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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Come On! Really? We Are Post-Racial?

I keep hearing this term, but I have to say, I just don't believe it. Saying that Racism is dead is like saying this whole Zombie Apocalypse fad was over in 1968, right after Romero first released Night of the Living Dead. Post-racial could mean something different to the people saying it, but let me define it for me. To me it means a world that does not include racial bias. Racial bias is the segregation of persons based on color or national origin, based on racial self-identification. Segregation, as it pertains to humans, is exclusion, in thought or deed, based on a specific identifier, such as race, religion, gender or sexual preference, or another physical or mental characteristic. When I hear, "We are in a post-racial world," I check to see if people are still being excluded from a society or societies based on one of the above criteria. The answer is always, "That's just not true."

Florida v. Zimmerman... or how a young black man is tried for his own murder

The most recent example of this, in my framing, is the recent Florida v. Zimmerman case. In this case, as I pointed out in a personal exchange with a friend, the defendant, George Zimmerman saw a young black man walking around the neighborhood, and said, "he looks suspicious, he's black and he's wearing a hoodie." Zimmerman called the police, and let them know of the sighting, asking if he should pursue the young man, Trayvon Martin. The person he was speaking to said that an officer would be dispatched, and that Mr. Zimmerman did not need to follow Martin. Zimmerman proceeded to follow Martin, despite another person saying, that is not necessary. Martin, at the time, was on the phone with a friend of his, Rachel Jeantel. This will be important later.

What the Hell happened?

No one knows what happened next, for sure, except that there was a verbal exchange, a physical altercation and then Zimmerman shot Martin. Or if you listen to Geraldo Rivera, Trayvon Martin walked outside in a hoodie and Zimmerman defended himself, end of story. This is corroborated by the dispatcher recording and ear-witness testimony by Jeantel. The police responded, interviewed Zimmerman, then released him. He was not arrested, for 40 plus days. He was recently acquitted of all charges, where a slew of peaceful protests broke out and scared the crap out of Fox News. Based on listening to the recording of the call Zimmerman made and the parts of the trial I was able to watch, I believe that Zimmerman, whether he intended to kill Martin or not, was motivated by a racial prejudice based on Martin's skin color and his youth. You can listen to the original call here. At the 2:35 mark the operator clearly says, "Are you following him?" Zimmerman answers, "Yes" and the operator says, "You don't have to do that." Which Zimmerman apparently ignores, as evidenced by the rest of call.
43 Days Later

It took 43 days and an enormous public outcry before George Zimmerman was indicted for murder, for killing Trayvon Martin, which is 3 days more than one of Moses followers finally told him to fess up and admit he was lost. During that time, Trayvon Martin was lying in a mortician's lab, George Zimmerman was laying in his bed. Martin was interred into the ground. Zimmerman went to work. Martin did nothing else. Zimmerman lived his life. And the Internet went ape-shit with cries of Zimmerman being a hero; and Martin was nothing but a drug-addled thug, that hated whites and apparently wanted to start a race war. And also that Zimmerman was a racist that was looking for black kids he could kill with impunity, and hated anyone that wasn't white. Neither of these is true, but it brought out the worst in humanity. You can find a fairly succinct summary of all this by searching Twitter for #TrayvonMartin and #Zimmerman. This sentiment was carried through the investigation and the trial. Blacks were vilified for expressing outrage over the fact that Zimmerman was free. The fact that he would be able use a defense of Stand Your Ground, even though he admitted that he followed and harassed Martin, thus provoking the fight, that led to him being hit. Now let's juxtapose that with the case of Florida v. Alexander.

Florida v. Alexander or, "The other whiskey tango foxtrot of the year"

In August of 2010, a wife and mother of three, was confronted in her home by her abusive ex-husband, and another person. She ran to her car, found that she did not have her keys, and had to go back in to the home to get the keys. She was cornered in her kitchen, she fires a shot over her ex's head. She is arrested immediately, tried, is offered a plea deal, rejects is it and is sentenced to 20 years. Literally, within In these two cases one person ends up dead, the other doesn't. The person who decided not kill someone is sentenced to 20 years and is denied the Stand Your Ground defense. The person who kills the victim, doesn't use the Stand Your Ground defense, but still has the language used in the instructions to the Jury. They were both against black men, but what was the difference in these two cases, besides one person dying? The perpetrator of one crime was a BLACK WOMAN, the perpetrator of other was a Half-Latino, Half-Caucasian Man, confronting a BLACK MAN.

The Curious Case of CeeCee McDonald

A young transgender woman, CeeCee McDonald and some friends were walking home from getting some food in Rosedale, IL, when they were attacked by 4 people, two women and two men. CeeCee ended up killing of the assailants, and is serving 41 months in jail. Instead of being able to plead self-defense, she agreed to a lesser sentence for pleading guilty. If she had been convicted she could have faced 40 years behind bars. CeeCee has been living as a woman for several years, and is taking the hormones to become a man. According to several witnesses these were both key factors in the original attack, as several racist and homophobic slurs were hurled at CeeCee. Instead of charging her attackers for assault, at the very least, they were let go, and were later scheduled to testify at her trial, without every seeing the inside of a cell. CeeCee McDonald is the worst of the worst, a birth-gender assigned man, and emotionally/psychologically gender-assigned woman, who is also Black. This is not unusual and shows the street level of living Racism. Now let's look at the System. The Man, if you will.

Look at the Numbers... or "I don’t know where they went to school, but they certainly didn't take a math course. Or a logic course."
Racism is the new black in the US, by which I mean, that Blacks are more likely to be victims of racism in America. If it's a new day in America, then it's kind of like Wednesday, where not much is different from Tuesday an you are really looking forward to Friday. Looking at several studies, done by the FBI, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Census Bureau, three bastions of fair and balanced reporting, it's pretty apparent that Racism is dead in America, but not dead like Grandpa, but more like dead like George Romero's masturbation fantasies.

Hate Crime
According to the FBI Crime Statistics from 2011 Hate Crimes, when looked at on the basis of racial bias, are four times as likely to be motivated by anti-Black bias; 72% are based on anti-Black bias, 16.7% on anti-White bias. Of all the crimes denoted as "Hate Crimes" over 46% are based on racial bias. When looked at together, this says that of all the crimes committed because of Bias, 34% are perpetuated against blacks. According to the U.S. Census Bureau the Black population of the United States was a hair over 48 Million. The White population according to the U.S Census of 2010 was over 196 million. Even if converted to pure numbers, across the entire populations of Black and White Americans, this would mean over 36M anti-Black crimes in one year, and only 32M anti-White crimes. In. One. Year.That is only counting one crime per citizen.

According to the FBI UCR for 2010, Blacks were more than 4 time more likely to be the victims of hate crimes, than Whites. So if you were White, in 2010 things weren't so bad. If you weren't White, well probably best not to think about it... except for those that walked outside their homes in New York City every day.

Stop and Frisk

Several States have a set of laws that are geared to reducing violent crime in heavy crime areas, according to the brochure. Most notably, New York City, NY has demonstrated the futility of these programs, in a little thing I like to call harass the Minorities, but that NYPD calls Stop, Question and Frisk, though usually the word Question is forgotten. There have been several police officers that have come forth, detailing the blatant racism in the pre-shift briefings, to the staggering statistics released by the NYCLU regarding the number of whites versus people of color being stopped and frisked, versus the number of tangible evidence to come from the same. Despite Mayor Bloomberg's assertion that not enough Black and Latino young men are being stopped and frisked, it is apparent that Whites are being seriously under represented in this program. If I was in New York, I would think the police had something against me, because I'm White. Is it that they don't want to talk to Whites? Are the cops so enamored with Minorities they have to come up with excuses to talk to Blacks and Latinos? White New Yorkers in Manhattan, especially those on Wall Street need to assert their White Privilege and demand to be stopped and frisked.

We Elected A Black President... or "No, it's cool, I have a black friend."

This is one of the most touted refrains to illustrate the point of the demise of Racism in the United States. Barak Obama is half African, half Caucasian. Now, the fact that a Black man is now President of the United States does not mean racism is dead, it just means that Americans are dumber than they really think. The fact that it took 250 years to elect a man that wasn't old, white and rich just means that racism was much more open, until recently, or maybe the other guy was just that bad.

If you have to reference your "Black friend," in any argument, I gotta break it to you, you don't have a black friend. There is a Black Person you don't mind sitting on the furniture, that you happen to hang out with occasionally. The next time you want to use that line, call up that Black friend and tell them what you were about to say, first. See how they react. If they are cool with it, tell them again, because most likely they were too stunned to really comprehend the fact that they thought you were friends.

It's like the line from the popular HBO show, The Game of Thrones. Anyone who has to announce they are King, is no King at all. Electing a Black President is not the end of the road, it is a very small step on a very long road, and the end of that road will be reached when the wage gap is gone, when young men of color are no longer the majority being stopped and frisked, and when the Justice System progresses to the point where all notations of race are used only to tell two different John Smiths apart, or maybe we could just use, you know some identifier unique to each person, that can't be faked. Justice may be blind, but She's definitely not color blind.

Wesley Henderson 

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