Under Which Circumstances Can Nonwhites Talk About Race?

Question: How many of the people who are upset with Black people’s responses to the Martin-Zimmerman case were raised by parents [or grandparents] who were upset with Black people’s responses to the murder of Emmett Till?

Image

Despite some obvious contextual differences, the public sentiment, anguish, and disappointment is the same.

The question then becomes, were Black people “race-baiting” or “playing the race card” when they protested Till’s murderers being found not guilty?

What about after JFK, Malcolm X, and Dr. King were assassinated?

How about when factories, plants, and businesses began to close down en masse in innercity neighborhoods (e.g., Detroit, South Los Angeles, D.C., Chicago) during the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, thus changing the economic prospects of the people who’d depended on those jobs for generations, and pushing them toward despair, crime, and dysfunction? When this is mentioned by Black talking heads, whether they be President Obama or Al Sharpton for that matter, is this playing the race card?

Is it race-baiting when Blacks mention longstanding inequalities in wealth, income, employment opportunities, educational opportunities, housing opportunities, and health outcomes, to name a few?

When Blacks lament the numerous killings of Blacks by Whites, from the times of slavery, to the Jim Crow lynchings, to police brutality, to unequal death penalty sentencing, to rogue Americans like George Zimmerman, is this playing the race card?

And, if none of this is racism, or at least deserving of a serious discussion of race, then, please tell me, what is?

It seems to me that the people who are upset with the fact that Black people are upset, feel as if they are in some sort of “war” against Blacks. To them, there is only one correct way to feel and think about this case, and that is to believe that George Zimmerman was at best a hero and at worst an unfortunate fellow that had to use deadly force to protect himself from “one of those” raging Black criminals. To them, no other perspective is legitimate, and any mention of race, or history is just “playing the race card.”  (Unless, of course, it is the history that presents Blacks as criminals who are “always” robbing, stealing, and killing–that’s legitimate, not just a stereotype, and certainly not something to be placed within the context of slavery, Jim Crow, lack of opportunity, inequality, etc.)

Again, when is it OK for nonwhites to talk about race?

My Thoughts on the Zimmerman Trial Thus Far

I watched the Zimmerman trial most of the day yesterday.  Here are my preliminary thoughts on the matter.

For those of you who believe that this is not about race, my very serious question to you is this:

What would convince you that this was a racially motivated incident?

I ask that because I find that when disagreeing with some people about race, often there is no reason to have a conversation because one side is convinced of their truth and though the facts change, they refuse to change their minds.  There is no use in talking with folk like that.  Assuming that you’re prepared to accept that this was racially motivated or at least entertain the idea, let me give you this scenario:

Let’s say that Trayvon Martin was a young White woman, and George Zimmerman was a middle-aged Black man who saw some “suspicious” woman walking in the rain in his neighborhood.  Let’s say he followed her, and when he called the police, dispatch told him twice not to follow her.  Let’s say he ignored that directive twice.  Black George Zimmerman follows White Tracy Martin who appears to be running and hiding from him, as she ducks and hides between buildings.  At some point she confronts Black George who does not identify himself as the neighborhood watch person.  Nor does he alert White Tracy Martin that the police are on the way.  Instead, an argument ensues, and shoots her.

Would anyone be willing to argue that Black George was afraid of the suspicious White Tracy?  Even if Tracy was a White male, would anyone be willing to argue that Black George was afraid of Tracy?  One way to ferret out your true feelings on this matter is to leave the facts the same and change the gender and race of Trayvon and Zimmerman.  See if you feel the same way about things.

ON THE ISSUE OF FEAR…

When you listen to the tapes and language that Zimmerman used–note his very calm demeanor as he spoke with the 911 operator and disobeyed directions to not follow Trayvon.  According to Zimmerman, it was raining.  Trayvon was holding something unidentifiable in his hands and reaching for his waistband.  It was dark.  Trayvon appeared to be on drugs or behaving strangely.  At no point did Zimmerman sound afraid or even nervous.

After Trayvon looked into Zimmerman’s car, he took off running, and Zimmerman took off after him into the night.  Remember, Zimmerman’s complaint was, “These fuckin’ punks always get away.”  Zimmerman was judge and jury.  Trayvon was guilty–of what I don’t know, but according to Zimmerman, Trayvon had no business walking in the rain at night with Skittles and some tea.

HERE’S WHAT I THINK HAPPENED…

Police BrutalityWanna be cop, George Zimmerman, was feeling particularly excited about his glorified position in the neighborhood, and he was all too ready to go too far with it.  Remember, the job of a neighborhood watch team, generally, is to observe and report suspicious activities to the real police who might still shoot Black people indiscriminately, but at least they have a storied history of doing so (I couldn’t resist y’all).

When he saw Trayvon Martin walking in his neighborhood, he was excited to spring into action–gat in tow.  He saw a young Black man walking in the rain and decided that he must be guilty of something.  Had he seen a young White woman walking in the rain, he would’ve pulled alongside her and offered her a ride to get out of the rain, or he might have waited to see what the wetness would reveal in a perverted manner.  Had it been a young White male, Zimmerman might have identified himself as neighborhood watch, and felt good about that, but because he saw a young Black male with a hood (it was raining after all), he decided that he was on a real police case and that he had an opportunity to be a neighborhood hero–to have a story!

From Trayvon’s POV, some strange dude in a car was following him for no reason, and he wasn’t about to lead him to his father’s house, and he wasn’t about to let the dude get the drop on him either.

The cat and mouse went on as Zimmerman stalked (yes STALKED) Trayvon, and when he found Trayvon, Zimmerman pushed the action.  He accosted Trayvon, who promptly defended himself and in doing so, beat the dog shit outta Zimmerman until Zimmerman shot this teenager dead.

The end.

This is certainly an issue of self-defense, but nothing that Zimmerman did suggests that he was defending anything other than his pathetic need to be somebody in a neighborhood in which apparently he didn’t couldn’t even remember the name of the streets on which he lived and defended.

Zimmerman InjuriesAs an interesting note, Zimmerman claims that Trayvon was bashing his head into the concrete.  I once pushed a dude down in a bar, and when he fell and bumped his head, he had a huge knot on his head.  Zimmerman, who had his head bashed into the concrete, had two scratches that had band-aids on them the next day.  No bruising.  No knots.  No lumps.  No stitches.  No truth.  Just bullshit.

Burning Questions: Fast Food Employees

Are fast food restaurants purposely hiring non-English speaking, I-failed-all-of-my-K-12-math-courses-but-the-teachers-passed-me-just-to-not-have-me-in-their-class-again individuals?  During the interview, are interviewees expected to answer yes to: are you absolutely guaranteed to fuck up a simple order?

..burning questions.