In recognition of our colonised status, people around the world can help by taking a symbolic break from even uttering the words "Washington" and "Washington, DC." Leave our name out of conversation and put a blank space in print. Besides the general public, those encouraged to promote, observe and abide by the boycott should include bloggers, teachers and professors, clergymembers, tourists and tour guides, travel agents, economists, journalists, scientists, activists and politicians. To do so will send a powerful message in contrast to the real lack of power of our city's mostly Black and mostly Black women residents. Washington, the city, always has been about far more than national and international politics and tourism.
In fact, DC's reality remains hidden: a majority-Black American city with a buried yet deeply rooted history (and identity) as the former capital of the U.S. interstate slave trade. People live here, and for many years the majority of Washington's citizens have been Black Americans; or at least we have been the vast majority until the very recent past. Washington as a majority Black city has always been subjugated and segregated. We have been and are under attack. In spite of the presence of international organizations and the embassies of nations around the world, little news of the real DC and our status seems to get out, even and especially among journalists. Along comes a film to break the silence: CHOCOLATE CITY, a documentary by filmmakers Ellie Walton and Sam Wild. Just as they would have bought Black Americans' ancestors as slaves, property developers have bought my town and the local population is being forced out using means that are mostly foul. CC focuses on the displacement and dispersal of the community of 400 families who lived in public housing called Arthur Capper Homes. The film has two de facto "stars", Arthur Capper resident Debra Frazier and Anu Yadav, a performance artist of South Asian origin. The two form unlikely yet complementary poles in the moving narrative. A quickly built official website for Chocolate City
is down now seems to be back up after having received so many hits it temporarily exceeded its bandwidth. I'm also pointing readers to Jennifer Tchinnosian's 6 Feb 2008 review in George Washington University's student paper, the Daily Colonial, a name which is wholly a propos.