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Wed Jul 17, 2013, 12:04 PM

Blood Brothers


"It's impossible for a chicken to produce a duck egg -- even though they both belong to the same family of fowl. A chicken just doesn't have it within its system to produce a duck egg. It can't do it. It can only produce according to what that particular system was constructed to produce." -- Malcolm X; May 29, 1964.

The above quote comes from a speech that Malcolm X delivered in New York City, in response to a month-long collection of articles in the local newspapers about a group of young black males called the "Blood Brothers." This highly secretive group, armed with deadly firearms and intent upon the indiscriminite murder of white people, existed only in the imaginations of a segment of the city's white population.

This isn't to imply that there were no young black males in NYC with access to weapons, and hatred for white folk. Rather, it illustrates how a fearful segment of the population, fed a lie by the media, could come to see literally every young black male as posing a potential threat to their safety and well-being.

Of course, our society has made progress on issues involving "race" (another concept that exists only within people's heads) in the last 50 years. But after the verdict was announced in the Zimmerman trial, I found myself wishing that Minister Malcolm were here to deliver a message of truth to the citizens of this nation.

The American criminal justice system tends to produce one outcome for young black males: incarceration, parole, and probation. A larger percentage of young black males are "enrolled" in the prison-industrial complex, than in our colleges and universities. With this in mind, one could hardly be surprised that Zimmerman was found "not guilty," even though he absolutely murdered Trayvon Martin.
The system in Florida is not geared to produce social justice for young black males. Had Trayvon lived to see 18, it is questionable if that system would have allowed him to vote in the next presidential election. That same system has created a system of laws that allow for specific segments of the population to carry concealed, loaded firearms, and to "stand their ground," even when common sense shows them to be ethically or morally tresspassing on other people's rights and lives.

Small wonder that same system would put the murder victim on trial. The only thing that surprised me was that the defense attornies did not introduce those 1964 newspaper articles into evidence, to support Zimmerman's paranoid beliefs about the severe danger Trayvon posed to the good people of his community.

I will be surprised if the Department of Justice actually takes any action beyond "investigating" the murder. It's not because investigators and lawyers will be unable to identify an avenue for prosecuting Zimmerman for infringing upon Trayvon's civil rights. Young black males should have the right to purchase ice tea and skittles without being profiled and murdered. And to walk home in the rain, without a racist, violent escort.

I am reminded of the 1998 incident, where a racist hate group viciously assaulted my nephew. They were upset that a brown-skinned high school scholar-athlete was getting positive media attention, after leading his team to a state title. I've discussed this before on this forum: the gang members, after calling my nephew "dumb nigger," would attack him in a dark parking lot, and leave him for dead. Although he sustained permanent physical injuries, the local justice system could not produce justice. The 280-pound gang leader, who admitted punching and kicking my nephew as he lay unconscious on the ground, got a $50 fine -- because he had an open can of beer at the time of the assault.

The DOJ did investigate, to determine if my nephew's "civil rights" had been violated. The FBI investigator that came to my relatives' home was a good man. He understood what the deal was. He was Jewish, and talked about his extended family's experience in Germany. And he spoke about the cancer of hatred that threatened our society. But he could not encourage any hope that the DOJ would do anything beyond investigate. While the investigators and lawyers were sincere about seeking justice in the land, the politicians who headed various government agencies always view every situation in the context of political gain versus loss.

Yet good people do not have to accept total defeat and a lack of social justice. In the incident with my nephew, we used the media coverage of the thugs' trials (4 of the 17 gang members were charged) to educate the public. More, we took advantage of the opportunity to engage groups and individuals who normally identified themselves as marginalized by the system. We registered new voters. We expanded our ability to influence the outcome of local elections; today, we are not limited to deciding which candidate the system puts forward will win -- we successfully run our own candidates.

If everyone outraged by the Zimmerman verdict would register one person to vote, our numbers would double. Register two, and we triple. Invest an afternoon or evening in community organizing, and decide the next election. Harness the potential strength, and gain the ability to elect our own candidates.

That is the only way to actually make meaningful changes in the system. And it can be done.

Peace,
H2O Man

27 replies, 2245 views

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Arrow 27 replies Author Time Post
Reply Blood Brothers (Original post)
H2O Man Jul 2013 OP
handmade34 Jul 2013 #1
H2O Man Jul 2013 #3
Sissyk Jul 2013 #2
H2O Man Jul 2013 #4
coeur_de_lion Jul 2013 #5
H2O Man Jul 2013 #8
coeur_de_lion Jul 2013 #10
coeur_de_lion Jul 2013 #6
Me. Jul 2013 #7
H2O Man Jul 2013 #9
coeur_de_lion Jul 2013 #11
H2O Man Jul 2013 #14
Me. Jul 2013 #17
coeur_de_lion Jul 2013 #24
Me. Jul 2013 #25
coeur_de_lion Jul 2013 #26
Me. Jul 2013 #27
Cleita Jul 2013 #12
H2O Man Jul 2013 #13
mstinamotorcity2 Jul 2013 #15
coeur_de_lion Jul 2013 #16
mstinamotorcity2 Jul 2013 #18
coeur_de_lion Jul 2013 #19
H2O Man Jul 2013 #21
mstinamotorcity2 Jul 2013 #23
malaise Jul 2013 #20
H2O Man Jul 2013 #22

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 12:09 PM

1. ...

"If everyone outraged by the Zimmerman verdict would register one person to vote..."

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Response to handmade34 (Reply #1)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 02:40 PM

3. thanks

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 12:45 PM

2. Big K&R!

Thank you for letting us read this, H20 Man. We can make changes. We can! One vote at a time.

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Response to Sissyk (Reply #2)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 02:41 PM

4. thank you!

I appreciate that you took the time to read it!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 03:53 PM

5. Ah, the voice of reason speaks

Thank you H2O for putting into words how I've been feeling.

Instead of crying with outrage about the injustice to Trayvon we need to turn this state on its ear and register so many democratic voters that we can change the laws here and get justice for future young black men.

I know there can't be only a devastating unhappy end to this story. Trayvon's life means something. We can make it mean an end to unjust laws in this state.

Florida is known for it's bias toward wealthy white republicans. But in November 2012 (in Miami-Dade, Trayvon's home county) even when they had to stand in line for 8 hours or more the people stood there and made sure their votes counted.

South Florida Voters Stood in Line Hours After Polls Closed

http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/Polls-Open-in-South-Florida-for-Election-Day-2012-177449191.html

I think Florida is ready to rise up and make our voices heard. I think after years of Rick Scott and Jeb Bush we're ready to put an end to what amounts to tyranny.

I've never seen so many people so outraged. There can never be any justification for Trayvon's death, and certainly there is no excuse for the verdict in favor of Zimmerman. But we can and will turn this into a positive for Florida. For Trayvon.

I'm done crying. I'm done feeling angry. I don't want to waste any more energy wishing things were better and being angry that they aren't. Now I just want to take action.

Thanks H2O for pointing the way!

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #5)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 06:38 PM

8. When something happens,

even as tragic as this -- followed by a gross injustice -- we have two options: we can complain, until the next event gives us something more to complain about; or we can become stronger -- not because of the tragic circumstance, but despite it. There really aren't any options.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #8)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 07:05 PM

10. Exactly

Either we let this get the better of us and complain endlessly or we respond by taking positive action so it doesn't happen again.

Republicans have very patiently slowly and carefully initiated laws designed to give them an advantage over the lower and middle classes.

We have to be just as methodical as we unwind all this crap, and it starts with making sure Democrats are elected.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 04:20 PM

6. Best way to respond to Trayvon Martin verdict? Vote

http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/17/opinion/belcher-trayvon-martin-voter/index.html?hpt=hp_t4

Editor's note: Cornell Belcher, a CNN contributor, was the Democratic National Committee's pollster under Chairman Howard Dean in 2005 and worked on the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaigns. Follow him on Twitter: @cornellbelcher

(CNN) -- I was in Florida this week, not for the vigils and protest at the Sanford courthouse, but as a guest of an organization that changed this country's political, cultural and moral trajectory through its protest and more importantly through its organizing before I was even born.

As I sat on a panel on civic engagement at the NAACP convention in Orlando, looking out at the crowd of still passionate, but aging warriors of grassroots organizing who fought injustice, I couldn't help but think in the face of this tragedy fanning a deep hunger for action -- what would Fannie Lou Hamer do? What would Baynard Rustin do? What would Cesar Chavez do? What would some of the organizing pioneers of the movements that changed our country do in the face of such injustice and subsequent unrest growing out of this irreconcilable moral incongruity?

The acquittal of George Zimmerman is triggering a truly grassroots hunger for action to help heal the hurt the community feels. There needs to be a modicum of moral satisfaction to help heal the divide. And yes moral, because while pundits can argue all day about the legal correctness of the verdict, one has to submit that letting an armed grown man off scot-free after he stalked and killed a teenager who was doing nothing more than walking home with candy does not sit well in the court of moral opinion.

There being no consequence for killing an unarmed child who wasn't bothering anyone has to be in conflict with our nation's moral compass or we have to admit that our moral compass is at best broken and at worst a convenient lie. This moral distress needs a positive outlet.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 06:09 PM

7. Stop & Frisk

Is an outrage in this city and shows Bloomberg's true colors and why Kelley should never, ever, be appointed to head Homeland Security. Of the 250+ thousand stopped last year 94% were minorities. And Bloomberg's nonsense explanation that the minority community commits a greater number of the 500 murders in the city last year is such a load of gorp. Not one of those stopped committed one of those murders as far as I know.

What I think is necessary is an organization that not only funds but helps people acquire the ID needed under the stringent restrictions some states are enacting. redistricting and trying to stop people from voting is so short-sighted for as statisticians's have been saying, in time there will be more of the 'others' than them.

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Response to Me. (Reply #7)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 06:50 PM

9. Two weeks ago,

my oldest son was assaulted by a thug in the city where he & his brother live. My older boy, although big and strong as an ox, is gentle, and does not believe in fighting. (Had it been his brother,things would have been very different.) He was merely sitting on his porch, enjoying the nice weather after putting in a day's work.

A city patrolman was across the street, and witnessed the unprovoked attack. But he did nothing. A half an hour later, the thug attacked a 15-year old girl; two cops arrested him for that. The following day, my younger boy took his brother to the police station, to ask the first cop to press charges. The officer simply refused, saying what's the use? The court would just throw it out, because there are so many more pressing crimes to deal with.

The legal system needs a'changing. Had the thug "keyed" my son's car, he would have been arrested, and charged at a higher level of crime than the assault.

My son had a concussion. Although he works about 55-60 hours a week, his employer offers no medical benefits. I believe the health care system needs some more changing, too. But those politicians currently in office aren't going to change either system. Not out of any sense of good will, anyhow. We need to make the changes in elected representatives, before the system will be changed. The Zimmerman case should reinforce that simple truth to all people of good will.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #9)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 07:08 PM

11. Be the change you want to see in the world

We need to make the changes in elected representatives, before the system will be changed. The Zimmerman case should reinforce that simple truth to all people of good will.


I wish we could ALL see this so clearly.

I hope the ones who don't see it (yet) are still people of good will.

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #11)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 07:46 PM

14. Right.

I used to use the model of a mobile hanging over a baby's crib, when I worked in human services. If one piece shifts its position, every other piece must move, as well. The same holds true in each of our individual lives, and the plain truth is that this is the level where all of the energy required for positive social/political change is found. Hoping that some noble "leader" will come and institute the changes necessary to improve our system is cousin to the thinking that some aliens or divinity will come down from the sky to save us.

That's not to say it's easy to make meaningful change. If it were easy, it would have been done already. Sometimes, the other pieces on a mobile are entrenched, and do their very best to hold the one in place. Yet change is constant; we can either work tomake things better, or sit by and watch this nation go down the drain.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #9)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 08:17 PM

17. I Don't Know If You Saw This

But the NYT is reporting that health insurance prices in NYS are beginning to plummet due to Obamacare. What used to cost $1000./month is down to $300./month. Now that is still too expensive for many people but it is predicted that it will end up costing $300./year which would be a blessing for so many.

Ray Kelly and his police are the types that would ignore your son. They are, as many PD's are becoming, a militia rather than a police force.

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Response to Me. (Reply #17)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 11:24 PM

24. almost makes me want to move back to NY

But it's too damn cold up there.

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #24)

Thu Jul 18, 2013, 04:20 PM

25. COLD?

The screech in my voice reflects the oven that is our outside temp. Oh for some lovely cold snow. And no offense LionHeart but my fear is that as the earth becomes hotter we'll become tropical and the next Florid.

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Response to Me. (Reply #25)

Fri Jul 19, 2013, 10:02 AM

26. The last summer I spent in NJ (think it was 1993)

It got up to over 100 in my house . . . . we had no central air because up north you don't have it in older houses and generally don't need it -- a box fan in the window will suffice. Freakishly hot summer that year.

I had to get up several times a night, dunk myself in a cold bath and go back to bed.

It was miserable.

Now I'm in Florida and anyone here will tell you, we cherish our A/C. Can't live without it for a single minute.

But Mary, I wouldn't trade all of our miserably hot summers for a single winter up there in the snow.

I hate being cold and I especially hate driving on a foot of ice for months. That was my last winter up there, just as miserable as my last summer.

I'm not coming back I don't care how many George Zimmerman's get off Scott free.

It upsets me a little when people say "Florida screwed up". Florida didn't. A handful of Floridians screwed up.

But I think Zimmy will move out of state. It simply isn't safe for him here. There are a handful of states that would welcome him and let him kill as many black 17 year olds as he wants . . . I won't name names.

But if he stays here his life isn't worth a plug nickel. If he stays he won't live out the year, that's my opinion.

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #26)

Fri Jul 19, 2013, 04:42 PM

27. I'd Say I Wish You'd Come Back North

But I think it's better to have people like you in Florida. My comment wasn't so much about the state of Florida politics but more weather related. There are weather predictions out there that in time we are going to be more tropical. The thought gives me a chill. Unlike you I like the cold. Crisp breezes on the face, fireplace dinners and lovely soft sweaters.

As for Zimmy...I truly believe that sooner or later he will end up behind bars. He has a history pf violence and can't help himself. Just as with OJ sooner or later his ego will overtake him again and this tome he won't escape justice.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 07:08 PM

12. Another K&R

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Response to Cleita (Reply #12)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 07:14 PM

13. Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 07:53 PM

15. some of us are there

even though we are hurt and angry. Some of us have never stopped trying to increase the democratic party. If we had no place to vent, well I don't want to think about it.
For some of us though we remain in the fight its a little dis heartening when you put in your all to make a better life for you and your children and it feels like nothing is working.

I have been in this game a long time. I have friends who ask me why do you follow politics so closely?? Why are you still working with those snotty nosed kids?? You are not going to change anything. Why are you sending those emails to politicians?? They don't give a fuck about us. Why? Why?

And I will admit after this verdict, I asked myself why?

Since my children were young I instilled in them the importance of their right to vote. I explained the corrupt For Profit Prison System. I explained to them about Weapons manufacturers and their need for more guns on our streets. Their dad and I have had " The Talk" with the boys and the girls. I registered about 100 people last year. About 20 this year. Been little slow. Probably will pick up on Saturday going to Justice March where I am sure I will get some more registered. But I will not LIE, my confidence has been shaken. And I have been shaken before (especially during ACA fight), this one just hurt real bad.

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Response to mstinamotorcity2 (Reply #15)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 08:11 PM

16. Really glad you'll continue to fight

I think we're all devastated, and it would be easy to give up.

Thank you for everything you've done so far, and in advance for everything you will do in the future.

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #16)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 08:17 PM

18. Thank you

sometimes you just want to feel like you matter. You just want to know your work isn't in vain. And believe it or not your words though they are few felt pretty good to see. Thanks again.

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Response to mstinamotorcity2 (Reply #18)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 08:21 PM

19. Awwwww! you made my day!

How sweet!

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Response to mstinamotorcity2 (Reply #15)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 08:34 PM

21. Sometimes things like

this verdict knock the wind out of me, too. (I waited for a few days after the verdict to post an OP about it, because the cranky, snarling H2O Man had taken over my keyboard.)

I like to read Gandhi and King when I'm feeling down. Both of these giants experienced the exact emotions that you have described here so well. Both questioned, from time to time, if their efforts were in vain.

For the past 48 hours, I've been speculating -- to myself -- on what this man-child might have become, if that slimy slug had not murdered him? I thought of how President Obama said that if he had a son, he'd look like Trayvon. And hoe the young Barack had actually been an angry teen himself -- for that is the job description of teen-aged males.

We will never know. But we can work to make sure this young man's death, and his family's suffering, is not in vain.

Thanks for your response! Much appreciated.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #21)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 09:21 PM

23. Cranky and Snarley came to my house

and met up with potty mouth and teary snot, and got on my keyboard and vented until they had nothing left but a bunch of Kleenex or maybe it was Charmin I finally settled down and could start to get my thoughts together. I am really glad you put your op in. You saw some of us going there and you reached out to bring us back to who we are at DU. Street Fighters with a purpose. You know I wasn't scared. Got a couple post hidden and just was all in. Okay everybody I apologize for taking a Lunch. Don't count it against me even though from those who don't know me, probably will. I'm good. Those of you that know me know I respect the things I learn and the things you share. You also know I appreciate all of it. This one is on me http://www.democraticunderground.com/1018436694

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 08:25 PM

20. Well said

Put simply engage or be victims of others who have long been engaged in keeping us down.

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Response to malaise (Reply #20)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 08:44 PM

22. Yeah.

It really is that simple.

Thanks!

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