I spoke to my momma yesterday and apparently because of the
slate of robberies in Oakland, the police have posted up outside
of one of my favorite restaurants, Mommas Royal Cafe.
This place is amazing. Farm fresh eggs for avacado, tomato
and crab omelette’s, fresh salsa and Peerless coffee. Living in Oakland
this past year, I have spent many a Saturday there. When Filthy
came to visit in February, I took him there. When I would
visit from New York, my dad would pick me up from the airport and
we would go there directly. One of my homies from college is a
waitress there, so when I walk in I greet folks and feel like I am
The place is an Oakland institution.
The police are posted up outside of Mama’s because there have
been a serious of take over robberies in Oakland. These aren’t
just regular robberies. These cats are robbing the employees of
their personal belongings and robbing the cash registers.
The KTVU news reports,
The latest in a brazen series of takeover-style robberies of Oakland restaurants and businesses had left two employees nursing minor injuries and bruises Monday after they were pistol-whipped in separate Sunday attacks.Over the weekend, the pace of violent takeover-style robberies picked up with four taking place since Friday night. The robberies have followed a similar pattern — two or three hooded bandits target the business around closing time, storm in with at least one gun drawn and then flee with an undisclosed amount of cash.
Welcome to The Town.
Yes, a police presence may work in the short time. But it is
not a long term solution. Many folks are reacting saying that
people live with violence everyday in less affluent and low income
areas of Oakland, so why do the certain business and affluent
neighborhoods receive protection.
The answer is simply that the police are a tool of the state and
as such are responsible for protecting the rights of property
owners. When we understand this, we will understand why the
police are sitting in front of Mama’s and not out in East Oakland
investing x, y or z murder that occurred last night.
It’s amazing to me how we allow politicians to enact policy
that is reactive, then get mad when we have the same problems on
When I read about the robberies I thought of study I came across
earlier this year titled, The Public Returns of Public Educational
Investments in African American Males by Henry Levin,
positive fiscal impact of graduating more Black men from high school.
The paper makes the argument that if we graduate more young
Black men from high school, they are more likely to work in the
above ground economy, pay taxes (and implicitly child support),
and less likely to receive public assistance, go to jail and receive
medicare, thus the savings to the state.
To be able to implement such a policy would be a reflection of our will
and our priorities. If we know that crime is related to education and
poverty and we don’t make politicians create policy that reflects this
then the consequences in our society is our fault.
James Baldwin says to act is to commit and to commit is to be in danger.
I am both haunted and motivated by this statement. Furthermore,
I think we are already in danger if young people are robbing employees
in restaurants and our only solution is to place police officers in
front of them for protection.