Interview with Bill Perry
QUESTION 7
JAMES A. DeVINNEY:

Okay, tell me about those young people in the streets.

BILL PERRY:

I sensed an attitude amongst the youngsters in the streets uh, immediately following the disturbance and even during the disturbance that I hadn't seen before, that was somewhat frightening. When you see kids stand in front of national guardsman with an automatic weapon and stand there and curse them out with all kind of profanity and vulgarity, and actually dare them to do something. I hadn't seen that kind of behavior before. Ah, the kind of looting that tak--took place and the youngsters breaking into stores and taking bicycles and sofas and televisions. Ah, I was somewhat alarmed at that uh, I expected some looting to occur, but I think this's a carryover of the attitude that we're just going to take over now, we're going to get even, saw a lot of that. And I, it's somewhat frightening now to think that happened back in 1980 and these, the youngsters that participated then are now in high school and some have finished high school and I just wonder if we've looked at the behavior they manifested then and has there been any carryover today.

JAMES A. DeVINNEY:

Lets stop down, sorry to be so stop-and-start here.


Tell us, just take it.

BILL PERRY:

Okay. You know, we, we often will look at the disturbances and the people that were involved in the disturbances and ask the question, you know, what benefits have we gained. I see two kinds of things happening. Ah, those persons, the so-called Black professionals, African-American professionals who have gained the most--the least. Ah, the people that participated in the demonstrations and the, the uh, revolutions as they called them, uh, gained the least. If you look at what occurred, following the demonstration, each time there have been meetings downtown and persons have participated in those meetings, and what we've found is those persons that have gone to those meetings attempting to negotiate on behalf of the community, were negotiating on their personal behalf. Consequently, the total community loses. I think that what has happened is that, that every time there's been an incident like this there have been persons in this community in particular that have gotten promoted, uh, new money is put into the community and certain individuals benefit. But as a consequent of those persons out in the street throwing the bottles, setting the fires, rooting--looting and carrying on those kind of actions at others people's benefit, other peoples--people benefit. I criticize those people because they don't make a contribution to the community, they don't realize that had it not been for the disturbance, they never would have gotten the promotion. I mean they're the people that work in social service agencies now, work in those agencies as a result of the disturbances that occurred in the street. They don't pay back anything. We have in this community what I began to identify as hidden negroes, those persons that work with the Fortune 500 companies, that you go to a meeting, uh, go to a corporate kind of meeting, you find them, you know, scattered in the crowd, and you say, my God, where have these people been hiding all along. I think things are coming full circle now. They've been isolated and alienated from their own people and they're beginning to find and discover that they're not accepted out there either when they move out into suburbia. So I think what we're beginning to see is the so-called Black professional beginning to move back into the inner city and attempting to make a contribution. Ah, I hope that we can trust them and accept the contribution that they're willing to make, but they're not coming back with the magnitude that I would like to see them come back in this community.