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Fri Mar 30, 2012, 04:58 PM

Re: Trayvon Martin

I have never experienced being a young black male in the United States of America. But I do have an understanding of some of the issues involved in that reality. Part of that understanding comes from reading: Dr. Rubin "Hurricane" Carter published his second book in 2011, which contained numerous and overwhelming statistics about the percentage of young black men involved -- in a negative way -- with the nation's legal system. More, my 40+ year friendship with Rube provided an eye-opening experience in the context of John Artis and Carter's journey through hell on earth, as young black men in America.

The murder of Trayvon Martin, and the failure of the legal system to provide justice, hits me in a way that a book cannot. A significant portion of my extended famil is black- or brown-skinned. Others are red, yellow, or white, providing a wide range of experiences. And I am not trying to say that the majority of life experiences are "bad." But some have come to mind as I watch the coverage of this murder case.

At times, things are just stupid. A cashier in a "Quick-Mart" telling "nigger jokes" when a nephew is at the counter. (She was quickly fired.) Other incidents are even stranger. A report goes out that a young black man robbed a store in a community 42 miles away; ten minutes after the first report, a town cop handcuffs another nephew as a "suspect." This nephew grew up in the town, and was a well-known high school scholar-athlete. But they all look alike.

Sometimes it's deadly. I had known Marvin since I was three. On May 15, 1979, he was with his brother and two friends at a local bar. Marv's brother ALWAYS cheated at cards, and he attempted to "win" a drink in a cardgame with one of the other guys. But he got caught, and his friend freaked. He drove to his girlfriend's house, and grabbed his shotgun. He found Marvin and the other fellow smoking a joint in the parking lot. When he raised the shotgun, Marvin said to him, "Hey! I've got no problem with you!" After killing Marvin, then the friend, he went into the bar and killed Marvin's brother.

I remember going towards the funeral home a few days later. A town cop was across the street, standing next to his car, with a large shotgun in his hand. I knew him, as he is "half" Native American, and seemed okay about half of the time. So it was surreal when, as I was walking by him, he said, "Pat, what'll you all think if I'm aiming this at you when you leave the funeral home?"

The triple murder was treated a bit less harsh than it might have been, because Marvin and his brother were black. The judge hearing the case would hear another in the same month; he sentenced a college student, with no previous record, to longer for having a quarter-gram of cocaine, than he did to a triple-murderer.

I've spoken before on DU about my nephew being viciously attacked by 17 members of a racial hate group. They resented that a brown-skinned high school senior was getting a lot of press, for taking his team to win a state title. The judge hearing the case, after being told the attackers called my nephew a "dumb nigger," that he did not believe this "proved" racial animosity. What else could "dumb nigger" possibly suggest?

The leader of the gange, who admitted punching and kicking my nephew as he lay unconscious, would be sentenced for a $50 fine -- for having an open beer at the time. That was it. Leaving a brutalized teenager for dead in a dark field didn't warrent a penalty.

A few years later, a group of teens approached me to request help. Their friend, then 18, had been given a life sentence for having sex with a minor, they claimed. I told them that I had my doubts that I was hearing the whole case. But the next day, they brought me documentation for the arrest, the trial, and sentence.

Had the girl who admitted approaching this young man been two weeks older, the oral sex she performed on him would have been legal. But because he was black, and she was white, it was prosecuted as a felony. And he was indeed given a life sentence -- although his only previous legal record was for being at a party where teens had beer and pot, and which was busted by police.

I called Rubin's attorney; he had me contact the original lawyer, to see if he had made an honest effort to defend this young man. The guy was honest: he really hadn't, because he had been able to resolve a number of cases with the DA in one big deal.

This young man was not born in the USA, and English was not his first language. He had not been referred for a psychological evaluation, to determine things such as "risk factor," possible treatment, or if he even understood English well enough to allow him to assist in his own defense.

Long story short: we got him out. But only after he had spent a year in Attica. I still have the letters he sent me during the year of incarceration. And I'm happy to say he has not had a single brush with the law in the decade since being released.

I could go on and on .... even more than I have here. And I realize that many other people have many other stories that are much the same. These are the things that I think about as I watch the Zimmerman folks adding layer upon layer of lies to try to justify the murder of a black teenager who was simply minding his own business in America.

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Arrow 37 replies Author Time Post
Reply Re: Trayvon Martin (Original post)
H2O Man Mar 2012 OP
sudopod Mar 2012 #1
MarianJack Mar 2012 #2
arthritisR_US Mar 2012 #3
myrna minx Mar 2012 #4
EFerrari Mar 2012 #5
NOLALady Mar 2012 #17
EFerrari Mar 2012 #21
chervilant Mar 2012 #26
H2O Man Mar 2012 #27
EFerrari Mar 2012 #31
steve2470 Mar 2012 #6
1StrongBlackMan Mar 2012 #7
lunatica Mar 2012 #8
malaise Mar 2012 #9
DallasNE Mar 2012 #10
Bluerthanblue Mar 2012 #11
1StrongBlackMan Mar 2012 #12
zeemike Mar 2012 #13
MrScorpio Mar 2012 #14
barbtries Mar 2012 #15
Kalidurga Mar 2012 #16
spanone Mar 2012 #18
Mopar151 Mar 2012 #19
sabrina 1 Mar 2012 #20
Gregorian Mar 2012 #22
babylonsister Mar 2012 #23
Vattel Mar 2012 #24
H2O Man Mar 2012 #29
Vattel Mar 2012 #32
H2O Man Mar 2012 #33
1StrongBlackMan Apr 2012 #37
ewagner Mar 2012 #25
marshall gaines Mar 2012 #28
coeur_de_lion Mar 2012 #30
Horse with no Name Apr 2012 #34
gordianot Apr 2012 #35
GETTINGTIRED Apr 2012 #36

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 05:05 PM

1. nt

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 05:12 PM

2. Powerful, H2O Man.

K&R!

PEACE!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 05:18 PM

3. Wow, keep on keeping on.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 05:31 PM

4. Thank you for sharing your powerful experiences with us.

It makes me weep.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 05:31 PM

5. Years ago, decades now, I used to think Angela Davis was over the top

in the claims she made about the treatment of black youth in the criminal justice system. That's ignorance for you. It hates having its comfortable bubble jostled against hard surfaces or sharp edges.

I blame suburban living for a lot of things. It isolates nuclear families into stressed, fragile, unsupported units, it occludes just about every basic process of living like where your food comes from or where your garbage goes, it promotes mind numbing conformity that discourages taking your brain out for a ride just because you can, which is the dying off of critical thinking, curiosity, even being able to attend to something outside yourself.

How can people who live that way get it together to notice injustice, let alone, to take action against it.

Social justice is a habit of mind and like language training or hygiene, kids need to get it early on so they can incorporate it in their view of the world they live in. it's not a habit you get from a bumper sticker or to please your college friends. Without a basic grounding in the humanity of other people, our kids become sponges for whatever shallow narrative the corporate media decides is most profitable on any given day.

And that's a shame.











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Response to EFerrari (Reply #5)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 07:34 PM

17. But,

This has been the Black experience before suburban living. It seems to me that critical thinking died long before the move to the suburbs.

I have stories of my own. I listened to the stories of my Father and how the Black WW2 military men were treated. I heard the stories of the military men who were hanged while in uniform.

I heard the stories of my GParents.

Sadly, this attitude didn't start in Suburbia. It didn't start with rap/hiphop. It didn't start with hoodies. IMHO

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Response to NOLALady (Reply #17)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 09:42 PM

21. While racism didn't start in suburbia

suburbia gave Jim Crow somewhere to go when it was kicked out of the public square, when you think about it, because many if not most suburbs were red-lined.

And when most people could afford a television, all that was reflected back to American audiences was straight, white, mostly suburban culture. Those of us who aren't those things were elided for a good twenty years. It was like a magic trick.

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Response to EFerrari (Reply #21)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 09:15 AM

26. Actually, more than 20 years...

You might be interested in Jerry Mander's Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television.

(For years, I didn't own a television. When I visited a friend whose television stayed on all her waking moments, I was appalled by the racist, sexist advertisements and the banal sitcom she was watching. Nothing much has changed in these last thirty years.)

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Response to chervilant (Reply #26)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 09:18 AM

27. Mander followed that book

with "In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology & the Survival of the Indian Nations." Both are good reads.

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Response to chervilant (Reply #26)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 01:08 PM

31. The Jeffersons went on the air in 1975, I was thinking of that show.

The other thing about suburbia is that it had / has no village square unless you count shopping malls. They used to also discourage walking or bike riding by failing to put in foot or bike paths.

If you red-line those housing tracts and eliminate the commons as they do, you have a more or less effective way to get around equal public accommodations and so, slow down their integration.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 05:33 PM

6. great OP as always, H2O Man ! nt

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 05:43 PM

7. I gladly call you my brother ...

 

Your experiences have taught you to be able to see the world through the eyes of others.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 05:45 PM

8. Thanks for adding to the talk we're having on DU

Racism is such an incredibly complex issue. It calls for a lot of stories like this. For a lot of thoughtful opinions and reasoned presentations. Racism is, or should be, quite personal to all of us. We need to become quite intolerant of it.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 05:46 PM

9. Thanks for this excellent post

Institutional racism is live and well

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 05:49 PM

10. I Don't Have A Story Like That

But while vacationing in south Florida I was driving on the main street in downtown Miami one lunch hour (about 1973) where I was setting in traffic at a stoplight when out of the corner of my eye I saw a young black man walking the same direction I was going. Then, coming from the opposite direction were two white guys and I smelled trouble. So did the black man and he took off running through a small park and sure enough the two white guys took off after him. They soon disappeared from sight behind a building so I don't know the outcome. Only about 50 feet in front of me was a pay phone so I attempted to get in the right lane to call the cops but the car to my right that I merged behind pulled up to the pay phone so I continued on. But this attempted assult happened in the middle of downtown Miami over a lunch hour. Florida seems to have a long history of race/hate problems and no place is safe from attack. Not even a gated community.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 05:51 PM

11. thank you seems

trite, but I mean it with all my heart.

You speak so well.


Thank you for speaking out.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 05:57 PM

12. Thanks ...

 

Other incidents are even stranger. A report goes out that a young black man robbed a store in a community 42 miles away; ten minutes after the first report, a town cop handcuffs another nephew as a "suspect." This nephew grew up in the town, and was a well-known high school scholar-athlete. But they all look alike.



This harkens back memories of when I was in undergrad (1980), a white woman was raped on campus. The college, as well as the small college town, imposed a dusk to dawn curfew for all Black men. The description of the assailant ... A Black man, medium to dark complexion, between 5'8" and 6'3" and between 150-220 lbs.

The curfew lasted about two days, when every Black male in the college (except the majority of the Black athletes), including staff and administration (all 40 of us) was taken to the town's jail.

Turned out the young woman had had a consensual liason ... well, consensual until her roommate came home early. (Please note: this is not to cast aspersion on victims for rape)

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 06:15 PM

13. WTF is wrong with us/

"because he had been able to resolve a number of cases with the DA in one big deal"

There it is....the criminal justice system is about the big deal not about justice..
somewhere along the line we lost sight of humanity and became players in the corrupt system.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 06:35 PM

14. America is not the same for all of us

You can see this.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 06:42 PM

15. these stories just break my heart.

so much injustice

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 07:04 PM

16. I am glad all the incidents I have seen have been relatively mild,

except for what happened when I was a child. I was about 5 years old and this tainted the relationship I had with my mother for a lifetime. I had no friends because being the from the poorest family in the school I was teased without mercy. I shouldn't say no friends, there were a couple of kids I could talk to once in a while. Anyway, a black family moved into the neighborhood. And their child attended my school, we became playground friends until my mother heard about it. She forbade me to talk to her. I don't know how she found out, but she did and I had never until that point seen her so angry. I respected her wishes, but that was the beginning of me losing respect for her. I had lost my only real friend up to that point in my life.

Since becoming and adult and moving a couple states away from my family, I met a Hispanic man, we became a couple. My mother wasn't outraged, but her snide comments about me not finding a white man were not appreciated. Nor, her comment on one of my children liking pepper on her food being because she is part Hispanic, btw she is the only one of my children who are also equally Hispanic that likes hot food.

Once this same man was stopped for driving while Hispanic in a suburban area of Madison Wisc. He violated no law other than not having a licence(cop didn't know that he just got lucky), so he had to pay a 100 dollar fine and got that money back upon getting his license within 30 days.

I can't recount every instance of police brutality and racial profiling I have personally witnessed, but the first one was about 26 years ago. Downtown Minneapolis on a routine traffic stop I saw a cop haul out the black driver of the vehicle, for no apparent reason, slam him to the ground and put his foot on his face while he read him his rights. I don't know the outcome of that incident. I do know it was a hot day and I didn't want my toddlers at the time to see this kind of thing.

It is a common thing for the police to patrol bars that have predominately black patrons and ignore white bars.

I see black children approached by the police quite frequently mostly males. It is so common a thing that all the black men I go to school with know they have to always have their ID. They bring that up when talking about voter ID laws, they are resigned to having to always have it on them anyway, some see it as an issue of fairness, like now maybe they should make sure all the white folks have to carry theirs as well.

When you are white it is not uncommon for other white people to tell racist jokes. I can't recall every instance of this, but those jokes get shot down by me and unfortunately I get branded as being someone without a sense of humor.

Then the most recent thing that boiled my blood was when I was working as a cashier and my boss was quite adamant about wanting me to do racial profiling. He was the one who told another manager the "joke" about calling the police if Indians were in the store because they were only there to shoplift. I am angry about this even though that was one of the main factors about me getting resolved to go back to school and I am back. But, still I really resent having been pushed in such a way.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 07:40 PM

18. ....

r

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 07:51 PM

19. I hear you, brotha.

I used to think the area I grew up in was some kind of Special Employment Zone for dumb-ass cops - I'm talking stupid, ignorant,mean, less than untrained, never shoulda passed the psych test they never had.
Now that i've been around, I know the truth - there are too many cops like this, everywhere. Some of the ones that start out good go bad, and the bad ones make each other worse.
Color / ethnicicity has some to do with it, it's true - but if that isn't present, some other rationale will be found. Bad family / "wrong sort of people" was popular in my area, along with "biker" and "hippie".
And one of the really awful things to learn - the WORST, lowlife, lyin' skeezballs were hooked up with the cops somehow, some way.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 08:11 PM

20. Thank you for the post, sorry about the way things are, still.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 09:58 PM

22. Sometimes patience is not a virtue.

I am deeply saddened at the rate of change this country is making with respect to justice versus skin color. I was caught stealing once. I remember standing before the judge. I remember lenience which would never ever have been provided someone who had the appearances which are the context of this discussion. I walked away, whereas others would have spent time behind bars.

There really is no justice if it is partially blind.

I see this as a function of education. I was full of hatred for Vietnamese after they began flooding into this country. It changed when two things happened. My father is a very kind man. And I had the opportunity of having lunch with one of his Vietnamese employees. That boy had been on a boat leaving Vietnam when he was 14. The ship sank, and he was swimming for his life. And now he was sitting across from me telling me about his life. Every bit of hatred vanished. And I lost all sense of people being of different races. We're all one.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 12:06 AM

23. And history repeats and repeats. Thank you, my friend. Maybe one day we will

end this sick cycle due solely to the color of someone's skin.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 07:34 AM

24. You don't know that it was murder, but don't let that stop you.

 

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Response to Vattel (Reply #24)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 11:53 AM

29. It is said

of elk feathers
as it relates to eyes in oak waters:
to pass over the hare
will be a downpour of egg

ps: how's the wife & kids?

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #29)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 05:42 PM

32. You have no real answer.

 

My advice to you is not to pretend you know things that you don't know. You weren't there. You only have incomplete information. You haven't examined the witnesses. For all you know, Martin attacked Zimmerman. I'm not saying he did or he didn't because I don't pretend to know.


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Response to Vattel (Reply #32)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 07:37 PM

33. As the

ear of the elk
ceases to seek
the heart of the cabbage
so does the honk of the gander
beckon the turtle from its shell.

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Response to Vattel (Reply #32)

Mon Apr 2, 2012, 07:44 PM

37. I find it telling ...

 

that you pick one part of one sentence of a multi-page OP to comment on ... and that parsed phrase was not the thrust of the OP.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 09:07 AM

25. Thanks H2O Man

Somehow America is supposed to believe that racism ended in the 60's and remarkably, it is those who point it out who are branded as the "real racists".

I think it is a universal truth that the first step in solving a problem is admitting that there IS a problem and sadly we are a long way from that.

As always I appreciate your thoughtful posts.

Best Wishes

e

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 09:38 AM

28. america

 

This is the real american street culture, from the judicial/justice/police system to the powers that create and pass the laws of this country. Very racist, always has been, always will be. The only hope that we have is there is a real evolution of the human condition/mind. Minorities, black especially, still fighting for equality. Zimmerman is a symptom of the, I think, fatal sickness that infects american culture/society.

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Response to marshall gaines (Reply #28)

Sat Mar 31, 2012, 12:05 PM

30. This happened not too far from where I live

It is shocking and disturbing. I am looking forward to hearing all the facts because I find it impossible to believe that the police didn't think it necessary to prosecute this guy. I would love to see an accurate timeline of events -- when exactly, and why the hell did police allow this killer to walk free? And how can any policeman logically accept self defense as an excuse for killing when you are stalking an unarmed boy with a gun? Where was the boy's self defense?

The reality of being a black man in this country will never be fully understood by me, a white female. How can I understand?

But I'm hoping this boy's death did not happen in vain. That the public outcry will cause us to create laws that make it illegal for anyone but law enforcement to carry a concealed weapon. I'm hoping that this incident will cause all of us to look at how we view young black men in our society and stop reacting as if they don't belong there.

I have to believe that this will cause things to improve. Because if I don't believe that I would really go crazy.

Thanks for your insightful post H.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Apr 1, 2012, 10:47 AM

34. Powerful. K&R

I posted a piece that sunk like a stone last week about a black man who reached success and was knocked down...by racism, lies, unlawful arrest. And even though the REPUBLICAN ATTORNEY GENERAL OF TEXAS--certainly not the pinnacle of racial fairness--ordered the Judge to drop the charges, the Judge refused to.

It is a fascinating glimpse into the struggles that black men face in America. Here it is if you want to check it out.
http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002461765

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Apr 1, 2012, 08:29 PM

35. There are forces at work here far from targeting and killing a teenager.

Not only are there obvious racial profiling targeting by a civilian who had no justifiable to shoot this young man, now the right wing monsters who cheer capital punishment seem to have injected support for the unsupportable. This was murder committed and almost allowed to be ignored by those paid to maintain justice. The same people applauding capital punishment appear to be willing to allow public slaughter of a teenager with iced tea and skittles.


What or who will be the next?

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Apr 2, 2012, 08:58 AM

36. relating to the pain

Thankyou

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