Welcome to THEJNSREPORT’S: The Stand Your Ground Law & It’s Implications
By now everyone in the U.S has probably heard of the Stand Your Ground Law (unless you live under a rock) which was brought to public consciousness with the high profile murder case of George Zimmerman who gunned down 17 year old Trayvon Martin in his father’s neighborhood in Florida back in 2012. George Zimmerman a disgusting excuse for a human-being whose prejudice & racist attitude coupled with the use of the “Stand Your Ground Law” allowed him to basically get away with murdering an African American kid. Make no mistake, a 17 year old is still just a kid. This was a grown man with a hatred of people of color and the desire to become law enforcement who failed to become an officer of the law despite his numerous attempts.
His unhealthy obsession with becoming a police officer drove him to study criminal justice and self defense in particular because he wanted to have a legal means of killing people of color. Despite all the facts of the case America’s stubborn racist mindset and rigged judicial system along with “Lord Voldemort” himself Mark O’Meara convinced a jury that only one person was allowed to use the Stand Your Ground Law when the confrontation occurred between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.
Due to his death at the hands of George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin was unable to testify that he was stalked, attacked, wrestled to the ground as he fought valiantly for his life and ultimately shot at point blank range by George Zimmerman in the dark of night while rain fell.
Without rehashing all the details of that night the implications are clear. If you are a person of color and in particular an African American male/female child or adult, young or old, your life can be taken (without remedy) by anyone be it an ordinary citizen or a police officer. Open season was declared with the not guilty verdict. How did America allow this to happen? The answer is America has always allowed this to happen. Her soil is saturated and drunken full with the blood and bodies of innumerable African American people while the judicial system regards their lost lives as foot notes not worthy of mention and rightfully taken by anyone who sees fit to do so.
People can point to the “holocaust” it’s survivors and the descendants of survivors with empathy and remembrance along with monetary compensation for them to help with their recovery from those concentration camps. Under former President Obama, America gave $12 million dollars to “Jewish” holocaust survivors and/or their descendants. What do people point to when it comes to the innumerable number of African/Afro – American lives lost to slavery, rape, murder, public lynching, Jim Crow, & convict leasing programs not to mention the mass incarceration of Afro-Americans brought on by the Clinton era? Nothing…not a peep.
“Stand Your Ground” is just another legal affront to African American people and should be stricken from the law books. One should not be afforded the protections of Stand Your Ground” when initiating a conflict and then claiming self defense to justify murder. Do you notice when a person of color tries to use “Stand Your Ground” that defense isn’t allowed? What are we to do? As it stands we’re currently damned if we do, double damned if we don’t. Perhaps with backs to the wall the answer is (if there is no legal recourse or protection for African-American people) to arm yourselves anyway. Personally, I think it better to have a chance at self defense than no defense at all. Fuck a system that doesn’t give a shit whether you live or die so long as money can be made off your talents, your labor, your physical body, your life, your property, and your intellect. This onslaught can’t go on unchecked and unchallenged.
What I know from experience is that it’s only when you stand up for yourself that people respect you. What incentive is there to change anything if the people affected aren’t willing to fight for the change?
For most people lets face it MLK Jr. Day has become a day in which not a lot of emphasis is really put on celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s life.
It’s a day where the kids get to be home from school relishing a 3 day weekend of binging on junk food, watching TV, playing video games, and/or going to the movies while the mainstream media plays either an excerpt or the entire “I have a Dream” speech (depending on the network) in remembrance of Dr. King.
Most people say a few words about how great the “I have a Dream” speech is and was and what the dream speech means today. As a black man living in NYC modern day I see that the dream still hasn’t been realized and I’m not sure that it ever will be just based on the past few years happenings.
As a black man living in a “post MLK Jr. America” I keep thinking about the lack of leadership we have in the black community today. At the same time I wonder why is it that America so readily celebrates MLK Jr. but acts as if Malcolm X never existed or shouldn’t be in the same breath as MLK Jr. Personally I believe we should be celebrating both of these iconic black leaders not just one.
We can agree that both of these great men were critical to the mindset of waking up the world to the plight of black people living the daily grind and constant uphill battle facing us as a nation and people living in a country that practices the opposite of what it preaches. From slavery, to segregation, to Jim Crow, to Civil Rights Era, to modern day slavery reincarnated as the American Prison Industrial Complex the reality is America still is what it always was.
The reason why MLK Jr. is celebrated is because he was the less threatening of the two leaders within the black community. The belief that passive nonviolence would eventually overcome the atrocities we face continually, while being told to wait for justice that almost never comes, was more appealing than a man waking up to the reality of his plight in a system that is designed around his oppression, suppression, theft of his property, ignorance of his/her rights & labor being supplied without the commensurate compensation if at all.
Malcolm X’s “By any means necessary” meant there would be active resistance when necessary in the defense and protection of one’s life, family and/or property. History has shown that nothing has ever been achieved through just passivity alone. It takes action, it takes being willing to die for the rights and freedoms this country is supposed to afford all it’s citizens even if that fight is against fellow citizens who refuse to acknowledge that not just they, but all of human beings deserve the same respect and rights afforded to some.
Tell us what’s really changed since the days of MLK Jr. and Malcolm X with regards to the plight of black people living in America today.
We watched in horror as a cowardly low life cop wannabe reject got away with the murder of a 17 year old Trayvon Martin using a law that only afforded the killer (Zimmerman) the application of the law of stand your ground. The victim’s last screams for help were stolen as was his young life and claimed by his killer George Zimmerman to bolster claims of self defense. No weight was given to the fact that Zimmerman was in fact the aggressor or that Trayvon Martin also had a right to stand his ground. The only problem was there no video evidence to show us what exactly happened and the knowledge of the law and the media vilification of a 17 year old allowed a murderer to go free recast as the actual victim. This is some America.
We watched in horror as the news media showed the bullet riddled body of a young 18 year old Michael Brown Jr. laying dead in the street of Ferguson, MO for at least several hours. The officer responsible for his killing able to lie and give an account of what he said led to him shooting an unarmed teenager as many times as he did when he was in no threat of danger to himself. Eyewitnesses were dismissed as confused or mistaken as to what actually happened and with no video to show the public of his tragic last moments, both the judicial systems refusal to indict an officer and the power of the blue wall protecting their own once again meant there would be no justice.
We watched as another officer shot a 12 year old Tamir Rice to death literally in 2 seconds based off some asshole calling the police acting as if a child playing with a toy gun was a grown man walking around brandishing a real gun. We watched as Freddie Gray’s spine was severed at the hands of the police in Baltimore before he was loaded into the back of a police van. They claimed he had a weapon when he was arrested and was arrested for simply running when he saw those who would ultimately take his life.
The fact that he ran was used as justification for his arrest and subsequent death. They can claim he broke his neck inside that van all they want but the video showing his arrest clearly shows he was unable to stand up on his own two feet let alone walk as he was dragged in obvious agony to the back of a police van before he was loaded inside.
The accounts of the officers as far as what transpired after he was inside the van we can take with a grain of salt. Cops lie and routinely lie especially when it comes to their accounts of what happens when they interact with the public at large. The prosecutor Mosby never had a chance to get justice for Freddie Gray because there is no independent prosecutor to prosecute police officers when they run afoul of the law themselves.
They are above the law and every time they kill a citizen of the U.S in unjustifiable cold blood and they aren’t prosecuted and found guilty, reinforces the idea that the police are above the law. They not only get paid leave after they kill, they get to go home spend time with their families, and whine about how unfair their treatment is by the media and anyone questioning them. Meanwhile they continue to have jobs afterward and probably get promoted.
We watched as police officers murdered Eric Garner on video and no one was punished for his death even though there was clear video evidence of wrong doing. No indictments. How does that work?
We watched as a police officer Michael Slager murdered Walter Scott on video unbeknownst to the officer who then planted a taser on or next to Scott’s body after he shot him to death to claim Scott went for his taser so he had to shoot him. Without that video from a bystander we would only have heard the officers account and the public as well as the judicial system would have believed the officer. As for the victim Walter Scott, his account wouldn’t be believed even if he had lived to tell it without video corroborating it.
We watched as the killer of Jordan Davis (Michael Dunn) got convicted not for his murder but for the attempted murder of his three surviving friends. How crazy is that? Even the ballistics showed Michael Dunn a liar and was not in any imminent threat of grave bodily harm from the teenagers he met and exchanged words with over loud music. They were all unarmed young black teenagers and tragically one of them lost his life and received no justice. Save for his friends surviving, Michael Dunn would be free today just like George Zimmerman.
We watched in horror as the news reports came out about the historical Black Church Massacre in South Carolina where Dylan Roof murdered nine congregation members including the pastor of the church after sitting among them for over an hour. His motivations were clear and that he was able to not only walk away alive after committing the heinous acts he did but was rewarded with Burger King tells us everything we need to know about America. I’ve yet to hear of a case in which a black suspect is wanted for killing that many people and is taken first of all ALIVE, and secondly to Burger King to eat afterwards courtesy of law enforcement. Roof’s conviction and death penalty sentence is one glimmer of hope for an ocean of black victims still waiting for justice.
We witnessed all these things while America watched it’s first Black President at the end of his second and final term in office. I can’t even recall a memorable speech the outgoing president made with all these killings of unarmed black people by fellow citizens and/or police alike. The only one that comes immediately to mind is the president saying if he had a son he would look like Trayvon Martin. It’s that kind of Duh moment that just leaves one shaking his/her head like What? As January 20th rapidly approaches and America ushers in the Trump Era I think it sufficient to say we have very far to go if we’ll ever see dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. realized. I don’t think I’ll live to see it come to fruition in my life time.
😛 In the aftermath of one of the most shocking outcomes in a general election (the likes of which hasn’t been seen in our lifetime) the new president that “America” selected to represent the nation is Donald Trump. Many believe that the country and the pundits as well as national polls all had it wrong all along. It was the media and common sense red, white & blue believing citizens who were all out of touch with the “Law & Order” candidate in Trump and the massive number of “Americans” who voted for him. Trump a “mogul” who’s incendiary rhetoric and vitriol not to mention racist comments only helped to heighten sensitivities and further divide the nation politically, racially, and socio – economically.
I’m not going rehash every controversial statement president elect Trump has made over the past few years but it speaks the truth about what America has become versus what it’s supposed to represent. I’m finding parallels between the history accurately depicted and spoken of in the documentary 13th and how we as a nation came to select Trump as the “suitable” or “acceptable” representation for the highest position in the land. To me the election came down to race and gender bias. An appeal to the white majority to come out in droves in defense of their position in the country as it currently stands is what led to Trump’s victory over Hillary.
The day after the election I went to work still in disbelief like much of the rest of the country that didn’t vote for Trump. It was interesting though that after taking stock of the situation I was at peace. The fact that I wasn’t screaming or crying over the election or depressed was a shock to some who were like how come you’re okay and we’re not? Was I happy Trump was now president? No. Did his election make me feel any worse or better about the nation as a whole? No. Life goes on and all that really happened is another mask has been “Donned” (pun intended) to push the agenda of the elite. Donald Trump is a return to more of the same from yester – years past.
It’s too early to understand fully what Trump’s real approach to all the aspects of being the president will entail. There is no cohesive and clear vision of how to live up to his campaign rhetoric of “Make America Great Again”. For most minorities that statement has little if anything to do with our being uplifted and more to do with going backwards to where things were really only good for once again the top 1%. White America said there’s no way we’re going to allow the world to see America led by a woman when we have men and the history of the presidency being held only by men. I think too many bought into the idea that just because America has seen it’s first black President that it was so progressive as to think it would entertain a woman in that same position.
In the future months to come I expect that president Trump will undoubtedly repeal the Affordable Care Act and increase the privatization of the prison industrial complex. Let’s see how he intends to live up to building a “Wall” that Mexico is supposed to pay for and how exactly he’s going to bring back jobs to America.
In short my belief currently is yes racism & ignorance are here to stay. For as many people as one reaches or attempts to educate about how upbringing, long held cultural, and historical beliefs, coupled with institutional racist systems and policies shape how we as human beings interpret our existence amongst each other, there appears to be an endless ocean of those caught holding onto the centuries old mentality that they are figments of the imaginations of those of us who live day in and day out under the burdens and plights of racism.
Humanity is flawed and can never be perfect. We will choose to do the wrong things at times even with the absolute knowledge that what we choose to do or not do is either right or wrong and ultimately has consequences that affects us all.
I find it almost comical to approach a conversation as complex while at the same time as simple as explaining to someone who may not have necessarily experienced racism or prejudice or injustice to the same degree as some others might have, what it’s like to get those who haven’t experienced the same things to understand the perspectives of those on the receiving end of injustice & racism.
There is often an apathetic victim blaming mentality I seem to constantly come up against. This gnaws at me to no end partly because I have I guess a certain unrealistic belief that if you approach people with logic and basic common sense reasoning they would see exactly what it is that is being said and come to the same conclusion.
How wrong I’ve been but I guess such is the battle of winning hearts and minds. Experience is the best teacher. As weird as it may sound or unlikely to occur, I really wish that the same people who have apathy or don’t want to have uncomfortable conversations, or who want to ignore what’s been happening (due to privilege) could be somehow transported back in time to relive the same atrocities and injustices they so easily dismiss or make light of. It’s because they haven’t lived the same experiences that they are either unwilling or unable to appreciate how evil and corrosive racism, inequality, and injustice are to a human being and the human spirit.
I have flash back moments to the show Quantum Leap with Scott Bakula & Dean Stockwell wishing that you could plug and play police officers who have a history of brutality or unarmed shootings being transported back in time much like Quantum Leap into the bodies of not necessarily historical icons or figures but people who lived during those time periods receiving the harsh treatments of slavery, Jim Crow, Civil Rights, up to present day the difference would be that now they are the ones receiving the abuse, the violence, the injustice when the courts turn a blind eye to the lives being lost.
The more we think we as a society have progressed and become more civilized the less true I find it to be. How can we as a nation tell other nations how to govern or treat their citizens without examining the history of how America has treated it’s own citizens from its beginnings right down to modern day? I suggest the viewing of the documentary 13th by Ava Duvernay as a good place to start examining what we have and continue to see as the heritage of American society. What it means to be a person of color in America and what it means to be white in America.
Welcome to THEJNSREPORT’S: The Building Of A Bridge
It can be agreed upon that in order to build any structure, one has to have a blue print/layout of the exact specifications in order to begin construction. Fundamental principles must be employed to ensure that the proper foundation and framework of the structure to be built are established first. For example you wouldn’t pour the gravel for a road before preparing the actual area that is to become the road for the laying of the gravel. It is the same with building bridges.
The recent murders of two black men Alton Sterling and Philando Castile within days of each other by police continues to spark the outrage and outcry of the black community as we continue to see that America hasn’t changed. No matter what the slogan or hashtag, in her eyes (America’s) black lives don’t matterunless…they are being exploited, stolen from ie (having style, music, historical and cultural influence and attributes appropriated) by non black populations to the maximum benefit of a select portion of society…the elite. The most overlooked elephant in the room that apologists, uncle Toms, and those who are ignorant of how to reconcile this divide between law enforcement and the communities they police is…. accountability.
You could retrain police, make the standards required to become a police officer higher, and have diversity emersion and sensitivity training all you want, but if there is no accountability for the actions of those put into positions of power then it’s all for nothing. We are seeing that indeed open season has long since been declared on the black populations of this world. America isn’t supposed to represent only a few favored communities or populations. It’s supposed to be representative of all the peoples of the world.
However, the history of this nation is built on the theft, enslavement, deprivation, segregation, impoverishment, miseducation, murder, disenfranchisement,incarceration and destruction of the family and community when it comes to the black man/woman. This has gone on for more than four centuries and there has been no reparationof the devastating effects all of this has caused. Instead we black people are blamed for our present condition and circumstances which are consequential symptoms of a systematic assault against us the likes the world has never seen.
The lives of our children are counted as even less unless they are exceptional at a sport or at making money for corporate monopolies and oligarchs alike. Think that isn’t the case? See the Nike and Reebok camps recruiting 12 and 13 year old minorities to be the future Lebrons and Kobes. See the NCAA and its outright slave/athlete system where all the profits generated from the breaking of young bodies against one another for the entertainment & enrichment of a governing body over college athletics which says in effect “All for me and none for anybody else”.
A system that punishes the very same class of people for trying to profit off their own names and likenesses while it does just that. A system that enjoys a multibillion dollar a year cash cow while also holding the keys to the future earnings of many of these athletes in their firm grip by shear fact that the path to the professional ranks where they will be exploited some more is through the same institution. All of this is part of a systemic problem.
The wholesale authorization for “murder by fear” justification had it’s precedents set long ago. In order to build a bridge between minority communities and law enforcement who police them, we must start with the judicial system. Both the community, courts and the police must know that an unjust killing can’t be covered up, ignored, blamed on the victim, or excused by the courts even in the face of video evidence of guilt. The past few years have shown the world what America does when it comes to justice for those black lives taken by the police…basically nothing.
Movies such as Fruitvale Station depicting the actual killing of Oscar Grant by police “accidentally” if you believe the officer responsible who in turn receives in effect 5 months for Oscar Grant’s killing reinforces the idea that “black lives don’t matter” to the justice system unless they are behind bars and turned into the property of the state in which they can be made to work and the money their labor generates enriches those who run the prisons. So how do we build that bridge? ACCOUNTABILITY!!! Without it nothing moves forward other than more killings and retaliatory killings. Removal of killer cops from duty who have no justification for excessive force or use of deadly force is a start.
No more paid leave for these types of officers while we wait to see the wheels of justice spin nowhere. No more hearing callous statements from police brass blind to what is going on that there is no problem and that the police are under attack. They are the ones on the offensive, they are the ones who are committing crimes and getting away with it because they’ve been emboldened with the idea that nothing will happen to them as a result of any actions they take. Real jail time same as one would receive had they committed the same acts without a badge and uniform are requisite.
Remembering the words of Malcolm X. (Paraphrasing) Whenever a people come to the conclusion that the government which they have supported proves itself unwilling/or unable to protect their lives and their property as they would any other group of people because of the color of their skin, then those peoples are within their rights and not human beings unless they band together and do whatever, however, whenever is necessary to see that their lives and property are protected.
In conclusion I end with this. We don’t need idiots saying as if they are so wise that “All lives matter” that is an obvious truth. However it isn’t all lives facing the same conditions the black man/woman/community has and continues to face.
Welcome to THEJNSREPORT’S: Race & Education: Reflections on Justice Scalia’s comments Re: Affirmative Action & Black Students
Where to begin…
the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.
With the above definition in mind let’s analyze what Supreme Court Justice Scalia’s comments are meant to convey to America and the world at large.
A white female student’s complaint to the Supreme Court is that her denial of admission to the college of her choice University of Texas was due to the admission of minority students through Affirmative Action. Her claim is that she’s been discriminated against due to her race.
Here is the breakdown of student body population at University of Texas at Austin according to it’s own website
Student Profile, Fall 2015
2 or more (excl. Hispanic/Black): 2.6%
Black (2 or more, excl. Hispanic): 0.6%
American Indian: 0.2%
Hawaiian/Pac. Islander: 0.1%
Why is this important to note? Well firstly, Affirmative action was initially implemented to help increase diversity and provide equal opportunitiesfor minorities mainly (Afro-Americans/Blacks) who through systemic/institutionally racist practices and/or policies were disadvantaged socio-economically when compared to their white majority counterparts.
Do we have to ask why was there a need for such legislation in the first place? Secondly, there are more women than men attending the school. Eventually, Affirmative Action legislation was altered to include gender and all other minorities as part of it.
In effect, Affirmative Action benefits this white woman because… ding ding ding she is a woman. What this means is her complaint of reverse discrimination on its face is false.
In addition while she is a woman she is a white woman and once again there are more women especially white women attending the school of her choice than there are black.
Question: Should the fact that more women attend the University mean that the men who don’t gain admission to University of Texas should file lawsuits as she has, claiming they are being discriminated against because affirmative action has allowed them to be denied entry due to too many women being accepted?
By far the largest group represented at University of Texas are Whites at 45% of the schools student body. Black students make up only 3.9%. She is ridiculous and should have had her case tossed out.
How did she manage to get it all the way to the Supreme Court? The legal system is expensive as hell. She’s a college student. Some might say well either it’s because some benefactor, group, or entity is backing her or because she comes from money.
Affirmative action is intended to promote the opportunities of defined minority groups within a society to give them equal access to that of the majority population. Who is the majority population?
America’s history is steeped, cultured and raised in the grip of racism. The same group of human beings who benefitted from the theft, rape, murder, slavery, double standards, & disenfranchisement of African-Americans/Blacks, now claim that Affirmative action meant to level the playing field is discriminating against them. WTF?!!! Who has all the privilege? It’s most certainly not the disenfranchised and disadvantaged.
Now to Justice Scalia’s comments. It’s clear that an idiot and a bigot has managed to make it onto the Supreme Court. The notion that sending minority students to lesser schools where they “do well” and are better suited to a “slower track” so that they don’t feel pushed as opposed to top tier educational institutions is ludicrous and sickening. I won’t even touch his stupid comments about “Black Scientists”
Equal access for all to the best education possible gives everyone the best opportunity for success. What this means is from the start all students regardless of race, gender, creed, or socio-economic status if started with the same tools and educational opportunities could meet at the collegiate level equally capable of performing well at said educational institutions because they were given the same quality of education and preparation for the top schools.
It isn’t reasonable to expect under educated students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds to be able to compete academically at top schools when they weren’t given the same quality of education foundation as their white counterparts. Again all the more reason that affirmative action is necessary. By the way socio-economic status in no way is indicative of scholastic aptitude or intelligence.
Welcome to THEJNSREPORT’S: MIZZOU Student Body Power (Athlete Power)
Where to begin? Society is still sick and still shows that we have a long way to go with the regards to the never ending fight against racism and inequity. By now we’ve all heard the incredible turn of events which forced the resignation of the University of Missouri President due to his inaction and outright ignorance of a series of racial incidents occurring on campus.
This movement on University of Missouri’s campus shows us that it begins with one person standing up and saying NO this isn’t right and I won’t stand for it and getting that message across to others. Once a movement starts to capture the minds and hearts of others it becomes infectious and inevitable that a call to action for change will follow.
What’s key to note here is that the students who initially complained to the University president weren’t heard and weren’t really effective until fellow student-athletes with a large platform joined them in protest of the inaction of the University President. Athletes have a bigger voice than the average student but it began with the non athlete students bringing this issue to light.
The power of money and the political power of athletes comes to the forefront here. Until the biggest money making part of the student body (the football team) joined the rest of the students protesting the inaction of the President and threatened not to play which would have cost the school between a million to 2 million dollars, the protesting students didn’t really have much leverage to force the ouster of the University President.
A year or so ago the NBA with the help of the estranged wife of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling got his ownership stripped from him and the team was successfully sold to Steve Ballmer after Sterling’s racist rants to his then mistress were made public. The players stood in protest of Sterling’s ownership after his comments were made public and the public as well as the league demanded a change.
Money talks and the recognition of the influence athletes wield helped bring more attention to the protest and led to a change in leadership at the University. One small victory but a long way to go.