Showing posts with label Trayvon Martin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trayvon Martin. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Willingly In A Prison

In the suburban town where I coach tennis, there is an infamous gated community called Blackstone. I say infamous because most everyone around the seven country metro area of the Twin Cities knows that's where some of the richest people in the state make their home.

There is a security check in when you drive in and 20 foot high stone walls around the several mile area of land that Blackstone envelops. There is a massive country club where the wealthy are served by those lucky few who are granted access as loyal servants to the many whims of the community. Some people have fairly large swaths of land while others have "simple" homes with "ordinary" back yards. Many people in the Twin Cities consider it a Shangri-La worthy of envy and a place they can someday live themselves.

I am not one of those people.

I've always been amused by the Right and their continued insistence that the only reason why liberals are teed off at the rich  is jealousy. It must be, right? Wrong. Because (projection) the Right are actually the ones that want to live in places like Blackstone. In fact, that's what they want to turn our entire country into...a gated community.

They want a huge fence that runs along our southern border that doesn't let in the undesireables (interestingly, there doesn't seem to be much call for a northern border fence. I wonder why that is...:)). The irrational, frightened old people in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas want protection, damnit! Just like the people of Sanford, Florida wanted George Zimmerman on the case. In fact, it seems they want more than that.

They want to be willingly put in a prison.

That's what I see when I drive by Blackstone from time to time on my way to a tennis lesson. The walls are so high that you don't get a view of the outside world...just the pale stone. I suppose they could look up to the sky if they really wanted to but I just don't get it. Sure, they can come and go as they please but when they are hanging out at home, they are surrounded by giant walls.  I have the same level of puzzlement when it comes to building a wall around our country. By trying to keep people out, we are actually keeping ourselves in.

But that's just the problem with those who do not support the immigration bill that was passed by the Senate. They are those paranoid old people around the country who want to feel safe in the gigantic, gated community. Only a certain type of person is allowed and very few fit the bill.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

We Really Don't Know

The case of Trayvon Martin has been discussed quite a bit in the hallways and classrooms for the last 6 weeks. A recent article in the Christian Science Monitor is typical of the points of view that one would overhear in most any school that contains people of color.

"You name it … walking, in stores, in my car, in malls, getting ice cream," says Mr. Powell, who grew up in Compton, Calif., and now also coaches high school football. "I'm always being racially profiled – by the police or women on the street who give me looks and clutch their purses tighter when they see me coming." He says police pull him over four or five times a month on average, for "driving while black." Officers "go through my trunk, my glove compartment, look under and behind the seats," he says. 

Most people that are white, including myself, just don't really know what this is like. When you live with this sort of prejudice, day in and day out, it takes its toll. It's easy for people to throw out how they think people should act but until you've lived, you really don't have a clue.

Moreover, the following is something I hear frequently right around the time the driver's license is issued.

Powell says his parents, like many parents of black boys, gave him the "talk" when he was growing up: how to dress, walk, act, and speak in situations from shopping in stores to being stopped by police. "They said to be polite. Look people straight in the eyes. Tell them exactly what they want to hear without attitude. Always carry items out of the store in a bag." 

Instead of shopping, though, it's how to act when a policeman pulls you over. Keep both hands at 10 and 2 O'Clock, look right at the officer, smile, answer in shortly worded sentences etc. Imagine having to add this talk in to all the other ones that you have to have when a teenager starts to dri

So, Mr. Powell's situation is quite common and this is easily seen if you take the time to read the other testimonials.  Perhaps after you read them,  I'm hoping that you will see what Trayvon Martin was likely dealing with before he was shot. 

Of course, we will never really know. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Not Standing Your Ground

I've had several requests to comment on the Trayvon Martin case. Fortunately, Neil Boortz pretty much sums up how I feel. 

Trayvon Martin’s family says that they don’t believe that their son would have been killed if it were not for the color of his skin. I believe they’re right.

The Grand Jury will convene on April 10th to consider this case. I feel it is likely that charges will be brought against Zimmerman, as they should be. He should not be able to use Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” statute as a defense. You are not “standing your ground” when you are pursuing someone.

And what about the charge of racism?

The more likely scenario here is one of pure prejudice. George Zimmerman saw a young black male in his neighborhood at night, and immediately pre-judged the situation, coming to the conclusion that Trayvon Martin was up to no good.

The simple fact that he was a black youth wearing a hoodie immediately put Zimmerman into perceptual bias mode and that was that. This doesn't even include the likely mental disability that Zimmerman has and his several dozen calls to 911 which ended in false alarms.

In addition, how is it that someone who was convicted of assault (then scrubbed from his record) was able to get a firearm?