It does not matter that George Zimmerman is not white

March 25, 2012

George Zimmerman

It does not matter that George Zimmerman is not white.

Hypothetical Story based on the Trayvon Martin Case: A 17 year old black teen was murdered while walking home from a convenience store with ice tea and a bag of Skittles. The suspect, a 28 year old male, was arrested and is in police custody awaiting trial.

Stories similar to the one above happen frequently and tragically in cities across America. Yet few have garnered as much national and international attention as the Trayvon Martin case. Why? Is it because an innocent black teen was murdered by a racist? No. What if Trayvon had been murdered by a thief, or a gang member, or a serial killer? The story would still be tragic. Trayvon would still be dead, murdered senselessly on his return from the store. But the world would not be in such an uproar and racial tensions would not be as high.

Some Americans have made it their mission to inform all of us that reports of a white male killing Trayvon are inaccurate. These Americans state it is a smear against white people, to inflame racial tensions and produce a narrative that does not exist. To their credit, it is important to get the facts straight. “George Zimmerman” does not sound much like a Hispanic name, however photos of the man certainly resemble a person with Hispanic features. Add to that the family of George Zimmerman emerging to inform us that George is not white, and these Americans are right in their correction.

So facts matter. Getting the truth right matters. But whether George is white or not has little to do with the uproar from the black community and the accusations of racism and injustice. In the example I initially provided, the unarmed teen victim was killed and the murder suspect was arrested. But that is not what happened in the Trayvon Martin case. Trayvon the unarmed teen was killed, but the suspect, George Zimmerman, walks free with his gun in hand.

National and international uproar, the shouts of injustice, the Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton appearances, the Obama remarks, the Miami Heat tributes, the intense anger particularly in the black community are not merely due to a racist murdering a black teen, but that racist walking free after the murder. George was not found “not guilty” by a jury and set free, he was set free by the police who took his word at the crime scene and let him go home with his gun.

So where does race play in this? Where does the black and white tension come from if Zimmerman wasn’t even white? The tension is found in the double standard, the signs of second class citizenry that appear blatantly obvious to the black community. It is a double standard that values the lives of white Americans more than black Americans and it has existed since this nation’s founding.

No one believes that a big black George Zimmerman would walk free without arrest. No one believes his testimony would be trusted by the police, especially when he pursued the teen after a 911 dispatcher told him not to. No one believes that a small white Trayvon Martin would be drug tested before the suspect, or assumed to be the aggressor by the police. No one believes the family of a white Trayvon Martin would be lied to about the history of the murder suspect by the police, or that a white family would face trust issues concerning the quality of investigation by the police.

No one believes a black George Zimmerman with a history of assault on a police officer, domestic violence, and resisting arrest would have any advocates in law enforcement supporting his claims of self defense. This is a nation that recently executed Troy Davis. This is a nation that sentenced John White on second degree manslaughter charges. John was arrested for accidentally shooting a white teenager who came with a group of his friends as a “lynch mob” to White’s property at midnight to threaten him and his family with violence and racial slurs. John White went to jail, Zimmerman has not been arrested. Police arrested Professor Henry Louis Gates for “breaking into his own property” when he forgot his key.

No need to list the history of injustices suffered by black Americans at the hands of the police. A simple google search will yield around 30 million results.

This is a tragic reality that appears unique and persistent to black Americans. The beating of Kelly Thomas by Fullerton police was so rare that for some white Americans it was a light bulb moment that they too might be vulnerable. Pepper spray on Occupy protestors or the arrest of the “Don’t Taze me Bro” pale in comparison to the shooting deaths of Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Ramarley Graham, the Rodney King beating, and many other black tragedies. Couple those tragedies with the fears of driving while black, fitting the description, excessive force and police brutality, having drugs planted on you, Katrina murders by police, etc. and the Trayvon Martin case is another stab to an open wound.

So these fears have plagued the black community for years, decades, and generations. But the Trayvon Martin case is not a case of a abuse where Trayvon was a suspect. The Trayvon Martin case is a case of abuse where Trayvon was the victim. The UNARMED VICTIM received injustice. The VICTIM cries from his grave while his killer goes about his life freely without arrest. And even this has sad historical precedents; Emmett Till, Shirley Sherrod’s father, etc.

So if this is mainly a case of outrage over police injustice with the black community, where does the white-black tension lie? Please note, when I mention “white-black tension” I am not saying the Trayvon Martin case has sparked a hatred against white Americans by black Americans. I am saying that it intensifies the contrast in justice, freedom, safety and security, the contrast of protection under the law between the experiences of white Americans and black Americans once again. That is where the racial tension lies. It lies in the constant reminder that black Americans who built this nation are once again denied the rights, securities, and privileges guaranteed to all Americans and enjoyed by white Americans.

Yes Zimmerman appears to be a racist, and that’s awful. But if the police and justice system in Florida did not also appear to have racial biases, this national uproar would not have happened. It is naive of us to think that the election of Barack Obama has or can fix everything. The Trayvon Martin case is like re-injuring an old wound once again that never seems to heal. And Zimmerman’s ethnic make up does little to distract or comfort from the perceived and blatant double standard of justice for Trayvon and black Americans.

RIP Trayvon.

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Protests in Iran turn violent!

December 30, 2009



Tennessee Mayor slams President Obama for interrupting a Charlie Brown cartoon with his address on war

December 4, 2009

You can’t make this stuff up folks! You just can’t make it up. Tennessee Mayor Russell Wiseman is still promoting the campaign lie that the President is a Muslim (a false rumor addressed and readdressed endlessly during last year’s campaign). He also believes that the Commander in Chief addressed our nation about the Afghan war and deploying more troops in a sneaky anti-Christian move to block children from watching Charlie Brown’s Christmas special (which can be found on DVD and most likely the internet).

Huffingtonpost reports

In case you didn’t know, President Barack Obama’s West Point address, in which he announced his intention to escalate the war in Afghanistan, pre-empted the broadcast of A Charlie Brown Christmas on ABC. As it turns out, at least one person was crackpotted enough to believe that the whole point of the address was to prevent this cartoon from being shown. That person is Arlington, Tennessee Mayor Russell Wiseman. He actually exists. And he made the mistake of bleating out his strident, weird take on the matter on Facebook, and is acting all aggrieved that people noticed.

His Facebook message read in part:

Ok, so, this is total crap, we sit the kids down to watch ‘The Charlie Brown Christmas Special’ and our muslim [sic] president is there, what a load…..try to convince me that wasn’t done on purpose. Ask the man if he believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and he will give you a 10 minute disertation [sic] about it….w…hen the answer should simply be ‘yes’….

First off, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is a twenty-five minute dissertation on Jesus Christ being the Son of God. More importantly, in this time of giving, I’ll point out that “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is available on DVD from Amazon for $13.99. Maybe one of Wiseman’s Facebook friends (maybe even the one with a conscience who sold Wiseman out to the press out of a higher obligation, perhaps instilled by his or her belief in Jesus Christ) should purchase it for him, and he need never watch a speech about a serious topic like war again.


Boycott Shell gas stations, products, & services.

May 28, 2009

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8067218.stm

Activists trying to prove oil giant Royal Dutch Shell was complicit in the 1995 executions of nine anti-oil campaigners, including Nigerian writer Ken Saro-Wiwa, have brought their case to the US.

Over the last 12 years, the family of the Ogoni poet and playwright has pursued the company through the courts with the support of American environmental and human rights campaigners.

Shell deny accusations they had anything to do with the executions of Mr Saro-Wiwa and eight others by the government of military ruler Sani Abacha.

The civil lawsuit, which was due to start on Wednesday 27 May in New York, has been postponed until next week.

The case is being closely watched in Nigeria, where a younger generation of oil militants has caused chaos in the oil industry, blowing up installations and kidnapping staff.

“They weren’t the hangman,” Ken Wiwa, the activist’s son, says about Shell.

“But their fingerprints are all over it.”

‘Goaded’

In 1993, Ogoni activists stood up to the international oil company, forcing them to pull out of the region in Rivers State.

The protests were led by Mr Saro-Wiwa, famed for writing a popular TV soap.

He founded the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (Mosop) which used largely non-violent means to bring the world’s attention to the environmental damage being done by oil production in the Niger Delta.

But the leadership of Mosop was accused of ordering the murder of four local traditional leaders, and arrested.

In 1995 the government of Sani Abacha shocked the world by carrying out the executions of the Ogoni Nine, as they became known.

The plaintiffs are trying to prove that Shell, in Mr Wiwa’s words, “goaded” the government into the executions.

Mr Wiwa, now an aide to the current President Umaru Yar’Adua, says he is not interested in “retributive justice”, but is trying to find a solution to the problems that still plague the region.

Like his father, he wants oil firms to realise that it is only by working with and engaging local communities that there can be longer-term profitability for all.

For the past 14 years, no oil has been pumped from Ogoniland ground.

“My father always said that one day Shell would realise he was their greatest friend,” Mr Wiwa told the BBC’s Network Africa programme.

The court action is being brought by Mr Wiwa and the families of seven of the nine men executed, as well as a number of other Ogonis injured or killed by the military during the 1990s.

They are being assisted by the Centre for Constitutional Rights and Earth Rights International.

The case can be heard in New York because American law allows foreign nationals to sue companies registered in the US.

Their lawyers will try to prove that the company had a close relationship with the Nigerian government, ordering military raids and attacks on villages in the name of “security”.

They say Shell executives told the government they had to “deal” with the Ogonis and Mosop.

They also claim Shell knew in advance that Mr Wiwa and the rest of the Ogoni Nine would be found guilty, and, perhaps most damningly, they say they can prove the director of Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary met with Mr Saro-Wiwa’s brother and offered his freedom in return for an end to Mosop’s campaign.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZhy_VaYisU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNaY4xBiQp8