Richard Brookshire lives in an expensive apartment building in New York City. He awoke one morning to a complaint letter taped to his front door from his angry downstairs neighbor.
The previous night after 1 a.m., Brookshire paced the floor on the phone for 30 minutes trying to help a friend. Unbeknownst to him, he had disturbed his neighbors’ sleep one floor below. Just another case of a noisy neighbor, right? Wrong! To Brookshire, a black author and manager, this was pure, unadulterated white supremacy.
In a handwritten note, the white neighbors scrawled:
Regarding last night. It is extremely rude and inconsiderate to scream and stomp around your apartment until almost 2 a.m. My wife and I both have to get up early for work. A complaint has been submitted to the management. Next time this will go straight to the police.
Please learn your manners.
Brookshire responded in a much longer, typed letter addressed to “The Passive Aggressive Neighbor & His Wife,” regarding “I’m Finna Tell You What You Not Gon’ Do.”
“First, let me be clear in addressing my lack of bother for your grievance and resolve to not be coerced to remedial action by your idle threats or seemingly pervasive white tears,” he wrote right out of the gate.
Then, perceiving a personal threat from the NYPD if they were to be notified, Brookshire added, “As a Black man, I take these overt actions as a direct threat to my physical and psychological well-being and as an act of violence upon me (see attached list of the 821 men, women and children killed by police or in police custody to date in 2016).”
Brookshire tweeted the “offending” letter with a link to his “homie” who wrote an article about this at Medium.com:
— Son of Baldwin (@SonofBaldwin) October 7, 2016
His friend wrote:
My homie Richard found this note on his door this morning, left by two of his white neighbors, complaining about the frequency of his voice and the timbre of his body. I think it’s emblematic of a historical racial and economic relationship.
One of the great divides, generally, between white people and black people (or the wealthy and the not wealthy) is noise.
White people hate our sounds and our volume (unless we’re singing for them).
This isn’t new…
What they want, despite whatever practical reasons they might hide behind, is for us to be as silent as possible so that they might avoid witnessing our joy and stay oblivious to our pain, while continuing to pretend that we only exist in the periphery. Quite frankly, they want us to be spooks.
That is, until they need our creativity, cool, culture, labor, or sex.
*Insert eye-roll, followed by a side-eye, sucked teeth, and a sigh.*
This is the heart and soul of this very overreactive, highly racist Black Lives Matter movement, as Brookshire pledged to in his signature in his letter: “Your #VeryBlack Neighbor” and “#blacklivesmatter.”
He spoke to The Washington Post: “White people will sometimes speak without thinking of the bigger implications of their actions. They’re just kind of reacting. That kind of speaks to their own privilege.”
The white neighbor also spoke to the Post but wouldn’t give his full name out of fear of backlash. Who could blame him? As is most obvious, David O. said the note had nothing to do with race. In fact, David and his wife didn’t even know their neighbor was black, he said. All they knew was that the upstairs neighbor was cursing and yelling, making them think he was in an argument. He wrote back to Brookshire:
I know this was probably dictated by the tone of my note, but please do not perceive me as just another narrow-minded white p**** – scared of anything outside of his little white world. I have nothing in common with such people, and I would like to emphasize it once (again) that my note yesterday, rude as it was, was nothing more than a response to a late-night disturbance.
But surely, this is also “white noise” saturated in “white tears” and sent with white aggression.
The moral of the story: there is no reasoning with a race-baiter like Richard Brookshire.
Both Brookshire’s letter and his friend’s response should be read in their entirety to get the full effect. Click here to do so.