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Friday, January 18, 2019

WASHINGTON — “In the jewelry store, they lock the case when I walk in,” the young African-American man wrote. “In the shoe store, they help the white man who walks in after me. In the shopping mall they follow me. … Black male: Guilty until proven innocent.”

“I have lost control of my emotions,” he declared. “Rage, Frustration, Anguish, Despondency, Fatigue, Bitterness, Animosity, Exasperation, Sadness. Emotions once suppressed, emotions once channeled, now are let loose. Why?”

The words came not in response to the George Zimmerman verdict in the Trayvon Martin killing but to the acquittal of the police officers in the Rodney King case. The author of the May 6, 1992, column in the Stanford University student newspaper: Cory Booker, now the nationally celebrated mayor of Newark and the frontrunner to be the next United States senator from New Jersey.

Booker pointed me toward his angry essay more than halfway through a late breakfast on a visit here last week. He spoke the day before President Obama went to the White House briefing room to issue his powerful reminder to Americans that “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”

In words that resonated with what Booker had said, the president noted that “the African-American community is looking at this issue though a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.”

For his part, Booker didn’t start with the Zimmerman trial but instead spoke enthusiastically about a program he had established in cooperation with the libertarian-conservative Manhattan Institute to help men released from prison become better fathers. “The right intervention,” he said, “can create radically different outcomes.”

Booker knows about crime. He described his experience of holding a young man who had just been shot, trying and failing to keep him from dying in his arms. He returned home disconsolate and washed off the young man’s blood.

His account, and Obama’s later words, put the lie to outrageous claims by right-wing talk jocks that those upset over the outcome in the Zimmerman trial have no concern for what the conservative provocateurs, in one of their newly favored soundbites, are calling “black-on-black” crime. African-American leaders, particularly mayors such as Booker, were struggling to stem violence in their own communities long before it became a convenient topic for those trying to sweep aside the profound problems raised by the Martin case.

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40 responses to “The Painful Paradoxes Of Race”

  1. Dominick Vila says:

    Racism, and racial profiling, is minimal compared to what existed before the Civil Rights Act was enacted, but it is far from gone. A small, but very determined number of Americans, continue to demonstrate their intolerance towards other ethnic groups time and again, and denying the fact that African Americans and Hispanics are being profiled is beyond naïve.

    You can count on a security guard being near minority shoppers the moment they step in a store, especially if they are young. It doesn’t matter if they are, clearly, well off and are not showing evidence of wrongdoing, their ethnicity is enough reason to keep an eye on them while they remain in a store, and this is just one example.

    Interestingly, the same people that are considered suspicious by some are hailed as heroes when they excel in sports or when they do something incredible. Yes, there are paradoxes in the way we interact with one another, and I can’t wait until we start looking at each other as individuals rather than as members of another ethnic group or culture.

    • Yappy2 says:

      In this case of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin the charge of racism against George Zimmerman is being stoked by race baiters like Al Sharpton and MSNBC. At first all they wanted was for George Zimmerman to be charged and go to trial. Now that that has happened and they didn’t get the verdict they wanted so now they now want to paint all white people as racists and will stop at nothing to try and get their way.
      I was highly offended that the President of the United States of America got on TV and said what he said. He cites his experiences of things that happened to him as a black male. He never even hinted that maybe some white people act the way they do when a black person approaches them because of their past texperiences. He is supposed to be the president of all the people, like John Kennedy was the president was the president of people of all religions, not just Catholics.
      I as a 70 year white woman was walking on the sidewalk of my once nice neigborhood and was mugged by two young black men. I was lucky that all I got out of this was a broken finger.I no longer feel free to take my health walks throught the neighborhood. My brother was working in a 7-11 store at night and was jumped and stabbed by two young black men and almost bled to death. No one was arrested or charged or investigated in either of these cases. I have had other bad experiences with black people and I have had some very good experiences with black people. I and my brother both voted for Obama. I talked to my neighbors and friends and ask them to vote for Obama in the last election but I won’t be doing that again on behalf of other black people.
      I have news for this president. I am always feaful when anyone gets on an elevator with me and I always lock my car door when I am sitting in my car no matter where I am or who is around me.
      I lost a son on his 17th birthday because of some negligence of some people but, I don’t go around hating everyone and I am tired of seeing Sabrina Fulton’s hateful looking face on TV everyday.
      No one knows everything Trayvon was doing from the time he left the townhouse till the time of his death. He had the right to walk on the sidewalk and that’s all the right he had. He didn’t have the right to walk in the grass up by the buildings, just like I have the right to walk on a public sidewalk but I don’t have the right to walk in someones yard, especially up close to someones home.

    • idamag says:

      I belonged to the Mayor’s Cultural Awareness Committee in my community. We were promoting tolerance and harmony. We decided to make a film on the many faces of our community. Our city has a popular gathering spot and we interviewed people there. All the caucasions said there wasn’t a race problem. The others races said there was. My Black friends say they have all experienced the clicking car locks, being followed around a store and being the only one in line in a grocery store to be asked for I.D. We had a skinhead group come into our community and put ugly flyers on people’s windshield. We made them feel unwanted and they eventually left our city. Other cities are not so nice. I had one friend, a nuclear physicist, who was raised in Lousiana. He remembered the lynchings and the dogs. He remembered being chased with attack dogs for sport when he was just a teen. We had to have laws enacted to make the world safer for minorities. We didn’t act civilized because it was the right thing to do. However, racism still exists. When I visited the South it was overt. No one would use the n word in my community even if he was a racist.

      • Yappy2 says:

        You sound like a paranoid bunch. I often am asked for ID when using my credit card and I don’t mind at all because I had my idenity stolen four times. Give you one guess who stole it most of the times. My sister and brother used to laugh because when I would get on a metro link train with them and they would randomly check for a paid ticket, I would get checked and not them. That’s just the way of the world. I didn’t feel offended. I thought they were just doing thier job.

  2. FT66 says:

    I feel sorry for GOP at the same time happy that they will never hold the White House by eliminating blacks. They think that it is only latinos who made them lose two elections, its blacks as well. They can get all latino votes needed,BUT what will make that small tiny difference will be blacks. Just watch out GOP you better do right calculations. If you think am wrong, just ask William Jefferson Clinton, he will tell you.

    • Dominick Vila says:

      William Jefferson Clinton put it well when he stated that the biggest malady afflicting the GOP is their inability to handle basic arithmetic. You are correct in pointing out that one of the most important factors in the ability of an unlikely candidate to win the last two elections was the dramatic turnout by African Americans. About 99% of them voted for Barack Obama. About 2/3 of Hispanics-Latinos voted for him. The question is: will the same enthusiasm and drive be there when a non-minority or a female Democratic candidate runs for office? I hope so.

      • FT66 says:

        The enthusiasm will be there Dominick. I interviewed some of blacks during the protests of acquittal of Zimmerman, boy, I wish the General Election is tomorrow. Most of them assured me that they will keep engaged all way through 2014 until 2016. They said if they did it in 2008 & 2012 why not the coming years. I learned something which I was not aware of. I was told in blacks community you never show to them that you are against them, once you do it, the repercussion is really felt. One of them asked me whether I have interviewed Paula Deen and how she feels now?

        • Dominick Vila says:

          I am counting on the manifestations of overt hatred, including the statements of so many Tea Party supporters who repeatedly dismiss the statements made by people like Paula Deen and continue to show their support of things that happened in an era that ought to be confined to our history books.
          I can only imagine how senior Republican politicians must feel when after spending much of their time trying to project a semblance of civility and inclusion see their efforts undermined by the statements and actions of their constituents.

      • idamag says:

        And the more they tried to suppress the vote, the more determined the minorities became. It backfired.

  3. Catskinner says:

    There aren’t any issues of “race” any more, except when it’s used to fire up crowds by the race-baiters, who depend on it for a living.

    • A_Schick says:

      Glad to know that racism is gone. Hey! Everybody! Catskinner says racism is gone so we’re all good now!

    • LotusJoan says:

      From what ivory tower do you make this pronouncement? Are you even a member of a minority group? I would lead you to evidence that you are wrong – but we have had conversations before and you appear to me to be profoundly naive and happy with it.
      Hope there is enough air in your bubble Catskinner.

    • Jim Myers says:

      Of course, there is that little matter of Gerrymandering, Voter Restrictions, reduced early voting, cutting State & Federal Benefits, and many other shots at “Minorities” that only benefit the “Conservatives” while hurting the poor, minorities, females, “Liberals”, etc.

      Of course, it can be argued that these “Policy Changes” are not directed at “Minorities.”

      But, I seriously doubt that anyone really believes that. Not even those who make those claims.

      • Catskinner says:

        If we had universal Voter ID, inner city dwellers could only vote once. That way we could develop worthwhile leadership in government across the country.

        • elderglo1 says:

          The State should supply the ID if they legislate you must have one. Any one who pays taxes should receive the ID gratis ,since we pay salaries th people who write laws that don’t apply to them.

          • Catskinner says:

            I agree, elderglo. The ID should be provided at no cost to the voter, but it should be required.

  4. Allan Richardson says:

    All of us are Africans. Some of us had ancestors who left Africa sooner than others.

    All of us are shades of brown, except albinos, who suffer from a genetic mutation. And they do suffer; albinism is linked to some other conditions such as blindness and skin cancer.

    Would Zimmerman have automatically considered ANY white boy a “suspect” if the burglaries had been committed by a white person? But because the burglaries (with which there is NO evidence connecting Trayvon Martin) were suspected of being committed by a black person, GZ suspected the first black teenage boy he saw (who may not even have been in town when the crimes occurred) of being a “thug.” And some posters on this site STILL insist he WAS a thug, AS IF they had any evidence.

    GZ had a lapse in judgement, probably enhanced because (1) a black teenage boy is AUTOMATICALLY a suspect in any crime reported to have been committed by any black person in his mind, and (2) with a gun, he hoped he could “arrest” the “suspect” and get an attaboy from the cops. He (personally) was just lucky that TM was not on the phone with 911 before he provoked the fight that he used as an excuse for “self defense.” And he is lucky TM was not wearing Google Glass and broadcasting live video of the event to the Google server.

    Come to think of it, that would be a good selling point for the Glass: self-defense for African Americans and for protesters and others who might be mistreated by police or other gun-toting strangers.

    • Yappy2 says:

      You are assuming a lot in your post.

      • Allan Richardson says:

        All I am assuming is that TM may NOT be the “street thug” GZ apparently assumed he was, and of which there was NO evidence presented in court or on the media. But some posters, apparently possessed of “secret” evidence that EVEN the court that found GZ not guilty did not have, have already TRIED AND CONVICTED THE DEAD CHILD OF ATTEMPTED ROBBERY in their own minds. And think: if he REALLY was intent on burglarizing those houses, wouldn’t he LEAVE the neighborhood so he could come back later? Would his family, IN one of those houses, be expecting him back any minute?

        I am speculating, not assuming, what was the intention of GZ, because his story about being “attacked” by TM makes no sense unless TM was in fear for HIS life in the first place. And he had good reason to be in fear: a stranger driving around in HIS neighborhood (and it was his, at least while visiting his father’s fiancee there) stalking him. He had no idea WHY GZ was following him.

        So tell me, what are YOU assuming? That a black teenager must be a criminal, deserving of execution on the street without trial?

        • Yappy2 says:

          Lots of assumptions and speculations on your part about both people involved in this case. There was lots of information in the media that Trayvon Martin wasn’t about to sprout angel wings. The Martins got what they ask for, and arrest and a trial.. He wasa aquitted.

    • Germansmith says:

      You are kind of stuck in this black/white thing are you not?

      Trayvon was a large male of dubious character (age is not factor since we have scores of young people committing crimes). He was challenged, took it badly and fought with Zimmerman. Zimmerman, had a gun, shot him, he is dead.

      Zimmerman was tried and acquitted by a jury. End of history….If Zimmerman is guilty or not is just SPECULATION based on what you are or what you believe.

      Your Google glasses is great idea. Let us provide Google glasses to all these teenagers at risk to find their killers quickly. Let start with the City of Chicago where last year 500 Trayvons or Georginas had their life snuff cruelly and terminally… see for yourself.
      Of course, it is easier for people like you and Jackson and Sharpton to keep stoking the fires of racial discord…it is part of your religion.

      • omgamike says:

        GZ was found not guilty. But no one found him to be innocent. I personally still believe that he is guilty of manslaughter. The verdict might have been different had the judge promptly answered the one question from the juror’s about how manslaughter was to be defined. A simple, prompt reply would have been sufficient. Instead, she chose to ask the jury to come back with a “specific” question.

        • Germansmith says:

          GZ is not innocent TM was also not innocent
          The fact remains that same publicity that brought this case to trial to begin with, also got GZ the lawyers that defended him. And as we all know, the better lawyer almost always win.
          In the long run, a good police chief got fired, an State Attorney got her career derailed, GZ is marked for life, Trayvon is still dead and Florida wasted millions of dollars in a trial for which they had not enough evidence to convict….
          Did this help racial relations in this country? NO, Every time we get the old race warriors of Sharpton and Jackson drumming out for the victimization of black folks (including fake rapes that never happened) at the hands of white people (or an Hispanic that happens to have a black grandpa and NO previous evidence of racist behavior) the whole thing goes one step back.
          So who are the winners here?
          The media got a couple of weeks of people attentions (now they have Wiener’s weiner to replace the trial)
          Zimmerman’s lawyers, with their cred, if I ever get in trouble I will quickly call them

  5. Germansmith says:

    Profiling goes on all the time from the beginning of time. It is a survival skill.

    My daughters and wife love to take me shopping because clerks and salespeople tend to pay more attention quickly to me than to them. Waiters will take care of a white couple quicker than a black couple, because by experience they know whites are better tippers (unless you are King James who is universally loved in Miami)(is not a racial issue, is a culture issue) I would expect if overall black clients start to tip better as a habit and it becomes known, then, it would be whites to be waiting for the tables.

    If I am looking for a terrorist, I would definitely pay more attention to the dark hairy bearded man with a unibrow than to a tall dude with blue eyes. If I am looking for a cat owner, it would probably be the single older lady living in corner and not the big dude with a marine corps tattoo (and I could be wrong since I share my house with a cat)

    Sometimes in life, we get what we expect. Sometimes I walk in places that shows hostility initially, but after I speak and they see my character and quality, we all become cordial with each others. Other black educated people from other countries like Jamaica and TT does not have the same complains as African Americans.
    There will always be bigots. And bigots come from ALL races. If I start to worry about what African Americans, Chinese, Indians or Jews may not like me because of my racial background I would have missed many opportunities for friendships and profitable businesses.

    • Allan Richardson says:

      If you were the recruiter in a terrorist organization, you would look for converts with blue eyes and fair skin. This is one reason the Tsarnaev brothers slipped through the cracks; despite being Muslim, they did not “look” Muslim. But just to remind everyone, there is a terrorist organization whose members ARE primarily white and European: the IRA. Yet we (or the UK for that matter, their principal target) do not profile for that appearance, because most Americans (so far) and most Britons look the same!

      But just because profiling by individuals is hard to eliminate, there is no reason for the law to HONOR such behavior.

      • Germansmith says:

        I go to the bathroom everyday and is not pretty
        I do not HONOR that behavior , but it is natural and key to the preservation of life. So is profiling.

        Why do you assume profiling is a “race thing” ? How do the Israelis profile Muslim terrorists when they kind of really look the same as both are the same Semitic race? I would be really willing to bet that a British policeman can tell the difference between and Englishman, an Scot or an Irishman…even if they are all white. Race is only one factor in profiling.
        When the FBI is looking for a serial killer, they in most cases will probably start to look for a white male….is this also a violation of civil rights? Or is it just because most serial killers up to now have been white males. Should I get angry about it or acknowledge the facts?

        The problem is that now, people of the lefty inclination have been told “profiling is BAD”, “profiling is BAD” many times so is now ingrained in your mind. Is good propaganda technique.

        The Tsarnaev brothers did not slip thru the cracks. Our NOW good friends the Russians told us to keep an eye on them…but we did not (that requires actual work from agents, we prefer to spend billions of dollars collecting massive amounts of data on email and phone data that actually doing real police work)

        And good luck to the Taliban looking for those suicide bombers that look like Brad Pitt……

        YOU GUYS ARE SO FUNNY !!!!

      • idamag says:

        Yes, you said it.

  6. docb says:

    There is an excellent article on the juries and the The Economist…Revealing in the studies it cites. This is just one of them

    and this which is more rigorous:

  7. tdm3624 says:

    I admire politicians and people who are willing to reach across the ideological aisle and partner with others to make a difference. I’m glad Mr. Booker is able to do that.

  8. says:

    White males are still mad since the blacks got up and ran away from the plantation. Does anyone really believe if we had a vote on the emancipation that it would pass Congress. How about the woman’s right to vote? How about social security? How about Medicare? How about the Interstate Highway system? None could get a majority of the majority in the House.

  9. howa4x says:

    When I went to HS is the early 60’s working class people would always say “well at least I’m white” As if it gave them a leg up no matter how dead end their job was, or how ignorant they were. I grew up in a small town where we pre teens all had to put aside our ethnic issues to have enough guys to play a baseball game. The White Christians forgot that they murdered their way across this country, killing every Indian they ran across or herding them into reservations and off the good land. Afro Americans had a harder time because they stood out. They couldn’t hide who they were or blend in like most other ethnic groups. Hated by the working class southern population for what they saw as the reason their country, CSA was destroyed. After the migration north they came to rust belt cities only to find that the unions shunned them also. Or that the city they came to was on the way down. Finally we whites once again created the perfect storm. On one hand we built high rise projects in areas that didn’t have enough entry level jobs to sustain the newly arrived population, and on the other we created a program know as ADFC(Welfare). I don’t know what the people had in mind when they did this but how can you have a program that the only way you can get assistance is to be a single mother and no man can be there. Now men could impregnate women and have no responsibility to raise the children. This is the same time that drugs became the largest employer of these new communities. The police were part of the drug trade and due to their inherent racism didn’t care that young people were becoming addicted. At the time the police were made up of Irish and Italians and so was the mafia, so it was a natural fit. So were the priests that turned a blind eye since the money was rolling into the parishes. So now fast forward 20 years. the biggest change to the situation was now the children of these single mothers formed gangs as a support system since most had no male role models, dealt drugs for income and guns were introduced and we know the rest. Prison became our answer to this, and now 2 million are incarcerated and it is big business
    So here we are in a situation that we created blaming the kids for growing up in the environment we made for them, and transposing what we see on TV from the inner urban landscape and on every Afro American teen whether they are a good kid walking home or not.

    • Judith Arnold says:

      Wow, someone who remembers history! Another problem behind single parenting, was to make the wage such that no dad could support his family, so there were no moms in the home. It was never that women wanted to “have it all.” Families had to do whatever it took to survive the cost of living of that time. Fathers, if fortunate, were coming back from ‘Nam, with all the undiagnosed issues of that time. Moms had to work. There are many reasons for single mothers. However, some of us had no idea that there was Welfare. And, when we went to the big city, Syracuse (for me!,) the only thing we feared was not blacks. It was motorcycle gangs! Later, early 70’s, I moved south. Still not as much poverty, all had jobs that seemed to make the ends meet, without race affecting most of us. Then, the first serious gas war hit! Cost of living sky rocketed, and for some, (not just blacks,) morals went out the window. Gas thieves became something we just suffered, or bought locking gas caps. One thing led to another, and becoming felonious was all the rage.
      BTW, the mafia controlled northern cities, primarily, with few being in FL. I was too naïve to keep my country girl thoughts to myself, when I lived during the heights of Italian brotherhood in Utica/Rome.

    • Allan Richardson says:

      The original intent of AFDC was to help abandoned and widowed mothers, in a time when jobs were scarce for everyone AND few (legal) jobs other than domestic servant were available for less educated women (not able to qualify as teachers or nurses), because women were EXPECTED to stay home and let their husbands support them.

      During the Depression, couples often agreed to separate, the husband going on the road in hopes of finding ANY job from which, while he lived as cheaply as possible in a boarding house (another invention of the Depression, the result of people lucky enough to HAVE a large house, but not lucky enough to pay the taxes on it without a job) and send money home. Some of those husbands were lying from the start, intentionally abandoning their families. Some were killed or died of disease while working, or looking for work. Some never made enough to send any home. The Roosevelt administration got AFDC passed to help those women, most of whom were white (the black community already had adapted to such conditions, which forced black mothers who were lucky enough to get a job with a “nice” white family to bring their children along on their domestic cleaning jobs). And the majority of people receiving the current relief, TANF, are also white, but the black ones are more visible to the media.

      • howa4x says:

        I worked in municipal govt since the early 70’s and what I remember was that the major housing project were built in the late 50’s and early 60’s in the north. As I remember it ADFC was part of the great society initiative that LBJ enacted. I dealt with many single mothers on ADFC since I worked in public health. Men were not allowed to be married to anyone collecting these funds. I met families that had a grand mother aged 37, and mother aged 15 and an infant. This is where the boom in teenage mothers started since as long as you had a child you could receive these funds. This one program facilitated the single parent problem and for a period you could have as many children as you wanted to and still receive funds. That was changed later. Men were not needed to be part of the family for it to function, and the lack of a successful male role model was absent from theses kids lives.
        I also has a drug program as part of my department. Most males that got out of prison started dealing drugs again since most places wouldn’t hire them with a criminal record. Kids were pulled into the drug trade as lookouts and worked their way up to dealers. Gangs emerged in the 70’s(Bloods/crips) for protection and created a sense of family for these kids.
        The second problem for small cities that housed this population was that the recipients of ADFC and GA for single adults didn’t make enough to support retail in the towns but consumed 51% of the service base. Once areas were known to have drug dealing they were redlined by banks and property values fell. Welfare also held populations artificially in place in areas that couldn’t economically support them. For example Tank Newark NJ which had 12,000 people on GA. Now there would have to be 12,000 jobs which there weren’t so the drug trade became the largest youth and adult employers of these areas. All of this had a lot to do with the criminalizing of these youths in the minds of whites, and culminated in a George Zimmerman acting out on this
        It is a sad story of a society wanting to solve one problem and creating a different far more complex one

  10. pm1 says:

    Yes, Cory, you are 100% correct! Thanks to you, and all the other innocent Black victims of White racism, us white folks have been robbing jewelry stores, and, shoplifting at will! Free from scrutiny! And, of course, that is why there has never, ever been even a single case of just one, “Creepy assed Cracker”, ever caught, or charged, with shoplifting! So, thank you, Cory, for being Black!

  11. pm1 says:

    “But those good cops, he insisted, also understood that their first obligation was “to defuse a situation,” to try to prevent violence.” Did you get that? It falls on the police, and anyone else, to “defuse the violence” of the Trayvon Martin’s of America. Got it? Otherwise, you are a just racist, if you don’t try hard enough “to prevent the (Their) violence”. What? Really? Booker, Please.

    “Discussing Zimmerman, Booker added: “This so-called community watch guy, having been told by the police to back away, had so many opportunities to defuse the situation.””?

    You see? The “so called”,,, – “community watch guy”? Translation: ‘Evil White – Hispanic, Racist”, was guilty here, because when he noticed, and then watched a Black person that was walking between peoples homes, at night, in the rain, and then saw him run away, for some strange, very suspicious reason, but then, “failed to defuse the situation”, by ignoring it, and running away like a scared coward, it’s his fault. It’s all our fault. How dare we escalate the violence, by protecting our families. Shame on us!

  12. pm1 says:

    “Booker fully accepts that there is a right to self-defense. “One of the things I learned from the good cops is that there were some times when they were completely justified in pulling their weapons and killing somebody,” he said.”

    Is this a trick, “you’ve been punked”, parody peice from, The Onion? It must be. That must be it.

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