City Desk

Cleveland Parkers Refusing to Open Doors to Well-Dressed African-American Men

Magazine sellers and Bible studiers—especially those who are well-dressed and African-American—beware. The people of Cleveland Park are onto you. For months they've been posting suspicious interactions with you and your efforts this week? They are well-documented on the all-knowing Listserv.

To wit:

* Joe on Ross Place: "I had a well dressed black male stop by my house yesterday at around 10am and say he was with a bible study group and wanted to know if I wanted to pray with him. I declined. He came back at around 6pm and asked if I'd like to buy magazines from him."

* Val on Norton Place: "About 5 p.m. Monday, a well-dressed black male knocked on my door. I was at home sick and did not answer, but he had stepped back far enough from the door for me to see him through the window"

* Sally on Quebec Street: "I was out walking and passed this man on mid to upper Porter Street Monday afternoon at approximately 3:30 pm. He was going door to door and was clean-shaven, wearing slacks, a white shirt, and tie." No mention of his race, but it's implied, don't you think?

* Ralph on 30th Street: "A similar young man came by our house yesterday. He said he was 'selling magazines and newspapers,' but he had no paperwork with him and looked like he made it up. When he left, I saw him to the next house and knock on the door."

* The infamous George Idelson: "I observed two African-American men engaged in conversation on my doorstep this morning. They ignored me, jotted something into a clipboard, finished their conversation and retreated down the steps. As they did I noticed the younger man was carrying a magazine labeled 'The Advocate.'"

* Ann With the Older French Husband: Last week, in the evening around 7:00, a not-so-young well dressed african american man (white shirt, crisply ironed trousers) came to our door.  I spoke to him through our storm door. He asked to come in for a moment to speak to me. I thought it was a religious or charity call. I asked the reason for his call. He smiled and tried to joke about he was wondering when dinner was. I asked again and he said he was a salesman. I told him that we were not interested in being approached door to door to be sold anything, and added that usually people who are selling say what it is up front and present a vendors license or organization  identification.  He looked very annoyed and went back down the steps, looking back angrily as I closed the door.  Our son, who is visiting, saw him continue down Idaho towards Macomb St. I again told my older French husband once again to never, ever open the door to strangers. Sigh."

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  • Angry Al Gonzales

    There are a lot of ignorant racists posting here. Stay under your rocks in Detroit, Alex, & Cleveland, the rest of you, & leave us alone in the District. We have enough problems without importing ignorant racists from the rest of the country.

  • Angry Al Gonzales

    & I'm glad there's no "Glover Ohio" or these same ignorant racist hicks would be posting on our neighborhood blog. Here's a proposal for City Paper = how about we call Cleveland Park Grover Park" - & that was it won't trigger whatever term brought these ignorant racist hicks / white trash pieces of feces to this website.

  • Alexandra

    Race realism is the product of experience, not of ignorance.

    The reality is, blacks are more prone to committing crime, so it's no wonder people don't trust them.

    Funny how in the Appalachian range you see a lot of poverty but not a lot of crime. I wonder why that is...?

  • Realism

    Ahh, how I love society.

    Racists are much, much worse than the rapists, murderers, and thieves they bitch about.

    Only in America.

  • Alexandra

    How are racists/race realists worse, realism?

    I don't go around hating people. I just acknowledge that there are differences between the races. I'm hardly KKK material.

    Maybe blacks should stop blaming whitey and blame their ancestor Ham. Go read about it in Genesis. Their problems don't come from (perceived) oppression!

  • JigabooHatingJew

    Q, You're just a typical white liberal. Maybe someday a dose of TNB will change your mind.

  • Realism

    Alexandra, I was being sarcastic.

    According to Q here, racism is an order of magnitude worse than dealing crack, stealing and general mischief.

  • Alexandra

    Sorry about that, Realism. :) Sometimes it's hard to detect sarcasm on a computer. LOL

    Yes, to some people, racism/realism is a prime example of thoughtcrime. They appoint themselves Thought Police.

  • Cato


    What person in his right mind would open a door to a young black man?

    I doubt even you would.

    You mention all these stats, but you are forgetting one key aspect. It's YOUNG black males that are responsible for most of the crime and mayhem. So of course, if you factor in all the old black men and women, and black women in general, the percentages of black crime, although high enough, are skewed downward.

    If you focus ONLY on black males, isn't it like 1 out of 3 of them are or have been in jail/prison? So that' a 33% chance that the young black man on your doorstep is or will become a criminal - maybe getting his first taste of crime with you as the victim. Add in the reality that urban areas like CP have yet even higher crime than suburbs and rural areas, and that 33% could easily become 50% or more.

    It's not so much that it is a black person at the doorstep, but a young black male. Were they elderly black men or young black women, the entire scenario changes.

  • Q

    Cato, solicitation being what it is, are you saying that Black males don't stand a chance being Census Enumerators, EMTs, Police Officers, Meter Readers, Newspaper Deliverers or any her profession that requires them to approach a home and knock on the door?

    At least for this example in Cleveland Park, there was no mention that the man was young. Then again, young is relative these days. To get to the crux of the matter, let's define young as 15-30. Yes, it's a wide swath, and criminals do exist outside of this range, but go with me on this. Outside of the racist and race-realist rhetoric (of which David Duke and other neo-Nazi/white supremacists subscribe to), your comments comprise the crux of it all --- People respond to what they see, not necessarily by what is rational. Okay, I get that. The "uncomfortable" sight of an African-American male along with incomplete statistics would make anyone fearful. A young Black man's own mother wouldn't even open the door for him based on that. However, it is far too easy to generalize than to look at things on an individual basis.

    Not everyone has good discernment, but to make it reasonably fair and answer your question of doubt, I just assume not answer the door to anyone - White, Black, Brown, Purple, etc. than to isolate one ethnicity based solely on appearance. No, I don't usually open my doors for strangers. Gone are the days when Ed McMahon would come by with a Publisher's Clearing House Check. However, for the times that I have opened my door, usually I engage the person to a point where whatever they are peddling or spreading, they don't come back again. I'm respectful and courteous, but make sure they understand that I don't do door to door --- whether she is a hot babe or not Angry Al!

    Seriously though, there is an epidemic plaguing African-American males. Some of it is self-inflicted, but by no means should it be a condemnation of an entire ethnic subgroup. Using the “1 of 3” statistic that I've heard almost 20 years ago, does anyone mention what the other 2/3rds are doing? Usually not. "Statistically speaking", countless episodes of Cops, America's Most Wanted, and evening news are dedicated to reporting and presenting the troubled 1/3 to a point where the majority of African-American males (2/3rds) are marginalized. If all of African-American males were criminals and killers, there would be no more as they would all be in jail or dead by now. Not only that, but when future generations see African-American males, what do they see portrayed in entertainment? The troubled 1/3. Every stereotype, act of buffoonery, criminal action, etc. is not just ingested by African-American culture but Pop-Culture --- A life-imitating-art death sentence.

    Still the picture has been painted. Purportedly 40% of all incarcerated are African-American, which is startling. Juxtapose that to more African-American males in college than imprisoned (at least some time ago). Both statistics constitute a subset of the 15-30 year-olds, mentioned above.

    I'm not here to tell you what to do in your home, especially if confronted with a *real* threat. However, consider this --- African-Americans males have further progress to make. Some of this progress is being undermined by those whom they try to help. Do you want to add to the problem by generalization? I don't. So, instead of closing the door, maybe open one, talk to or engage one of these African-American young males. That is the only way to change the systemic tide of criminality that you see. I would like to think you'd want to live in a modicum of peace without clutching your handgun for security.

    Hopefully this discourse should serve to confront our beliefs, assumptions, stereotypes, and misunderstandings at the "door", and not be limited to an African-American male.

  • dell

    Speaking as someone who has been the victim of crime committed by "African-Americans" (actually I don't know if they were all American born, but I'll go with the PC term.) Why don't you go ask some "well-dressed" white men, or better yet women, to go door to door in a black area and see what the response is? Too edgy? I thought so. It's easier to attack common sense of whites and call it "racism." When are you people (pc crazies) ever going to get it? It's too late. It's not 1960 anymore. Too much has happened to too many white people.

  • Q

    dell, Your suggestion is not edgy at all. In fact, one can say that well-dressed "white" people in an African-American neighborhood would be met with suspician too. Hence, why I made in comment #3 about Jule "playing on Cleveland Park’s potential for racial intolerance". I've been a victim of a crimes committed by African-Americans (not that MPDC solved the crime, but that is the assumption.) I was a victim of George Bush Economic Policies too, but because he is White and wears a suit, I should just let him in huh?

    dell, racism cuts both ways. So in order for EVERYONE, Black, White, Brown, etc. to get beyond it, we should discuss it so that we can live up to what we celebrated 2 days ago in declaring our independance, "We hold these truths to be self-evident that ALL men are created equal."

  • downtown rez

    Q- If these fine white folk wanted a web learning course, they'd be online at U of Pheonix.
    Leave the thread to the trolls. They're only listening to themselves anyway.

  • michal

    FYI I live in a dorm at a Big 10 school and my room mate is a black guy and quite the democrat. For fun he and his pals would pretend to be racist white guys on line as well as right wing extremists. I wouldn't be surprised if he isn't the Kansas B person or the realism person...flamers are idiots.

  • Bridget

    After reading some of the comments on this board, I am ashamed to be white. I wonder if any of you on here would have the balls to walk up to an African American and use any of the words you have on this forum. I hope you all rot in hell for your ignorance and hatred.

    As far as the topic of discussion, I don't open my door to anyone going door-to-door. If I want magazines, I order them from the publisher and when I want religion, I go to church.

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