Dear White People (Of Rockaway)

 

It seems as though our “Transportation Justice” article in The Wave caused some… well… waves. The post on our Facebook page received tons of comments and shares. In addition, our article also caught the attention of NY1. Silaka Cox, Chief Operations Officer, spoke with NY1 and reiterated our stance that the ferry shuttle should be extended to residents in the eastern end of Far Rockaway. RYTF members and members of our community wrote thoughtful comments regarding the situation and it proved to be an insightful community forum. However, in sifting through the comments, there were some posts that seemed to come from a place of ignorance. Usually, we would ignore the comments, but we felt that this subject matter was too important to disregard and needed to be addressed. Please note, some comments were edited to reflect a proper command of the English language, but the sentiments were kept intact.

Katie MC writes, “Additionally, one of the whole points of having the ferry is to reduce commute times. If you add too many stops to the shuttle, you’re looking at a 2-hour commute for those in Far Rock, which is no better than the A train ride. It wouldn’t be effective” She also writes, “Beach 108th street is a halfway point for the peninsula. You can’t look at everything through a colored lens. You need to understand what’s practical and the logistics behind why certain decisions are made. Granted, the whole peninsula deserves better transportation options, but the ferry may not be the right option to serve the peninsula as a whole if it winds up taking even longer than the A train service.

Hi Katie!

Thank you for your comment. First of all, we agree the entire peninsula deserves better transportation options. However, extending the shuttle to the eastern end of Far Rockaway is not solely a matter of reducing commute time. It’s also about increasing transportation options for all residents. Residents of Far Rockaway understand that “Far” is truly indicative of our commute time, however it’s not “One Mode of Transportation” Rockaway. Having multiple modes of transportation is another kind of privilege and we think it’s a privilege that the entire peninsula should be able to enjoy.

Also it only seems to become a “race issue” when black and brown people complain. If we had shuttle service at Mott Avenue, and those at Beach 67th didn’t, would their complaints be silenced or dismissed as racial or socio-economical whining? Probably not…

 

Kim Mannino writes, “And???? What does the color of one’s skin have to do with the ferry???”

Hi Kim!

Actually skin color has a LOT to do with a LOT of different things. It’s the same reason why, when given identical resumes, employers are more likely to choose the more “white” sounding name for an interview. It’s the same reason we have an achievement gap in elementary and middle school reading and math scores between black and white students. We could go on, but there’s only so much room in this article

 

Kathi Steele O’Connor writes, “You’re absolutely right Linda! That’s what the RYTF was supposed to be about!! But they rather cry about being black instead!”

Dear Kathi,

There’s a lot we could say here. We COULD question your declaration about what we’re “supposed” be as an organization. Like, really. How can someone who has never stepped foot into an RYTF meeting all of sudden KNOW what we’re about? We could also discuss you insinuation that we “cry about being black”, when in fact, being black (and brown) is something that we are incredibly proud of. Don’t think that we don’t love that our melanin is on fleek… But in reality, we’re not going to respond because that would just be sad. Almost as sad as being a fifty-something year old woman resorting to trolling a youth organization on Facebook…

 

Ed Anderson writes, “Why can't we just be one people? Stop bringing race into everything it just drives a wedge between our community.”

Dear Mr. Anderson,

Thank you for your suggestion. RYTF prides itself on being an active part of the Rockaway community and we are proud residents. And we agree with you. Being “one people” should be the goal. However, it’s not the reality. Race doesn’t drive a wedge between members of the community. It’s the difference in treatment of people of difference races that drives the wedge.

 

Ellen Christine writes, “If you work uptown in Manhattan what good is the ferry going to do you anyway? …. where was the RYTF when people were rallying and fighting to keep the ferry back when it was coming to an end on Oct 31st?”

Dear Ellen,

First of all, what gives you the right to tell us what good the ferry will do for us? Being a little presumptuous, aren’t we Ellen? And as for your question regarding RYTF’s involvement in rallying for the ferry, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?


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Ellen Christine also writes, “…you do realize all of us living here and working in Manhattan have over an hour commute so you are not special and poor/low income families come in all colors. A lot of us are struggling but we don't have our hand out demanding freebies.”

Hello again Ellen,

We agree, poor people come in all shades. However, the low income folks that we’re talking about just so happen to be black and brown. Maybe Kiryas Wisdom can help explain that… Also, we appreciate that you can admit that a lot of people are struggling. That’s why we’re fighting so hard for this. We want to ease those struggles. Don’t let anyone tell you that fighting for fair and equal access to resources is wrong. And if we’re missing the point to your argument, please enlighten us, but only if your explanation is free. Apparently, we don’t like paying for things…