I remember my son's first job. He'd barely turned. He kept at it and kept at it until a manager at a local fast food hired him shy of his 16th birthday. Neither my husband nor I could dissuade him from wanting a job. We stopped by his job one day and he was just sitting there, on break, grinning from ear to ear. He was so excited. He'd just received his first paycheck. He'd put in so much time that his bi-weekly check was well over $500. Now, that's quite a lot for a 16-year-old. I'd started them all a small bank account at a very young age.
They got a real kick out of filling out the deposit slips and taking their little allowance and money they'd earned doing chores to the teller to make a deposit. He wanted to deposit half and keep half in his wallet.
My husband and I looked at one another then him and realized it was time for that "talk." Just so happened, and in our favor, there was a local story on that evening in the news where a local reporter was a ride-along doing a story about an average day in the life of an officer. The story showed a young black male being stopped (can't remember if he was walking or driving) by a local police officer, patted down, searched then arrested. I guess this must have puzzled the ride-along reporter because she asked why the young man was being arrested. The officer's reasoning for the arrest was, as he explained right there on camera; the young man had too many one dollar bills in his pocket and that could be (with emphasis on "could") a sign of drug dealing. This is what we had to explained to our son. That is if some criminal doesn't knock you over the head and take your money from you, some cop in a routine traffic stop likely will and confiscate it, claiming it's drug money.
There were other issues at school too, he couldn't understand. Like why he was given in school suspension for being late to class one minute after the bell rang when his locker got stuck, when fellow other students got caught smoking on school campus or were involved in other mischief and nothing was done. These are the two parallels that operate in America along racial lines.
So many have come out swinging claiming they don't understand the uproar over the killing of the Florida teen, where no arrest was made. They use the example and excuse of shootings of blacks by other blacks in the city sometimes on a more than weekly basis. They don't understand it's not as much as what the shooter of the young teen did, but what the Sanford Florida system failed to do. Those individuals in those shootings locally and elsewhere, will be arrested. Have already been arrested. They will have to post bond, if bond is even set. They will go to trial and hopefully be found guilty. That wasn't the case in Florida shooting.
In fact, there's an almost exact same situation like the recent Florida tragedy that's taken place also in Florida with a polar opposite approach. In both cases the shooters are claiming Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law as a defense. The difference in the two is one shooter was arrested, charged and is looking at a possible 30 year prison sentence. In the other, the shooter was let go without so much as an investigation initially taking place. Just the word of the shooter that it was "self-defense."
Whereas the victim in one tragedy seems to have been initially trying to get away from what he likely perceived to be an assailant out to harm him and to avoid a confrontation, in the other situation the victim was going to help someone he believed to be in distress. Air Force Veteran and Iraqi War Vet, David James was killed during a scuffle over a skateboard in front of his 8-year-old daughter. The shooter is claiming self-defense and the Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law as his defense. James widow stated the SYG law is a "free pass for murder." The outcome of the James case has not yet been decided. But at least an arrest was initially made, left up for the courts to decide.
What should have been a few angry words exchanged, a cuss word or two, instead turned into a senseless and tragic killing. No matter how we as a "free" and "civilized" and "richly" diverse nation attempt to explain that reality all away, I just can't wrap my mind around the sense of it all. And these are only two tragedies in a sea of many. At some point we'll all have to start doing more talking, listening and less fighting. Because this is America. A richly diverse nation, with a various flavors, hues, colors, religious and non-religious alike. There should be no "suspicious" characters based on skin color and what someone wears. We should be celebrating that richness and not ripping one another apart because of it.
This is not an argument against gun ownership. My father-in-law, in his lifetime, was an avid gun owner and collector. This is about lawmakers signing into law dangerous bills that basically give license gun owners the right to kill with impunity. All they have to do without question is claim "self-defense" and the "Stand Your Ground" law. That is as long as they're legally licensed. Even police officers are held to stricter standards of accountability; even when they shoot someone caught caught in the act.
At some point, America and Americans will have to start talking....and most of all........start listening.
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I am sure that you know more of the details about the Sanford, Fla. case than I do so you have the power to pass judgment on this case. However, the local (Orlando) news reports that I have read paint quite a different story than you.
First, the “young teen” as you refer to Mr. Martin as, was 6’3” and weighed 175. He attended high school in Miami, but was at his father’s home near Orlando because he was suspended from school for possession of drugs, not his first suspension this school year.
When the police arrived Mr. Zimmerman was bleeding from his nose and the back of his head as well as his back being wet and covered in grass. This may be why he was not arrested the evidence corroborated his account of the events. However, he was taken in and questioned by the police then released.
So I can see why Eric Holder and his “Band of Thugs” at The DOJ are investigating this aspect of the case. Yet they have made no mention of the $10,000 bounty that the New Black Panther Party has put on Mr. Zimmerman, which is a clear Civil Rights violation.
I must agree with your statement “At some point, America and Americans will have to start talking....and most of all........start listening.” But let’s get all the facts before we pass judgment on this or any other situation.
As for Mr. Martin’s attire if you don’t want to be judged a “thug” don’t dress like one.
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Perhaps it's time to stop making everything into a racial issue. More importantly, maybe it's time to consider the consequences and reactions of discussions on race. As a person of color, I cringe every time I see Jesse Jackson or Rev. Sharpton on T.V. talking about an issue. I cringe because I know that these two self-proclaimed champions of people of color often do more harm than good. I think if we're honest, we can see that a lot of people don't take real concerns seriously because of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" syndrome. I know that anytime I see one of those two men on the T.V., a large portion of the viewers will dismiss whatever the cause is, because they're sick of hearing about every incident involving a person of color being called racism. In my opinion, at this point, those two are doing more harm than good when it comes to race relations in America.
I grew up in a rural area, and I have been pulled over at least three times for what I can only consider were profiling. One of those times, I was less than a mile from my parent's house, the police officer pulled me over, had my license, and asked in an unpleasant manner, "What are you doing up here?" I responded, "Sir, you have my license, which has my address. I'm going home." I waited in the car for over 30 minutes while he ran my plates. I was never given a reason for being pulled over. A separate time, which in the end had a valid reason for stopping me, but not the actions taken during the stop, I was asked to step out of the car as soon as the officer got to my window. I asked why I was being pulled over, and why I needed to get out of the car. I was told to just get out. I was searched. My car was searched. Only after all of this, was I told I had a brake light out. Does that seem like standard protocol?
I share these stories with you Ms. Washington, to let you know that I'm fully aware from first hand experience that there are still situations in America where I think profiling and the like are still a problem. That being said, I won't pretend like every time I've had interaction with a police officer, it has been negative, or they've been out to get me. Just two weekends ago, a police officer followed me for about a mile, then pulled up next to me at a light and motioned for me to roll my window down. I did, and he said, "Just so you know, your drivers side brake light is out. Just wanted to let you know so you could get it fixed." Not everyone is out to get you.
Those times when I felt I was profiled, I felt small and I was angry. I also got over it and realized that if that's the worst I have to experience, and on a limited basis, I'll be just fine. My advice to you is to quit seeing everything in narrow terms. When you constantly harp on something, and look for something, it will start to manifest in your mind in places it isn't. Perhaps more importantly, every time a person of color rushes to ring the bell claiming racism, it makes every legitimate occurrence less likely to be taken seriously. I don't like the idea that at some point I or someone else may be confronted with a situation where we may be slighted because of the color of our skin, and no one will listen because the alarm has been sounded too many times for questionable reasons.
Lastly, I'd like to point out that racism can go any number of ways, and there is no such thing as "reverse racism" or anything like that. Frankly, I don't care if anyone wants to call me an Uncle Tom, or anything else, for what I'm about to say. It won't be the worst thing I've been called. I've been around plenty of black people that are racist, too. I don't ever hear you speak out about that. All I see you speak out about is how black people are judged. If a black person says they distrust white people, how is that any less racist than a white person saying they distrust black people? Simple answer: it isn't. If we want to improve race relations, how about we just fight collectivism? See people as individuals. There shouldn't be women's rights, gay rights, minority rights, etc. We all have our rights as an individual, as endowed to us by the Almighty. When those rights are infringed upon, I think we'd all be better off handling it locally and directly, rather than muddying the waters and trying to make it into some huge, sweeping issue about the heart of America. Injustice is injustice, and it should tick everyone off to see anyone being discriminated against for petty reasons like the color of their skin or their sexual orientation, no matter what that may be. At least, that's my point of view.