3: Is He a Girl?
  • Max and the Talent Show – Kyle Lukoff and Luciano Lozano
  • Max on the Farm – Kyle Lukoff and Luciano Lozano
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Revised Edition) – Jesse Andrews
  • Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor – Layla Saad and Robin Diangelo
  • Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress – Christine Baldacchino and Isabelle Malenfant
  • My Princess Boy – Cheryl Kilodavis and Suzanne DeSimone
  • Nineteen Minutes – Jodi Picoult
  • Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness – Anastasia Higginbotham
  • Nuestra Clase es una Familia – Shannon Olsen and Sandie Sonke
  • Odd One Out – Nic Stone
  • Oliver Button Is a Sissy – Tomie dePaola and Tomie dePaola
  • One of a Kind, Like Me / Único Como Yo – Laurin Mayeno and Robert Liu-Trujillo
  • One of Us Is Lying – Karen M. McManus
  • One of Us Is Next: The Sequel to One of Us Is Lying – Karen M. McManus
  • Our Own Private Universe – Robin Talley
  • Out of Darkness – Ashley Hope Pérez
  • Perfectly Good White Boy – Carrie Mesrobian
  • Pink Is for Boys – Robb Pearlman and Eda Kaban
  • Pinky and Rex and the Bully: Ready-To-Read Level 3 – James Howe and Melissa Sweet
  • Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag – Rob Sanders and Steven Salerno
  • Red: A Crayon’s Story – Michael Hall
  • Rick – Alex Gino
  • Seeing Gender: An Illustrated Guide to Identity and Expression – Iris Gottlieb and Meredith Talusan
  • Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation – Duncan Tonatiuh
  • Sex Is a Funny Word: A Book about Bodies, Feelings, and You – Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth
  • Sex: An Uncensored Introduction – Nikol Hasler and Michael Capozzola
  • Shades of People – Sheila M. Kelly and Shelley Rotner
  • Sissy: A Coming-Of-Gender Story – Jacob Tobia
  • So You Want to Talk about Race – Ijeoma Oluo
  • Sparkle Boy – Leslea Newman and Maria Mola
  • Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Stamped (for Kids): Racism, Antiracism, and You – Jason Reynolds, Ibram X. Kendi, et al.
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-Winning Stamped from the Beginning – Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
  • Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom – Bell Hooks
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian – Sherman Alexie
  • The Berlin Boxing Club – Robert Sharenow
  • The Boy in the Red Dress – Kristin Lambert
  • The Boy Who Wore a Dress – Ben Franks and Jarrod Becker
  • The Boys Body Book (Fifth Edition): Everything You Need to Know for Growing Up! (Puberty Guide, Health Education, Books for Growing Up) – Kelli Dunham, Steve Bjorkman, et al.
  • The Breakaways – Cathy G. Johnson
  • The Colors of Us – Karen Katz
  • The Day You Begin – Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael López
  • The Every Body Book: The LGBTQ+ Inclusive Guide for Kids about Sex, Gender, Bodies, and Families – Rachel E. Simon and Noah Grigni
  • The Gender Wheel: a story about bodies and gender for every body – Maya Christina Gonzalez
  • The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas and Nikki Giovanni
  • The Haters – Jesse Andrews
  • The Infinite Moment of Us – Lauren Myracle
  • The Matter of Black Lives: Writing from the New Yorker – Jelani Cobb and David Remnick
  • The New Queer Conscience – Adam Eli and Ashley Lukashevsky
  • The Other Boy – M. G. Hennessey and Sfe R. Monster
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
  • The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family – Ibtihaj Muhammad, S. K. Ali, et al.
  • The Secret Loves of Geeks – Margaret Atwood, Gerard Way, et al.
  • The Sissy Duckling: Book and CD – Harvey Fierstein and Henry Cole
  • The Skin I’m in: A First Look at Racism – Pat Thomas and Lesley Harker
  • The Skin You Live in – Michael Tyler and David Lee Csicsko
  • The Story of Ruby Bridges – Robert Coles and George Ford
  • The Story of Ruby Bridges: A Biography Book for New Readers – Arlisha Norwood Alston
  • The Temptation of Adam – Dave Connis
  • They She He Me: Free to Be! – Maya Christina Gonzalez and Matthew Sg
  • They, She, He easy as ABC – Maya Christina Gonzalez and Matthew Sg
  • This Book Is Gay – Juno Dawson and David Levithan
  • This One Summer – Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
  • Triangles – Ellen Hopkins
  • Troublemakers: Lessons in Freedom from Young Children at School – Carla Shalaby
  • Understanding Gender – Juno Dawson
  • Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead
  • What Girls Are Made of – Elana K. Arnold
  • When a Bully is President: Truth and Creativity for Oppressive Times – Maya Christina Gonzalez
  • When Aidan Became a Brother – Kyle Lukoff and Kaylani Juanita
  • Where Did I Come From?: An Illustrated Childrens Book on Human Sexuality – Peter Mayle
  • Who Has What?: All about Girls’ Bodies and Boys’ Bodies – Robie H. Harris and Nadine Bernard Westcott
Continue ReadingIndiana Banned Books

Our sink is empty. Our dishes are clean.

First order of business – I’ve been laid off from my job. I started working for Pearson when it was Macmillan Publishing on April 25, 1994. I just cross the threshold of 26 years at the same job. In the middle of May, my position was eliminated, along with a number of other co-workers who were also remote workers. I’ve been working from home since June of 2018 when they closed our office, laid off many of my co-workers, and had the rest of us move to working from home. I have a good severance package, so I have time to look for another job. I’m getting set to do that. It’s been a very long time since I’ve written a resume, so it will be an interesting challenge.

The Covid-19 corona virus began racing across the globe in December 2019 and has spread so quickly that we are currently in the middle (beginning?) of a global pandemic. Over 100,000 dead in the United States alone, and 371,166 dead worldwide. It has reached even the most remote corners of the globe – 6,057,853 confirmed cases world wide.

I am in a high-risk group. On February 29, I went to my older brother’s retirement party and talked with my brothers about the virus. It already reached the United States by that time, although most people did’t realize it. After listening to their predictions about what would happen, I went to CostCo the next day and started stocking the house with necessities. Because I’ve been working from home, I mostly stopped going anywhere.

On March 19 I got a haircut, exactly like how I saw at I went grocery shopping the next week. Since then I’ve been home most of the time, except to drop things off at my mom’s front door – gifts, supplies, mask-making materials. In late March our state issued Stay At Home orders, but we were already doing that. We’ve gotten take-out on 4 occasions, and once I went to Lowes, which I would not do again because no one was acting in a safe or healthy manner. We’ve been ordering groceries for delivery.

Stephanie has been working at home since March 24 (?). She has been able to work remotely, visiting the office once a week or so to pick up files.

Because we’re both home all the time and eating most of our meals at home, it’s been a struggle keeping up with dishes. After finally understanding our hotpoint dishwasher setting pictures, running the dishwasher is now a daily occurrence. Sometimes it feels like emptying and loading the dishwasher is the only thing I do all day. Today our dishes are clean and the sink is empty. It’s taken a lot of effort to get to that point.

When the virus became big news in February and stats began to be tracked, I obsessively checked the global and state statistics every day. Now I’ve become numb about that. The numbers of dead are too high to make sense of anymore.

Over the last week there have been several police killings of African-Americans – In Louisville, Breonna Taylor was murdered in her own home by police who invaded the wrong address. In Minnesota, George Floyd was murdered by a police officer who suffocated him by kneeling on his neck while he smirked at cameras filming his violence. In Indianapolis, Dreasjon Reed was killed by police after a police chase, and after they shot him, one of the officers joked ‘That’s gonna be a closed casket homie’ while looking at his dead body.

There are currently protests across the United States and the globe about the police brutality. Some have turned those protests into riots; white supremacists have invaded the protests and started violence. Here in Indianapolis, protests have remained peaceful on Friday, Saturday and Sunday until white people smashed windows and destroyed property. Police responded by firing tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets at peaceful protesters. Last night, Sunday evening, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police started firing and gassing peaceful protesters at 6:30 p.m., including a church choir.

We got our seeds planted and our garden ready in a timely manner this year. I made rhubarb pie from our rhubarb plant, and yesterday we just harvested our first crop of radishes. Strawberries are just getting ripe. I’ve been able to keep up with weeding our flower beds this year, and perennials are coming in nicely. Our peonies are in bloom. Primroses are also, and a poppy has cropped up. I’m finishing cleaning up the maple tree seed pods, which were prolific this year and took a lot of yard care time. I had to put in one of the downstairs air conditioners already.

I’ve been working on writing fiction. I have ideas but haven’t made much headway.


2020 Garden

Continue ReadingOur sink is empty. Our dishes are clean.

2015-01-29 Recently Read

Grantland: How ‘Selma’ Got Smeared
As a member of more than one marginalized group of people, I can attest that these sorts of conversations with allies happen all the time wherein the needs of the marginalized group end up being subservient to the plans of their allies, who have more power and are able to set agendas and timelines that are at odds with those of the people they purport to aid. So the fact that Selma found a way to depict that sort of interaction is important to our understanding of the civil rights movement, and if minute historical detail was bent slightly in order to show that sort of interaction onscreen, I’m okay with that.

The Atlantic: Why I Am Not a Maker
When tech culture only celebrates creation, it risks ignoring those who teach, criticize, and take care of others.

Wikipedia: Searles Chinese Room
The Chinese room is a thought experiment presented by John Searle (b1932) to challenge the claim that it is possible for a computer running a program to have a “mind” and “consciousness” in the same sense that people do, simply by virtue of running the right program.

Good.Is: How Knitting Behind Bars Transformed Maryland Convicts
In late 2009, Lynn Zwerling stood in front of 600 male prisoners at the Pre-Release Unit in Jessup, Maryland. “Who wants to knit?” she asked the burly crowd. They looked at her like she was crazy.

Pacific Standard: The Greatest Rock Show I’d Ever Seen
How one guy’s beloved memory of a long-ago rock show turns out, when he rediscovers a record of it, to be quite different than the show as he remembered it.

Stairs upward

Continue Reading2015-01-29 Recently Read

Old Northside, Caravelle Commons and political issues

I’m irritated right now at one of my neighbors. We live in Old Northside in Indianapolis, which is an historic neighborhood, but one with really large houses, and one that has been almost completely renovated in the 1970s and 1980s. According to a professional, it’s wise to use heavy equipment during such projects. I think he has a good point because it improves the overall efficiency. So the first wave of renovators – the hippies and liberals and gays – has come and moved on to more moderate sized homes and new renovation opportunities, and the next wave that have moved in are the wealthy right-wingers. It’s quite different than Herron-Morton Place, the neighborhood I first bought into, just north of here – where the houses were somewhat smaller, “single-family no-servant”-sized, and most people were liberals, and many were gay. I wouldn’t have thought that crossing 16th Street could make such a difference politically. And socially; some of the folks in my neighborhood are pretty big assholes and their opinions about neighborhood issues are pretty extreme. I’ll go into that a bit more later, but let me get to the specific issue at hand…

Here’s the particular issue that irritated me – one of the neighbors inquired whether there were other people receiving the New York Times, and if so, whether they were having problems with their delivery. Another neighbor replied “Typical of the Times, and much like their reporting — unreliable!” Not helpful information in any way, just any way to get a political jab in, because smearing the Times is terribly important to the tea baggers. Anything to get a political jab in. Makes me want to subscribe to the Times, out of spite. I know I shouldn’t get apoplectic about that, but come on. What the hell is the point of that?

So the other neighborhood issues: there are two major ones that have really highlighted the conservative crazy of my neighbors and made me reconsider why we’re living here. One of them is property taxes, which played out prior to 2008, and the other is more recent – a housing complex nearby. I’ll go into that first.

We have a set of apartments near our neighborhood on the north side of 16th Street, not within the neighborhood boundaries, but across the street. They are a low-income 64 unit housing project called Caravelle Commons. The apartments are not in great shape, and they’ve been mis-managed over the years so the residents have a lot to complain about. From what I understand there are problems with crime in the complex, although it hasn’t directly affected me any, so I’m not aware of specifics. Certainly our neighborhood has suffered petty crime like theft and vandalism, but there’s no real way of telling if that is coming from this apartment complex or elsewhere. We do know that there was one person shot at the nearby Kroger grocery store parking lot, and when they chased the shooter he ended up in Caravelle Commons, where they subsequently found the gun responsible for some other drug-related murders of two women and their small children. So yes – problems. Directly affecting me? Who can say. Not to any great extent, so far.

Anyways – due to the government stimulus money being handed out, the Indianapolis Housing Agency has decided to demolish and rebuild the current set of apartment buildings. What will go up is a set of 4-story buildings in a different configuration that what are there now, with greater residential capacity – 155 units, an increase of 90. So there will be less available parking, and more warm bodies in the space. There is some plan for tiered income ranges that will spread out the lower income to higher, and on the lowest level will be 65 units – basically what’s there now. The new 90 apartments are intended to be filled with people fitting the two higher tiers of income.

As soon as plans for this redevelopment were announced in March, the neighborhood got involved. To be fair to the ONS, there were some definite problems with how IHA went about doing redoing this project – they created plans and crammed them through and got initial approvals before anyone in the neighborhood knew what was going on or had a chance to ask questions or express opinions. They claimed they had support from surrounding neighborhoods before anyone from Old Northside had even heard of the project. They based their plans on increased density and parking on models from more dense cities like Chicago and New York that are not appropriate for Indianapolis. For Indianapolis, infilling vacant buildings and lots to increase density should come before making specific areas more dense.

So the neighborhood had some legitimate concerns about how the project came about, but unfortunately, those legitimate issues got drowned out initially by one loud neighbor. Specifically, one very loud voice on the neighborhood mailing list given in this site with the opinion that the whole housing complex needed to be moved “someplace further east” or “infilling the empty apartments along Meridian Street” or various other places away from our neighborhood. His opinions were loud and long and directed with animosity at everyone – the neighborhood association, the land use committee, individual neighbors, elected officials, local media. If you didn’t agree with his specific opinion, then you were an ass and an enemy. I dubbed him “Our Racist Neighbor” and that’s how I’ll refer to him here. Here are a few samples of his work posted to our neighborhood email list (April 7, 2010):

I believe that the surrounding neighborhood need to do every thing possible to see that this is not built on the current site and is built in a neighborhood more suitable to those it would house. I have been told by the city police every time we have a major crime wave in our area it is often associated with those who live at the complex and those who are visiting there. Now they want to triple the size. This smack of political gain for certain city council persons. Fair and decent housing is what the city needs but this area has changed and this is no longer the proper place for this development. The land is very valuable and could be sold and the profit could be used to build a better place and a more fitting development for those who need it. There are many sites in our area that would welcome this development that would be much more fitting. This should strongly be apposed.

Notes on that – this is a federally-funded project. The city-county council had nothing to do with it as far as I know, and had nothing to gain from it, either, other than potentially better housing situations for some citizens who aren’t well off. They didn’t have a hand in the plans at all.

More (Apr 8, 2010):

I have seen many email on how to fix the problem. IF we protest the building and sotp the project this would fix all issues. As I stated yesterday this project would be more suited now east of the monon trail and many undeveloped land areas and would be welcomed there.

And again – you can see as time goes by, he becomes increasingly unable to spell and use correct grammar (April 21, 2010):

I think every one who lives in our area should think long and hard about what this will mean. This will be a five story building {Ed Note: the units are 4 story, not 5} with line of site into many of your homes. You only need to look at Washington St. and the low income project to see what will happen to our neighborhood. We also need to see what this is going to do the price of our home and how they will drop as well as future investment in the area and what kind of developments will follow. The city has had a trend of following what has already been built. The City has already told me on occasion. I am not going to deny a petition to build a type of building when there is already one like it in the area. So if we get one five story low income project we will get another. Many in this neighborhood have worked long and hard to improve it. Many took the chance and started long before I resorted my home. Let not take a step back now so that other can hang on to there voting base and spot on the city council. People deserve a decent place to live and should but the site chosen is no longer the right place. Especially with Kroger and other retail development who would like to purchase the land. This could be sold at great profit to the city. Taking the day off could mean the difference of the loss of several hundred thousand dollars in value of your home and that of your neighbors. I think the 1:00 time is very convenient for the city to say see no one apposes it. If we need an example the federal government is asking for hundreds of thousand of dollars back from a project on the west side in which people with a criminal history were allowed to live there. The staff was found to be dealing drugs in the complex. We heed to take the time to propely oppose this building.

Here’s one to the neighborhood Land Use Committee (April 23, 2010) on what he thought their recommendations should be for the new project:

I think the position should be to push the city to sell the property at a profit and move the project east of college. This would solve all issues and be a valuble asset to that area that needs it and allowing prime space for reatail and other needed developement along 16th st Including a new Kroger. Rather than trying to fix it let give them a better alternative.

And these aren’t even the most volatile ones. But combing through his emails makes me want to vomit, so this is the selection you’re getting for now.

Now the notion of moving Caravelle Commons somewhere “more appropriate” may immediately strike you as problematic (and by problematic, I mean racist and classist and against the law) and well it should. It certainly struck our elected officials and media that way. And anyone with common sense in neighborhood realized that as well. But that didn’t stop Our Racist Neighbor one bit from repeating his plan over and over again, and even threatening legal action.

Our elected officials didn’t want to have anything to do with the idea of moving the housing complex, to their credit, and they certainly didn’t want to be on record as considering that as a possibility even to reject it. Unfortunately Our Racist Neighbor was so loud that when other people started to express concerns about the density of the complex and potential parking issues, they were immediately associated with Our Racist Neighbor in the minds of elected officials and media, and no one gave them the time of day. So they people with concerns about parking and the density of the complex had a pretty big mountain to climb to try to get their concerns heard.

I admit I associated all of the Caravelle Commons Objectors together for a long while, until I really took a look at the increase in density, and considered what I had read about urban planning and density issues. I know there’s a zeitgeist within urban planning circles to say that greater density helps a city become more vibrant, but I’m not sure that has really been proven, and I certainly don’t think it’s ideal from Indianapolis. Certainly we have a sprawl problem, and a lack of public transport problem that is intense bordering on the criminal in nature, but Chicago and New York are just way too dense.

Seriously – look at the people moving out and where they’re going. People live in tiny apartments in the city long enough not make enough cash to move to the suburbs and commute a few days a week and telecommute most of the week. So as far as density goes – they may have a point. But I don’t know that my fellow neighbors really have read as much about urban planning as I have and know all that. They also kept talking about the income levels of the people who will be residing there, which really makes me wonder how much their concerns were more based in racism and classism (we don’t want poor black people near us) than any real understanding of how changing the density of the neighborhood and surrounds will affect us.

I think the other Objectors probably have a real concern about parking, too. Indy public transportation is really abysmal. So planning for only one car per apartment unit is really a terrible idea. These residents will have no way to get around town, and they’ll definitely have more than one car – you have to in Indianapolis if you have more than one adult in your household. It’s not ideal, but it’s the case, and should be considered in housing planning.

After listening to what they were saying, I could see that maybe, probably, there were problems with this new housing development that could affect us. I don’t think carting the whole project over to the east side and dropping it there would be anything but racist, but there might be some concerns that revisions in the plan could address.

I had heard that our elected officials were all gung-ho in favor of the idea, so I wrote an email to various of them, and got a direct and specific response from Mary Ann Sullivan, who gave me a call to talk about it. I think she was legitimately surprised to hear from me. She does, I think, have a vague idea who I am from the internet and Facebook, and she knows I’m pretty far left on the political spectrum, so I don’t think she expected to hear me speak out against the new housing plans. During my almost 2 hour discussion with her about the project, I realized how badly Our Racist Neighbor had poisoned the well, because it was pretty obvious that all of the Caravelle Commons Objectors had all be lumped together in her mind and in the minds of everyone associated with developing and building the new housing project. They were all racists, and that was that.

I made a case about the density and the parking, and she seemed to think that those weren’t really huge concerns – citing urban planning studies and “folks who know about these things.” I told her what I knew about urban planning, and I tried to give her a better sense of what people in our neighborhood were thinking – including separating Our Racist Neighbor from some of the other folks who had no objection to the location of the project, just the size of the plans. I don’t know if my voicing my concerns helped. Maybe.

The folks who were making the case about parking and density and public safety issues did eventually get a chance to sit down and talk through those concerns with IHA just before the plans went through and everything was approved for groundbreaking. IHA made some changes to their plans for parking and enforcing how parking will work, and they tried to work on public safety issues with crime watch patrols. So some things changed as they are going forward.

The whole thing has left me very cynical about our neighborhood, though. Not the location or design, which is amazing; or the houses, which are stunning to look at. But very much about the people. Our Racist Neighbor has poisoned more than one well.

And after all this, I don’t think there’s time to jump back in the time machine to address 2007-2008 property tax issues and the ouster of former Mayor Bart Peterson, issues that also leave me cold with my neighbors, so I guess I better stop here.

June 2012 Update: While under construction, one of the new buildings being built on the former site of Caravelle Commons, now called Park 16 Apartments, burned to the ground in a 3-alarm blaze that also burned down surrounding church buildings and threatened houses across the street.

Continue ReadingOld Northside, Caravelle Commons and political issues

links for 2010-04-26

  • Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters –the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? To ask any of these questions is to answer them. Protest is only seen as fundamentally American when those who have long had the luxury of seeing themselves as prototypically American engage in it. When the dangerous and dark “other” does so, however, it isn’t viewed as normal or natural, let alone patriotic.
Continue Readinglinks for 2010-04-26

links for 2010-04-14

  • sounds a lot like the Indianapolis teen who "shot himself" while handcuffed in the back of a police car.
  • The goals of the Girl Scout Research Institute are to originate new projects and initiatives that bolster knowledge about girls, as well as to synthesize the research that exists on the healthy development of girls. These efforts not only support the development of the Girl Scout program but also supply accurate information to educational, not-for-profit, and public policy organizations, parents seeking the best ways to help their daughters, and girls themselves.
  • Interesting article on a culture clash in New York over bike lanes. Choice quote: "But at some point, you don’t get to pull the seniority card when it comes to your religiously-based objections to female use of public space and transportation. And here, the hipsters weren’t making rules for the entire community. They were using a public street, paid for with everyone’s tax dollars, to ride their bikes. I run out of patience for objections to people using public streets because your religion objects to the female form. This isn’t about, “Damn, all these outsiders are coming in and driving up the rental market and now I can’t afford my place” or “I moved here to live in a neighborhood, not to have a bunch of loud bars built on my block.” This is, “I think that my religious belief regarding the appropriateness of women in public should trump the rights of women to move through public space.”
  • Handy list of alternatives to Futura.
  • You'd think that Disney would be the one place where you could take photographs, but not so much. Disney has started harassing photographers with DSLR cameras and accusing them of being terrorists – not because they really think that, but because DSLR photogs are competition for their pricey photography. Congratulations, Disney – I'll never visit one of your resorts.
Continue Readinglinks for 2010-04-14

links for 2010-03-30

Continue Readinglinks for 2010-03-30

Henry Louis Gates Jr. Arrested

I would like an apology from the police unions for acting like despicable douche bags.

For those of you who may have tuned in late, Police in Cambridge, Massachusetts arrested Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., noted scholar, because he got angry with them. He got angry with them because they accosted him while he was trying to get into his own home. They were responding to a neighbor’s report that there were perhaps men trying to break into his home. In reality, Gates was himself trying to get into his own home. There was apparently a verbal altercation over presentation of ID (the police say he refused; Gates says he showed ID but the police didn’t believe him and demanded more ID) and the police arrested Gates for disorderly conduct.

Of course, the Police account differs from Gates’ account of what happened, but it’s very easy to see who is in the wrong – the Police were. And the reason it is very easy to see who is in the wrong is because THEY DROPPED THE CHARGES. Immediately. If the police had actually had a case, if Gates had actually been doing anything wrong, they wouldn’t have dropped it. But the fact that they did speaks volumes about what actually happened.

Indeed, as Josh Marshall says:

Here are some salient facts. The house was Gates’ house. From what I understand, no one disputes that prior to his arrest and while in the house, Gates provided proof that the house was his. When you have those facts and the guy whose house it is ends up getting arrested, I think that’s prima facie evidence of bad police work.

President Obama is friends with Henry Louis Gates Jr., and when asked to comment, he said this:

“I think it’s fair to say, No. 1, any one of us would be pretty angry. No. 2, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home. And No. 3, what I think we know, separate and apart from this incident, is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That’s just a fact.”

I think that’s a fair statement. It’s my opinion that the Cambridge police acted stupidly. I’m not going apologize for saying that.

The arresting officer Crowley says “The apology won’t come from me. I’ve done nothing wrong.”

If that’s they case, why were the charges dropped?

Continue ReadingHenry Louis Gates Jr. Arrested