I was really debating whether or not to blog about this, but there are so many similarities concerning our local situation and stories concerning Shelbyville's refugee community and what is happening here, that I feel it warrants some discussion.
Also, there is a twist in this tale that makes it nearly impossible to attribute this mess to racism. Cultural differences, yes. But not race.
The small barren courtyard that separates the apartment buildings of Dwan Dillard and Mohamed Adin in Northwest Roanoke might as well be an ocean, so deep is the dislike that the American-born black woman and the Somali Bantu refugee have of each other.
"That out there is a war zone," said Dillard, whose four children live with her at Maple Grove Apartments, a blighted complex of four buildings with a total of 40 units on Pilot Street near Melrose Avenue. "The African children attack ours. They throw rocks."
Adin, who lives with his wife and nine children, blames "the Americans." Through an interpreter he said, "Day and night they throw rocks at our building. They yell at us. We are afraid. This isn't what we came to this country for."
Graffiti on the Maple Grove Apartments street sign read "Americans only," and "Africans not welcome."
Read the whole story. Some of our readers have posted on our website in regards to an extremely similar situation here, and this is the only reason I'm bringing this to your attention. Quite frankly, given some of the comments expressed on this website about my Somali series and other things I've been told off the record, I'm really worried we could be headed in this direction. We really need to be thinking about this and the impression it could be giving others about Shelbyville and this county. So, let's keep the discussion civil.