Right after George Floyd was killed, there were fireworks in my neighborhood. All night long. I live in Roxbury, on a sliver of Boston between two gang territories. So I assumed the noise was gunshots. But a few days later, fireworks actually lit up the sky. At 1am. 2am. 3am.

By the end of May, the fireworks out of our apartment window were amazing. Every night. High quality. They started at 10pm and by 3am, our neighborhood had seen serpents, rockets, willows, parachutes, and more that made me wonder: how much is this costing?

Based on YouTube research, the fireworks we were seeing cost about $250. It turns out that putting on fireworks is typically expensive because of government permits and logistics. There’s none of that in my neighborhood, but still, someone is paying $250 a night.

Then the mayor’s office of Boston reported that fireworks were not only in Roxbury but also in seven other areas of the city: Dorchester, East Boston, Roxbury, Roslindale, Mattapan, Jamaica Plain, and South Boston. Boston is one of the most segregated cities in the US, and the list of cities setting off fireworks is the list of places black people live.

That made me excited. This is a form of protest. And the protest is so layered in meaning and gorgeous to view that I think it qualifies as performance art.

For one thing, setting off fireworks is only sort-of illegal in exactly the same way harassing black people is only sort-of illegal. It’s against the law to have fireworks in Massachusetts. The fine is $100 and confiscation of the fireworks. The city of Boston created a fun, user-friendly pdf to inform citizens that there is little risk to setting off $250 worth of fireworks every night.

But, just like harassing black people makes life for the whole community untenable, setting off fireworks every night makes life for the whole community untenable. The complaints about fireworks are ironically the exact same complaints we would hear about gang-riddled neighborhoods: “thunderous bangs…not a minor disturbance…tearing the neighborhood apart.” It turns out that fireworks done right are a relatively safe way to show privileged rich people what it’s like to be terrorized.

People are amazingly dense about fireworks as a form of protest. Some people brush off fireworks complaints as a yearly event starting in May. But this year Boston had 2300% more complaints than last May. Slate is reporting that increased fireworks are due to COVID boredom. Is it a black-people only boredom? Because otherwise, I don’t understand the logic there. My favorite headline is: Nonstop Fireworks at Night Making Boston Residents Uneasy. When I read that, I knew I had to go straight to the source.

I waited until 10pm and Grace and I walked toward the fireworks to talk to the people setting them off. Grace just moved here so she didn’t have to do lockdown alone, in Seattle. I have lived here a year. So I was the guide, and I immediately got us lost.

We asked a group of teenage boys if they knew who was shooting off fireworks, and if we could talk to the people doing it. The boys directed us through a part of the neighborhood people have told me hundreds of times to never go.

I said, “Is it okay for us to walk there?”

One guy said, “Of course. It’s your neighborhood too. We need to all get along.”

That surprised me. I mean. There are very few white people in this neighborhood, and definitely no Asian people in this neighborhood. And I thought the problem of getting along in our neighborhood is black people were not getting along with each other. But then I thought, okay, we are all being Black Lives Matter now, and he is being really nice to me, and I need to be nice. So I said thanks a lot. And we walked on.

Across the line between the two gangs was a group of kids setting off small fireworks. They asked us if we wanted to do it with them. The boy who offered to share with us almost set his friends on fire. But no one seemed to mind.

We asked where the big fireworks are.

The kids said the people behind the next set of buildings set off the big fireworks.

There was a big courtyard with a lot of people. It was fenced in, so we went to the fence. People ignored us. I said, “Excuse me! Hello. Excuse me.” People ignored us.

Finally, a really big, tall guy came over. He said, “What are you doing here?”

“We want to know who is setting off fireworks.”

“Are you gonna report us?”

“No, we want to know why you’re doing it.”

“C’mon now.”

“What do you mean?”

He walked away. I said, “Wait! Come back. No one will talk to us!”

He said, “No one will talk to you because we think you’re with the cops.”

“What? What!! That’s crazy! What? Look at how we’re dressed. What?”

“What else would you be doing here? A white woman and an Asian woman? At 11pm? You shouldn’t be here. It’s too dangerous.”

“We live nearby. We want to know about the fireworks.”

“What do you want to know? We put ’em off right here. ”

“Why?”

“Because we can.”

“Do you do it every year?”

“Not like this year. This year it’s like an F-you. It’s us showing people what’s up.”

“We wanted to tell you that we like it. It’s really effective. You’re bothering people in just the right way. And we want to help pay for the fireworks.”

“How’re you gonna do that?”

“We brought money.”

“Don’t take money out! Do not give me money. Don’t bring money here.  You don’t know how dangerous it is for you to be here.”

“Okay. We don’t. You’re right. We just wanted to help.”

“You helped enough by coming here.”

Then he pointed the direction for us to go back home. It was not the way we had come. We got lost. Of course.

Since then, we think of him each night when the fireworks go off. And the next day we read the complaints to the police with glee; it’s hard to imagine a more beautiful, playful way for the black community of Boston to shine a light on the inherently oblivious nature of white people exercising privilege. And the more people complain about the disruption of peace in their neighborhood, the more profound this fireworks performance art becomes.

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  1. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    loved this! I might resubscribe. Although I guess I never unsubscribed, so I guess I have to say I’ll start reading your blog posts again.

    Reply
  2. Graham
    Graham says:

    I love this. Such an interesting angle on a story which tends to be spoken about in the media in the same way day in and day out, and a beautiful interpretation of its message.

    Reply
    • Michelle Hampton
      Michelle Hampton says:

      Penelope,
      I love this! I also love what you two did, that’s awesome, I wish I was with you, it would have been so fun!
      Really, Rita, your dogs! Are you serious right now! And I have a dog whom is a family member! And I would be super annoyed by all that unrest too! But that is the very unrest that black people feel living in their skin every day!

      Reply
        • DJ
          DJ says:

          You have to understand the repurcussions of what fireworks do to mental health conditions and those suffering from PTSD- I commend the black protests but not with fireworks. And what about the health of nurses trying to sleep before working all day to care for covid 19 sufferers. It’s a short-sighted form of protest that’s alienating people who are on your side of the protest movement!!

          Reply
          • Sof
            Sof says:

            What about the health of nurses and people suffering from PTSD who live in neighborhoods where they can hear gun shots every night? If it’s really such a big deal to you, please demand our public officials start fixing centuries of racial discrimination now. Refunding police and funding public ed would be a great start.

      • Ozzy
        Ozzy says:

        I know right, how self-centred of her to care about dogs in such a time as this. Right now, we need to be defeating racist cops by using fireworks to piss off the neighbours and make sure they can’t sleep, thus shaking them out of their stupor and ensuring they will throw their full support behind Black Lives Matter. Without the sleep deprivation they never would’ve known that the police are slaughtering black people every day. Furthermore, we need to raise more money so they can purchase those special fireworks that only affect non-black people. We should be congratulating the Leader of the fireworks for his/her strategic prowess. But this lady only wants to talk about dogs. Lame.

        Reply
        • Catherine A Herman
          Catherine A Herman says:

          Im not rich, I barely get by. The fireworks tactic will not force me to join blm. I already was against all violent acts of aggtession no matter where it comes from. I’ve already joined a movement that says all lives matter. I follow Jesus Christ. Jesus said to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. There is no doubt that rascism still exists but that doesn’t make everyone a rascist. I have to treat everyone the way Christ Jesus wants me to regardless of how the other person treats me. Again, the tactic of spendong lots of money on fireworks and annoying others will not work with me and I suspect many others feel the same way I do. People need to be born again and follow Jesus.

          Reply
          • Penelope Trunk
            Penelope Trunk says:

            This comment got caught up in my spam filter. I approved the comment because I think it’s instructive to see how people hide behind religion as a way to not deal with racism. This has been going on for hundreds of years. The slave owners who were pushing Christianity would give enslaved people Bibles with Exodus removed. To me, that’s a great illustration of how we can use religion to justify anything.

            Newsflash to all White people: you are racist if you’re Christian or Jewish or Communist or Libertarian or whatever. Whatever is in your heart and your head does not absolve you from racism. But we can make the world a better place by confronting the racism in our hearts and our heads instead of denying it.

            Penelope

      • Claressa Campbell
        Claressa Campbell says:

        Except it is not their dogs being terrorized everyday.. it is children, brothers, husbands and mothers and father’s..

        Reply
    • janet
      janet says:

      But that is the point! People of color in neighborhoods where there is violence, where black folks are killed for sleeping, driving, walking have been damaged over and over again for years and white people’s dogs get treated better. I’m not happy your dog is damaged, but you missed the point of the whole article.

      Reply
      • Kathryn
        Kathryn says:

        No, the point is: We need inclusive non-violent protests, (whites alongside blacks). Think about it. What would MLK do? What is going to drive meaningful change? Fireworks are noise violence. Sure it gets attention. It also hurts people, (parents with young kids). But at the end of the day, it’s not working in a way that’s going to drive any kind of real change. It’s not powerful like walking down the street hand in broad daylight making your voice heard with your white and black brothers and sisters alike. It doesn’t change people’s behavior. It doesn’t give people a way to make a meaningful contribution. It doesn’t light people from within because they are taking a stand in public to make a difference. You’d do more for the cause by burning $100 bills instead of sending off those fireworks. And, guess what? Our black neighbors also have dogs, pets, and care about our wildlife. Maybe ask them if they’d prefer we set off fireworks at night, or rather put that money into BLM causes and marches?

        Reply
        • David
          David says:

          MLK was shot for his point of view. Maybe it is time to NOT tell BIPOC about how they are “supposed” to protest, because every time that happens, and they try to comply, they are told, “No, not that way”

          Reply
        • Youdont Speakforme
          Youdont Speakforme says:

          You need to go back and read (quite likely for the first time) “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” by MLK if you’re going to evoke him in a call to civility. You’re precisely the kind of white moderate he warns of.

          Reply
        • Laura
          Laura says:

          How brave! You, lecturing black people how to “do more for the cause” than this relative innocuous non violent protest! Amazing! You really did that.

          Funny you should mention MLK, because you are precisely the kind of white moderate “…who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action.”

          Reply
        • Elizabeth K
          Elizabeth K says:

          You need to go reread your Martin Luther King if you thought he’d call this “noise violence”.

          Honestly.

          I have dogs too. They hate fireworks. I love them, but they can cope and I can cope. What is happening here is more important than our comfort.

          This is about the Black community being allowed to exist in our society. Have some damn compassion.

          Reply
        • Isobel Clinton
          Isobel Clinton says:

          Kathryn, all the protests in Massachusetts and cities across the nation have been multi-racial, like your beautiful imagining in this post. Do you read the news? It seems like you do. Look at the pictures! Go to one! It’s a good feeling.

          I love the fireworks now I know they’re not gunshots (lovely lights low in the sky were a big clue!). But I also agree with Penelope that it’s right that they make us uncomfortable, briefly acquaint us with the fear of guns some people have to live with perpetually, not very often white people.

          Reply
        • matt
          matt says:

          White people like paying lip-service to racial justice, but aren’t particularly passionate about making it happen LOVE invoking MLK. Noise violence? We’re talking about police executing citizens with impunity and you want to talk about noise violence? Fact of the matter is, you’re 1000% wrong to say “it’s not working in a way that’s going to drive any real change.” Have you been reading the news even a little? The protests, violent or not, noisy or not, disruptive of not, are working. In multiple cities, police departments are disbanding and getting remade from scratch, funding is getting cut and reallocated to public services, use of force restrictions are getting put in place, choke holds are being banned. There’s a long way to go, but massive change has already happened in a matter of weeks because of the protests. You’re out of touch with reality. The folks in the movement are actually achieving real progress right now. Get onboard or get out of the way.

          Reply
        • t
          t says:

          “white people” need to do research about what a white person is before they say that we need “whites” and “blacks” to work together non violently.

          White people are a construct of the slavery industrial complex. Your skin is not White. Put your hand over a piece of copy paper and tell me if its white or not.

          Reply
        • Sanji Duda
          Sanji Duda says:

          I remember back in the 60s how excited we were when white women joined our marches during the Civil Rights Movement. They were also looking to move up the ladder so we welcomed them with open arms. Over time, we realized that they had slowly moved away from our cause to champion their own and reaped a lot of the benefits of our hard work. They carved out their own special “minority” ledge and have been looking down on us from there ever since. So thanks, but no thanks on the kumbaya routine. It took longer than I would have liked, but we finally learned.

          Reply
    • Rich
      Rich says:

      Awww, the dogs. Yeah, let’s stop protesting that people being harassed & killed by the systemic racism built into the police in order for your dog to feel better.

      Reply
      • Pat Williams
        Pat Williams says:

        Don’t you care that people are prisoners in their own homes, not only because of covid but because of this nonsense? I have a right to peace and quiet. You are defending a bunch of selfish, stupid people who couldn’t care less about me, my cat or their fellow neighbors. I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 57 years and this is the worst summer for fireworks. I don’t need carpetbaggers mansplaining about what we should do about fireworks. We should CALL THE POLICE. Fireworks are illegal in MA, consequently people who are using them are committing a crime, its as simple as that. Looks as if you are more worried about a bunch of lawbreakers rather than people who want peace and quiet. For the past three nights, I haven’t been able to go to sleep before 2:00 a.m. So stop your white guilt, leftist BS. This is coming from a liberal Democrat!

        Reply
        • Debra
          Debra says:

          I’ve been griping about the fireworks because of my dog’s and birds’ panicking, too. But always in perspective. Peace and quiet? For many, peace and quiet doesn’t exist. Black friends and colleagues experience fear doing everyday things that white people take for granted. That’s not peace. When you have to worry about whether you should ask a person to leash her dog in a restricted area, because that person might call the police and report “an African American man is threatening my life,” that’s not peace. When two bright, hilarious, and kind nine-year-olds casually mention the “rules” they’ve had to learn about behavior around police and white people, not realizing that I (a white person in a “brown” county) never had to learn those rules because the larger society doesn’t view me as something to fear—that’s not peace. When a delivery driver is blocked for an hour while driving out of a neighborhood because white men think the black driver is obliged to answer their questions, that’s not peace. And there are so many more names to remember and say out loud since Janelle Monáe wrote Hell You Talmbout. That’s definitely not peace. MLK’s quote from 1967 rings true today. A riot is the language of the unheard.

          Reply
        • Mysticaltyger
          Mysticaltyger says:

          Amen, Pat!

          I also second the idea that setting off fireworks in the middle of the night will do nothing but create more division and resentment. That’s actually what these George Soros sponsored protests are all about.

          Reply
      • Georg
        Georg says:

        “Systemic racism built into the police”? What is that? The last event with this porn actor (now saint) was staged. Others can be counted on the palms of one hands. And you think it is reason to burn your neighbourhood then expect whites to rebuild it? “Harassed & killed”? Time to separate!

        Reply
    • K E Strunk
      K E Strunk says:

      I sympathize with the plight of pets. I love animals and certainly want them treated well. But I would never put my pet above the very real constant and continuous ill-effects on human beings caused by racism, no matter how unintentional. When I think about the years, decades, centuries of abuse that goes so far beyond some annoying noise, I believe tolerating the fireworks is the very, very least I can do. Yes, our pets are collateral damage in a way, but nobody is strangling them or shooting them. I will listen to the fireworks in a whole new way.

      Reply
      • Baby Gerald
        Baby Gerald says:

        Many of those ‘veterans’ are the very ones in the police department who have been ceaselessly violent to black people and minorities and now have extended their violent rage toward peaceful white protesters over the past weeks.

        What is worse for people with PTSD- a spate of fireworks in protest of police violence or a for-profit health care system that makes treatment for PTSD cost-inhibiting for the vast majority of our country’s citizens?

        And as a cat owner whose feline friend hides under my bed every time a thunderstorm approaches and has been doing the same every night for the last two weeks until long after the boom-booms have ended, I can relate to pet owners’ worries, but my cat is doing just fine and I’ll bet your pets will be alright, too.

        Thanks for this story- it was a great read and took reporting back to the street where it belongs. You’ve earned a new subscriber!

        Reply
    • Murphy
      Murphy says:

      People’s dogs bother everybody in neighborhoods and apartment buildings and stores, etc… constantly …. barking, running and jumping up on people, biting, being where they are not supposed to be, etc… and the owners never seem to care about that because it’s their precious little dog. And to now expect people to stop protesting because of those dogs? No.

      Reply
      • Not that Melissa
        Not that Melissa says:

        You’re so right, Murphy. So many dog owners believe that their pets are a net positive to society. Meanwhile they take them out to communal property and dutifully spread their pee and poop across the sidewalk. Probably not coincidentally, dog walkers also seem to be the type to leave their masks off too. (I realize I have activated my full neighborhood curmudgeon mode, but we all need our hobbies.)

        A friend who visited Spain told tales of dog walkers carrying a spray bottle of soap and water to ameliorate the mess that their pets make. This honestly seems like the bare minimum.

        Reply
    • Kris
      Kris says:

      “I wonder if anyone thought how damaging this is to our dogs?” –

      Rita, your dog has no rights in this world. It cannot even leave your captivity. so who cares what your dogs feel. After all dogs are owned against their will. That’s if dogs eveb have a free will.
      Rita I hope you see the more we elaborate on dogs the more ridiculous we sound lol. Silly humans

      Reply
    • Joe
      Joe says:

      If that’s the case then you can move back to the suburbs and let the black people have their neighborhood back. They aren’t from here to have some suburb woman move there and try to tell them how to live or protest. If you don’t like it I heard Needham Mass is quiet or any other suburb outside of Boston. Sorry for your dog but I’m more sorry for black people and their lack of rights. So if they want to shoot off their fireworks in protest and it angers a few people who aren’t from here anyway then so be it

      Reply
      • Mysticaltyger
        Mysticaltyger says:

        And when people do move to the suburbs they get accused of being “white flight” racists and are accused of moving out of fear of minorities. It’s never because of any quality of life issues caused by the victims of racism, who, according to leftists, never do anything wrong (and if they do, it’s white people’s fault, systemic racism, etc.).

        The man Penelope talked to told her to get out of the neighborhood because it was dangerous. Hmmmm.

        Reply
  3. Bostonian
    Bostonian says:

    This is a really nice story, PT. Do be careful out there.

    We just moved, from a middle-class part of Boston to a more upscale part of Boston. We have noticed that the fireworks are now distant instead of close by.

    Reply
  4. Kp
    Kp says:

    If you really do want to contribute, figure out the address of that house. Go to a store, buy a prepaid Visa card with cash, mail it to them. Or just mail the cash…

    Reply
    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      There is more to the story than I could fit into this post. But one thing I learned from the people Grace and I met is that getting random money from a random person is scary. Even when we offered to send money via CashApp, people didn’t want the money. They assumed they were being set up. If they received a Visa card in the mail and didn’t know where it came from, they’d assume it was bad news.

      Mostly what I learned from talking with people in my neighborhood is how much I don’t know about my neighborhood. I don’t know how people think. I don’t know what’s important to them. I don’t know the rules. I know nothing. Almost all of my assumptions were misguided.

      But it was so interesting to me that the people I talked with knew what my assumptions would be. They knew my point of view but I didn’t know theirs. That is so messed up. I wanted to build a bridge, but they ended up doing all the work to build the bridge because they had the cultural and community knowledge for bridgebuilding and I didn’t.

      Penelope

      Reply
      • harris497
        harris497 says:

        Penny,

        As a person of color, it is essential to my survival that I understand the dominant culture. It is not essential that they understand me.
        It’s like when I drove a limo part time and a banker who was courting the golfers at the Memorial Classic in Dublin, Ohio, told me that there was not racism in the US, and that all people had to do was work to achieve opportunities… I was working on my second masters degree while working my second job, I couldn’t get a second interview to save my life, but I’m being told that all I had to do was work harder – not smarter, just harder. All this while people I helped in school during my first and second degrees were all gainfully employed prior to graduation. I couldn’t argue with the client because I needed the job, but it was interesting how strongly an entitled person will argue a point when they know they are not going to be challenged.

        Life’s not suppose to be fair. It is designed to challenge us all at every turn. But for any of my fellow readers who are inclined to do so, please don’t presuppose about a person’s work ethic just because they are not where you are or think that they would be if only they’d worked harder.

        my2centsworth.

        Reply
        • A privileged white woman
          A privileged white woman says:

          harris497,

          I believe you and have made it my job to speak up any time I see white privilege talking about meritocracy and how anyone in a bad position is there because of innate character flaws rather than circumstances.

          People who never had to learn to “code switch” to survive, faced race-based stress, and studied the relationship between race and wealth or the intersection and race and economics need to be educated by other white folks who are ahead in their journey of understanding.

          Just know that you have allies among the white privilege people out there.

          Reply
      • Crazywhitelady
        Crazywhitelady says:

        Why don’t you let the leaders of chaz extort from you and give black people money for being black? You seem like the idiot who’d do this to show your bona fides. Me not being obsessed with status and fitting in as you are and girl you ARE obsessed with this, when I hear a white dude ask white people to give black people ten bucks (go watch the video) I call it RACISM. when he threatens he’ll remember their faces at worst this is extortion at best it’s using fear of ostracization. I think you’re morally ugly.

        Reply
      • Shay
        Shay says:

        We wouldn’t think it’s bad news we just didn’t want to do a hand in hand and be set up. If cops were watching they would make up a narrative to arrest us like usual. Something along the lines of, “You are under arrest for the illegal selling of fireworks, setting off fireworks without a permit, disturbing the peace..” and the list would go on and on in order to get us the most time in jail. If you want to help purchase some you can definitely cashapp me and I can tell you what time are the ones that you helped purchase.

        Reply
  5. Wenda McMahan
    Wenda McMahan says:

    This is brilliance! Thanks for adding to the changing landscape that is my white privilege slipping away! Love you, Penelope.

    Reply
  6. harris497
    harris497 says:

    Penny,
    You do go out on a limb at times. Have you considered getting a part-time writing gig with a newspaper and becoming a roving contributor? You have a controversial and thought provoking paradigm on things. I may not always agree with you, but you always make me think. And a thinking population is an evolving population. Think about it. Plus you get to do what you love and get paid (poorly:) for it.
    My2centsworth
    D

    Reply
  7. Marilyn
    Marilyn says:

    This is my favorite post of all you have written. This is an interpretation I would not have considered, and you broadened my perspective. What more could I hope for?

    Reply
  8. Kathryn
    Kathryn says:

    Please rethink this.. I live in Bernal Heights, San Francisco- a white upper middle class neighborhood with BLM signs in literally every other window. Also a huge dog family population. Yesterday we had a fantastic car rally that was inclusive and powerful going all the way through the Mission and up the hill to our streets. Free and out in the open. Nothing to hide. It was amazing and effective. Fireworks are not. I personally associate fireworks with celebrations especially this time of year. We’ve had random fireworks going off for years- nothing to do with anything particular. I didn’t know what they were for at first. I bet many people have no idea. That’s a waste. Meanwhile, my dog and all the other animals and pets are terrified and it sucks. Even if only until 11pm or so here. There are more effective ways of protesting. This is hidden and nameless. This seems to send the wrong message at best.

    Reply
    • Jean N.
      Jean N. says:

      Karen oh I mean Kathryn,

      Quite you’re whining. Why did you feel it necessary to mention you live in an upper-class San Fran neighbourhood with Black Lives Matter signs posted everywhere.

      That’s literally the definition of white privilege! You may want to think repeatedly before you post anything. Is it supportive? Does it add anything meaningful to the conversation? Is it aligned with other comments or opinions? If not, frankly we don’t care what you think. If you want to help, put your money where your big mouth is. But I doubt your commitment to BLM runs that deep.

      Reply
      • Kathryn
        Kathryn says:

        I’m pointing out that spending money on fireworks is a waste. Why not put that money into something that can actually drive a difference and be meaningful? Fireworks are noise violence. Anonymous and hurtful (to black and white parents of young kids/babies), and are not helping the cause. Would MLK spend valuable money on this or would he put it into meaningful causes and marches that actually drive a difference in behavior and mindsets? Maybe you can tell me what change this is actually making for the better? BTW: Your attitude is part of the problem – you are not appreciative of other perspectives or support of BLM if it’s different than yours. I’m a white privileged bitch so I can’t possibly have a voice about BLM.

        Reply
        • Tatianna
          Tatianna says:

          Please stop use MLK as a excuse for your impassioned ignorance. Pretending to be a ally for change as long as it doesnt impact your comfort. Art is not comfortable. Transformation is not comfortable. When will you care as much about black lives as you do your dog?

          Reply
        • Mysticaltyger
          Mysticaltyger says:

          This is what the Social Justice Warrior religion is about. If you’re white, especially a straight white male, you’re automatically seen as an oppressor who can’t do anything right. If you’re black, the SJW religion makes you a sacred cow who can do no wrong. MLK is turning over in his grave.

          Reply
    • Murphy
      Murphy says:

      Maybe the fireworks are protesting entitled dog owners. The world doesn’t have to bend just because some people choose to own a dog. And to dog owners everywhere – not everybody likes dogs, please keep them away from people unless they give explicit permission for your dog to assault, I mean jump, on them.

      Reply
    • Kris
      Kris says:

      Kathryn I cannot emphasize this enough but Nobody gives a damn about your dogs. Dogs are eaten in other parts of the world. Do you really think we care how the feel towards fireworks? Get real

      Reply
    • Tiki
      Tiki says:

      That “random” discomfort you and your dogs and your children feel is something black people like me live with everyday in broad daylight. At any time, I can be pulled over and killed for something arbitrary. I don’t get an escape from that. I’m “happy” you (and others) are feeling this new level of discomfort. If you would just pause to take it in and not make it about yourself for a minute, you’ll understand how even more powerful this additional form of protest is. You can march during the day, I love & support that 100 percent, but just when you’re falling asleep in your comfy bed safe & sound…BOOM! You’re remind black people are suffering. Wake your ass up!

      Reply
    • Rachel
      Rachel says:

      Kathryn – You called Bernal Heights a white upper middle class neighborhood, and did so with no sense of irony. And used the term “noise violence” in the context of people protesting a lynching. GTFOH, and go research your neighborhood. The fireworks are likely being set off by the neighbors you don’t deign to see.

      I pray you are just a Russian bot.

      Penelope – I know you mean well, but your privilege is showing. You have the nerve to be scared but you don’t understand how YOU are putting your neighbors in danger. May I suggest that you read The Condemnation of Blackness? Perhaps at the end of it you’ll be less scared.

      Reply
      • Lauren Bishop
        Lauren Bishop says:

        Kathryn,

        I would encourage you to listen, rather than double down on your position here. This could be a learning moment if you don’t let your shame and defensiveness block you from receiving the information people are sharing with you…

        Scolding the oppressed and telling them how to protest is a toxic habit white women have deployed for centuries. It’s a cornerstone of white supremacy. What you’ve written is a “civilized” form of violence. It’s normalized, so you probably don’t even see it that way.

        Also, that kind of finger wagging is antithetical to the teachings of Dr. King. Not only are you misunderstanding his message, you are co-opting and weaponizing his name against the very people he worked to protect.

        Reply
    • Not that Melissa
      Not that Melissa says:

      I live in the Mission, at the foot of Bernal Heights. That car rally made me vomit. It was the most craven and tone deaf display of privilege. As if Black and Brown communities aren’t disproportionately affected by unsafe street design and poor air quality. It was like watching handcuff companies protest police brutality.

      Keep the fireworks going.

      Reply
  9. Rache
    Rache says:

    This is beautiful, and the linked article is so White (I’m White, I should know). Agree that it’s a problem that White people don’t realize yet that this is an act against racial oppression. Imagine how mad they’ll be about it when they know. Glad folks are able to protest in this way and social distance during COVID.

    Reply
    • Bill
      Bill says:

      The fireworks are happening in “places black people live”. If the point is to bother people with the noise, guess who they’re bothering the most — their immediate black neighbors. As a white person, to learn that this is an ‘act against racial aggression’ doesn’t make me mad, it just makes me shake my head in pity. Probably not the desired effect.

      Penelope sounds like that idiot sportscaster Chris Palmer who cheered burning down buildings as a form of protest — as long as it was done in the poor part of town, not near *his* home.

      Reply
      • Anne
        Anne says:

        Bill, you’ve made a point I was noticing was getting missed until I got down to your comment. Here in Philadelphia, the firecrackers are going on off in various neighbors according to all my friends. But it seems as if the further away they live from the epicenter of these activities, the more their comments can be summoned up under “basically puzzled”. No one actually knows quite what’s going on, and most are chalking it up to “summer doldrums during the pandemic.” As did I—at first.
        I live in a predominantly Black neighborhood, and while it isn’t poor, it has sections where the people are definitely struggling. Low-income, upper-working class, and lower-middle class all live side by side. And we are all slowly being driven crazy by this right-up-on-us cacophony of booms, blasts, crackling, and showers of sound going on for hours, every single night without fail for three weeks running. I had it happening two doors down from me last night at 11:00pm. (I was still at work online; my roommate had gotten in after a long day’s work 5 hours earlier and really needed to rest.). I took a picture of the empty boxes waiting to be picked up for the trash this morning—this is practically pro-level stuff, not the kind normally used in other years. Now, let me be straight up and for real, for real—It’s not like folks in the neighborhood got a memo about what was going to go down, you feel me? Most of us are in the dark about this—who’s going out after they’ve had dinner and have to work in the morning? And this is after three major businesses that serve the community for miles around got hit (very surgically if I might add?) during the looting three weeks ago. Now, OK, I “get” it–destruction works because everybody sits up, everybody pays attention in a way they don’t with other kinds of action. But we should be very, very clear that it is always the people in the neighborhoods who get negatively affected first and foremost. Always. Always. Always. This is not a “minor inconvenience” for us—most of my neighbors are elderly, people with young children, first responders, or work in the healthcare field (and I mean like, they’re nurses and technicians, OK? Not surgeons.). They’re up at 5am and out the door for work, and they’ve been doing this every day since the pandemic started in March. Oh, and they just happen to be Black, too. Our perspectives, which can be very nuanced, are rarely heard, understood, or cared about because they don’t fit neatly into any ideological box. And this is all a test, anyway, to see if anybody will call the police—after all, they’re the real problem right now (right?).
        So then you might say maybe try approaching who’s doing it, if you can find them, to, you know, have a “conversation” about it. Please. Two women, one white, the other Asian walking “up to the hood” to “get the scoop on the firecracker thing” and getting lost twice is such liberal apple polishing, it isn’t funny. I’m liberal and I see right through that kind of posturing. The guy they met was being nicely condescending without being insulting to get them the heck out of there—because he smelled some kind of a set-up and he wasn’t be wrong for thinking that way, either. Nothing was going to happen to them—and way, way, way in the back of their minds, they knew it going in. No. The problems of Black communities must be resolved by Black people primarily. This is not to say we do not need allies—but the nonsense shown here is not being an ally. This is muddying waters and slyly supporting behavior that is damaging to the people—Black and everyone else—who live in these neighborhoods.

        Reply
  10. Liana
    Liana says:

    you forgot about Hyde Park! Tons of fireworks down here too!!! Thanks for this perspective and story. When I brought this idea up of why fireworks were going off with such abandon this year to my neighborhood Facebook group of complainers, some folks were not happy with thinking about more than their quiet backyard. After 3 weeks I am bit tired of it, but also here for it and the message.

    Reply
  11. Kristi
    Kristi says:

    What you seem to be missing is that fire works have burned people’s houses down in the city. They are not safe to be lit off in the middle of streets where people live. 😡

    Reply
    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Most things we do are dangerous. And most decisions about public life weigh risks vs benefits.

      I googled to see how dangerous fireworks are, and it seems that individuals setting off fireworks aren’t causing the huge fires. Warehouses of fireworks are causing huge fires. Certainly in Boston, Uber is causing more injuries to individuals than fireworks are. And Boston was functioning just fine without Uber.

      So I don’t think it works to say “fireworks are dangerous so don’t use them for protest”.

      What about how I said the protest is so elegant that it feels like performance art? Are you weighting the costs vs benefits of the fireworks as if they are performance art or nuisance?

      Does anyone remember when artists Jean-Claude and Christo took over Central Park in NYC? They made the Park almost unusable, theirs was an elegant type of art, and it lasted a month. Also, some people got injured because the gates were very heavy.

      So I just want to point out the similarities because the disruption of The Gates in Central Park and The Fireworks in Boston. And how differently people are treating the two. Also, no one said to Christo that he should stop spending money on his temporary art and instead promote political messaging or whatever. Yet if people spend money on fireworks and they actually have a political message, it’s not enough; some people are saying the money should go to food, or voting etc.

      I’m not sure what’s right. I’m just saying that compared to what the art establishment spends to impact communities, the people setting off fireworks seem to be receiving an inordinate amount of criticism.

      Penelope

      Reply
      • Fivel
        Fivel says:

        I really appreciate your article, and the above comment a lot and would love to hear more about that analogy of performance art and protest. I completely have mixed feelings about the fireworks. Lol I’m white, my dog and cats freak out, my kid gets scared, and I also realize that’s coming from privilege. And yet I love that the fireworks seem to be a celebration and fuck you and life affirming action. The thing is I also think it’s a very gendered action. Are there many women setting off $250 worth of firecrackers every night?Kinda doubt it as women are far more burdened / responsible for households survival. I wonder how much it’s “building bridges” within black communities across the country? It also reads as a totally phallic act as an aside. Not that’s all bad. Just an observation.

        Reply
        • Patriarchy
          Patriarchy says:

          What’s missing in a bunch of the discussion is all the patriarchy. You’re right, it’s men setting it off, and it’s almost always men (of all races) killed by police. It’s a mans world.

          Reply
        • Sonny
          Sonny says:

          You literally “claimed” your animals freaking out and your kids being scared is due to “white privilege!” Seriously!? Everyone has a right “not” to be scared, especially children. I live in a neighborhood where there IS a lot of random gunfire, so the fireworks don’t help anyone! Most are seriously NOT about and particular protests per se’, but IMO more about just making noise and disrupting people because they can. The gunfire has been going on for years, and certainly isn’t about protesting any cause either. I’ve heard 8 very loud ‘bangs’ just while typing this reply; and cannot tell if they are fireworks or gunfire. “Most” fireworks don’t ring in even cadence like these. It’s not helping anyone’s cause but those who seek to sew chaos, or are too careless to know that’s really what they are doing, in the end.

          Reply
      • Kate Sims
        Kate Sims says:

        Christo and Jean-Claude did not make Central Park “unusable.” Exactly the opposite! (I live in New York and visited the Gates).Their carefully planned landscape art made it more beautiful in February, a drear month when very few people would otherwise have been attracted to the park, and drew thousands into it who walked beside and under the Gates. .
        Christo and Jean-Claude self-financed all their art works and recycled their materials afterward.

        Reply
  12. musikproStL
    musikproStL says:

    I live in a diverse community in the greater St. Louis, MO metro area. Fireworks as protest are very common here and a few of my neighbors have been setting them off in recent weeks. It’s usually between 10 pm and midnight, so not much of a sleep interruption.

    Reply
    • Gabby
      Gabby says:

      Fireworks are set off in Boston from 10pm – 3am. I feel terrible for those who work in the medical field who are trying to save people’s lives from Covid-19, but can’t sleep before their shifts due to fireworks.

      Reply
  13. Egstra
    Egstra says:

    Okay Just a few points. the fireworks going from 5pm to 5am suck no matter what they are about. Relatively peaceful sleep is out the window and it promises to get worse as the summer goes on. Imagine trying to sit outside for some sun or peace from all the media nonsense and other racist crap we have to deal with everyday and like clock work a cannon goes off driving you to hide inside with ear plugs headphones loud fans. Imagine having a baby or littles that you just finally put down to sleep but no, for HOURS fireworks are going off? there are far better ways to protest – and I’m saying that bc I can. I’m Black/Latina/Caribbean. I grew up in Roxbury, Dorchester and JP. Fireworks ARE illegal in mass without permits, etc, They can be very dangerous to those igniting them. And the super loud cannon types will mess up the igniter’s hearing. It fries those delicate cells in your eardrum that don’t ever grow back. At age 50 or maybe younger hearing deficiencies will become more noticeable. You two encouraging them seems like you are actually laughing at them. You won’t be deaf, you won’t be burnt, you won’t get arrested when the cops do come and see you trying to give them money, you don’t have kids or to work starting at 4,5 or 6 am. you will get to move away to a nice suburb when you get older. It’s not funny, it’s not cool – neither you nor the firecracker crew.

    Reply
    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      This is what surprises me most about your comment: you think I’m “encouraging them.” Really? I am genuinely surprised. I did not think anyone we talked to that night was looking for our approval. Though of course I could be wrong.

      Penelope

      Reply
      • MRJ
        MRJ says:

        Penelope, you offered them money!

        Please donate that money to @ViolenceInBoston if you actually care. Come meet real activists, and listen and learn from them. Then blog about it if you want, but at least connect with the REAL movements

        Reply
      • Egstra
        Egstra says:

        Yes-it was ridiculous. your offering them money to continue was absolutely reprehensible. Performance art!? I don’t think so.

        Reply
        • Kiki
          Kiki says:

          Honestly you encouraged it by offering money. And as a BLK woman myself it’s good you want to be on the right side of history with blm ect. But sis this is not the way. They literally lit fireworks from 8pm to 4 am near my grandmother s building that houses the sick and the elderly. They do not deserve that. Hell my own grandmother integrated lunch counters in the n.c in the 50-60s and deserves peace. The saddest thing is her reluctantance to call the police because she’s afraid to have any BLK young people arrested and hurt. And news flash she lives quite close to you on the real Roxbury/south end line. If you want to help out community use your platform to help those in the BLK community get a leg up. There are talks , virtual seminars, job offerings and even charities you can give to that really need your help. We need allies but more than that we need constructive allies.

          Reply
          • weefunk
            weefunk says:

            And shockingly, Penelope has not responded to either of the people of color who don’t agree with her.

          • Penelope Trunk
            Penelope Trunk says:

            How could you possibly know who is a “person of color” in this string of comments? As a reminder, this is my personal blog, and I could easily not publish comments from people who disagree with me. I did not do that because I think they have valid points and a valid perspective.

            Penelope

  14. Tom Torrez
    Tom Torrez says:

    What a wonderfully informative and uplifting post, Penelope. Thank you for sharing your experience and what you learned in the process.

    Reply
  15. Sonya
    Sonya says:

    I appreciate your article and opinion. I am a black woman and live in one of these neighborhoods (in Chicago) where all of a sudden fireworks have become a nightly thing. The neighborhood I live in is one of if not the worst in the city. Using fireworks as a form of protest is about one of the most asinine things I have heard of recently. It’s honestly more terrifying than the gunshots in terms of noise because it is consistent (for hours sometimes!) and incredibly loud. It’s terrifying to me, my elderly father, vets with PTSD, seniors, and yes, pets. There’s not a better way to spend $250 a day to give an F U to the system than adding to the terror and terrible things happening right now? As a black woman I’d rather see that money go to where it can really help, bailing out peaceful protestors, supporting voter education, food and shelter, etc. While you’re “excited” that fireworks are being used to “show white people what it’s like to be terrorized”, consider what it’s doing to those of us that already are.

    Reply
    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Sonya, thank you so much for taking the time to comment.

      One thing I’ve learned from living where I do is that I have no idea what families in my neighborhood are going through. I have a lot to learn, and mostly, people are sick of me trying to learn from them. I appreciate you taking the time to explain so much about how you see things and what you’d want.

      It’s really difficult for me to understand what’s happening. In my neighborhood, we are often woken at 1 or 2 in the morning by fights right outside our window. That is much more difficult to deal with than fireworks. My son was jumped (he used this word, I don’t know if it’s the right word — a guy demanded money from him without using a weapon) one block from our apartment. That’s way worse than fireworks. So to me, fireworks are great. But to my friends who don’t live in a neighborhood like mine, fireworks are completely disruptive. So I guess I was just thinking of it in terms like that.

      What your comment shows me, Sonya, is that there has to be a lot o conversation, with white people trying really hard to listen, if we are ever going to understand the black perspective.

      Penelope

      Reply
      • tfb
        tfb says:

        You have the resources to live in a safer environment for your son, who was attacked, and choose not to do so? For what reason? So that you can gain some type of “insight” into the black experience? You are seriously messed up, and aren’t deserving to be a parent! When your son realizes that it was your narcissistic behavior caused his future psychological issues, he’s going to hate you. And I wouldn’t blame him. Your a selfish person.

        Reply
        • BH
          BH says:

          If she doesn’t live there unnecessarily, how else will her local PsoC know that she’s one of the good ones and is there to save them?

          Reply
    • Bob
      Bob says:

      Thanks Sonya. Agree with every word. Noise repeatedly inflicted on people in the middle of the night is not “performance art.”

      Reply
  16. sg
    sg says:

    maybe the better solution is to stop the nightly (and daily) shootings in the black neighborhoods. explain to me how the occurrence of that is improving their community. the vast majority of the people who live in those areas seek the same peace and safety as those who live in rich areas. it’s fine if you want to disturb wealthier neighborhoods, but it does not solve the primary problem. that’s where your efforts need to go. stop virtue signaling and actually do something to help the residents of those communities.

    Reply
  17. Darma
    Darma says:

    Yes – we should just all quit our jobs and join them. If I don’t have to get up to go to work I can stay up all night and light the match!

    Reply
  18. Goofy fake revolutionary
    Goofy fake revolutionary says:

    Ok you make me believe in white privilege. You’re like the fools kneeling in congress in African textiles. Black people don’t need your condescending advocacy nor do poor whites if they even register with you the black elitists and white elitists. Please go protest with fireworks chaz and t shirts. You do nothing. Nothing to help anyone. You help you and yours. How positively bourgeois. If poor families did this they’d end up bourgeois too. They’re all victims of course. No bad habits. Lawlessness is not the result of poverty here. Maybe you should get that into your thick skull. Yes funding is the issue. There are failing schools that get $30k per kid! But more money more money.

    Reply
  19. Jay Ro
    Jay Ro says:

    This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. You think black people living in poverty have the luxury and privilege of losing sleep every night? No, they have to go to work and pay their bills. Why would nightly fireworks in their neighborhood be something they would support? And by the way, the fireworks went up >2000% way before Floyd was murdered. Also, what is YouTube research? You’re killing me.

    Reply
    • jennifer Reese
      jennifer Reese says:

      Exactly. I’m white and live in a predominantly black neighborhood where the fireworks go on all night. What about the elderly black people trying to sleep, the black babies, the black moms of those babies? Are they all enjoying the brilliant nightly piece of performance art that is schooling their white neighbors on privilege?

      Reply
  20. Teems
    Teems says:

    “That surprised me. I mean. There are very few white people in this neighborhood, and definitely no Asian people in this neighborhood. And I thought the problem of getting along in our neighborhood is black people were not getting along with each other. But then I thought, okay, we are all being Black Lives Matter now, and he is being really nice to me, and I need to be nice. So I said thanks a lot. And we walked on.”

    This post is so filled with white and Asian gaze it’s ridiculous. This kind of casual racism is the hardest to undo because it’s so insidious and integrated. The way you tracked these people down, inserted yourself in the space, wouldn’t leave until you got your answers. Taking a late night adventure in a “dangerous” neighborhood so you could author a poorly written blog post. The level of entitlement is unsurprising.

    Reply
    • JV
      JV says:

      Yes. Thank you this so much. Look obviously you’re trying and admitting that you’re coming from a place of realizing for the first time how much you don’t understand but almost this entire post made me cringe it was so centered around your presumption and privilege — assuming you were welcome, assuming that if you were delighted by this act of protest so was the community, assuming that your money would be welcomed, assuming that because you wanted answers they had to provide them. There’s a lot there you should stop and think about. Take the time to educate yourself and listen more and you’ll contribute more to real change than this adventure which just reads like you want a pat on the head for being so brave to talk to your neighbors for the first time.

      Reply
    • Ozzy
      Ozzy says:

      Even though I think I know what you’re getting it, I wouldn’t quite call it racism. Certainly out-of touch-ism and naive – as a middle class white woman I’m going to stroll into the neighbourhood that I’ve been warned not to go to – presumably because of crime, let alone in the middle of the night – and make a beeline for the angry, rebellious black protesters who are setting off fireworks to piss off the whites, and tell them they are doing a jolly good job and throw them some cash. She’s documented her problems with not knowing social boundaries etc, and I understand being well intentioned but naive, so that’s not really the problem. But the phrase “soft bigotry of low expectations” comes to mind. So I get why it feels a little bit racist. It’s judging these people to different – lower – standards. Like she’s making excuses for them, and is too scared to take a critical look at their behaviour, demands, and the legitimacy of their arguments. Hence why this all feels so off.

      Reply
        • Ozzy
          Ozzy says:

          Firstly, some commenters have offered alternative ‘solutions’ such as donating to certain organizations and attending certain marches.

          Secondly, I don’t need to offer any solution to say that what Penelope is doing is misguided at best.

          Thirdly, she hasn’t presented any problem that needs a solution. Her blog post is about her response to and interpretation of fireworks going off in her area.

          Reply
  21. Lara
    Lara says:

    I think there’s a problem with the assumption that only white residents are complaining about the fireworks. Check out Discussing Race in Boston on facebook and the social media last week of all the Boston City Councilors particularly Julia Mejia and Kim Janey. Many neighbors who are nonwhite in Boston neighborhoods are expressing publicly their strife, stress and discomfort from the noise. My husband said it reminds him of that scene with the firecrackers in Boogie Nights but on a loop.

    Reply
  22. Nia
    Nia says:

    I have some questions:
    1. How long have you lived in your neighborhood?
    2. If you have been scared to explore your neighborhood why did you move there?
    3. You wrote: ” I thought the problem of getting along in our neighborhood is black people were not getting along with each other”. What exactly do you mean by that?
    5. Were you really standing between two gangs? That’s very brave of you.

    Thanks for your answers.

    Reply
    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Nia, I’m replying to your questions. Hopefully, my answers will not incite more anger from commenters.

      1. Almost two years
      2. We moved here during a family emergency. A family friend gave me a map of places that would be safe to live with my two kids. The building we live in was in the very far corner of her map.
      3. I was surprised he said to me, “It’s everyone’s neighborhood.” I didn’t know what to think of that. Other people have told me the dividing line for two gangs (Malcom X) and they told me they don’t go back and forth. So the phrase “it’s everyone’s neighborhood” surprised me because I keep that dividing line in my head all the time. To be clear, the guys we met were incredibly nice.
      4. We cross the dividing line a lot. I am not sure if it’s brave. At first I didn’t even believe it was a dividing line. It’s so outside of my personal experience. But kids in the neighborhood told me it’s a dividing line. And an adult who told me I can’t go around there at night. So I believe them.

      I really like my neighborhood and I like learning. About ten years ago I moved from New York City to a rural community in Wisconsin and people hated me there, too. Because I was so different and I wanted to learn about the community but the differences between NYC and rural Wisconsin are so so big it was impossible to not make mistakes.

      I am sad that people are so pissed off at me about this post. I’m sad to have done things the wrong way. But it also reminds me so much of trying to understand rural Wisconsin.

      Penelope

      Reply
      • Dave
        Dave says:

        Off topic, but I used to bike past that address commuting to work in the South End for many years. You should explore the southwest corridor park by bike; Ruggles to forest hills and the arboretum.

        Reply
      • Jessie
        Jessie says:

        I am glad you had the courage to stick your foot in it. We all stand to learn more from one another because you opened the door. As I am discovering my own racism, these dialogues help me open my white eyes to all the many ways I have been part of the problem.

        Reply
  23. Maria
    Maria says:

    I live around the corner from you — your address is at the end of your page. This is the South End, but it seems you like to tell people you live in Rox so you can show how brave you are?
    Also, tons of Asians. I’m here — even though we’ve never met — and the Villa Victoria development 5 blocks down from us is about 40% Asian.
    This post is so very Karen-esque, handing out money to Black people and braving the hood with your privilege to show how you want to get to the bottom of things. And you faced Big Black Men, who — wow — were kind to you! I wish we could all be as woke as you are.

    Reply
    • Hilary Sargent
      Hilary Sargent says:

      Penelope,

      Is it true you actually live in the south end? I can’t imagine you would write this if that were the case but it would be helpful to know. Also given that your address is public, can you explain what gangs you were referencing here?

      Thanks!

      Reply
        • Hilary sargent
          Hilary sargent says:

          To start, your own residence is not — according to me, everyone I know in the south end, your buildings website, etc — located in Roxbury. You live in a luxury apartment building in a part of the south end that just isn’t sandwiched in any way shape or form by some kind of gang war. If I’m missing a new gang war located in the south end, please let me know. Second, you are a woman with children and a public profile. You post a blog saying your neighborhood is rife with gang violence and then liberally share your actual home address? I know a lot of people who live in Boston — in lots of neighborhoods. I don’t know anyone who would describe the level of danger in their neighborhood the way you have, and I absolutely don’t know a single human being who would suggest they live inside some kind of war zone and then say btw here’s my address. I wasn’t asking you to post your address. I was simply trying to understand why you would categorize this area as so dangerous and then, for the hell of it, venture out at night to offer money like some kind of … I don’t even know what. But more importantly, i would like to know how you managed to memorize the lengthy quotes from the people you spoke to. Did you bring a recording device and ask their consent? Did you have them speak slowly so that you could take copious notes in the dark? Or did you cobble together some kind of paraphrasing of what they said and post it knowing no one will ever be able to verify whether you spoke to them at all. Honestly, I grew up in Boston, I live in Boston, and I feel safe in Boston. I feel safe in my neighborhood and I feel safe knowing that there really isn’t a gang war underway that I’m remotely likely to ever be caught in the crosshairs of. What I know about this city is that for a very long time whites people have perpetuated the myth that Roxbury is SO DANGEROUS and you can’t even leave your car in mattapan. And it’s BULLSHIT. You are using a narrative — and one I don’t even know if I believe — to perpetuate the SAME BULLSHIT. If you want to support BLM, financially or otherwise, it’s not hard to find ways to do so. Roaming the streets of your neighborhood, cash in hand, after you malign one that you don’t even live in, searching for a story that serves you way more than it benefits ANYONE, is bullshit.

          Reply
  24. Manny
    Manny says:

    As someone who grew up in violent neighborhoods, was shot at, and had police point a gun in my face, I moved to where I am now so that my son wouldn’t have those same experiences. Now the fireworks go off into the wee hours of the morning and my toddler is scared to sleep. There are other, far more effective ways to protest that do not terrify children and trigger PTSD of people who have had experience with gunfire. Not to mention, the people in the communities that are setting off the fireworks include essential employees who I’m sure would rather get peaceful sleep than abide by a loud but incoherent attempt at protest (if that is truly what this is as opposed to teenagers with nothing else to do being teenagers). Protests are more effective when they do not require a blog post to explicate them.

    Reply
    • harris497
      harris497 says:

      Manny,
      Your post is fake and here is how I know. I’ve had 6 kids and none of them had trouble sleeping because of fireworks or even real gunshots. The gun you had pointed in you face was probably from the a stint in the military or a watergun during a summer fling. YOU are NOT who you proport to be.
      Your main aim is to criticize and you lie to reinforce your point. Shame on you. I wonder how many other comments you have here under other names?
      Don’t you wish the protesters were kneeling now?

      Reply
      • Wtf is this place
        Wtf is this place says:

        man i was waiting for the part where oh prove Manny wrong but it never came, just a bunch of mean-spirited conjecture towards a comment that apparently struck a nerve

        Reply
  25. Cass
    Cass says:

    I don’t buy this story. The fireworks started way before the protests and as someone who has been very involved here in them, don’t know anyone who is setting off fireworks as part of the protests. You are not helping the cause by linking the protests to something the whole city is up in arms over. But way to center yourself and your desire to seem like “one of the good ones” in something that doesn’t have to do with you. Virtue signaling at its best.

    Reply
  26. Adam Pieniazek
    Adam Pieniazek says:

    Penelope,

    I’ll commend you for wanting to find out the truth and especially for talking with your neighbors. If all of us did more of that we’d all be better off.

    Having said that there is a lot to criticize here and will do so in hopes of improvement for all of us. These critiques may be harsh but hopefully worthwhile and please do keep the article up but with a note on the dangerous part I’ll describe below.

    “I live in Roxbury, on a sliver of Boston between two gang territories. So I assumed the noise was gunshots.”

    You live between two “gangs” but don’t know the difference between the sounds of gunshots & fireworks? They do sound quite different…

    “…South Boston. Boston is one of the most segregated cities in the US, and the list of cities setting off fireworks is the list of places black people live.”

    South Boston is an extremely gentrified haven for white people. It and the other neighborhoods are neighborhoods, not cities…

    “That made me excited. This is a form of protest.”

    Excited feels very odd to describe a protest against police brutality & racial oppression. I understand what you were trying to say but this comes across as being entertained by something that is trying to draw attention to injustice & inequality.

    Having said that, some people might be lighting off fireworks to celebrate that people are standing up and that some progress is being made so perhaps I’m being too harsh.

    “The fine is $100 and confiscation of the fireworks. The city of Boston created a fun, user-friendly pdf to inform citizens that there is little risk to setting off $250 worth of fireworks every night.”

    THIS is incredibly dangerous and you absolutely should edit the article to add a note that the $100 fine is the MINIMUM penalty. The flyer you reference notes that penalties can range from a $100 fine up to a year in prison and that arrests may happen. Think about it, which race of people and neighborhoods do you think will be more likely to experience a fine versus prison? Promoting that the worst outcome is a $100 fine is wicked dangerous.

    Also, what’s fun about that flyer? A year in prison does not sound fund, even a $100 fine does not sound fun. It’s a government document about legal consequences not a party flyer. Perhaps that was sarcasm but it came across as making the government ( you know, the ones doing the brutality & murdering ) seem like a jovial pal which is odd for an article about protesting the government and our unjust system.

    “It turns out that fireworks done right are a relatively safe way to show privileged rich people what it’s like to be terrorized.”

    The privileged rich people live in places like Beacon Hill, Back Bay, West Roxbury and so on. Sure there are indeed rich people in Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan and other neighborhoods but the neighborhoods you listed are not known for being full of rich people. It’s also worth noting that many poor & middle class white Bostonians don’t understand or even admit racism is a problem in Boston either. Rich people are not the only problem, though often are the most problematic. But we all have to do better.

    “People are amazingly dense about fireworks as a form of protest.”

    You yourself had to go on this journey to find out why the fireworks were happening. I do agree that many Bostonians are just baffled that there’s a possibility some fireworks might be set off as a protest which is in itself baffling but every day Boston is really revealing we might be the secret capitol of racism, sexism and fascism. The Handmaid’s Tale was set here for a reason.

    “I said, “Is it okay for us to walk there?”

    One guy said, “Of course. It’s your neighborhood too. We need to all get along.”

    That surprised me. I mean. There are very few white people in this neighborhood, and definitely no Asian people in this neighborhood. And I thought the problem of getting along in our neighborhood is black people were not getting along with each other. But then I thought, okay, we are all being Black Lives Matter now, and he is being really nice to me, and I need to be nice. So I said thanks a lot. And we walked on.”

    This far into 2020 you thought “the problem of getting along in our neighborhood is black people were not getting along with each other.”? Really? From taking a look at some of your previous posts I can see you do stay up to date with news so I’m really just not sure how this could be considered a valid thought right now. The rest of the paragraph is wild too. Now that “we are all being Black Lives Matter” is when you’ll be nice? Because someone else was nice? How about just being nice to people and especially your neighbors in general!

    Also, consider that you laid out a map for any police officers who might stumble upon this post.

    “And the next day we read the complaints to the police with glee”

    You’re reading complaints to police with glee? I’M TERRIFIED that at some point a Boston Police officer is going to harm someone when they get called in for fireworks. TERRIFIED. I went onto the nextdoor app because I heard there was crazy stuff on there and me and other neighbors practically BEGGED people to NOT CALL 911 because not only will police have zero impact on fireworks there is a non-zero chance it could end up violent. Yes that is perhaps an over-exaggeration but better to be overly cautious right now.

    Again, I commend you for writing the article and alerting Bostonians that indeed some of the increase in fireworks is due to people celebrating Black Lives Matter or protesting the countless needless deaths. I truly do, it’s great to spread that message because Boston is a city filled with white people who are more concerned with brunch & sports than justice and equality. And that needs to be addressed head on.

    I do not write these critiques to pick on you. There are likely countless things I’ve done and said that should be critiqued and personally I very much value those critiques because it helps me grow. And hope and think you’ll view these critiques the same way but please emphasize that calling 911 for fireworks is ineffective and potentially dangerous and thank you for shining a light because Boston needs to have real and open discussions about the racism, sexism and fascism that lurks beneath the surface all across this city.

    Reply
  27. Lane
    Lane says:

    this didn’t happen. this is a mary sue white savior fantasy with bad dialogue and it is positively galling that you dare to present it as fact, even more so that you expect people to believe it.

    and stop acting like your neighborhood is a war zone when you live in a luxury loft building on the edge of one of the highest-rent areas in boston — the only gangs you’re trapped between are northeastern students and $2m brownstones.

    Reply
  28. Sean Crawford
    Sean Crawford says:

    I’ve been privileged to live in major Canadian cities that don’t have “dangerous areas” although some of the locals might not think so, but in fourth largest city, where I now live, police say you can’t get murdered or attacked (non sexually) by strangers unless you really go out of your way (such as by arguing with a person of low self esteem in a bar late at night)

    If my city did develop a “dangerous area” I would still walk there because I would stubbornly say that all of my city is my city. When I attended a notorious junior high (middle school?) I was the only wholesome clean cut kid to use the crowded washroom of the unhappy smokers (the only one with mirrors intact) because I was stubborn—it was my school too. As it happened, whenever I was hassled, “what are you doing here?” there was always someone who knew me from shop class or something who would stick up for me. Call it “innocence privilege,” but it worked.

    As an adult of slight stature I carried my innocence gaze into the infantry part of the armed forces. I survived there too.

    Hence although I have no clue what Penelope went through I still feel something resonating. I sympathize.

    Reply
  29. Annie
    Annie says:

    Penelope you are a total asshole and an absolute moron. Seriously what the fuck is wrong with you? There are people who support the movement who are not sleeping and have to work all day getting up at 430 to do physical labor. Idiots like you with your stupid bullshit are the problem.

    Reply
  30. therese
    therese says:

    Hi. I have lived in Roxbury for the last 20 years, and for much of my childhood. I got to tell you it is frustrating to read your description of the neighborhood. @welcometodot sent me your way. You are writing like a tourist doing color commentary on the locals for the pleasure of people who wish to read of exotic lands. You don’t sound as though you know where you are… I want to be careful not to be harsh but – this is so, so, so common and alienating.

    “Sliver of land between two gang territories” What does that even mean? Are you gonna tell me the exact boundaries you are referencing and who is the authority who bestowed that knowledge on you? Firework protest? Were you not living here last year? Do you not hear the fireworks every year? The Christmas to mid January fireworks didn’t come by you? “I assumed it was gunfire.” Pleas. If you can’t tell the difference between an M80, a firecracker, and a handgun then…. where is your gunfire experience coming from? Most of us assume fireworks is fireworks.

    The reason why there’s a big to do about fireworks now is because GENTRIFICATION. The fireworks suck because they set houses on fire. Do you remember the house fire last year, and the one on Juniper two years before that when the house burned to the ground and made a family homeless? The noise, also – most of us are not fans…

    I am thinking you don’t know the names of even 10 other people on your street. There is a part of me that thinks I should delete this comment and only recommend that you refrain from telling other people about Roxbury until you know the first names of at least 10 long term residents who live near you.

    Also where are you that you don’t see any white people, and no Asians? Your “gang” bit makes me think you are thinking of Academy Homes and Heath St. but…. if that’s the case – how are you missing the white people and the Asians?

    Reply
    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Hi. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I moved to Massachusetts almost two years ago. To the apartment I am living in now. So you’re right that I’m like a tourist.

      Penelope

      Reply
      • MRJ
        MRJ says:

        Nut not a benign tourist. You are fetishizing elements of your neighborhood as exotic and dangerous. No one needs to know your address to know you are so out of touch with the daily realities of your neighborhood. I agree with the Therese, go meet 10 neighbors by name before you start acting like you like in Roxbury.

        Reply
      • Googie Baba
        Googie Baba says:

        I debated whether or not to comment on the blog post for too long. But I’m taking you at your word that you are sad that people are angry about this post and you are just trying to understand your neighbors.

        The way I see it, if you want to walk around Boston at night handing out money that’s your business. But it’s the framing of the story that raised my eyebrows. Amanda Palmer used to live in your building. It’s the South End. Not Roxbury. And Roxbury isn’t the way you are portraying it either. Do we have gangs? Sure. But there are a lot of other people there too. I agree with these two commenters. Go meet 10 people. It will be hard because of COVID but you are enterprising.

        There is a family friendly march next Sunday to protest the murder of George Floyd. It’s being organized by black mothers: http://marchlikeamother.org/?fbclid=IwAR3YQCh9ZzW2yb2SAh8spWhLzOC8WEr7AUxjTAANbWQeob9OYtyjokhk7B4

        Finally, if you want to give out money feel free to hand it out in Roslindale. I won’t say no.

        Reply
  31. Benjamin Claus
    Benjamin Claus says:

    Hi,

    I rarely do this, but this “article” was linked to a post I read on my Berkeley neighborhood page. I’ve been hearing the fireworks as well, but what’s puzzling is to me is that many people’s (mostly white?) first assumption is gun shots. If Penelope is, as she claims, living “between two gangs”, she should easily be able to discern the difference, it’s quite apparent if you pay attention. I’ve also heard of people describing them as pipe-bombs. Both these ideas lead me to think that people are either not paying attention or are not in fact living in such “dangerous” neighborhoods. I was born in Oakland, CA, am white, but I lived for quite some time in W. Philly and the cheapest parts of DC I could find, it didn’t take me long to know the difference in the sounds, a gunshot has a very distinct percussion, I think fear has a lot to do with interpretation of many things, more so in the past few years than others. Another thought is that Penelope you don’t get out of your comfort zone often, if I wrote about how many times I had conversations with, had 5-min “moments” with black/brown/white et al, or in some circumstances invited over to take shower because they were in particularly bad shape, comforted, commiserated I would have a book by now. I guess I’m not surprised, I work in downtown Oakland for the City, I often chat with the, yes, homeless or partially homeless (think SROs if you don’t what that is you’re asleep), I see them day after day, year after year, I give them my ear. They are sometimes nutty as all hell, stinky, rough calloused hands, drunk at 9am, but they are at least mostly honest as am I. They call people like Penelope “tourists” and that’s what she is, and she blogs about it..wow..what are the names of the gangs in your neighborhood. I find this to be infantile, if you only took the time to chat with what you’d describe as “these people” you’d be sometimes disappointed and sometimes scared, I’ve had guns pointed at me several times, but because I know what F the world is like in some places, I talk and thank Jeebus my words work…oh, it might be because I’ve been through, fault of only me, involved in the nooks of this society, which are often occupied by guess who??? Cheers, be safe and be kind

    Reply
  32. Tod Garrison
    Tod Garrison says:

    This was one of the cringiest things I have read. You seriously offered to pay this random dude money to set off my fireworks by “braving” your way through a predominantly Black neighborhood? Really shows privilege.

    Reply
    • Jackson Kimari
      Jackson Kimari says:

      Agreed. As a man of color reading this article and comments. There is so much privelege in the writing. Also it’s def not protestors here in Brooklyn. I know because I know some of the people lighting up fireworks and they refuse to stop. They are doing it just for fun and not for the movement

      Reply
  33. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    Hey look at this. The New York Times just published a piece about fireworks in a lot of NYC neighborhoods. And it seems that those fireworks, like fireworks in Boston, are related to protest:

    “Equality for Flatbush, which calls itself a ‘people of color-led, multinational grass-roots organization that does anti-police repression, affordable housing and anti-gentrification/anti-displacement organizing,’ put out a statement calling summertime fireworks ‘a culturally accepted norm of Brooklyn’ and ‘an act of resistance and a show of solidarity with the global #BlackLivesMatter rebellion.’”

    -Penelope

    Reply
    • Cass
      Cass says:

      That’s one organization. Show me where anyone in Boston is saying this. Or in Denver, where fireworks are also very high. You are doing a disservice to the movement you are pretending to care about from your luxury condo.

      Reply
    • Jack
      Jack says:

      Equality for Flatbush put out that statement when a recent gentrifying transplant to the neighborhood started a petition to the mayor / city council involved in stopping the fireworks – which effectively means getting the NYPD involved. The NYT piece was sloppy weekend journalism from a sleepy metro desk.

      Reply
    • Adam Black
      Adam Black says:

      “like fireworks in Boston, are related to protest”
      O man, this is cringey AF.

      Are You … Not American?

      This is technically True,
      only so far as its a protest over the Millary Occupation of Boston ,
      By the Brittish , in 1775 .

      I’m from this state, I live here too. This is Normal for this time of year.

      Reply
  34. Born and raised in Brooklyn
    Born and raised in Brooklyn says:

    I am born and raised in Brooklyn and we def do not have protestors lighting up fireworks in our hood. Just today I wanted to stop some kids shooting off fireworks aiming it at each other and into people’s homes. This disturbance every day also caused fire damage to 3 buildings here in Brooklyn where my friends had to move out of. They were affordable housing. So this form of protest is not working in NY. No one is calling the cops in my neighborhood because we don’t want them to just start killing people with fireworks

    Reply
  35. Dorchesterbred
    Dorchesterbred says:

    ARE YOU GENTRIFIERS STUPID OR WHAT! You thought it wasn’t ok to be a neighbor because black people weren’t getting along with one another? Are you stupid? I hope this isn’t true. I hate you gentrifiers. My neighborhood is full with people who suffer from PTSD due to the violence and police brutality and you guys think it is oh so nice way to protest by triggering peoples PTSD in these neighborhoods that do not receive adequate mental healthcare at all!!! Then to keep gathering in our neighborhoods spiking up COVID19 cases. I hope you gentrifiers protest for the hospitals to give us medical treatment when you are picked to be save first before any one the people in the neighborhoods you are gathering in and marching for. Ya’ll are stupid and ya’ll allyship is becoming problematic. We are not privileged and stop coming to our neighborhoods to take out frustrations on the government.

    Reply
  36. MRJ
    MRJ says:

    I am pretty sure our community members would prefer that you use your privilege and money to help fight injustice and police brutality.

    Fireworks are disturbing a lot of neighbors, Black and Brown neighbors. Your ideas of effective protest are misguided.

    Please donate to @ViolenceInBoston or @Massbailfund or @GirlsInc or countless others.

    Please, just listen to the neighbors not setting fireworks.

    If you actually want to use your money and privilege to help the cause.

    Reply
  37. Donrick Pond
    Donrick Pond says:

    I don’t believe the account of this story.

    “What else would you be doing here? A white woman and an Asian woman? At 11pm? You shouldn’t be here. It’s too dangerous.” Where in Boston is it so dangerous that someone would say that to you?

    “People ignored us. I said, “Excuse me! Hello. Excuse me.” People ignored us.” Why would the kind black folks of Boston ignore a White and Asian woman at night? I’m sure someone would have loved to help or at least listen to what you had to say and not just rudely ignore you. I don’t believe this for a number of reasons.

    A white female friend recently moved to another state and she made a post asking which areas not to stay away from in terms of renting. So I made a comment asking her what neighborhood would she consider a bad neighborhood in Boston that she’s stay away from? She never responded because she knew if she were to say anything ridiculous about any neighborhood in Boston she’d be banished from the biking community or someone would jump on her ass for talking shit.

    All this blog post does to me is reinforce negative stereotypes of black neighborhoods.

    I felt like I was reading a novel or a movie script while reading this. I don’t believe this story at all.

    Reply
      • Donrick Pond
        Donrick Pond says:

        You responded to the least important parts of what I said, but let me respond to what you said.

        Some years ago, I was dating a white girl from Andover and I lived in Dorchester. She couldn’t come to visit me because her mom didn’t want her going to Dorchester, Jamaica Plain and a few other areas I can’t recall at this point. The only experience she has in any of these neighborhoods is what she probably heard on Fox news. People have these insane views about places they’ve never been to and go by what they hear. One friend that lives in NH, when I told her I live in Jamaica Plain, she was surprised and I asked her why and she replied, “I heard that in JP, it’s not a matter of if you might get raped, it’s a matter of when” and I was shocked that she would say that. Someone told her that and she believed it.

        So what I’m saying about my friend is, if she were to mention any cities like Dorchester, Roxbury that she’s uncomfortable living in, people would go after her and ask her why. Is she going by what others tell her or does she have personal experience in the community?

        So my point on that matter is, these communities get a bad rep. So let me ask you, were any of those people who told you never to go to whichever area, were they white? I bet they were all white.

        Nobody cares about white or Asians in terms of violence because it’s mostly people who know other people end up in violent situations or get shot. Nobody is going to shoot a white woman or Asian in those neighborhoods because you aren’t part of that type of circle. If you look at the list of people shot and killed in Boston in 2018 and 2019, not a single one them white. Every community has it’s issues and you aren’t safe ANYWHERE. Look at my aunt living in her mansion in Canton in a nice rosy neighborhood… someone tried to break into her house while she was in the house. Now she wants to get a gun. No one is safe ANYWHERE. I lived in Dorchester for 3 years or so and not once did I ever see any acts of violence. The only bad thing I ever saw was a bunch of guys abandoning a stolen car and I knew one of them from the neighborhood so that was a little disappointing. But that’s all.

        Now, can you respond to the important parts of what I said in my original comment?

        Questions:
        1. Give me the GPS coordinates of this place you speak of and also explain to me why you think these people would rudely ignore you and someone telling you that you shouldn’t be here.

        2. Do black people in this area ignore you when you ask them questions during the day time too?

        3. Don’t you think you’re reinforcing negative stereotypes by posting this blog? You spoke of gangs, rude black people, and numerous other negative things.

        I also haven’t heard anyone I know talk about lighting fireworks for Mr. Floyd. No one I know who is lighting fireworks is doing it in his name. Maybe some, but I haven’t heard this anywhere else except this blog post.

        I cannot outright call you a liar and that you’re lying about this story because that wouldn’t be fair, but I can tell you from living in Boston for 20+ years, none of what you’re saying here adds up and all I can say is I don’t believe this and I have never been so pissed off at a blog post before to the point that I would comment and I’m the most chill person and I’ve never commented on a blog post in my life. I might have even registered just to post here which would be insanity because I would never do such a thing.

        Reply
  38. Sara
    Sara says:

    I will admit, after reading this, I thought, “But what about people with PTSD?”

    Then it dawned on me – “What about the PTSD that Black people are likely experiencing from 400+ years of violence?”

    Reply
  39. Adam Pieniazek
    Adam Pieniazek says:

    Btw Penelope, since you say the worst outcome is a $100 fine and you want to support the cause you could take matters into your own hands and do noise protests at elected officials homes and their bosses, the rich.

    Reply
  40. AK
    AK says:

    Penelope, the address listed on your blog indicates you live in the PCG, in the ***South End.*** For non-Boston readers, that’s a super expensive building in a super expensive and trendy part of town. Her building isn’t all that far from the border with Roxbury – it’s about a ten minute walk – but it’s not Roxbury, and the building and area she lives in are expensive and chic for a reason. Luxury condos next door to this building go for over $800 a square foot. When I figured out her actual location after reading how she described it, I burst into uncontrollable laughter, because on first read I kept wondering “where in the world in Rox is even as rough as this girl is describing? Somewhere on Blue Hill Ave?” Noooooppe.

    You don’t live in Roxbury. You don’t live “on a sliver of Boston between two gang territories.” Unless you mean the well known gang war between Northeastern University Students and South End Art Gallery Owners….

    Apparently you think that because you sometimes see black people on the street in your neighborhood, you live in gangland? That assumption itself is straight-up racist, not to mention the rest of the racism embedded throughout this ridiculous post.

    Dear Boston readers who have been so ill-advisedly passing this blog post around as a part of your performative allyship, please do not take anti-racism advice from a white lady who thinks that seeing black people sometimes in her neighborhood on occasion means she lives in the “territory of rival gangs.”

    Reply
    • Kaitlyn
      Kaitlyn says:

      No one gives a c-rp what neighborhood P. lives in. This story isn’t about the inside of her building. I get that you know a lot about Boston real estate. P. wrote about an adventure she took. If you don’t like her adventure, fine. But puh-leezzzee shut the trap about the boring topic of Boston geography.

      Reply
      • AK
        AK says:

        The point of my post has nothing to do with my knowledge of Boston real estate, and everything to do with the fact that if she lies about her neighborhood, the truthfulness and usefulness of the story is deeply in question.

        I know about Roxbury because I live here, and if I’m correct with my triangulations, I live about a two minute walk from where her walk ended. She doesn’t live in Roxbury – first baldfaced lie. The post then proceeds with a bunch of misrepresentations about my neighborhood, like her assertion that white and Asian people don’t live here – they certainly do. If you know this area, reading her description of it is so off the walls bananas that you immediately can tell she’s either highly embellishing or just outright fabricating what happened to her.

        People above have deeply analyzed the many layers of racism in this story. The fact that she’s completely exaggerating the situation where she lives and near where she lives, in a way that makes black people and neighborhoods look much more wild than they are, is racist, and this fact is highly germane to whether we should listen to her on the subject of anti-racism, BLM, etc etc.

        Reply
  41. Adam
    Adam says:

    You’re a jackass. Fireworks are great on July 4th, but every night – until 3am? My dog is currently in my shower shaking and terrified. She ran into a wall the other night out of fear. Others – veterans with PTSD – are the-experiencing trauma. I’m glad you got to “walk the neighborhood” and see your free fireworks, but some people have to get up in the morning, you fucking imbecile.

    Reply
  42. Fat Mac
    Fat Mac says:

    This is literally the whitest thing I’ve ever read in my life.

    You just walked up to random people and offered them money?

    You aren’t treating these folks like neighbors……. You’re treating them like subjects.

    Please. Delete this. You should embarrassed.

    Reply
  43. Fat Mac
    Fat Mac says:

    Did you delete my other comment? Why?

    You want to hear perspective? I’m happy to share.

    This story is just gross. I’m a liberal white person. You treated your neighbors like subjects not like humans. Who the hell would be okay with a random pair of women walking up to them late at night and offering them money?

    Please tell me where this is okay in anywhere in the country. Jesus. Your lack of self awareness is appalling. Your entitlement is on full display here.

    Reply
    • Amykins
      Amykins says:

      I want to draw more attention to the above comment.

      Penelope, please check this twitter hashtag out as well: https://twitter.com/hashtag/FireworksScam

      Lots and lots of people in these neighborhoods are observing that fireworks are either being dropped off (sometimes by the police or fire department) or sold in black/brown neighborhoods to kids for MASSIVELY under market price. The residents of these primarily black/brown neighborhoods are NOT happy about the fireworks going off. Some people are theorizing that this is either intended as a *deterrent* to BLM protesters (keeping them sleep deprived) or worse – an effort to desensitize people to the sounds of explosions for when the next phase hits.

      Reply
  44. Charlie Werx
    Charlie Werx says:

    I hope you’re at least reading these.

    Please tell me why it’s ever okay to walk up to strangers and offer them money in the middle of the night?

    Please tell me why your blog reads like a white person writing about their visit to Kenya in the 1930s?

    Why would you be surprised that a kid in your neighborhood talked to you normally?

    Please explain to me how you’re helping here?

    Reply
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