President Barack Obama learned a long time ago of the dangers associated with being a black politician at a national level and vocalizing anything about the institutionalized racism of the United States. While obviously racially non black politicians are free to remind the public of America’s racial shortcomings, a black politician doesn’t have that luxury out of some perception that the black politician would appear too close to the black community. When such an observation starts to manifest, the fear is that the black community’s need would trump the white community’s wants and America would never tolerate such a circumstance. It wouldn’t matter if the entire black community was slipping further into the oblivion of poverty and all the social ills associated with that condition, if white America wants ice cream somebody better make sure there’s a national plan to provide ice cream. To hell with black people!
When the news broke that candidate Barack Obama’s pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright was a closet racist who hated white people, regardless of how inaccurate the story was, Mr. Obama had to stiff arm his spiritual mentor for his political survival. When Mr. Obama weighed in on the arrest of his friend Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, Jr. and called the behavior of the Cambridge police stupid for arresting the prominent black American out of his own house, Mr. Obama was so vilified by his political opponents and many across the country that he had to back pedal his comments like Michael Jackson in a Billy Jean video. And when Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in cold blood and his killer was allowed to go home with his murder weapon and protests were being held all over the country, Mr. Obama’s rather benign comment that if he had a son he would look like Trayvon, his political critics again pounced on him calling the President a race baiter as they did their best to inject race into the matter as they rallied support for the black teenager’s murderer.
But all of that happened prior to Mr. Obama being reelected for his second term as commander-in-chief. Now that he’s been reelected and is no longer eligible to run for the highest office in the land again, Mr. Obama is a little freer to express himself more openly about issues of race. Before being reelected he would do his best to quell the specter of racism by saying that he didn’t think race was a factor in any happenings no matter how racially charged. But if Mr. Obama’s latest venture into the unwelcomed discussion of America’s racial dysfunction that many loath to have is any indication, things might be a little different now from the President’s perspective.
Six days after a six women jury acquitted George Zimmerman of any wrong doing in his assassination of Trayvon Martin the President surprised the White House reporters by appearing before them during a routine press conference being conducted by Press Secretary Jay Carney. Unprompted and unscripted the President extended his sympathies to the parents of Trayvon Martin. The President actually empathized with the murdered teenager saying that he could’ve been Trayvon thirty five short years ago. Thirty five years ago a young Barack Obama could have been murdered as he was walking home minding his own business and somebody thought it a good idea to snuff his life out and his murderer could’ve been acquitted because young Barry foolishly thought he could rebel against the establishment like so many other teenagers do, black and white.
Mr. Obama talked about how people responded to him in his earlier years by locking their car doors as he walked through the neighborhood, by people crossing the street as he walked towards them on the sidewalk, by women clutching their purse closer to their body as he got onto an elevator, and by being followed through a department store as if he would shoplift at any moment compelled to do so driven by his black skin. Mr. Obama knows all too well that being black is not even close to being some kind of benefit in our social construct. It is a curse that makes it possible for a black teenager to be murdered in the darkness of the evening.
Mr. Obama is ready to talk about his racism of the past. But he still needs to acknowledge the racism he continues to experience to this day. How else can anyone explain how the most powerful man in the free world is constantly hounded to produce his birth certificate as proof that he belongs in America and is eligible to serve as President unlike every single President that has come before him who were all accepted to be a citizen without question? Even though he doesn’t have to run for office again he still needs the support of the American people in order to do his job and hold his political opponents at bay. And the last thing America wants is to support any black person who is willing to say that they can’t do their job because of the racism that runs rampant in this country. Too many people are too ready to dismiss claims of racism as little more as whining in order to cover incompetence. Pull yourself up by your bootstrap is the knee jerk, overly simplistic response to racism regardless if it can be proven or not. The question is can you prove it beyond a shadow of doubt. And for many people, that shadow is so long it can never be overcome.
Americans want to hear that everything is good and racism is in our past or at least it’s getting better. In fact, Mr. Obama said as much when he gave his impromptu press conference. Despite our racial dysfunction, Mr. Obama says he looks at his daughters and their friends and comforts himself with the belief that things have gotten better and will continue to improve with time. We believe things have gotten so much better that we don’t even recognize the horrible fact that nothing’s changed. Just like Emmett Till was murdered way back in 1955 accused of doing something unseemly and paying for it with his life, Trayvon Martin was murdered today under accusations of attacking the man who was stalking him. Just like black people testified about what happened to Emmett Till and were dismissed, according to juror B-37 Rachel Jeantel’s testimony was dismissed as unreliable because of her lack of proper diction and the fact that she wasn’t properly educated. It’s a fair bet that the fact that she was black had something to do with her lack of credibility as well. Just like back then somebody got away with murder even though he was standing right there with the gun in his hand.
Things might look like they’re getting better. But the simple fact that to this day we continue to let our black children die and their murderers walk free proves that it isn’t getting any better at all. In fact, if you add the lies that things have gotten better, the deception of racial equality that we live under, things are far worse now than they’ve ever been. Back in Emmett Till’s day black people knew that they were second class citizens and no amount of sugar coating about how black people weren’t slaves anymore was going to make it better. Our measure for discrimination is not how good or bad our ancestors and elders had it. The measure for racial discrimination is the fact that we still do not live in a racially equal society. Our black children will continue to die until we wake up and recognize this simple fact and really begin to do something about it.
Colion Noir is an “urban gun enthusiast” and the latest spokesperson for the NRA. He is featured in a new television advertisement aimed primarily at the black community. The following snippet is the start of Mr. Noir’s spiel:
“No one wants to fight for their protection. They want the government to do it. The same government who at one point hosed us down with water, attacked us with dogs, and wouldn’t allow us to eat at their restaurants and told us we couldn’t own guns when bumbling fools with sheets on their heads were riding around burning crosses on our lawns and murdering us.”
Mr. Noir reminds people of the life of our ancestors and elders and their attempts to bring the nation’s attention to all of the racial inequality that black people had to deal with in the southern states prior to the civil rights era. Just imagine how the nation would have responded if instead of seeing peaceful black people being attacked by the white establishment intent on keeping black people in their place of second class citizenship, black people grabbed guns and started shooting it out with the white sheriffs, their deputies, and other law enforcement officers charged with keeping the peace with the weapons of their choice. Just imagine what life would have been like for the black community if they were to rise up en masse Nat Turner style and said enough was enough.
I would imagine that instead of the black community garnering national sympathy for their cause there would have been a swift and nearly universal condemnation of any black person who even looked like they participated in such civil unrest, which basically means any black person in the vicinity of the United States. In the vast majority of the public’s eyes, black people and guns is a volatile concoction that should never ever be allowed to mix. Any black person that raises a gun to defend his or her self from a white person is tempting fate whatever the circumstance. If anybody needs any convincing just ask the black John White who was convicted for murder the night he used a gun against the white seventeen year old and intoxicated Daniel Cicciaro, Jr. when the teenager got a drunken posse of four of his buddies to drive across town in order to teach Mr. White’s son Aaron a lesson for being accused of dishonoring a white girl as part of a joke that had gone totally and horribly wrong.
Black people with guns are a threat. Tell a white home owner that one of his neighbors is a black man and owns a gun and dude will probably make a beeline to the gun store to max out his Visa on all the weaponry that can fit in the back of his Ford pickup just so he can defend his self. In fact, the NRA’s executive vice president Wayne LaPierre has made statements warning law abiding people in the areas hit hardest by hurricane Sandy to prepare for a hellish world of overwhelmed if not totally collapsed law enforcement agencies and having to deal with roving gangs of armed minorities. In his eyes, it only makes sense that white people buy more guns to protect themselves from all the black people who are going to go out and buy guns. And if you don’t believe him just take a look at their new commercial featuring that black Mr. Noir.
However, Mr. Noir’s sales pitch is totally off base. A lot of people want to fight for their protection. A lot of people are fighting the good fight to keep guns out of the hands of people who should never have guns. Not every fight means you have to pick up a weapon with the intent of fighting to the death. Sometimes, the fight is one of politics, where people argue their point to convince the majority of what’s the right approach to a problem.
That’s the way our ancestors fought the good fight. It’s probably true that a lot of people wanted back in the civil rights movement wanted to meet violence with their own violence. But that would have done nothing but led to an escalation of violence that the black community, outnumbered and under armed, would have surely lost. Black people picking up guns in an attempt to inflict racial equality on a country chock full of white entitlement would have surely ended in disaster. Guns are not always the answer and many times they are the problem.
The answer for our ancestors and elders was actually government. More specifically it was a strong federal government that stepped into the picture to keep local and state government from trampling the rights of people in the black community. It was the federal government that told people stores and restaurants that they had to serve black people. It was the federal government that told the local sheriff that he couldn’t use fire hoses on black people. It was a strong federal government that passed the laws that protected black people’s right to attend schools previously reserved for white people. It was the threat of the federal government stepping in to enforce civil rights laws that made the local government step up to the plate for fear of having their authority revoked by a federal marshal. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the local heads of government could wind up under scrutiny of a federal investigation that could end with federal criminal charges.
Bottom line is that Mr. Noir has it all wrong. A lot of people want to fight for their protection. A lot of people want to fight to make sure that the government keeps its responsibility to its citizenry. The government that protects our rights isn’t the same government that hosed black people down. And if we aren’t careful and don’t remember that fact, the governments that did abuse black people will be back. It will be like they never left.
Today’s Christmas and the latest Quinton Tarantino film “Django Unchained”, featuring Jamie Foxx as Django, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Kerry Washington is being released today. The film is set in the pre civil war southern United States when America’s institutionalized enslavement of the people of Africa is running at its peak. These days when most people’s idea of black people in movies runs along the lines of the timid Aibileen Clark in The Help who was resigned to her fate of jumping at the beck and call of white people at the expense of her own black children, we have a movie about a black man bold enough to buck the racial status quo with guns blazing to save his woman.
I have yet to see the movie and I probably won’t bother to see it until we can stream it through Vudu. But from what I understand it’s a new twist in the style of the old spaghetti westerns made famous by Clint Eastwood. Django is a slave with a knack for tracking who wound up being owned by a bounty hunter who promised Django his freedom if he helped him apprehend the infamous Brittle brothers. When the job is completed, instead of taking advantage of his new freedom and high telling it up north, Django hangs around the bounty hunter essentially becoming the man’s partner. He develops his tracking and hunting skills and bides his time with the ultimate goal of finding and freeing the wife he lost to the slave trade.
Considering the debate over gun control initiated by the mass shooting by Adam Lanza of twenty first graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, Django is hitting theaters at just the right time to be impacted by the controversy over guns. But Django was fated to be controversial even without the mass shooting of Sandy Hook. Django is a movie about a black man shooting and killing a bunch of white people. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie with a black man on a righteous killing spree. You’d have to go back to the Richard Roundtree’s version of Shaft to find a black man given cart blanch to break out a can of whip ass on white people and even then there were restrictions.
I saw a discussion of Django on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry Show Sunday morning. One of the commentators who participated in a pre release viewing of the movie said it was immoral. A movie about a man killing people with the sole purpose of freeing his loved one was too unethical even though it’s already been done by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando and True Lies, Bruce Willis in all the movies from the Die Hard series, Jodie Foster in Flight Plan, Gina Davis in the Long Kiss Goodnight, Liam Neeson in Taken, Tom Hanks in Road to Perdition, and just about every James Bond film where the heroine gets captured and 007 has to roll up his sleeves and get busy to get her back. And if we had added a list of movies where the main character kills in order to protect somebody else’s loved ones we’d have Sylvester Stallone in Cobra, Jason Strathom from the Transporter series, Nicole Kidman in the remake of the Body Snatchers, Jennifer Lawrence in the Hunger Games, Ryan Gossling in the Driver, or Tom Cruise in Knight and Day. A movie about people killing other people is a prime staple in the entertainment industry. But when the movie has a black person as the protagonist doing all the killing of the white bad guys, suddenly the genre becomes too immoral for some people’s sensibilities.
The idea of a black man indiscriminately killing white people, even white people who are depicted as the epitome of racists and the worst perpetrators of America’s history of the enslavement of black people, is just too foreign a concept for people to accept. A black man with a weapon who is willing to use it to defend himself or his family is just not something we are prepared to accept. The depiction of a black man living straight as an arrow is still not living straight enough to be able to justify killing without permission. Some of us are just not ready to accept the concept of a black man taking charge the way we accept others taking charge and doing whatever they need to do to set things right. With Django Unchained Quinton Tarantino is treading where nobody dares to these days.
On Melissa Harris-Perry they played a video clip of an interview with Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington talking about the movie. Ms. Washington said that above everything else she saw the movie as a love story. Despite all the guns and despite all the violence, here’s a man doing everything he can to get back to rescue his woman to save her from a life of enslavement, living the rest of her life as somebody else’s property. We’ve already seen this story from the perspective of non black people. Ever since Snow White little white girls have been conditioned to believe that their prince would one day come and rescue them to live happily ever after.
Black girls have never had a story that they could relate to. What black man was coming to save them in their time of peril? It doesn’t happen. Even when the Disney Corporation was trying to do their first movie featuring a black princess they couldn’t envision have a black man coming into her life. The Disney people were too steeped in the thinking that a black man having the love and commitment to do something great for his woman just doesn’t makes sense. Thankfully, Mr. Tarantino goes where others simply don’t have the vision to see.
There have been plenty of movies with black heroes. But those heroes are rarely depicted as being personally motivated. It’s usually the black guy that’s trying to save an entire neighborhood from a criminal or a black guy that’s trying to save the future from a super computer gone rogue. It’s rare to see the black man that endeavors to save his black woman from harm. And a black man with the cajoles to save his woman from slavery, the greatest atrocity white people have ever perpetrated against black people? Now that’s something new at a time when Hollywood is stuck on remakes, sequels, prequels, combic books, children’s books, and the same predominantly white oriented usual.
Former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu decided to wear his racism on his sleeve after former Secretary of State Colin Powel went public with his decision to endorse Barack Obama for a second term as President of the United States instead of his Republican associate former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Way back during the GOP primaries Mr. Powell was critical about Mr. Romney. After Mr. Romney made the comment that Russia was the number one geopolitical foe of the United States Mr. Powell made the suggestion that Mr. Romney should actually think about what he’s saying if he wants to become President. Instead, Mr. Romney doubled down on inconsistent nonsense and conservative rhetoric meant to excite the Republican faithful but few others. In the end Mr. Powell made his critical endorsement.
Like a pit bull trained to attack, Mr. Sununu leapt to criticize Mr. Powell. During an interview with CNN’s Pierce Morgan, Mr. Sununu made the suggestion that Mr. Powell suffers from being black. Mr. Sununu said that when some black people are conditioned to support other black people in a key position or role no matter what. Mr. Powell supports Mr. Obama only because of the commonality of their skin color and not because Mr. Powell made an honest assessment and concluded that Mr. Obama as the better choice to lead the country. Mr. Sununu wants people to believe that a black man that served three conservative white skinned Presidents is now so color struck for another black man that he can’t think straight.
Later, Mr. Sununu offered an apology to his “good friend” Mr. Powell and retracted his statement. Like a lot of conservative politicians these days, he says his words filled with race baiting rancor were being taken out of context. But the message was clear to the racially bigoted voters who could be motivated to keep a couple of Negroid boys from working together to keep America out of the hands of people who are most assuredly more competent simply because we know that they aren’t black.
Yes it is true that a lot of black people have a lot of pride in the fact that Mr. Obama is our first black President. And it is also true that there are black people who will support Mr. Obama for President no matter what simply because of the color of his skin. But Mr. Powell hardly fits into such a category. Mr. Powell is one of the many black people who understand facts from their personal perspective and have decided that Mr. Obama is a better choice for the black community as well as the larger community of America as well as the world. And in the grand pantheon that comprises the black community, some black people might isolate between the two conditions of color struck and thoughtful analysis.
But just like some black people may suffer from a color struck condition that will drive their preferences, this malady is far more prevalent in the white community. Far more white people will see a black person and respond instinctively to skin tones. White people’s penchant for judging people by the color of skin is so strong that they have an entire history of enslaving people for nothing more than having the wrong skin color. And with white people’s history of blatant, disparate racism, why would a white person like Mr. Sununu feel compelled to accuse Mr. Powell of overt racism? Mr. Powell explained his position in thoughtful detail and yet Mr. Sununu felt compelled to play the race card and say that it all boils down to black people wanting to see each other do well.
So do white people ever feel compelled to see other white people do well? Or more appropriately we should ask do white people ever feel compelled to make sure black people don’t do well? All we have to do is look at America’s racially polarized history to find the answer to that question. American history proves that white people will go out of their way to keep black people from being successful or credible. For some white people, to see a black person do well is to see a target that needs to be attacked and taken down at all cost. Some white people are so driven by this instinct that they would be willing to throw the country into chaos just to keep a black man from being successful. How else would you explain why four years ago a group of white politicians got together to make sure the term of America’s first black President would be as ineffective as possible and do their best to block his every move with filibusters and legislative maneuverings meant to being government to a screeching stop.
Mr. Sununu’s assessment of Colin Powell was a twofer. He knocked the black former Secretary of State for being so racist that he would support a black President with nothing to base that decision on but the color of his skin. Both Mr. Powell and Mr. Obama have a history of working for white people and with white people that should prove their willingness to put everything else to the side for the bigger picture or the issue at hand.
The same can’t be said about Mr. Sununu. In his eye, the only reason black people support other black people is the commonality of skin color. Unfortunately, Mr. Sununu is one of those white people who cannot stand to see black people do well and is driven by an inherent need to follow his racially biased instincts at all costs.
Years ago I was in a Home Depot store trying to buy eight feet of heavy chain for a home project. Home Depot sells chains by the foot off of a large spool of chain hundreds of feet long. You have to get some assistance in order to have the chain cut to your specific need. After the chain was cut the Home Depot employee handed me the chain and I asked if all I had to do was take it to the cashier and checkout. The guy replied that he had to give me a sales slip that indicated how much chain I had and how much it cost. Then in a rather pitiful attempt at humor, as he handed me the sales slip the guy said that if I took the chain upfront without the slip that they would put me in chains.
I’m sure the guy didn’t mean anything by what he said. He was a young black guy, probably still in high school, and there was a good chance it was probably his first job. Nevertheless, I was somewhat offended by what he said. It wasn’t that he didn’t know how to give good customer service. When I first arrived in the hardware section he was helping a white couple with whatever it was they were purchasing. Without trying to eavesdrop as I waited for my turn for service I could hear how courteous and professional he could be. When he started to help me he started with the same customer service demeanor. The quip was totally jarring. Without another word I snatched the sales slip out of the guy’s hand and left to complete the purchase.
I was reminded of that incident in the Home Depot when I heard the news about Vice President Joe Biden’s reference that the Republican’s repeal of Wall Street regulations enacted since the financial crisis that threw the country into economic crisis would throw people back in chains. The remark was made in front of an audience of supporters with many African Americans. I thought Mr. Biden should not have gone there. Whatever excuse he had for the inspiration of the metaphor he should have thought twice about it. For me it didn’t matter if it was a reference to the some conservative saying that Republicans should unshackle business from the burden of unnecessary regulations imposed by the Obama administration.
At first glance the remark could be construed as somewhat racially insensitive. But kind of like the young black guy back at the Home Depot a few years back who probably wasn’t trying to offend a customer, I’m pretty certain that Mr. Biden wasn’t trying to offend his supporters. Mr. Biden has a reputation for making gaffs and his speech the other day is just one of the latest in a long line that goes back decades. Generally speaking he has been the type of politician that supports the view of the black community on most issues. If his words can be judged to be racially insensitive it is more than likely a momentary lack of judgment and not just the latest manifestation of a personal philosophy of racial insensitivity or a possible hostility towards black people.
Compare Mr. Biden’s single sentence remark to the recent philosophies of conservative politicians who wear their disdain for black people on their sleeves. Compare Mr. Biden’s single sentence to Newt Gingrich’s core belief that black people need to give up their pursuit of welfare checks and start earning an honest living. Compare Mr. Biden’s remark to Ron Paul and his newsletter with its plethora of racist statements like black people will stop rioting when the welfare checks arrive or that young blacks accused of crimes should be treated as adults because they are black. Compare Mr. Biden’s remark to Herman Cain’s contention that black people are too brainwashed against the conservative philosophy of the Republican Party. Compare Mr. Biden’s remark to the conservative’s current political strategy to disenfranchise black people from voting under the guise that voting fraud is so rampant that new standards for voter identification are required to combat the problem. In all honesty the slip of Mr. Biden’s lip is nothing compared to the long chain of political attacks against black people as well as the institutions and policies that support a large portion of the black community.
Now some conservatives want to point at Mr. Biden’s statement and say that he’s the one that is now being divisive and insensitive. Some claim that Mr. Biden telling people that the Republicans want to put people in chains is out of line. It is an affront to the party of President Abraham Lincoln who freed black people from America’s nationally institutionalized racial enslavement. But these same people don’t have a problem saying that President Obama has chained or shackled businesses with regulations. These are the same businesses that continue to show record profits and distribute massive executive bonuses while at the same time shedding jobs for workers. When Mr. Obama took office, the stock market was trading somewhere down in the eight thousand range. Now it is trading over thirteen thousand. That’s a healthy improvement for anybody forced to operate under the burden of shackles.
So I guess we can wrap this all up real quick by saying Mr. Biden shouldn’t have said what he said. We all know he wasn’t trying to be literal just like we all know that the conservatives who accuse liberals of trying to shackle business to the burden of regulation weren’t meant to be taken literal. If some conservatives want to act like they’re so offended, after all the shit that they have said about and have done to the black community, join the fucking club. Whatever Mr. Biden said pales in comparison to what many conservatives have said and done. Some of these people have made political and personal attacks against black people an art form.
It has been a while since conservative Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann used her profile office to spew the type of racism that has an appeal to a lot of people. A few weeks ago it was Ms. Bachmann who threw out the suggestion that Huma Abedin, the longtime aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and wife of former liberal Congressman Anthony Weiner who left the House of Representatives after a scandal that revealed his lack of integrity, should be investigated for a lack of patriotism due to the fact that the Abedin family had an association with the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that defends acts of violence against civilians and is suspected of funding and supporting terrorism.
There was a quick backlash against Ms. Bachmann for her slander. She has been criticized on the floor of the Senate and heavily criticized by pundits on both sides of the political aisle. She has stimulated a petition calling for her to be removed from the House Intelligence Committee. Ms. Bachmann has never been one to care about reality. The woman has a reputation for treating facts like an unwanted stepchild. But this last time, the usual flirtation with outright lies caused her a bit of trouble. Senate Republican John McCain, House Speaker John Boehner, and many other conservatives have actually come out the woodwork in support of Ms. Abedin. Ed Rollins, Ms. Bachmann’s former campaign chairman said that Ms. Bachmann should stand on the floor of the House and apologize to Huma Abedin and to Secretary Clinton and to the millions of hard working, loyal, Muslim Americans for her wild and unsubstantiated charges. Mr. Rollins went on to say that she should ask for forgiveness for her grievous lack of judgment and reckless behavior.
But just as soon as Ms. Bachmann started to suffer the bipartisan condemnation, hardcore conservatives like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich stepped out of the shadow of irrelevance to double down on her racist accusation. It only makes sense to someone of only his self inflated intellectual stature that it is only logical to perform an investigation into the relationships of people who have access to sensitive information with a questionable family ties. He then innocently asks, what’s the problem? He’ll do his best to sound frustration and feign a lack of understanding while he raises his hands to add a little body language to drive the show totally home for his constituent audience that is primarily white and primarily conservative and primarily very insensitive to issues that do not pertain to white people.
Since Ms. Bachmann made her allegations against Ms. Abedin and people of Muslim faith or heritage, there have been to mass shootings. One was in Aurora, Colorado and not too far from the infamous Columbine High School massacre shooting spree of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. During the world premier of the latest Batman thriller, The Dark Knight Rises, James Egan Holmes walked into one of the theaters at the Century 16 at the Town Center at Aurora and killed twelve people and wounded almost sixty more. According to police investigations the gunman acted alone.
The other mass shooting was just last night when forty year old white supremacist Wade Michael Page walked into a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin with more than four hundred members. As people were entering the temple for Morning Prayer, the gunman got out of his car and shot his first victim as soon as he got out of his car. Without saying anything he walked into the temple continuing to fire. Page was killed by police at the scene. In less than twenty four hours into the investigation into what may have prompted the shooting, authorities were able to determine that the gunman acted alone and had no affiliation with anyone else even though he was known to be a white supremacist and was a member of not one but two racist bands named End Apathy and Definite Hate.
So far Ms. Bachmann and Mr. Gingrich have been silent on the matter. But that’s really no surprise. With fire and brimstone to fuel her rhetoric Ms. Bachmann is quick to point a damning figure at a Muslim woman who has served Ms. Clinton and her country faithfully for years. Huma Abedin is entitled to the gratitude of every American and to the best of knowledge has never done anything to cause anyone to question her loyalty and patriotism. And Newt Gingrich, a politically weakened figure with tarnished reputation from his ill fated attempt to win the Republican nomination for the White House, desperate for anything that could jump start a faded career, knows that jumping on the racism bandwagon is a quick and easy way to jump back into the good graces of many people with the same racists viewpoints. The fact that Ms. Abedin is a minority with a religious faith that many Americans believe goes hand in hand with foreign terrorism makes her prime target for baseless condemnation.
But the face of domestic terrorism is predominantly white. It is the face of the previously mentioned Columbine shooting, Aurora shooting, and the Oak Creek shooting. It is the face of the shooter who tried to murder Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Gifford. It’s the face of George Zimmerman who shot Trayvon Martin and it is the face of all the people who gave donations to make sure Trayvon’s murderer got the best defense money can buy.
What would happen if there was an investigation into all the people of the Congress and their aides and staff and find all the people who might be related to someone with might be affiliated with an organization with a history of using violence against innocent people? And imagine what an investigation like that would cost and how long it would last. Both the cost and the task would be staggering. We couldn’t afford it. That’s probably why we don’t do it.
We usually wait until somebody does something that gives us a reason to do an investigation before there is a call for an investigation. We have to judge them by what they do. Otherwise, we are prejudging and that is the root of prejudice. Relying on good old fashioned gossip to single out people when it’s one of those things that happens on both sides of the racial divide is nothing but racism.
Back in the day, before black people had anything acknowledging their civil rights, it didn’t take anything for white person to accuse a black person of a crime, hold a black person in jail for a crime on nothing more than the word of a white person, and/or convict a black person for a crime with the only evidence being the testimony of a white person. The racial prejudice against black people in America was institutionalized in all levels of government, in every branch of government, from the high of the federal down to smallest of local jurisdictions.
America’s penchant for racial disparity was fictionalized in stories like To Kill a Mockingbird. Assigned as the prosecutor in the rape trial of the black Tom Robinson, Horace Gilmer faces off against Atticus Finch in court. The facts of the trial proved far beyond a reasonable doubt that it was virtually impossible for the one armed black man being tried could not have raped anyone, Mr. Gilmer does little to prove Tom’s guilt. Instead, Mr. Gilmer relies on the racial prejudice of the all white jury to ignore the testimony of the black man. America’s racism was so thick that it was no surprise to see the white people in the story ready to lynch the black man with nothing more than an accusation.
There is no better example of America’s racial disparity than the case of Emmett Louis Till. Emmett was a fourteen year old black boy who was brutally murdered in Mississippi after he was accused of whistling at a white woman. Emmett was from Chicago, Illinois and was visiting his relatives when he had the audacity to actually speak to twenty one year old Carolyn Bryant in her grocery store. Several nights later, Mrs. Bryant’s husband Roy and Roy’s brother snatched Emmett out of the house where he was staying, took him to a barn, beat him and tortured him before Emmett was shot through the head. His body was dumped into the Tallahatchie River with a seventy pound cotton gin fan tied around his neck with barbed wire. His body was discovered and retrieved from the river three days later. Roy Bryant was tried but acquitted of Emmett’s murder. A few months after his acquittal he admitted killing Emmett in a magazine interview. Protection from double jeopardy prevented his confession from being used against him.
Now a lot of people would think that such travesty of justice is behind us, that in the twenty first century America has learned from her racist past and looks only towards the future of racial harmony and brighter days. At least that is what we would like to think. But again, if we actually look at the evidence presented before our very eyes we will see the reality is very different.
Many people continue to refuse to believe that President Barack Obama is an American citizen despite the fact that government agencies with the responsibility to protect the Office of the President as well as the President himself remain silent on the issue. We’re supposed to believe some hick sheriff in Arizona has discovered the truth that the Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Central Intelligence Agency, and everybody else couldn’t figure out. The only evidence we have is his testimony and the fact that Mr. Obama is black. What other President or even presidential contender has ever dealt with such an indignation? The answer is not a single one. This indignation is Mr. Obama’s burden alone.
Many people accuse Mr. Obama of being an appeaser to people around the world who want to do this country harm. People believe this despite the fact that Mr. Obama kept his promise to do whatever it took to bring the leaders of al-Qaeda, including Osama bin Laden, to America’s unique brand of justice. Many of us believe this even though there is no audio or visual recording of Mr. Obama apologizing to anyone. The only proof we have is somebody’s accusation.
Mr. Obama is accused of being the food stamp President. He’s accused of being the President that saw the country lose more jobs than any other President in history. But again, if we look at the evidence, the country was losing more than seven hundred thousand jobs a month when Mr. Obama took office. Within a couple of months of assuming office, the job loss numbers began to drop. It took fifteen months, but the job loss numbers turned into job creation numbers. This happened despite the fact that Mr. Obama was working against all the Republican legislators who were committed to making sure Mr. Obama was a failure by doing their best to keep the country in economic freefall.
Mitch McConnell made the statement that his number one goal was to make sure Mr. Obama was a single term President. We have that proof. We have a conservative legislator interrupting the President’s State of the Union Address to the Congress with a boldfaced accusation that he was a liar. Other legislators say this man is so foreign you’d have to study Kenyan economic philosophy to understand his policies. Political pundits accuse him of being racist and hateful against white people. All of this and much more is believed to be true without a single shred of fact to support these allegations. But instead of getting an honest, bona fide analysis of his performance and of his person, he has to contend with conjecture, speculation, disrespect for him and for his office, and outright lies.
If people disagree with the President’s policies then by all means speak up and put their concerns, observations, whatever it might be on the table for us to review and discuss. But to make baseless accusations simply because America still suffers from institutionalized racial bigotry is a sure fire indication that we are still stuck in the racist muck that continues to dog just about every aspect of American life these days. In the twenty first century America still faces the same racial animosity that Emmett Till and Tom Robinson faced way back in the pre civil rights twentieth century. Racism was all around us then and it is all around us now and it looks like it will be with us forever.
The shooting that took place in Aurora, Colorado was the epitome of our definition of wickedness. James Holmes took a Smith & Wesson AR-15 assault rifle, a Remington 12 gauge shotgun, and .40 caliber Glock pistol into a movie theater showing the latest Batman flick, tossed a smoke grenade into the unsuspecting audience watching the film, and opened fire. Twelve people were killed, ten of them declared dead at the scene while two died in hospital. Thirty people are still receiving medical care in area hospitals. As of this writing eleven people remain in critical condition.
The recognition that something horrible had happened was instant. The outpouring of sympathy and compassion was immediate. No one is standing in line to defend James Holmes. Everyone understands his actions were criminal. Everyone understands the people in the theater minding their own business were victims. There is no confusion about the legality of what he did. The only questions regarding this perpetrator’s future is how long will he be incarcerated and/or how many death sentences he will receive.
The hospitals taking care of victims without medical insurance or with inadequate healthcare coverage are announcing that they will waive some if not all of the medical cost. A great public relations move and a sign of community in an era where any signs of socialism is considered anti American. A website asking people for donations to help cover the cost of caring for the victims has already collected more than half a million dollars. There is a lot of support for the people who had to suffer through the horror of that night.
Compare that to the general public’s reaction to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida by George Zimmerman. When the police in Sanford got the call that there was a shooting, like the police in Aurora they swarmed onto the scene. But unlike the police in Aurora, the police in Sanford decided that they didn’t have enough evidence that a crime had occurred even though a black teenager lay dead on the ground with a hole in his chest and the shooter was standing right there with a smoking gun in his hand. Mr. Zimmerman was allowed to go free with his gun in his hand and the Sanford police closed their investigation in a matter of hours.
The reaction by the public to the shooting in Sanford fell along racial lines. Black people were outraged that Trayvon’s murder was quickly swept under the rug leaving an impression that resembled a bowling ball. So many white people reacted to black people demanding further investigation. Many saw Trayvon as nothing more than a black teenager out to make trouble. Trayvon’s background was instantly investigated. And when he had no criminal record or even a record of a misdemeanor, his school records were combed for anything that would justify his murder. Nobody in the theater in Aurora had to suffer such an indignity.
When President Barack Obama made a comment that if he had a son he would look like Trayvon, the President’s opponents jumped on the statement with indignation. The President was trying to inject race into an issue that already had race written all over it. Compare that to the reaction to the President’s words about the shooting in Aurora. His words were appreciated and recognized as an offer of support to all the victims.
After the murder of Trayvon, the website that was created to ask for donations that garnered the public’s attention was the one that was intended to help the murderer, George Zimmerman. Mr. Zimmerman collected so much money that he felt compelled to lie to the court about his finances in order to avoid paying a huge bond. Does anybody care to guess what would be the public’s reaction if somebody put together a website asking for donations to help cover the cost of defending James Holmes? It would be no surprise if such a site was started it would struggle to reach a hundred dollars. But then again, Zimmerman only killed a black teenager while James Holmes killed white people.
But what was really telling was that after the murder of Trayvon a lot of people applauded George Zimmerman for his crime and attacked the family Trayvon. When Trayvon’s mother made a public announcement about Mother’s Day and how she would be spending that occasion in memory of her son people accused her of being a gold digger trying to profit off of her son’s death. Within days of the crime, people in the white community were saying that they were tired of hearing about Trayvon’s murder and suggested that we move on. It is a sure fire bet that a year from now we will have a memorial to the Aurora victims that will receive national attention. And people will continue to roll their eyes at the name Trayvon.
People will try to defend these disparities in two very similar yet very different tragedies. They’ll say Holmes planned to kill innocent people while Zimmerman was only trying to defend himself when he got out of his car with his nine millimeter and gave chase to the unarmed black teenager walking away from him. They’ll say that there were innocent victims in Aurora where Trayvon was black, hooded, and ripe for automatic suspicion of being up to no good. But there is nothing that could justify the disparity in reactions between these two acts of murder. Not even America’s inherent penchant for racism against black people.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had anything to write about George Zimmerman, the Florida watchman who appears to have shot seventeen years old Trayvon Martin for the crime of walking home from the convenience store while being a young black teenager in a hooded jersey. But the more I hear and see of this man the harder it is to remain silent as he tries to lie his way out of his predicament.
In a recent interview with Fox News commentator Sean Hannity, Mr. Zimmerman and his interviewer did their best to explain away Mr. Zimmerman’s crime of murder. Mr. Hannity asked leading softball questions as if he was talking to get a toddler going through potty training to understand why he or she had shit in its diaper. You know poo-poo is bad? Why did you poo-poo in your diaper? Did you forget to go to your poo-poo chair? You want to keep clean don’t you? And as Mr. Hannity asked his lame questions Mr. Zimmerman did little more than to say yes or no.
But at one point, George Zimmerman was asked if he had to do anything over again would he. Mr. Zimmerman replied that he would do nothing different that night. If he had to do it all over again he would stalk the young black teenager. When Trayvon tried to run George Zimmerman would get out of his car with his gun and chase him down. When he finally caught up with the teenager and initiated the confrontation, he would pull the gun out and shoot him again. And then, most infuriatingly and surprisingly, George Zimmerman said that he believed it was god’s plan for him to kill Trayvon Martin that night and it was not his place to question god’s motives.
It was speculated and admitted by his lawyers that Mr. Zimmerman did the interview with Sean Hannity in order to raise cash donations for his legal defense. When the black community brought attention to the fact that the murderer of Trayvon Martin had been released with the murder weapon by police just a few hours after he had killed Trayvon, many conservatives interpreted the outrage of black people as an attack on white conservatism and began to push back. If black people were attacking Zimmerman, white people would defend him. And many white people donated their money to help pay for the defense of George Zimmerman.
I was initially appalled by the way opinions of this murder fell along racial lines. White people saw nothing wrong with a white man stopping whatever he was doing to stalk, follow, and eventually murder a black teenager. There is the prejudiced notion driven by our national culture dominated by white people and rooted in race based slavery that a black teenager is little more than a thug in waiting with a propensity for criminal intent imbedded in the DNA. George Zimmerman did nothing wrong because he only killed a suspicious black teenager.
But it was the generosity of white people that helped to expose Mr. Zimmerman’s propensity for criminal behavior when he went before the court and lied about his financial status. When the court asked Mr. Zimmerman if he had assets to pay his bond George Zimmerman and his wife testified that they had nothing even though their total donations was well into the six figures. When the court discovered the subterfuge, the bond was revoked, George Zimmerman had to return to jail, and his wife was arrested for giving false testimony to the court. If you were one of the many that donated money to the Zimmerman defense fund, thank you for your role in helping to expose this man as a calculating liar.
Understandably, the donations began to dry up. They would have naturally slowed down over time as people’s attention turned to other things. But the fact that Zimmerman was proven to be a liar probably sped things up a bit. In order to jump start the gravy train, Mr. Zimmerman did his interview with the conservative darling of the most conservative television news network. That is, if you consider Fox News a news network. Add a little talk about doing god’s work and you have a perfect formula for appealing to the heartstring of conservatives for more money.
Zimmerman’s statement that he believed he was only doing god’s work is disgusting. We’ve all heard that god works in mysterious ways, but why would god want George Zimmerman to kill Trayvon Martin? If god wanted Trayvon dead all he had to do was stop Trayvon’s heart or have the boy suffer a stroke. That way, nobody has to go to jail for murder. The death of Trayvon would’ve been natural with no questions asked. That’s what I would do if the objective was just to have Trayvon dead. Maybe Zimmerman’s god has a thing about black teenage boys going to the convenience store in a hooded jersey. And like a lot of people, Zimmerman has the tendency to make his god in his own image.
But even if it is true that Zimmerman believes he was murdering Trayvon on behalf of god, it doesn’t absolve him of the crime. Even if god comes down from heaven, takes the stand, and testifies that Zimmerman has operating on his behalf, all that means is that according to our laws god would be Zimmerman’s coconspirator. It doesn’t mean that Zimmerman should be shielded from prosecution.
If Zimmerman believes he was committing murder on behalf of god then he should be more than willing to go down for his crime steep in the belief that his faith in his murderous god will comfort him as he rots in his prison cell for the rest of his life. If god told used Zimmerman to kill, maybe the ultimate objective wasn’t to kill Trayvon but to lock Zimmerman away for the rest of his life. And if that’s true, who are we to question the will of god?
Maybe god’s ultimate objective was to give Zimmerman the opportunity to make a choice to do right or to do wrong by his fellow man. Maybe god was putting Zimmerman to the test to see if he has the morals and values not to use his prejudice to judge somebody different. And if that’s the case, it’s pretty obvious that he failed that test miserably and now has to pay the price for his stark lapse judgment.
But to be real, nobody has any idea of god had an active role in this mess or not. We believe that Jim Jones killed more than nine hundred people under the guise that it was god’s will. David Koresh said he was doing god’s work when he helped to construct the confrontation that led to the fire at the Branch Davidian ranch that led to the deaths of more than eighty people. We know for a fact that these people were demented and their claim to be operating under the direction of a mysterious god was just poppycock.
It looks like Zimmerman is just another poppycock sucker (pun totally intended) using god as an excuse in his crime. Hopefully, the people he’s trying to appeal to, the predominantly white group of conservatives who believe in god and watch conservative television and believe in the word of Sean Hannity, will recognize this man for the murderous charlatan he truly is and stop supporting his attempts to find a believable defense to his indefensible act of murder.