One Scared White “Hero” Equals One Dead Black Monster

There is only one killer and one victim in this picture. Don’t get them confused.

In the case of the shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson,  we have heard numerous current and former peace officers weigh in with both their anecdotal war stories and their “I wasn’t there, but it probably went down like this” analysis.   There are times when the opinions of those engaged in a select profession can prove to be illuminating and informative to those not familiar with the practices, procedures, rules, and how the job works.   Unfortunately, many of these cops have been all about making excuses, rationalizations and justifications of Darren Wilson and profiling, criminalizing, and convicting Mike Brown, all without a trial.

The other night I came across one such ex-cop and this is what followed.  The names have been omitted to protect the not at all innocent.

Bottom line…Michael Brown was a violent punk. In 30 years of law enforcement, ran into a lot of Michael Browns…white, black, hispanic.

When my partner and I worked the streets, and drove into a questionable situation, we would) routinely have our weapons drawn and in our lap, especially when someone was approaching our unit. The only “procedural” error I fault Officer Wilson for, is not being prepared when Brown came at him in his patrol unit.

I’m amazed at the meme coming out of Ferguson…”18 year old teenager (6’3″, 290 lbs, just committed a strong arm robbery, and then, instead of maybe being a little circumspect, walks down the middle of the street daring someone to challenge him), when Wilson arrives on scene, this asshole assaults him in his patrol unit, and gets shot.

Would really be honestly interested in knowing why the black community holds individuals like Brown in high regard as some kind of saint when black role models abound.

I do appreciate you opening up your racial stereotyping with gratuitous throwaway lines about “ran into a lot of Michael Browns…White, Black Hispanic.” How many of those other Michael Browns did you shoot when their hands were raised?

Murder By Cop

Also, where is Brown’s criminal record proving he was “a violent punk?”   Was he carrying a gun?  Had he been convicted of any robberies, rapes, or murders?   Was he inked from the top of his head to the tips of his toenails in prison tattoos from years in prison?   With all the other leaks flooding out of the Ferguson P.D. and the supposedly “secret” hearings by the  grand jury you’d think Brown’s criminal background would have come out for Fox News to breathlessly broadcast.

Since when did a big, tall unarmed teenager become as lethal as a police officer armed with a loaded gun? How far will Wilson’s defenders go to make him the innocent victim and Brown the dangerous thug who had to be taken out?

Blow away the smoke and cut through the crap and what is really being said is obvious: Mike Brown: Big Scary Black Kid. If he hadn’t done something yet sooner of later he would have. Why wait to put him down later when you have a chance to put him down now?

Michael Brown was not a “thug.” No more than Trayvon Martin was a “thug.”

Brown was not a candidate for sainthood, but neither was he the Scary Negro Frankenstein his detractors have transformed him into. If orange is the new black then thug is the new “nigger.” “Thug”has become the vogue head fake when it’s time to call out young Blacks behaving badly  as “niggers” without actually saying it.

Jaywalking. Impeding traffic. Being bad-asses. Big Black kid. Capital offense. I Am the Law and the Sentence Is Death.

This member of the Black community doesn’t hold Michael Brown in high regard.  I didn’t know him.  I hold Michael Brown up as a young man who was deprived of his rights and his life taken by a cop who probably had no damn business carrying a gun and a badge.

This member of the Black community believes Black lives matter and those lives include “assholes” like Brown who joins a long list of Black lives taken by White cops.

This member of the Black community doesn’t need any suggestions from the White cop community whom his “Black role models” should be.

I could try to explain, but it’s a Black thing. You wouldn’t understand and I don’t care enough to try.

It's settled down for the moment, but at any moment Ferguson could go up in flames again.

It’s settled down for the moment, but at any moment Ferguson could go up in flames again.

A Reminder: Rachel Jeantel Is Not the One On Trial

America got to see an Angry Black Lady (and didn’t much like it)

We’re only a few weeks into the George Zimmerman trial and already there is moaning and groaning that he’s going to walk.   A friend told me today, “That girl totally blew it for the prosecution.   She was so poorly prepared and didn’t seem even to be mad about Trayvon being dead.  Why didn’t she act like she cared?”

I understand why my friend was turned off by Rachel Jeantel.  She was rough around the edges and   Even some Black folks found her tough to take.   She was sullen, uncooperative, sarcastic and disinterested.   She looked like she rather be anywhere else on earth than in that courtroom answering question after question for two days straight.

Jeantel has a reason for the bad attitude. The 19-year-old was on the phone with Martin before Zimmerman killed him.   Now she has to come to court and play along with this game of dress-up and legal mumbo-jumbo while the man who murdered her friend is sitting right across from her.   It is unlikely Jeantel spent her life learning courtroom decorum from Law and Order reruns.   It’s understandable if Jeantel’s huffy demeanor doesn’t play well with those scoring the trial at home, but she is not an actress and this is not a television with a tidy ending in the last 15 minutes.    This is real and Jeantel deserves to be cut a little slack.   It was her friend that was gunned down and if that’s not a reason to feel frosty about testifying what is?

This exchange between Jeantel and defense attorney Don West makes obvious she doesn’t suffer fools gladly.  Or a foolish questions either.

West: “Of course, you don’t know if he was telling the truth or not.”

Jeantel: “Why would he need to lie about that, sir?”

West: “Maybe he decided to assault George Zimmerman and he didn’t want you to know about it,”

Jeantel: “That’s real retarded, sir. Trayvon did not know him.”

This is the guy on trial. Remember?

Blunt?  Yes.  Politically incorrect?  Certainly.   Logical?  Definitely.

You can feel Jeantel contempt for the proceedings coming off in her in waves.  She exhibits utter disdain for the niceties of the law and total disinterest in being deferential to the attorneys.

I loved every minute of The Rachel Jeantel Show.   Even the moments where I winced and cringed.    This was not a young woman  about to play nice with the guy trying to get off the killer of her friend and she wasn’t interested if Middle America liked her.   I rather think she would care as much if they didn’t.

Rachel Jeantel is not interested in smiling when she does not want to smile or playing to the cameras.   She is not concerned who considers her insolent, rude, or ignorant.   She is not an entertainer.   She does not care if she infuriates White people who do not understand her or irritates Black people whom are embarrassed  by her surly attitude.

America prefers to Blacks sing, dance, play sports and show their teeth to the camera.   Angry Black people bothers America and Rachel Jeantel is very angry.

There are more Rachels and Trayvons out there than we are comfortable with.  Angry, surly, and easily annoyed Black teenagers whom aren’t impressed by courtrooms, judges, attorneys and television cameras have a remarkable power to intimidate those among us who regard them as bizarre as an alien life form.

George Zimmerman killed Trayvon not because he had done anything wrong, but because he was the wrong color in the wrong neighborhood.   The one thing Martin could not change was all Zimmerman saw.   That’s what racial profiling is.   Why are so many so eager to now racial profile Jeantel?

Jeantel and West do not speak the same language.   He wants to keep his client out of prison.  She wants justice for her dead friend.  Is it surprising she’s so hostile and contemptuous of him?

The prosecution could have prepared Jeantel better, but you can’t program people like computers. If you’re Black and embarrassed by Jeantel you were probably embarrassed by Charles Ramsey a few weeks ago and you need to ask yourself why?

Clarence Thomas and his four White friends on the Supreme Court pose a far greater threat to Black folks than Paula Deen‘s N-bombs.  Who hurt Black folks more this week?  Jeantel’s lack of articulation or Thomas’ deliberate calculation to give racist politicians a green light to reintroduce Jim Crow style voting laws?

Let’s get our priorities straight.   On Rachel’s worst day she does less harm to the race than Clarence on his best.   Let’s call the shabby treatment of Jeantel for what it is: Reverse Racial Profiling.  Respectable Negroes were embarrassed by Charles Ramsey a few weeks ago and now they’re back bellyaching over Rachel Jeantel.

Why don’t we focus on the substance of Ramsey and Jeantel and less about their style or lack of?   Not every Black person on television is going to be Cliff and Claire Huxtable.

James Baldwin said, “The power of the white world is threatened whenever a black man refuses to accept the white world’s definitions.” Black people need to stop defining themselves by the White world’s definition of what is proper, smart and articulate.   We must stop defining ourselves by standards that we had no part in creating and do not accurately depict us.  Rachel Jeantel is not Antoine Dodson playing the fool for the camera.   This is not World Star Hip Hop.  This is real.

West tried to do to Jeantel what the judge would not let be done to Trayvon: niggerize him as a threat and the type of Black teen Whites should be afraid of.

Maybe they should be if there’s no justice for Trayvon.

The murdered and the murdered.

A Year in the Death of Trayvon Martin

Murdered for the crime of being Black and "suspcious."

Trayvon Martin should be alive today, but of course he isn’t.    He’s dead because a scared little creep named George Zimmerman shot and killed him a year ago to the day.

And all hell broke loose…

When we talk about race in America those conversations are often nervous, dishonest, awkward and less than candid.   Too often we end up saying things we don’t really mean but sound right.   When Whites and Blacks and other races talk about race, we’re either put on airs as we struggle to be on our best behavior and not offend.     However, there are occasions where the false fronts and fake faces are dropped and we stand toe-to-toe and just let the bullets fly.   We don’t get polite.   We get real.

For a year now that’s what I’ve sought to do as I write about the Trayvon Martin case.   I try to bring the real.   I’m not trying to be impartial.   I’m not claiming I don’t have a bias.   I’ve chosen a side and I am on Team Trayvon, not Team Zimmerman.   I’m not a vigilante.   I leave that sort of thing to frightened rabbits like Zimmerman.    Nor do I want anything bad to happen to him or his wife and co-conspirator, Shellie Zimmerman.  I want them to be safe as houses right up until the day they are both convicted of their many crimes and are sent to prison.

I’m also preparing myself for the distinct possibility they both walk.

Do you move on?   Do you put it behind you?   Does your once inflamed sense of outrage cool until it grows as cold as the corpse of Trayvon?

No.  Of course you can’t allow that.  Not if you have the slightest sense of justice.  There’s been no justice here.  All we’ve seen so far is how skillful lawyers with no conscience or scruples will go to murder the truth.   Why does Zimmerman’s defense team need access to a teenager’s social media?   Who exactly is on trial here?

We know the answer to that, don’t we?   We know it is Trayvon who is on trial.   It is Trayvon, not his killer, who must prove he wasn’t some sort of thug.   Some punk who went out in the rain not for a bag of candy and a can of iced tea, but looking for trouble.

The innocent and the guilty

After all, he was a bad kid, right?   He shouldn’t have been out at 7:00 pm roaming around in the dark.   Right?   Just because some fool he didn’t know was chasing him in the dark and confronted him with a loaded gun he wasn’t supposed to be carrying, doesn’t mean it’s not his fault?   Why, he practically made poor George Zimmerman shoot him!   Zimmerman was fighting for his life.  He had every right to defend himself!

Right?

That only makes sense if you concede one point.   You must concede Zimmerman was correct in his conclusion that a Black kid walking around at night in his neighborhood and wearing a hoodie justifies racial profiling.   Justifies ignoring police instructions not to follow and engage.  Justifies hunting Trayvon through the apartment complex.    Justifies terrifying an unarmed young man who had done nothing and wanted nothing more than to get home and out of the rain.

Justifies confronting an unarmed young man, fighting that unarmed young man, and pulling out a gun and shooting to death that unarmed young man once it became clear he was winning the fight.

The problem for Zimmerman is there is no justification.   The Stand Your Ground law is not a license to kill.   Putting your own dumb ass in a potentially dangerous situation is not a justification.   Fearing for your life because you’re getting your dumb ass kicked is not a justification.

Being a coward, being an arrogant wannabee vigilante?   That might be a justification.   If you’re a murderous coward, that is.

Even the president weighed in on the controversy.

On the anniversary of the murder, CNN published excerpts of letters provided to them by his lawyers sent to Zimmerman from both supporters and detractors.   They illustrate how wide the racial schism is and how raw the emotions are  between how  Black and White America view this case .

  “Murderer,” one e-mail’s subject line said.

“Please shoot yourself, you racist piece of sh-t,” read the body of another e-mail. “You killed an unarmed teen that you stalked.”

And several dictated the same, succinct line: “Hope you die in prison.”

These venom-drenched words are just a smattering of at least 400 e-mails and letters, all sent to George Zimmerman over the past 10 months.

Some applaud his lawsuit against NBC over the altering the recording of his police call, allegedly to “create the myth that George Zimmerman was a racist and predatory villain.”

Other missives — many packed with vitriol and anger — provide a glimpse into the emotion that overcame the nation when Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin, a black teen, in Sanford, Florida, exactly one year ago.

Like the friendly letters, there are recurring themes: condemnation of Zimmerman’s conduct that night, mocking the website he established to collect donations for the legal defense and even ridiculing the physical appearances of him and his wife, Shellie.

Zimmerman is vilified as a predator in these letters, while Martin is portrayed as a “baby” or “child.” Dozens are riddled with profanity and crude anatomical references.

In contrast, others saw the racial controversy as a ginned-up conspiracy to condemn Zimmerman and made references to “the race-baiting media” and “threats by the black community and their leaders.”

“Black people take every opportunity to claim they’ve been wronged,” said one letter, while another encouraged Zimmerman to keep his head high: “Don’t let the damn blacks hold you back.”

What it's all about

What it’s all about

It’s a bitter laugh when Zimmerman’s supporters say “race has nothing to do with this.”  On what planet are they living on?   Not the same one I’m from.   Race has everything to do with this and it always did.   Only a deliberately blind idiot can’t see how Martin’s race, and to a lesser extent, Zimmerman’s as well factors into how the sides have been chosen and whose cause is being championed.

For many, Zimmerman is a hero defending his hood from a thug in a hoodie.   For the rest of us who only have to know the facts, not twist them, we know it is Trayvon Martin who was the only innocent victim here and the only one who was minding his own business not looking for trouble.

Trouble found him and cowardly ended his life.  The story of Trayvon lives beyond his brief 18 years.    He has become both a symbol and a martyr for this country’s pathological fear and scorn for young Black men.   We can’t ease up, can’t let up, can’t give up.   Not until this murdering piece of trash pays for his crime.  But if Zimmerman doesn’t pay for his crime (and it’s not only possible he won’t,  it’s likely) and he walks out of a Florida courtroom declared “not guilty” by the law, that won’t be an end for the pursuit of justice.

The law and justice are two separate things.   The law may set Zimmerman free.   Justice never will.

It’s a year gone by.  My hoodie is on and up in support of Trayvon Martin and his family who say they will let the jury decide.   That is how it should be.  We must allow the justice system to go forth and hope it finds its way to the truth.

It’s slow.  It’s frustrating.   At times it’s infuriating, but that’s how it has to be.  In the meantime,  me and my hoodie say ” Geraldo Rivera can kiss my ass.”

No forgiving.  Not forgetting.  Justice for Trayvon.

The job’s not done.  Trayvon sleeps, but I pray justice doesn’t sleep on Trayvon.

It Didn’t Start With Trayvon.

James C. Anderson: dead. His crime? Walking while Black.

Most of the time when someone says they have an open mind, they really don’t.   It’s just important to them to act as if they really do.   Every now and then— certainly not often—you put the germ of an idea into an actual open mind and much to my pleasant surprise it takes hold.

For example, I received the following question from someone wondering why I said the Trayvon Martin case is just the latest example of Walking While Black.

How is the claim that Martin was killed just for “Walking while black” not a claim of racism? Or am I misunderstanding what you are trying to say?

Because Black teenagers get killed all the time for Walking While Black. It just that usually its by someone else who’s Black as well and nobody pays any attention.


When Amadou Diallo got shot 41 times what was he doing besides Walking While Black? What was James Byrd doing wrong when three White men chained him to the back of their truck and dragged him to his death but Walking While Black? What was James Anderson doing when Deryl Dedmon and his friends beat him, taunted him and after Dedmon smashed his truck over the auto worker bragged later, “I ran that nigger over?”

Is Walking While Black totally unlikely?

When the NYPD disproportionally stops Black males under their “stop and frisk” policy despite the overwhelming number of them being completely innocent, what is the justification besides Walking While Black?

It’s an old game and Black men lose every time.

When George Zimmerman, a wannabee Dirty Harry who had a pattern of calling the cops whenever he saw a Black male he considered suspicious, decided he would ignore a 911 dispatcher’s caution not to follow Trayvon Martin, what crime had the unarmed teenager committed besides Walking While Black?

It could have been Will Smith, Clarence Thomas or Barack Obama under the hoodie that night and it would have made no difference to George Zimmerman. ANY Black man would have been a moving target to him.  All that would have mattered is that asshole was in his neighborhood and didn’t belong there.

And that’s all it takes to justify killing someone who’s Black walking somewhere they aren’t supposed to be. They used to call them sundown towns. Places where if you weren’t White you better not be when it got dark. Now they call it Sanford, Florida.

It didn’t start with Trayvon Martin.  It won’t end with him either.   That much I can promise you.

James Byrd III died on this road. The circles are where pieces of his body were found.

Guilty Until Proven Innocent.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  Menace to society?

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Menace to society?

To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.  ~ James Baldwin

When one of America’s most respected academics is subject to arrest for the crime of breaking into his own home, you’re served notice that to be a Negro in this country is also to be under suspicion at all times.

Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., one of the nation’s pre-eminent African-American scholars, was arrested Thursday afternoon at his home by Cambridge police investigating a possible break-in. The incident raised concerns among some Harvard faculty that Gates was a victim of racial profiling.

Police arrived at Gates’ Ware Street home near Harvard Square at 12:44 p.m. to question him. Gates, director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard, had locked himself out of his house and was trying to get inside.

He was booked for disorderly conduct after “exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior,” according to the Cambridge police log.

Friends of Gates said he was already in his home when police arrived. He showed his driver’s license and Harvard identification card, but was handcuffed and taken into police custody for several hours last Thursday, they said.

Gates, 58, did not return calls for comment today. link

Racial profiling, much?

The cops were called out because of “two Black males with backpacks” were supposedly breaking into a house. The cop questions and arrests a 58-year-old, grey-haired Black man who walks with a cane. Then even after Gates identifies himself the cop still takes him in. For what? Talking shit to a officer in his own home?

The arrest report by the officer is every bit as self-serving as the over-the-top tirade Gates went off on. The cop makes it sound like Gates just went off his rocker ranting about how he was being treated because he’s Black.

Isn’t it just a tad bit ironic that Gates just got back from China, a repressive police state where its citizens have no right to due process and can be arrested without cause for any reason because the authorities say so just to come back to America and get locked up for breaking into his own house?

It strikes me as the height of insanity if we’ve gotten to the point where you can get busted by the cops for “residing while Black.”

"Make me wanna holla way they do my life..."

"Make me wanna holla way they do my life..."

At what point did this incident stop being about a police officer investigating a possible break-in and start becoming a mano-a-mano difference of opinion between a pushy cop and a equally pushy resident?

Once it was determined by the cop Gates had the right to be in the house that should have been where it ended. Apparently, somebody didn’t like what somebody else said and since the cop had the authority, the gun and the handcuffs, it was Gates who got the ride downtown.

I’m not at all surprised the cops would just like the whole thing to go away as a “unfortunate set of circumstances.” So would Mark Sanford. I would strongly suspect certain people have been placed phone calls to certain people letting them know in no uncertain terms, “You don’t want to do this.”

So, no harm, no foul, huh? Except for all those photos of Professor Gates’ arrest photo floating around in cyberspace for all eternity. Well, what’s a little public humiliation for someone once named among “the 25 Most Influential Americans” anyway?

It does serve as yet another reminder that in confrontations between the police and Black males—even highly educated ones that have earned worldwide respect and acclaim—the benefit of the doubt goes to the police and not the Black male.

It also reminds me Malcolm X once asked, “What do you call a Black man with a Ph.d.?”

Malcolm’s reply was a racial epithet that rhymes with “trigger.” But here in our great big, glorious and shiny new post-racial America we’ve evolved  beyond all that.

The answer to the question is “Guilty.  Until proven innocent.”

I gave up trying to make Whites understand how the public servants they see as being out there to serve and protect too often harass and abuse Blacks.   Whites can believe whatever they want.   They’ll say Gates should have shut up and not lipped off to the cop.  They’ll say Gates played the race card.

They’ll say, “It doesn’t matter who you are or what honors you hold or what you’ve done.   When it comes down to your word against a White cop,  his word matters.  Yours doesn’t.”

Message heard loud and clear on this end.

It does serve as yet another reminder that in confrontations between the police and Black males—even highly educated ones that have earned worldwide respect and acclaim—the benefit of the doubt goes to the police and not the Black male.

The complexion of the resident in the White House has changed, but in other ways the ways Whites and Blacks perceive race in America hasn’t changed at all.   Maybe we’ve all grown a bit more complacent and smug, but not much else seems all that different.

We are all presumed guilty until we are proven innocent.

handcuffed