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Modern Day Emmett Tills: Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin...

Modern Day Emmett Tills: Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin...

By Dennis Loo (2/21/14)

Emmett Louis Till was murdered in Mississippi in 1955 at the age of 14. While buying something from a small local grocery store, he reportedly called to the married 21-year-old white proprietor, "Hey baby." Till lived in Chicago and was visiting his relatives in Money, Mississippi, not knowing that his friendly greeting was a capital offense for a black male in the South. Roy Bryant, the husband of Carolyn Bryant, the proprietor, and his half brother J. W. Milam, kidnapped Till from Till's great uncle's house, took him to a barn where they beat him and gouged out one of his eyes, then shot him through the head, and before dumping his body in the Tallahatchie River, tied a 70 lb. cotton gin around his neck with barbed wire, a reminder that blacks were and always will be slaves in the minds of white racists. Till's brutal torture and murder helped to spark the civil rights movement.


Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride and Jonathan Ferrell, Oscar Grant and so very many others ... they are modern day Emmett Tills.

"You're not going to talk to me that way!" -- Michael Dunn, before he fired ten shots at five black teens, killing Jordan Davis, while Davis and his friends sat in their car at a gas station. Their crime? Playing their music too loud and not turning it down when told to by a white man.

When he was found guilty of four counts of attempted murder but found not guilty of murdering Davis, Dunn held up his hands in shock as if to say, "How can this be?" He was no doubt thinking, "How can I be found guilty when I told them they were not going to talk to me that way? They brought this on themselves."

Jordan Davis' fate was not determined by he and his friends playing their music too loud. Jordan Davis' fate was sealed when he didn't instantly obey a white man's command.

And the jury trying Dunn were deadlocked, with two jurors convinced that Dunn was justified in murdering Davis, because, after all, let's be clear, Davis is black and Dunn is white. We need not say any more, as the right-thinking folks of this great country all nod their heads in silent agreement. Nothing more needs to be said. We all understand: Davis is black and Dunn is white. It's obvious.

Trayvon Martin's fate was sealed by being black while wearing a hoodie. To white racists everywhere, both those who are self-consciously racists and those many more who are unaware of their buried so deeply that it's-taken-for-granted-like-breathing-racism, George Zimmerman was justified in taking Trayvon's life. Why?

Because a 17-year-old black teen does not have the right to defend himself against a stalker, whereas a white man does, because a black person, especially a black male, is an existential threat. There is no "stand your ground" for blacks because they don't have any ground to stand upon to white racists of polite and impolite society. They are guilty by the fact of their blackness and they are especially guilty if they act as if they have the same rights as white people do. You can kill them for this and be found not guilty for it as the verdicts in the Zimmerman and Dunn case show unmistakably.

"These assholes always get away" muttered George Zimmerman, when he spotted Trayvon Martin walking in a gated community in which to Zimmerman, Trayvon "didn't belong."

Zimmerman was a neighborhood watchman, making sure that those who "don't belong" are not allowed to stay alive as trespassers.

Dunn was also a neighborhood watchman in the sense that he was also enforcing the unwritten rules about who belongs and who doesn't and what the social hierarchies are.

When Renisha McBride was trying to get some help for a broken down car in Dearborn, Michigan, she made the mistake of thinking that she could knock on the door of a house in a lily white neighborhood and that she would be given assistance, instead of a rifle shot slamming directly into her face, killing her instantly.

When Jonathan Ferrell had a car accident in North Carolina and he was walking towards a white policeman to seek his assistance, he made the mistake of thinking that a white police officer would not regard his walking towards him as just cause to shoot Ferrell ten times, killing him.

If you're black and you do things out of the natural order of things, then you're fair game to be killed. Judges and jurors have said so too.

Some people thought and some people still think that electing a black president means that we're a colorblind society now. Some people think that having a billionaire talk show host who is black - Oprah - means that we have left racism behind. These notions and these people are wrong and they need to pay attention. It's open season on black people (and Latinos) in America. It's open season on those who authorities declare an existential threat like those that even and especially this black president executes with drones every week. There are those who think that Obama wants to do the right thing but the institutions keep him from doing the right thing. And though they are wrong about Obama's intentions, they are not wrong about the power of these institutions.

The oppression of black people is practically in the DNA of many white people in this country. (Indeed, if they look closely enough at their DNA they will see that black people are in many of them.) Imagine Obama intoning that line when he says, "We're not black America. We're not white America. We are the United States of America." We cannot continue to be the United States of America without the continued existence of virulent white racism. This is what so many of the Tea Party are so aroused about, for the wrong reasons. This is why they could call black representatives during the Obamacare vote "n*****s" and then deny that they did so. The USA without anti-black racism is as sensible as a peanut butter sandwich without the peanut butter is still a peanut butter sandwich. 

As Michelle Alexander points out in her book The New Jim Crow where she documents how the enslavement of black people continues in the form of mass incarceration and a racial caste system, racism against black people is intimately intertwined with this country's very nature: "It may be impossible to overstate the significance of race in defining the basic structure of American society" (Emphasis added, p. 25).

As I have previously pointed out, the fact that the highly aroused fascist social base - most evident in the Christian fundamentalists and much of the Tea Party - fear a "black planet" or the falling of whites from majority status into minority status and are ready and willing to take up arms to violently defend in a last ditch effort their long-standing privileges, tells you something profound about what the US has been and is in its essence. These people are not crazy in the sense that they see their privileges under threat of being diminished or disappearing. They recognize very clearly what it means to be a white American and how other groups are subordinated to that top tier privilege.

The civil war ended slavery but it did not end the oppression of black people. The civil rights movement supposedly ended Jim Crow, which was how the oppression of black people was continued in the face of slavery's end. But the civil rights movement did not end Jim Crow because mass incarceration and its main justification, the Drug War, has replaced it with the New Jim Crow, a racial caste system in which blacks are guilty by their mere existence and appearance. What the civil rights movement did is allow some blacks to experience upward mobility, people such as Barack Obama and Colin Powell, Oprah and Condi Rice. But other blacks are still treated as and seen as "thugs."

These legal lynchings by people like George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn and the collusion by juries in these executions are loud wake up calls to what this country is really.

February 26, 2014 is the two year anniversary of the slaying of Trayvon Martin.

In LA there will be a march beginning at 2:30 pm at Slauson and Crenshaw ending in a rally at 4 pm at Martin Luther King, Jr. and Crenshaw. Hoodies Up! We are All Trayvon. The Whole System is Guilty! The Youth are Not Suspects, They are Human Beings!



0 # mv46 2014-02-22 01:19
Michelle Alexander in The New Jim Crow points out on page 180 how Barack Obama in his Father's Day speech blamed African American fathers from being AWOL, leaving their families, when in reality he was going around the real problem of how the criminal justice system is the real problem.He brought people to avoid the real problem and just blame the actual victim. These famous people like Obama and Oprah bring people to think that racism is non-existent, but those depictions of the exceptions move us away from the reality that racism has just taken on a different form. I agree with this article because these instances have not occurred in the past, but recently. Many people seem to not see the bigger picture because the media portrays something else. I believe our country has not moved away from racism or discrimination, but has created something even worse. At least in the past it was more visible, but now with all the mixed signals uninformed people become blind.
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0 # Lyndsey Morris 2014-02-22 18:22
I also agree with you that what we have now is worse than before. Yes, slavery was horrible and unacceptable but now we have whites killing African Americans just because "they don't belong", without even knowing who they are or what their intensions are. It is almost like mixed signals that we now have Obama as our President, but the truth remains that we still live in a world that discriminates against colored people and we obviously don't see it as big of a problem as it really is because we are letting their murders get away with it.
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0 # princessdah 2014-03-26 13:24
I somewhat agree with lLidnesy. Yes slavery was wrong but I thibk it is still happening in more than one aspect.One aspect is the imprisonment of blacks and Latinos for petty crimes, putting them behind bars and making them work on building things and also the killing of them for no justified reason. This is like slavery because they captured slaves and made them work also slaves were hung, beat, raped, killed just for being "colored" by the ku klux clan.
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0 # princessdah 2014-03-26 13:32
The second aspect is the treatment of the lower class. Many blame the raise of crime on poverty yet there are no jobs provided to help those in poverty. The government keeps low paying jobs for people like ing 13 hours everyday and barely making 5 dollars an hours is slavery working them hard with little to none paying grid.
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0 # Screamingrelaxesme 2014-02-23 01:24
I would have to disagree with the statement you made that people like Obama or Oprah make others believe racism is nonexistent. I think people of this status rather than attacking the issue head on and being active about it they simply ask that the problem not perpetuated.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-23 04:15
There are two different aspects to this. In surveys that have been done, both polls and focus groups (which are more in depth), the publicity abt minorities who have "made it" do in fact get cited by "modern racists" as proof that racism is no longer around and these individual success cases are the "proof" that racism is over. What people like Obama and Oprah do is the second part of your comment, and I think you're referring to how they downplay or deny that racist incidents are part of a larger, societal and institutional problem, i.e., due to the system. Is that right?
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0 # Screamingrelaxesme 2014-02-23 15:32
Yes that is what I am referring to. That they do "downplay" racism; I wouldn't necessarily say deny it though. Rather than pointing out the elephant in the room it seems these individuals take the route of empathizing, which isn't enough if we ever want things to change. From what I recall on the speech Obama made on Trayvon Martin and one of the things that stood out to me the most was when Obama said "You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago"; what struck me the most about this statement was that even though he was relating so closely to Trayvon Martin and the unjust verdict he still asked that the verdict be respected.
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0 # Screamingrelaxesme 2014-02-23 15:32
Quoting Obama on Trayvon Martin, “The juries were properly instructed that in a case such as this reasonable doubt was relevant, and they rendered a verdict. And once the jury has spoken, that's how our system works”. I think clearly if this is “how our system works” then our system needs some work.
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0 # Elver Gonzote 2014-02-23 03:12
I agree, The media does tend to help creat an image different from the reality therefore helping the one percent in power continue their immoral ways. I think that one of the saddest things is that some people consider obama and oprah as icons because it gives minorites a sense of hope and think "wow, a black president.. I can be someone too." However, the sad truth is that these people are part of the one percent and they will continue to do actions, good or bad, that will prevent anyone who thinks differently from their clan from reaching the one percent.
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0 # Crystal 2014-03-02 09:26
I agree with "mv46." While taking a criminology class last quarter I learned a lot about the media and how they get their information. If one is uneducated and is constantly watching the news, they are going to think they know the law and what goes on in todays society based on what they are seeing on television. Its the blind leading the blind. There are people today in society, famous or not, who are always bringing up problems but are never trying to find a solution to the problem they pose. Instead of contributing to the problem why don't they try to make a difference and find a solution? Instead of constantly whining about the situation.
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0 # mv46 2014-02-22 01:20
Michelle Alexander on page 185 starts to also bring about how the system used mass incarceration as a trap to put African Americans in a cage using the War on Drugs as a vehicle to round up its prey. This has gone even a further step now I believe where white civilians have the upper hand of being able to round up their own African Americans without consequences even if that means using lethal force as seen in many cases demonstrated above. Lynching has taken a different form that people don’t see. The only way to bring a stop to this is to educate the people. The system will not be fixed from the inside, but the outside.
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0 # sas13 2014-02-22 07:35
The War on Drugs is more like the new genocide of black men. As Alexander states on page 54 "the war on drugs proved popular among key white voters, particularly whites who remained resentful of black progress.."This statement is so powerful in which that the war on drugs legally became a way to kill people for drug poscession. In 1986 $2billion dollars whent towards the anti drug crusade where some charged with possession were given the death penalty. This is modern day genocide disguised with "law and order." Sadly, we only see this punishment on black men not white.
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0 # dawahba 2014-02-23 07:28
I completely agree! The War on Drugs is actually exactly what came to mind while reading this. Capitalist society specifically has an obsession with controlling black bodies. The War on Drugs is effectively finding more ways to control these bodies. Teens such as Trayvon Martin, etc. are a result of the constant oppression of this minority group. America likes to believe it has moved past racism and many Americans believe it will just go away if we ignore it but I don't think that's the case. Nobody in these cases has tried ignoring race and I doubt anyone with a similar motive will. These issues need to be addressed.
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0 # Linda Rigas 2014-02-22 07:52
mv46, the real problem is not the criminal justice system, or as most prominently Angela Davis argues the prison-industri al complex. I think that the real problem is the system of capitalism imperialism. That is what lies at the root of what we see happening in these cases of police murdering Black and Latino youth. These are not incidental killings, but are foreseeable consequences of how capitalism imperialism as a system operates both in the US and around the world. The legal system is not neutral. It is a tool of state power that reinforces both substantively through the content of laws and also procedurally the logic of the system of capitalism imperialism. When it comes to the crimes of this system and the oppression of Black people with young Black men being murdered for what I call "breathing-whil e-Black," it is no mistake that the legal system has reinforced a calculated representation of Black people as both less than human and as suspect.
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0 # Linda Rigas 2014-02-22 07:54
Jordan Davis' very humanity was at stake in this trial and this has everything to do with the reality of the system we live in. Let's imagine for a moment: If you first heard about Jordan Davis, a young Black youth, being murdered by a brazen white man for supposedly playing his music too loud while in a car with friends in a gas station parking lot, one would think, that is outrageous! That would not provoke a person of normal sensitivities to "shoot to kill." Yet this is precisely what Dunn did! Dunn got out of his car and kept shooting at Davis while the driver of the car Davis was in was trying to leave the scene! So while when I first heard about this case, I thought it would be easy to prove the premeditation and deliberation required for the first degree murder charge, this was NOT taking into account how this system deals with police murdering young Black men.
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0 # Linda Rigas 2014-02-22 07:55
If I discounted the logic of the racism that is at the helm of how this system operates, then I could perhaps believe that the criminal justice system just got this case wrong. However, this would not be a conclusion that comports with reality. I remember when I first heard the verdict of Johannes Mehserle for the murder of Oscar Grant on January 1, 2009 at the Fruitvale BART Station in Oakland, California. I felt like a million thorns pierced me. At the time I thought, how could the jury believe Mehserle's testimony that when he took out his gun that he thought it was his tazer? How could the jury charge Mehserle with involuntary manslaughter when he clearly took a deadly weapon out of his pocket? There have been countless of cases that have reinforced and further entrenched a lineage of racism and white supremacy rather than broken away from it.
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0 # Linda Rigas 2014-02-22 07:56
I don't think this is more blunt because it's open season on Black youth and the courts have yet to charge to the full extent of the law any one of these men that have gunned down these young Black male teenagers.

The trajectory of these cases has everything to do with what lies at and drives the logic behind how the criminal justice system operates as a tool of white supremacist imperialism rather than the criminal justice system itself needing to be reformed. Under the system of capitalism imperialism, we will continue to see the murder of young Black men given both legal justification and cover and until this system is actually done away with (not reformed), this will NOT be any different.
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0 # Linda Rigas 2014-02-22 07:57
The New Jim Crow that Michelle Alexander unveils is a far more virulent culmination of the oppression of Black and Latino people, but this is not principally because the criminal justice system isn't addressing racism 'correctly' or in 'a more ameliorative way', but rather because the history of America as a capitalist imperialist empire relies on the oppression of Black people as part and parcel of its functioning. People do need to learn about the history of America and this system's reliance on racism, but we can't actually get rid of racism by trying to fix this system that operates how it is intended to. We need a whole different system that operates on a whole different basis.
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0 # Lyndsey Morris 2014-02-22 18:31
This is something that we have been hearing on the news more&more. Of course we can say that African Americans have made it a long way from where they were in the past but it doesn't mean that it is better or that we r even close to having equality among different races. As pointed out w/ famous colored people from Oprah to President Obama to any well known actress or singer, ppl may be under the impression that we have gotten past discrimination but w/ cases like George Zimmerman&Micha el Dunn how can ppl really think that? I remember when the Zimmerman trial took place&he was found not guilty, my mom was shocked that was the result. She couldn't believe that he was let go&free from his terrible crime. My dad looked at her&also agreed but told her that this wasn't a crime that is rare, this is something that happens a lot but we aren't always subjective to it&I think that is what we need to realize, this isn't going away b/c the White community need to remain at the top in their eyes.
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0 # lcdisney37 2014-02-23 02:53
I agree with this idea. The white community does want to remain at the top but this is because this is what is seen as the "norm". A lot of these cases are never trialed correctly because they see African Americans as "trouble". As where if a white person were trialed for crime they would be seen as mentally ill. This is something that has occurred in the past and is still occurring to this day.
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0 # marym 2014-02-23 06:10
I completely agree with you on this many of the cases that go through the court that are of minorities are always being given the highest sentences while the those who are white are being let off or given the bare minimum. It so unfair the times that we are living in especially if you are a person of color because if you don’t have light skin you will not get a fair trial or you may not even get the change to trial it because you will be gun down for just having darker skin
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0 # Rod24 2014-02-22 21:47
Its amazing how much you can get away with in the U.S. as long as you are white. In The New Jim Crow Michelle Alexander proves to us the many ways in which minorities are discriminated against and the ways in which the gov't has repeatedly tried to keep the black man down. There have been many court cases such as McCleskey v. Kemp (p 109) where the court ruled, even after given statistical evidence, that racial bias could not be challenged under the 14th amendment unless there is clear proof of discrimination. Like I said, it I amazing the stretches that the gov't has gone to in order to keep minority men suppressed. Although given clear evidence, they still turn their cheek and merely give the true offender (white man) a slap on the wrist.
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0 # GA23 2014-02-22 23:17
I think it is absolutely stupid to think that our society is now "colorblind." Discrimination can be seen in our daily lives. On the news, especially in media. We see certain ads that target certain people. Everyone who lives with these stereotypes recognizes it but does not really take it so serious. For instance on twitter with all these ignorant "stopmexicanpeo ple" or "stopblackpeopl e" accounts. We are not only letting people like George Zimmerman and Dunn be racist but people who are being discriminated are targeting each other. Instead of doing that we should all try to gather and fight for these people who have lost their innocent lives because of someone who thinks is superior to them. Even Obama targeted black males in his speech which Michelle Alexander brings up in chapter 5 of The New Jim Crow. People need to open their eyes and see that we are all equal. Our ancestors are African so how can you think you are superior because of the color of your skin. If those people did..
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0 # GA23 2014-02-22 23:20
look at their DNA I am pretty sure they would be in denial. The majority is the minority so why has no one taken a stand to make it so. We should not let mass incarceration be the new Jim Crow. I believe first minorities need to stop attacking one another. Progress cannot be made until that is done so.
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0 # PD06 2014-02-23 18:18
Mass incarceration is not the New Jim Crow, the War on Drugs is the New Jim Crow and mass incarceration is just one of the effect of the New Jim Crow. I don't believe that ending the War on Drugs would end the problem. Just like the old Jim Crow laws, people and government will find a way to make another Jim Crow law just like they did with the War on Drugs.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-23 18:44
If there was a powerful enough movement that it forced the gov't to end the WOD, then why do you think that the gov't could just readily turn around and create another version of Jim Crow? While there is historical precedent for your assertion (the Civil War and Redemption; the Civil Rights Mov't and the New Jim Crow), is your point that nothing can be done, or is your point that a social movement alone isn't enough and that it would take a revolution?
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0 # PD06 2014-02-25 07:22
I am not saying that nothing can be done. What I am trying to get at is social movements are not enough. Only with revolution can we make the necessary change to the system by getting rid of neoliberal capitalism, who's interest is only in profit, and starting with something that is more towards the needs of the people, like socialism.
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0 # Elver Gonzote 2014-02-22 23:43
Incidents like these is what proves Michelle Alexander's point of the new jim crow. However, The criminal justice is not solely the problem. I believe that the true problem lies within the capitalists problem and their ideas along with determining those who can be in power and those who cannot. This ideology is then passed down to institutions such as the criminal justice system which then, in cases mentioned in this article, leads to stupid sentencing. Clearly, this reflects that in a white person is more valuable than a person of color. Therefore, when the white person does happen to kill a person of color, for some reason the person of color is still at fault in some kind of way. I believe that this is a product of capitalism and this is why cases as such are not rare. Whites, in capitalists eyes, are worth more.
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0 # Beks113 2014-02-23 02:21
I agree with what you are saying Elver, I believe that the problem starts with the higher up authorities deciding what kind of people they want in power, whether if be through education, politics, the CJS, etc. Not only are they deciding what kind of people to keep in power, but in doing this they are also placing worth on different ethnicities. Blacks and Latinos happen to be worth the least to the system and whites are worth the most. This can be reflected by the statistics we learned about in class regarding sentencing of the death penalty. Blacks that kill whites were 4.5xs more likely to be given the death sentence than a black killing another black. In terms of the death sentence being given, a black killing a white was the most likely to be given the death penalty, followed by a white killing a white, and then a black killing a black. Finally, a white man that kills a black is the least likely to receive the death penalty.
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0 # LB11 2014-02-23 03:18
Words cant describe how happy I am to see this post. I cant even count the amount of times I've been in a classroom or in a large group of people and when the question "does racism still exist in America?" only about two or three people say yes and they are usually black or Hispanic themselves. There is so much evidence out there that racism still exists including the murders mentioned in this article yet so many people deny it and chose to turn their heads and say things like "oh Zimmerman was just one crazy guy,that was a one in a million event". I agree that a lot of white people don't even know their racist because it has been unknowingly bred into these by racist grandparents and other family remembers who grew up in a time where killing a black man because he didn't mind another white man was an everyday event. I am from The Crenshaw district in LA myself and I will be attending the Trayvon Martin march on the 26th.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-23 05:04
LB11: There's a big gap between those who recognize that racism continues its virulent presence and those who think it's all over. Those who say that Zimmerman was "just one crazy guy" aren't paying attention to how the system upheld his murderous actions and that this speaks volumes abt the reality of racism's being perpetuated by the system. When Obama spoke abt Trayvon he said somethings that someone like Bush or Romney would never say, but the upshot of his comments after expressing his empathy for Trayvon and his family, was that people should respect the verdict. This indicates which side Obama's really on. People have to fight and change the conversation. We need a powerful movement for revolutionary change. I'm happy to hear about the APA Fraternity plans...
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0 # LB11 2014-02-23 03:23
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0 # KT10 2014-02-23 06:04
One of my biggest pet peeve is when people think just because we have a black president, that blacks are seen and treated as equal when in reality that's obviously not the case. We see more and more deaths of black teens who are killed with no reason, and their killers are either free or not found guilty. Racism still exists until this day, and what astonishes me is that, these teenagers are never getting justice or any attention to their situation not just with these trials, but their poor living conditions and violence within their community everyday. I think white Americans will always have privilege in this society, but since minorities are growing and will soon outnumber them, I think more Blacks will have a voice and are treated as equals, slowly but surely. Just because blacks have the right to vote and be employed, they are still oppressed, even though we have a "black" president. Institutional racism is still within the system, to keep them inferior to whites.
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0 # princessdah 2014-03-26 13:43
Unfortunately black president or white president black will never be equal to whites that is just how the world works. Even after slavery is known to be over it still occurs. The war on drugs helps the government monitor the moves of blacks.they supply these drugs then incarnate those who sell. They force the living prices to be high and unaffordable forcing minorities to look for a faster way to make money to pay the bills. Also many think blacks are living off welfare because they are lazy and dumb. Yet the fail to realize thet whited are the biggest user of welfare. The race that is seen as perfect is the one asking for government assistance more the ones seen as dirty dumb nd poor.
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0 # marym 2014-02-23 06:05
We do not live in a color blind society and I doubt that will ever actually happen. The media tends to put a spin on it stating that look we have a “black president” and there is minority people that have risen to the top so there must not be any racism. The fact it is that the racism has only gotten worse but the decades. In the New Jim Crow book by Alexander she continuously is proving that there is racism in the country and how it is only getting worse for the minorities especially for black men who make up for most of the “criminal” in the criminal justice system.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-23 06:11
I agree with Linda Rigas' comments that the source of the ongoing virulent racism we're seeing more and more overtly is capitalism-impe rialism which benefits from racism (and sexism) and cannot exist without them. Can we get rid of racism? Absolutely. But we cannot do so unless capitalism-impe rialism is eliminated.
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0 # Jasmin Burgos 2014-02-23 07:21
It is completely evident that racism still exists. A lot of people believe that we have progressed through out the years and others believe that the term 'racism' no longer exists. To prove their point they like using Obama and Oprah Winfrey's 'success' story's. I've heard people say: Obama should be an inspiration to other African American's: that if he made it they can make it as well. Yet, the cruel reality is another. There is a reason why they can only use a few black people's lives as an example of those who have made it. When I read The New Jim Crow by Alexander I realized how the term 'racism' is masked and how people don't call what it is. It is not the norm to publicly announce that they are racist, it something that we are taught not to do.
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0 # Jasmin Burgos 2014-02-23 07:29
It is also sad to see how a lot of people are not "aware" of the racism that is taking place. I'm sure that they have an idea of what is going one but love to act as if they don't because they don't want to be involved with the issue.
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0 # dawahba 2014-02-23 07:33
"It may be impossible to overstate the significance of race in defining the basic structure of American society" this quote from Alexander is extremely relevant. So many Americans (typically white) are in denial that race/racism has an effect on modern society. I find it ridiculous that race (a social construct) is a divider of people. However, much like anything else, i am sure capitalist culture thrives from it. As I previously mentioned in a comment, I will use the example of the War on Drugs again. Slavery does not exist in the same way it did, but black bodies are still subject to a different kind of slavery through mandatory minimums, imprisonment, and general lack of the same freedom whites have in this country.
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0 # LexTalionis 2014-02-25 22:14
It is refreshing to view your perspective on race relations within the United States. The War on Drugs is yet another avenue to subordinate black men with disproportionat e penalties for drug possession for example.Racism is thriving, as mentioned, included are those who hold coveted positions within government along with others. In our capitalist society, it is more profitable to incarcerate than to educate. :-x
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0 # Wolfian 2014-02-23 22:05
I think many Americans truly believe that there isn’t racism. Americans equate racism to shackles beating and lynching. I find it very disturbing that these men got away with murder, because they are white. I found these facts which are very interesting to me. “From an ideological point of view, almost 50 percent of conservative Americans think that blacks are racist as opposed to only 12 percent of white people. Interestingly, the 21 percent of liberal voters who see black people as racist is almost as high as the 27 percent who see white people as racist”
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0 # katgrl15 2014-02-25 21:24
In today's society it is commonly known for the African American race to be discriminated against and almost always judged by white people. Michelle Alexander provides in her book that, "A racial profiling study in Oakland, California, in 2001 showed that African Americans were approximately twice as likely as whites to be stopped, and three times as likely to be searched." mostly likely reading this figure is not surprising because black men are constantly being targeted and attack simply because of the color of their skin. If Trayvon Martin were to be white wearing a hoodie, there would not be any concern. Michelle Alexander points again, "A young white male wearing baggy pants, standing in front of his high school and surrounded by his friends, might well be ignored by police officers." The racial segregation might seem like it is nonexistent but in reality it will always remain a part of society. The only difference in today's era is that it is not as noticeable but happens.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-25 22:56
"in reality it [racism] will always remain a part of society." Why do you say this?
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0 # LexTalionis 2014-02-25 22:01
The discovery of Emmett Tills'unrecogni zable remains, had to be one of the most upsetting incidences to occur at least within the black community at that time. Correlated with Trayvon Martin's case, it appears as though history in the U.S. is repeating itself. As Alexander explains in NJC,"race is rarely the sole reason. . .frequently a determinative reason, page 131,which helps in somewhat understanding the phenomena of the scrupulous racial profiling of young black males. Trayvon was unjustly killed for reasons not clearly explained, especially within the beginning trials. This definitely characterizes modern day legal lynchings, perpetuating unjustified violence toward Trayvon for unjust reasons by Zimmerman. As the topic was mentioned in SW318, the proximity of Trayvon and the DNA evidence, lack there of on victim/suspect, at the scene as physical evidence, was not enough for the jury to analyze and see clearly that he had no intentions of physical altercation with Zimmerman.
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0 # katgrl15 2014-02-25 22:10
I agree with most comments being made about racism basically not being seen and overlooked because we do have a black president. I think most Americans feel that racism has finally ended because the one thing that was known to never happened, happened in the 2008 election. Having a black president is only one small aspect of racism having a breakthrough but there was still a lot of controversy and racism towards Obama being President. The results of the election were not praised by the white republicans but instead was criticized and ridiculed even until today. I feel like idols such as Oprah and Obama are people that fit and mold white supremacy and are used as blinders to make Americans especially African Americans believe racism does not exist. It is a cycle, like Michelle Alexander mentions in her book, that once a milestone is accomplished by African Americans there will still be one elite or high status individual that will use racism as a way to remain in control.
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0 # KG7 2014-02-26 14:52
To say that racial tension does not exist today would be foolhardy. Is every white on black killing racially motivated? I don't believe so. Is every white on black killing justified? Again, no, I don't believe so. It's at a point now where ANY white on black killing is instantly viewed as racially motivated. Many of the "facts" are left out in these cases or just blatantly ignored by the media to create tension and get ratings. I could list several facts on the above mentioned tragedies that may not be known by the general population. Does that make them justified, no. I could also go tit-for-tat on many of these cases where blacks killed whites for no reason at all or simply b/c as one of the shooters stated "they were bored". Would that then make these white on black killings ok? No. All I'm saying is before we all (whites included) start calling all whites racist or secretly racist, lets not forget that many blacks feel the same way about whites and to believe otherwise is naïve.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-26 15:05
Your comment overlooks the fact that when whites kill blacks such as Zimmerman's killing of Trayvon or Michael Dunn's killing of Jordan Davis, that the legal system legitimates these killings. When a white BART officer murdered Oscar Grant, he falsely claimed that he thought he was using his taser when he used his revolver to murder Oscar in the back. It also overlooks the statistical pattern that if you're convicted of killing a white person you are many times more likely to face the death penalty than if you're convicted of killing a black person. You're equating the nature of white-black and black-white killings. That does not match up to reality.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-26 15:07
Have you heard of NY's Stop and Frisk? Who are those hundreds of thousands who've been stopped and frisked? Are they white youth?
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0 # KG7.5 2014-02-26 23:21
Zimmerman is only half white, the other half being Hispanic so I'm not sure the white race card can be played here. None the less, I do not believe the system legitimized his self defense act at all. Trayvon wasn’t the angel the entire media made him out to be. Officer J. Mehserle was a rookie at the time of the Oscar Grant shooting and made a terrible mistake. Intending to draw his taser, he accidently drew his duty weapon firing only 1 shot into Oscar. At the trial an officer that was on scene testified that he indeed said "get back, I'm gonna tase him." That was a tragic mistake, nothing more. A mistake he will have to live w/the rest of his life. I believe more current statistics would show that blacks no longer disproportionat ely get the death penalty as compared to any other race.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-27 00:11
The fact that Zimmerman is half white is actually not relevant. First, because race is itself a social construct. His attitude, statements and actions reveal what position he takes. Besides his execution of TM, there were his statements such as "These assholes always get away." There's no doubt who he means and who the defense team meant in their case by bringing up as a witness someone who'd been robbed by a black person, which had what to do with TM? For you to say the system didn't legitimize his "self-defense" at all is surely silly: he was found not guilty of killing TM! You think that Mehserle "has to live w/ [his 'mistake'] for the rest of his life," yet you aren't disturbed about the ending of Oscar Grant's life? Mehserle's defense that he didn't know he was pulling out his gun is a ridiculous defense. An officer can't tell the difference betw his gun and a taser?
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0 # KG7.5 2014-02-27 03:54
Yes, I think it’s terrible that officer Mehserle has to live w/his mistake for the rest of his life. He took another man's life. That's never easy, accidental or not. A lot of ppl. armchair quarterback. After an incident has taken place, one who wasn't involved in said incident, sits down far removed from the danger, excitement, chaos etc, and begins to place blame/judge someone on what happened/what should've been done differently.
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0 # KG7.5 2014-02-27 03:56
con't: You say "Mehserle's defense that he didn't know he was pulling out his gun is a ridiculous defense. An officer can't tell the difference between his gun and a taser?" From my personal experience in the LASD, when things are hectic, people are shouting, there are multiple perps detained, the area is by no means secure, you are outnumber 10/1 things get very confusing. Even remedial tasks can seem very difficult. So yes, I 100% believe that a rookie can make that kind of mistake under pressure. As was evidenced by his words, and backed up by another officer at the trial, he thought he was drawing his taser.
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0 # LexTalionis 2014-02-27 22:39
Simply, the system did not protect the rights of Trayvon nor provide justice for his family and community."Stan d Your Ground" was not applicable for Trayvon, yet it was upheld for Zimmerman. Previous comments suggest that accidents are legitimized but this was no accident, rather it was an intentional act in which Zimmerman could get away with that with a high probability another could not be free from. In the case of Oscar Grant, it is frivolous to state that rookies can make accidents, a lot is overlooked as there is always a justification for these senseless acts however,they are unjust and showcases how the system is biased and can be manipulated to fit accordingly. In your opinion, do you think that TM was a threat to Zimmerman?
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0 # KG7.5 2014-02-26 23:22
8/13 three "bored" black kids shoot Christopher Lane (white) in the back as he jogged down a neighborhood street. They all received life in prison. 8/13 two blacks brutally beat to death Delbert Belton, an 80yr old WWII (white) vet in front of his local VFW while waiting for his friend to go bowling, they both receive life. 3/13 two blacks approach a mother pushing her 13 month old infant (white) in a stroller. They demand money, after being told by Sherry West (the mother) she has none, one of the blacks savagely opens fire on the defenseless toddler, killing him. They both receive life. I don’t believe recent facts would support your conviction that blacks currently receive the death penalty more than any other race.
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+1 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-27 01:25
Blacks make up 13% of the US population & 13% of monthly illicit drug users, but they are 35% of arrestees for drug possession, 55% of those convicted for possession, and 74% of those sentenced to prison for possession. Whites are 80% of cocaine users but almost 50% of the state prison population is black. But, of course, there's no racial discrimination involved here!
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0 # KG7.5 2014-02-27 03:37
Is this reply meant for KG7.5 as we were discussing the death penalty ratio by race, not drugs.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-27 14:56
The subject is racism which is expressed in many different ways. Racism is so deeply embedded in American history as it's tied into white skin privilege and white supremacy, the operations of the CJS, and political & social systems, etc., it's hard to get those who hold white racist views to even see that they do because to them it's invisible. The first matter, and this is crucial, is what I get into in "Prejudice and Racism Aren't the Same Thing." But the second, is your failure to recognize white racism - not white prejudice - white racism. That's evident in, for ex., your attitude about Oscar Grant's murder and your attitude about Trayvon Martin's murder. You identify with Grant's murderer, not Grant. Yet Oscar's the one who was unjustly murdered. Did you ever ask yourself why, when Oscar was co-operating fully and offering no resistance and was under Mehserle, why Mehserle even felt the need to use his gun on him?
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0 # LexTalionis 2014-02-27 22:50
Great point, racism is ingrained entirely into our society past into the present. Understanding that racism still exists, and not only blatantly but inherently, is when we can officially remove the veil and see that it does exist in modern day. To deny that it exists usually is an approach taken in passivity so that being a racist is not as apparent.Becaus e suits replace hoods and gowns, the modern day racist for example can be hiding behind a corporate chair. This is to say, that though it is not obvious, racism is exists in various forms.
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0 # AP158 2014-02-28 07:55
(Part 1)This article connects in many ways to the injustices that we have seen in the past and the injustices that we still have today. Many people believe that racism no longer exist like those who Loo mentions in the article. Just because there are a handful of African Americans in political positions and the media that are very successful does not mean that there is no longer any racism. Today’s racism is seen more than ever through the very noticeable and distinguished social classes. Those who are black or Latino are seen in very low income communities with very little resources. These individuals are also the ones that are over populating the American criminal justice system, due to laws and regulations that create a barrier of success for them. Whites for the most part tend to be better off with more opportunities to become someone in life and find ways to also avoid the criminal justice system.
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0 # AP158 2014-02-28 07:57
(Part 2)We have seen varies examples in the Alexander New Jim Crow book and the recent cases of Jordan Davis, and Trayvon Martin; in which those who lose tend to be of color. Prior to reading this article I had not made the connection to Emmett Tills death that began the civil rights movement. It was interesting to read a quote from Alexander “if blacks conduct themselves in an orderly way, they will not have to worry about police brutality”(42). This was a very powerful quote because it shows that blacks are expected to stand behind an invisible line in which if you rebel then you are aware of what he consequences might be. This is exactly what every black person who has been murder due to stepping out of line and conducting in a bad behavior in which they knew better than to walk through a white neighborhood, or look a white woman’s way. The list can continue of ways in which blacks have been killed because they did not behave the way a black person should be, subordinate.
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0 # AP158 2014-03-01 00:30
(Part 2)We have seen varies examples in the Alexander book the New Jim Crow and the recent cases of Jordan Davis, and Trayvon Martin; in which those who lose tend to be of color. Prior to reading this article I had not made the connection to Emmett Tills death that began the civil rights movement. It was interesting to read a quote from Alexander that was stated by the civil rights activist “if blacks conduct themselves in an orderly way, they will not have to worry about police brutality” (42). This was a very powerful quote because it shows that blacks are expected to stand behind an invisible line in which you were aware of what the consequences might be and the force that the police can take. This is exactly what every black person who has been murder should have known when they walked through a white neighborhood, or look a white woman’s way. The list can continue of ways in which blacks have been killed because they did not behave the way a black person should be, subordinate
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0 # dawahba 2014-03-01 20:20
I've found that many people use Obama as an excuse to say that "racism doesn't exist any more because we have a black president" but I do not find that to be the case at all. Yes, it shows that we have come a long way as a country but the loss of young lives like Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis show us that we still have a lot of work to do. Also, the color of the shooter does not matter. What I feel it really comes down to is who is being targeted in these tragedies and what they are being targeted for.
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Elaine Brower 2

Elaine Brower of World Can't Wait speaking at the NYC Stop the War on Iran rally 2/4/12