Dear PoP/Friday Question of the Day

black israelites 001, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

“Dear PoP,

I’m a big fan of free speech – yay soapboxes for whackos – but shouldn’t there be restrictions on pure noise? I know this issue has popped up before – streetcorner idiots with amplifiers that can be heard two blocks away. These guys are particularly ugly, but I don’t really care what the cause is – I shouldn’t have to hear it over a loudspeaker in my neighborhood. Anyone know what the deal is? ”

I remember talking about these guys before. They’re often outside of the Columbia Heights metro. And I know that H Street, NE has dealt with a similar situation. I find them terribly irritating. But here is my serious FQoTD – how far does free speech extend? Can anyone set up outside the metro and spout whatever they want, whenever they want? Where is the balance between tranquility and free speech? Is it just a decibel level? Maybe I should set up next to them and start preaching about the beautiful life? Anyone got my back? Warning, I bruise and bleed easily…

104 Comment

  • Yeah, something has to be done about all the white people being loud at Wonderland, I agree.

  • These guys are nothing short of hate speech. They spout out anti-gay rhetoric and are not the humble Christians/Muslims that have a descent message to spread.

  • Hate speech is still speech, as far as the courts are concerned, unless you’re directing a mob to engage in specific acts of violence and there’s a reasonable likelihood of those directions being acted upon. That probably doesn’t apply to the above-pictured men.

    The city could enact reasonable “time, place, and manner” restrictions on when and where people can set up amplified speech (e.g. no amplification over a certain decibel level within 1000 feet of a residence, no amplification between the hours of 8 PM and 9 AM). That would seem to be the better solution here.

  • City Paper did a cover story (“The Real Jews”) on the Black Israelites not too long ago:

  • While these guys are obviously a**holes who contribute nothing positive whatsoever to any sort of actual dialogue, free speech, if it means anything, means that we can make no judgments whatsoever based on the content of the speech — no matter how offensive they may be, their right to speak in a public place (as the metro plaza undoubtedly is) can not be curtailed. Now if the amplification reaches a level of public nuisance to the nearby residents or businesses (you shouldn’t have to hear their speech shouted into your apartment), or they are impeding actual use of the metro, that could be curtailed. But I haven’t found either to be the case, at least not in Chinatown (CH could make a better case for at least lowering the amplification because of the residences and nearby outdoor dining).

  • These guys are bullies. On H street NE, they had a habit of singleling out a passing person and really specifically harassing them over the loudspeaker. Their victims were usually white, but not always. I always thought that it was weird that they came down here from Phillie.

  • Oh, and the City Paper covered the debate on outlawing amplified soapbox proselytizing/hate mongering/psychotic rambling.

    The namby-pamby ultra-libs on the DC Council put the kibosh a common sense noise bill designed to outlaw the kind of amplified screaming that the Black Israelites do. The noise bill was opposed by organized labor and quickly tabled by Phil Mendelson, Jim Graham, et al.

  • here we go…

  • The last time I checked, the Council could not agree on a definition of a noise disturbance. As we all know, it is difficult to strike the right balance to protect the First Amendment free speech and limit amplified noise from residents. We live in the City, and this one of the experiences.

    As for the guys by the CH metro station, they are in a commercial area and are allowed more flexiblity to exercise their speech.

  • As long as you don’t take their message seriously, they’re kind of entertaining. Weird stuff like this is what makes city living interesting and fun. It’s part of the beautiful life in my opinion, again, giving their message no credence.

  • They are categorized as a dangerous black supremacist hate group by no less than the Southern Poverty Law Center, if that gives you an idea of who you’re dealing with. It’s not a whole lot different in principle, than if it were the KKK, standing on the corner and yelling threatening, intimidating things at passersby.

  • Thank you Phil Mendelson!

  • I, for one, would rather ignore them than put limits on who can be on the corner. That’s a straight ticket to limiting street music, I think.
    Also, I don’t spend a lot of time standing on the corner, other than waiting for the light, so it doesn’t seem like they’re that much of an inconvenience.
    Ignore the crazy.

  • When I first opened the website today and saw that photo, I thought it was going to be a story about some crazy summer Sinterklaas celebration.

  • I’ve seen this group at Gallery Place on Friday afternoons and I will admit, as a black female, I cringe. Its so embarassing. They’re spreading hate as much as those crazies at the town halls. I have absolutely no respect for them. My God expects me love everyone -regardless of their color…

  • Someone should invite another hate group out for a dueling street corner shout off. I have a feeling that if the other group wore white robes, however, that the DC police would find some reason to hustle them off the street ASAP as opposed to this group which is allowed to linger indefinatly.

  • Free Speech itself should have ABSOLUTELY no limitations.

    As long as it’s in a public place its all good.

    Personally I find the news blaring from the Verizon center MUCH MORE DISTURBING than these clowns.

    But that is just me. And everyone should get to say what they want .. not just those who can afford Jumbotrons

  • these guys are almost as hilarious as “Clayton Bigsby” from the Chapelle Show

  • That being said, the group is odd. I am white. But have a huge beard. They seem to view me as a muslim brother, and have no problem trying to recruit me for the cause while yelling at the other white devils walking down the street.

  • Unfortunately, as long as they are not inciting a riot or verbally harassing *specific* people, I am okay with it. Not with the words, mind you, but the general principal. If I had a cause I was passionate about, I would want to be able to voice my opinion in a certain manner. I think there’s a thin line between hate speech and free speech. I’m a total law & order SVU junkie, and I remember watching an episode from season 4 recently where they quoted the Supreme Court law that overturned a portion of the free speech law pertaining to hate speech. Can’t remember what it is right now. I wonder if that’s true?

  • There should be no limits on free speech, unless it is a direct threat to public safety (yelling fire in a movie theater). It is that simple.

  • free speech is free speech, but the bs these guys say is downright hateful – it’s racist and homophobic. everythime i hear them at the petworth metro i call metro police as i’ve been told that if they are on metro prpoerty they need to have a permit.

  • Y’all should google “fighting words”. Free speech is NOT an absolutely unlimited right.

  • A supreme court clerk friend of mine said most succinctly: “Free speech means you have the right to say anything you want. It doesn’t guarantee you the right to a megaphone.”

    PoP, I am absolutely behind you setting up and preaching about the beautiful life. I got your back.

  • I guess I’ve been “lucky,” the few times I’ve heard them they have been SO loud and I’ve been relatively close to the speakers, so I can’t remember even making out any words; it just all sounds like distorted noise and shouting.

    Free speech laws are free speech laws, but I wish some groups would just catch a clue that they’re a bunch of loons. But I could say that about many groups.

  • I love these guys. Who doesn’t want to be called a white devil? Sounds interesting and almost respectable. Like, hey you white devil, or how’s it going white devil? Kind of has a nice ring to it. Or people around me will starting thinking I’m part of a motorcycle gang called the white devils-how sexy. The possibilities are endless.

  • someone bring their stereo over there and set up camp, blaring something like country music, or “never gonna give you up” on loop (if that isn’t way too played out), drowning out their amplified hate speech. i don’t have a problem with freedom of speech, but it should only be as loud as you can yell it.

  • Screw what’s legal, screw the regulations. Nobody can agree on that stuff, least of all “local officials”, whatever those are. In my humble opinion, the only line being crossed here is AMPLIFICATION.

    Otherwise, I say go to town. Stand on that corner and bleat forever! The more extreme, the better! If I’ve got no time concerns, and I find a particularly fire-and-brimstone wacky shouter, I’ll often take a seat in front and listen intently. Not sure why this seems to weird ’em out: Clearly they feel like nobody’s listening, otherwise they wouldn’t need f*kkin’ rocket-engine amps to get the message out.

    Seems like these folks are always pretty worked up about stuff. Someone should hug them.

    More to the point, I think it’s VITAL to allow public spontaneous public speaking, and it shouldn’t matter what the topic is: preaching, political rants, diatribes about crunchy-vs-smooth peanut butter (for the record, crunchy. thanks), socially-questionable hate speech, un-medicated schizophrenic poetry, whatever. It’s all good. Just do it unplugged. And have a nice day.

  • TonySmallFrame, these guys hate muslims, they are Israelites. They do not regard you as a muslim brother. Welcome to DC, you have a lot to learn.

    I saw them on 12th St once and they were inciting a riot. I called 911 and I got the “Free speech” BS from the operator. As if I called just because I disagreed with them. I called because they were calling people to “action” against gays.

  • More to the point, I think it

  • Neener, thanks for the welcome! 28 (almost 29 years) too late, but it’s great none the less. I don’t suppose you’ll be around with the welcome wagon any time soon, then?

    I realize they hate muslims – they DO want to convert them. You can’t convert whiteness out of whitey, but you can convert religion out of people.

    Did they send out the riot cops? How many people were hurt at your riot? My goodness, it sounds dangerous.

  • I see them at Gallery Place and I wondered, too, why they could spew this hate, and did that mean the KKK could set up and start calling me a coon and monkey and whatnot from the same space.

  • Ruben = Seminole Indians (Muskogee).
    Simeon = Dominicans of Hispanola.
    Levi = Haitians.
    Judah = African Americans.
    Dan = Cubans.
    Naphtali = Argentineans & Chileans.
    Gad = Native Americans.
    Asher = Incas.
    Issachar = Aztec Indians and other Mexicans.
    Zebulon = Mayan Indians and other inhabitants of countries from Guatemala to Panama.
    Ephraim & Manasseh = Taino & Boriqua Indians and other Puerto Ricans
    Benjamin = Carribe, Cibao, Arrowack, and other inhabitants of Guyana and the West Indies.

    I guess I would be Benjamin????

  • I don’t care what they hate or how loud they spew that hate. We live in a country where the right to spew rhetoric and more importantly the ability to captivate and influence an audience freely with that rhetoric is a constitutional right. This right was specifically chartered as the 1st Amendment of the Constitution by our forefathers to preserve the rights, freedoms, and responsibilities that our country was founded upon.

    You have just as much right as they do to go out in public, display your finest clown suit, and preach the gospel of Dr. Seuss to the masses; if their actions disturb you I suggest the next time you see them that you produce a copy of ‘Green Eggs & Ham’ and do just that!

  • i hate these guys…not because of their message really, because who believes that stupid shit, but because they are so loud and obtrusive. why cant they just spout their racism quietly on neighborhood blogs like everyone else?

  • FlipFlop, you’re wrong.

    “The fighting words doctrine, in United States constitutional law, is a limitation to freedom of speech as granted in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. In its 9-0 decision, Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire (1942), the U.S. Supreme Court established the doctrine and held that “insulting or ‘fighting words,’ those that by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace” are among the “well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech [which] the prevention and punishment of…have never been thought to raise any constitutional problem.”

  • I had no riot Tony. Phrase your questions in a way I can answer them.

  • I have no problem with the speech, just the volume.

  • True, anon, but unless these clowns are out there inciting immediate and specific acts of violence, it’s doubtful that their speech would fall into the “fighting words” category. In fact, historically, courts have been reluctant to restrict speech based on the fighting words doctrine.

  • Neener – and I quote.

    “I saw them on 12th St once and they were inciting a riot. I called 911 and I got the

  • The klan is also allowed to come and demonstrate as well, but of course few klan live in DC and thus the gatherings are small / tiny / nonexistent. These hebrew israelites are the same deal, preaching self empowerment through persecution of others (and please do donate to us as well!). It goes over very well among the low class trash of DC, by the way, just as the klan goes over well with low class trash in white areas. As a native of klan country, I have plenty of klan stories to tell, and the best times I’ve had in my life is throwing rocks and bottles at them, and brawling with the in DC back in 1992 or so.

    While I wouldn’t want to limit anyone’s speech, the “mob incitement” aspect is very important to me, and I again hate DC law enforcement for paying no attention to it. I wait for the bus next to Gallery Place, where the local HI’s hold Friday afternoon hate mongering. They generally call me out, point me out, and encourage others to kill me due to the fact that I am white. Apparently I have a face like David Duke, as I get that crap alot from the animals of this city. Regardless, its retarded that the city can’t enforce even this sort of riot / mob violence prevention law.

    Lastly, pictures sets like this:

    remind me that a certain percentage of all humans are evil. I look forward to fighting with them…

  • I said: “More to the point, I think it

  • I like IntangibleArts idea of listening to them. I think that would absolutely blow their little minds!

  • Thank you, Anonymous 1010; I went to Constitutional Law 101 too and am just as capable of using wikipedia.

    That said, while the court has upheld Chaplinsky as a precedent for the “fighting words

  • TonySmallFrame:

    You are living in a fantasyland and I do not appreciate you fantasizing about me. You have created some argument on your end that I am not a part of which is weird- very weird.

    When people got nose to nose I left the area in my car because they were inciting a riot.

    Why would you presume that a riot occurred? That’s not logical thinking is it?

    I have not seen them at that metro station since- I believe it’s Farragut North on 12th St.

    IntangibleArts- you are also way off the deep end. please argue with history and not me. You are suggesting things I did not remotely suggest. I am making no argument to “outlaw” anything and why would you go so far to suggest I did?! What is going on over at your end of the keyboard? It’s not about me or what I wrote I assure you.

    in other words- both of you can come back to earth now, your fantasies are not real.

  • Here is a different free speech question – was on the bus last night with a woman that was obviously high on something and the filth spewing out of her mouth was making a number of people on the bus squirm. Luckily there were no children on the bus to hear it. What recourse do we have in situations like that?

  • stubsdc – trying punching her in the mouth…that usually works.

  • Stubs–

    Tell her their handing out free crack at the next stop.

  • Just want to give a shout out to the anon who mentioned Clayton Bigsby. One of the most brilliant sketches of all time. Man, I wish Chappelle would come back …

  • Stubs–

    Tell her they’re handing out free crack at the next stop.

  • Comment of the week – Neener!!!

    “When people got nose to nose I left the area in my car because they were inciting a riot.

    Why would you presume that a riot occurred? That

  • To Anon. at 10:10: The fighting words doctrine has been severely curtailed by several subsequent decisions, such as Gooding v. Wilson, Rosenfield v. New Jersey, Norwell v. Cincinatti, Hess v. Indiana, and City of Houston v. Hill. Really, in order to be fighting words, language has to be a) directed at a particular individual, b) spoken to that individual in a face-to-face encounter, and c) sufficiently insulting and provocative to cause another to engage in acts of violence against the speaker. Speaking out against “the gays” generally or “the muslims” doesn’t really fit into this qualification.

  • Stubs, I think the driver is supposed to call the police, then hold the spewer until they arrive. Unfortunately, that means holding the rest of the passengers as well, all cooped up with a potentially dangerous person. Not the best solution. And then there was the recent case of a driver who did just that, then got charged with kidnapping.

    I guess if I were there, especially if I had my child with me, we’d get off the bus and wait for the next one.

  • 1. An angry Santa Claus called and wants his collection of Angry Santa Claus outfits back.

    2. These guys can be annoying, but what they say doesn’t even come close to fighting words. If the KKK has a constitutional right to have a parade and shout racist slogans and generalized threats down the main street of a town heavily populated by Holocaust survivors, (i.e., the Skokie, IL case) then these guys are well within their rights.

    3. Their absurdity is mildly entertaining and reminds us of what’s great about Columbia Heights: The vast majority of people who walk past them, regardless of race or background, roll their eyes, snicker, and look at each other with expressions that say, ‘whoa these people are batsh*t.’

  • The vast majority of people do not want to be accosted by someone

  • I thought it was going to be a story about some crazy summer Sinterklaas celebration.

    Jim wins.

  • Tony, what the hell are you talking about? seriously, what the hell are you going on about? you are proving time and time again that you do not understand what I’m writing. Are you capable of reading English?

    There is a difference between inciting a riot and a riot occurring. Is this a mystery to you? Apparently it is.

  • Neens,
    I took your bait to see if it would be a kick (everybody else was doing it! peer pressure!), but it turned out to be a one-dose drug. Now that it’s worn off, I feel a little dirty. Dirty… inside. I’m gonna go hang out in the sandbox with the happy kids now.

  • “Can anyone set up outside the metro and spout whatever they want, whenever they want?”


  • Hey JustMe: If you wholeheartedly support the alleged “right” of these guys to blast their hate speech through those concert speakers, at the base of a building that has residential windows on the second story, and more across the street, isn’t that valiant of you?

    So give us your home address so you can share the joy. Seriously, post your home address. And we can be sure to tell these guys you’ve invited them to your corner to share their message.

    In the meantime, all we need is a little same-sex kiss in, one foot in front of these guys, to see how respectful, restrained, and nonviolent these hateful scum are.

  • Neener, there are plenty of other places you can live where you don’t actually have to be around people at all and don’t have to deal with them on the streets, or even walk around the streets at all. If that’s what you want, do that. The rest of us have learned to acclimate ourselves to an environment filled with people, some of them tacky. If we’re going to crack down on everyone participating in something that’s “played out,” I’m going to start demanding that the ANC begin a crackdown on people wearing crocs.

  • The liberal council has gotten so tolerant that they tolerate intolerance.

  • I do wonder, though, if it were some white supremacist group, how long they would last out there shouting. I do tend to think that a white supremacist group calling out black people on the street as “devils” might be more likely to incite a physically violent reaction. So maybe that’s why we don’t see Stormfront folks on the street corners of DC, and I guess that’s why we don’t see “Black Israelites” hanging out in predominantly white enclaves. Both groups are made up of stupid lunatics, but they’re not suicidal.

  • Israeli Israelites vs. Black Israelites. I’d like to know what the Jewish community thinks about these clowns.

  • Sheesh — just ignore them like everyone else does.

  • “It goes over very well among the low class trash of DC, by the way,”

    -Actually, it doesn’t. In addition to spewing hatred of other races and groups, these jokers also berate the black people who walk by them and pay them no attention (the overwhelming majority based on my observations). Calling people sellouts and Uncle Toms is not the best way to get them on board with your message.

  • Neener, I don’t think panacea means what you think it means- as I believe I pointed out yesterday.

    Tsmallframe- Pay no attention to those who seek to drive home their points using hyperbole at every turn, then going into hysterics when called out on it.

  • I’d rather listen to the angry black santas than neener.

  • The amplification issue is the only thing that makes this a problem in a “disturbing the peace” sort of sense.

    One thing I haven’t seen around DC has been Hare Kishnas peddling their Baghavad Gitas. I used to see them all the time in Berkeley and Boston.

  • Regardless of all other issues with these guys- I live in the apartments above the Metro and every time they are out there yelling their non-sense it is a major disruption and annoyance. I can hear them in my apartment and occasionally they have even woken me up from a weekend nap. At a bare minimum they should not be allowed to use any type of amplification. Living on this corner, I am used to the usual city noise and generally don’t complain about it- but this ridiculous. Last night they were still going strong, even after it got dark. In my mind… it is not a matter of freedom of speech, but more so a matter of disturbing the peace.

  • JustMe:
    Back in the ’80s, the ISKCON guys used to come by regularly with food & such for the folks that lived at the Peace Park camp (now only Connie is left), across from the white house… So I assumed there was a commune-house around somewhere. But you’re right: haven’t seen ’em since then. They certainly didn’t need amps….

  • This guy:

    battled the noisies for a while for quiet on his street.

  • i totally respect their right to be there.

    but its funny, if the klan did this, all the sane white people in this city would go apeshit. you would be hard pressed to find a white person that wasnt disgusted. sure they have a right, but people would be all up in their shit.
    why arent our black brothers knocking these clowns down for their hate? they make racial relations worse with every word they speak, just as the klan does. and more strained racial relationships is definitely not what this city needs.

    and oh.. hare krishnas are indeed around in the summer. they often stick to the mall though. especially around the india festival.

  • i believe that within certain hours, its fine to use amplifiers. it sucks for sure when you dont like the sounds or content, but we have that right.
    it also protects you when your favorite band is playing that block party, or theres something going on you like, like the annual drag race or something. know.. when we have anther Bush in thew whitehouse……

    after 11 pm, or whenever the noise ordinances are is a different game.

  • Umm, plenty of black people love to hate white people in DC. Ride a bus on Georgia ave every day and experience it yourself. I was recently accused of planning to kill Obama cuz whitey would never let a black man get ahead. (apologies to PoP for any secret service queries on this one)

    Not saying all blacks hate whites in DC of course, but frankly racism is extremely alive and well in this town.

  • for the most part, racism is when the race holding power uses that power against other races.
    in other cases its usually called bigotry. when laws can be made against a race, thats racism. when policy is made. this is why black people laugh at white people that call them racist. its not generally understood that way. if you wanna have a conversation you gotta be on the same page. thats the page that the african american community is on.

  • Religion is the source of all of the world’s problems.

  • Funny. My dictionary doesn’t say that. It only says . . .

    Racism: hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

    I think I’ll stick to accepted english language definitions that are commonly understood.

  • I thought racism was hatred of NASCAR.

  • I try to avoid debating these issues (doh!), racists are making a commitment to hatred. Bigots are perhaps just ignorant, and I try not to confuse racism and bigotry. But for outright racism, however you might want to define it, I don’t think I can talk someone out of that since they’re clearly not thinking logically. Hate is so attractive, so easy… I focus on self defense in such situations, personally.

  • just sayin.. you wanna fight racism, then use the word as it is used by the people that have suffered the most because of it. otherwise you’re really more interested in words that solutions.
    try tellin an old black man that has suffered indignities that a white person cant imagine that he’s racist for not liking crackers. you can argue the semantics till you’re pink in the face but it wont further anything. try gaining his perspective and glean what he means when he says certain words and you’ll learn more than webster has to say.

    decide on your goal, understanding of an exactitude of meaning of definitions, or communication. till we live in a perfect world, you cant have both.

  • @clock:

    “but its funny, if the klan did this, all the sane white people in this city would go apeshit. you would be hard pressed to find a white person that wasnt disgusted. sure they have a right, but people would be all up in their shit.”

    I disagree with this. I think you’re overstating the amount that people want to engage the crazy. If there were white people out there spewing that nonsense on street corners, I think most white people would roll their eyes and keep walking, just like we *all* tend do when we’re confronted by insane folks. And I wouldn’t think any less of white people for that.

    I honestly don’t think that the black Israelites are making racial relations in the city worse. There’s plenty of stuff that happens on a day-to-day basis — heck, we see it right here on this board — without worrying about the nutty Black Santa Clauses. Let’s not give them too much credit.

  • 4:36- you are part of the problem, not part of the solution. I could care less what someone else thinks the definition of the word means. get it? you should. what someone thinks is a traditional meaning holds no water.

  • for the most part, racism is when the race holding power uses that power against other races.

    no no no no no no no no

    Look, in 1991 the Latin underclass rose up in a race riot against the African-American ruling class when black cops shot a Latin prisoner on the street. Yet to this day I know black people to refuse to admit their race riot was against them because, after all, they can’t be the man.

    In DC they are the ruling class, period. Black president, black mayor, black developers, black cops. sheesh! ya won, deal with being in charge!

  • For more on white minority status, please enjoy this week’s Daily Show entry:—white-minority

  • # anonymous Says:
    August 14th, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    4:36- you are part of the problem, not part of the solution. I could care less what someone else thinks the definition of the word means. get it? you should. what someone thinks is a traditional meaning holds no water.

    maybe i am. i try to be part of the solution though. i think understanding the perspective of others and what they mean buy what they say is crucial.
    so whats you point? if you dont care what other people think, why bother? whats your angle?

  • anon 5:01.

    you say no no no to what was said, then used an example that proves the point.

  • This is starting to look a lot like the schizophrenia ward at St. E’s…Anonymous arguing with Anonymous over the meaning of a word.

  • The issue isn’t free speech, hate speech, inciting to riot speech – it is NOISE! It is whether or not anyone, with whatever cause, ought to be allowed to set up an AMPLIFIER that will be annoy residents for blocks around.

    KKK, children’s choir or ShamWow – doesn’t matter. I think we all support free speech – but are you allowed to sit outside my house and play your boombox or yodel or preach or whatever you choose, at a level that plagues me?

  • Reality is that there are plenty of laws on the books that could be used to stop this kind of conduct. However, the laws are not enforced for political reasons.

    For example you could use DC ST

  • But here’s something that hasn’t been said- these guys out there, they are NOT crazy. They have a very specific, planned, organized political and religious agenda. They are absolutely not crazy. Their ideas are horrible and evil, to most people, but they are not crazy.

    If they make you angry, tell them as such. Stop being a pussy. Yell, “I’M GAY AND GOD LOVES ME.” or “I WAS BORN WHITE AND I’M NOT ASHAMED.” or “I’M AN ADOPTED WHITE PERSON” or “I’M BLACK AND I’M ASHAMED OF YOU” or “I DON’T BELIEVE IN GOD AND THAT’S MY RIGHT” or whatever. Or don’t yell it, write it down and put the note on their speaker. Or carry a rainbow flag and wave it in their face. Or hold your partner’s hand and kiss them, as one commenter suggested, right in their face. Or smile at them and say, “God loves you, why can’t you love others the same way?” Something. Anything.

    Inaction, as a city and a country and a WORLD, is becoming completely out of control. Our generation is nothing but words. Grow some balls. You don’t have to be violent. It may not make an impact at that moment, and it may be scary at the time, but some person walking by might hear you and it may help them grow some balls, and then someone else, and then someone else.

    Reading stuff like this, and then reading “ignore them” as a response, is infuriating. And inaction like that is irresponsible and ignorant if you expect any sort of change.

  • PoP, sometimes you whine like a suburban housewife. would you really want to restrict anyone from wanting to pursue their ambitions even if it’s borderline extreme? seriously, anytime your harmonious stroll through the district is interrupted, you whine like a spoiled kid. for all those who live near the CH metro station and complain about this loudspeaker act, get over it. you live in an urban setting where personal spaces overlap. so should we take the mikes away from the Mariachi bands from performing because the Kenyon square condo owners can’t take Sunday afternoon naps? PoP, i usually enjoy reading your blog because of your interesting take on the street scenes, but once in awhile, you sound off your loudspeaker on these pages if the hipster movement or so called tranquil movement of white folks into urban dwellings does not jive with farmer’s markets, local business owners, artsy fartsy shows, contemporary white sports like kickball, yoga, etc.

    for all those white people who wrote their parallel gripes here, try reading and laugh at yourself. hopefully, you are less hateful after some laughter and not allow ICGJC people to bother you anymore when you walk by their obnoxious public preaching. i suspect there are many black folks who are also annoyed by the ICGJC, but unlike the white folks, they are probably embarrassed that these people are black.

  • bloomingdale resident,

    Pops just opening dialogue. it gets people talking.
    no one is saying we should treat the city like a library, or that you gotta play white sports. you live in bloomingdale, which is pretty quiet,and if it gets really loud, you too have a right to have it toned down. do residents of another part of the city have different rights than you?

    also, if you dont know non white folks that feel this way, go to some neighborhood meetings if you want to see some long time black residents get vitriolic about noise. noise is not a racial issue. hit up the main streets meeting, the eckington civic association meeting, baca, or the bloomingdale civic association meeting. it might open your eyes. in fact, maybe you live near the elk lodge. your black neighbors were instrumental in getting that to be a quieter place.

  • The way this is handled in many jurisdictions is there is a maximum sound level at a specified distance. And in many jurisdictions the police are equipped with “SPL meters”, (Sound Pressure Level). They stand at the specified distance from the source of the noise, and if it is below the legal sound level, as measured by the meter, they are OK, over it and they issue a citation.

    It has nothing to do with the content of the speech, just a limit to how loud the electronic amplification can be.

  • The challenge is not so much this particular group or technical efforts or strategies for measuring noise levels. The challenge is the group helps to expose how civically, socially and politically weak and divided we are as a community. And because of the weakeness and division our diversity is becoming more of a liability rather than a strength. It’s easier to vote Obama and talk the talk, than to but in the real work required to create a community that can operate on some of those principles expressed during the campaign.

    One of the reasons the group is so popular with this forum is they give cover to those wishing to express their guilt, biases, fears and ignorance. Any crime story no matter how minor serves the same purpose. This is why some kid cutting down a tree/weed generates so much nasty back and forth. Sort of an avenue for civic escapism. We just should not confuse this sort of entertainment and escapism with real civic dialog, work and community building. Pop unfortunately blurs these lines. So enjoy the entertainment, but don’t confuse it with being a good neighbor.

  • w jordan,

    can you elaborate on what is real civic dialog work and community building?

  • At first glance, looked like Santa outfits

  • i agree with most of what i think w jordan is saying… the people in dc who are seen as part of ‘the man’ are too chicken shit to actually say what they think, feel, or perceive to be the real problem, where as the people in dc who are seen as being oppressed by ‘the man’ are too sensitive and quick to pull the victim card at whatever ‘the man’ says… people like anon 4:36 can be as racist and victimized as he wants while hes speaking for the oppressed, and we all justify him, but anyone who calls out his excuse as actually being the problem would have their shit jumped lickity split.

Comments are closed.