After the first Grand Jury in Ferguson refused to indite Darren Wilson and the second Grand Jury in New York refused to recognize Eric Garner’s death as a homicide, I wasn’t surprised. I wasn’t surprised but I was and am disgusted, because I have been following these stories for years, where black lives are obliterated by cops or the legal system in the U.S. because according to the cops, or legal system – their lives didn’t matter.
Consider the case of Marissa Alexander in Florida – who was convicted in 2010 of aggravated assault for shooting a warning shot over her abusive husband’s head, moments after he threatened – “Bitch I will Kill you!” On November 24, of this year, after serving nearly 3 years for the crime of protecting herself and harming no-one, she got off easy – she will serve 60 more days in prison and 2 years under house arrest. Prosecutor Angela Corey was going for 3 consecutive 20-year terms. http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/marissa-alexander-accepts-plea-deal
How is it that Marissa Alexander’s legitimate use of the “Stand Your Ground” in Florida was denied in spite of her harming no-one, and George Zimmerman’s murderous abuse of the same law to kill unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin got him off scott-free? What was the difference between these cases? Zimmerman was lucky to be half-white, and Alexander was unlucky enough to be black, in the eyes of the law.
And then we have the case of Tamir Rice murdered by police, literally a child playing with a toy gun. And this was barely a blip in the headlines between the two Grand Jury Hearings. Can you even imagine how the media would have roared if it had been a little white boy playing in the park, and the police shot him after less than a minute?
Only a white organization would have the temerity to put a child on a poster holding a gun!
The evidence is piling up so high – We “can’t breathe.” NONE of us who aren’t card-carrying KKKers, can pretend that racism isn’t a chronic pathological condition in this country. And the cure? The cure in part is awareness – understanding ALL the ramifications and implications of racism for all Americans – and specifically whites.
On the subject of white privilege Two trending twitter hashtags #CrimingWhileWhite and #LivingWhileBlack clarifies the privilege whites have over blacks in committing petty crimes, getting away with it and living to tell the tale via twitter.
Is it braggadacio, on the part of the white twitterer to reveal their crimes so casually? Perhaps in part. Is it the unleashing of white guilt? Perhaps in part. And in the article mentioned, certain African American’s interviewed resented the fact that this twitter-trend seemed to throw salt into the wounds of those who have suffered dearly for similar, or even being suspected of lesser crimes due to their race. Was this hashtag making light of situations that are “life and death” reality for the black community? For some perhaps. But what is happening, whatever the motivation, is an opening of the eyes of an ugly disparity of justice meted out in the country according to one’s skin color.
On the subject of racial bias – in August, Mother Jones wrote an in-depth article explaining why people can be racially prejudiced without realizing it. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/11/science-of-racism-prejudice. Included in the article is a site where one can do self-testing for various implicit biases – from racism, to sexism, to ageism, etc. Be prepared to be unnerved, because you may be surprised to find that you subconsciously associate particular moral or emotional values to particular groups of people. For instance, you may not be so insensitive as to believe all elderly women are hags, but you might associate the qualities of stony, or distant, or mean to elderly women over younger women. The same subtleties apply to darker vs. lighter skinned peoples. Take a test or two, and see what is brewing under your hood. – https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html
We speak of institutionalized racism, and how our media, government, economy is based upon racist practices, but when are we, all of us, going to start taking personal responsibility for racism?
About a week back, I was reading a confession from one of my favorite bloggers, that in spite of her being liberal, maybe even radical in some opinions, particularly her feminist ones, she admitted that she has very few friends who are anything but white.
This admonition, by a fellow liberal white woman blogger made me think about my own social network. But mine reads like the United Nations. My first best childhood friend had a white Mom and Black Dad, and from that point on, I made friends with those whom I felt a resonance – the color or culture or religion was never a consideration. And I became sickeningly aware of the racism in my own family since age 6. A racism that seemed inexplicable when some of my family members’ “best friends” were black.
I never got how it was so easy for people to hate an amorphous group of people, people who had done them no specific harm. Perhaps, it is only now that a greater amount of white youth are growing up into an America that doesn’t give a damn about their economic future or the health of their future environment – that whites are starting to identify with a sense of deep injustice that Black people have been enduring all along?
This identification in pain can also lead to identification in harmony … in these protests we can learn to work together as a nation united rather than divided. And in closing I leave you with a funny video from Dave Chappelle from 2 years ago, who tells of Criming while with a White friend. In my eyes, just two guys being young reckless dudes … and in the eyes of the law as well – because they were all to ready to give the white guy a pass.