over the age of 15, has found themselves in a situation where they were in harms way, just for being out in public.
Suburban police profiled me while I was riding my bike (One that I bought from money earned from a part time job), while I was going home from the mall.
They confronted me while I was waiting for traffic to pass at a stop sign on a public street in broad daylight, grabbed my own bike my hands and threatened me with bodily harm if I didn't allow their unlawful search of me.
They accused me of stealing my own bike. Once the serial number came back clear, they released me and then followed me as I crossed into back into Detroit.
I know for a fact that had I been white on the same street, they wouldn't have given one whit of attention to me at all.
This is a bi-state area. Almost every time a Kansas cop pulls over a car with MO plates, the driver is African American or Hispanic. I remember my dad complaining about this 40 years ago. Racial profiling is real. It disgusts me. I wish I knew what to do about it. I'm getting tired of complaining. It isn't accomplishing anything.
When I went to DC years later, I had the exact same feeling in Maryland suburbs than I did in the city.
A white lady from the burbs in the middle of the hood is a cause for suspicion. Cause you know I am probably there to buy drugs.
First time it happened, the cop asked me what I was doing there in that neighborhood. I said "going home from work". He said "working WHERE??" When I told him I was a teacher he apologized. I laughed.
A year or so later, I bought a new car and was pulled over again. Same deal.
Good man, I learned a lot from him that has become fundamental to who I have become as a person.
Before that, I had been stopped by police only three times in my life. 2 for exceeding the speed limit, once when I had just started driving and had my brights on passing through a residential area.
When he was driving, we got stopped every couple weeks. The next year, when I was driving, we never got stopped once.
He also noted he got turned loose with a "keep on going" a lot quicker when I was in the car with him than when he was on his own.
I'm so glad there's such an outcry. Sadly, it could have gone the other way.
metal music, wears black t-shirts, wears a black hoodie, and is growing his hair out again-so it's in the floppy stage (it use to be past his shoulders). When people see him, they see a hood. They probably think he is into drugs, a trouble maker. This kid is in AP classes, does well in school, a computer geek, loving and caring. How come I think that if he was walking down the street (which he does-no drivers licenses) carrying a drink, some creep like Zimmerman would have no problem doing something violent to him? What a said state this nation has always been in. I was hoping it was getting better, but I was fooling myself.
Again, I'm not saying that I know what it's like to be a young black male, and young black males have always been treated like shit in this country, but I thought of my son and my heart broke that this happened....it reminded way too much of my kid.
7 1/2-inch mohawk, plus a pair of 1 1/2-inch trihawks on the side, dressed in typical punk rock style, I warned him, even though he was white, to avoid cops at all costs. I warned him that looking the way he did, he was at risk of being beaten or even killed by cops--and also by rednecks--even if he never did anythign wrong or asked for trouble in any way.
If he had also been black, I think I might have been too scared to ever let him out of the house!
until he realized how much work he would have to put into it
But I know what you mean....
I went to a Senator's campaign kick-off in DC one night, with my long flowing locks. Harry Reid walked in the room.
From the moment he saw me, his eyes locked on me and while I'm no mind reader, I felt I knew exactly what he was thinking: you're a perp. He walked straight across the room to me and the other Senator, and when we were introduced, he growled something unintelligible and moved on.
"What the hell did I do?" I later asked the campaign-worker who had invited me. Oh, said my friend, Harry was a prosecutor for years. I must have resembled a thousand overdressed long-hairs that he put away.
That look was searing, and I felt I was guilty, for something. And I guess I was. People who stick their noses in politics probably ought to feel guilty for it.
that if a person could shoot someone and claimed they were "threatened" then OMG - look out young black men.
This is an incredible tragedy. And the perp walks free.
At the very least they should arrest the guy and have a trial just to let folks know that there should be some real threat.
... neighborhoods from the gangs. But they vote anti-gun anyway because they fear the right to carry would never apply to them equally.
Actually, we had an example in Chicago that both supported and opposed that reasoning. White guy in the burbs defended his home from an intruder. The NRA swooped in and the incident became a celebrated cause for liberalizing gun laws in Illinois. While the frenzy was in full swing, a Black man in Chicago defended his home from an intruder.
The NRA went away. The gun debate died. And every newscast included speculation about a drug deal gone wrong.
On the flip side, the police actually got this right. Both cases received a brief investigation. Neither case found anything suspicious. So while the White guy was hailed a hero and the Black guy convicted of imaginary crimes in the court of public opinion, the police declared them both innocent of any wrongdoing.
So it isn't just that the cops have to change. Society does as well. Heck, I once flipped a pro-gun to anti-gun with the simple sentence, "a quarter million Black men within 35 miles of your home would love to own a firearm legally."
Of course, he doesn't consider himself racist. A lot of people only define racist as hatred. They don't feel that fear qualifies. There are a lot more people who fear Black men than hate them.
It's loaded with astute observations. Fear, I think, is far more prevalent than hate, but fear certainly turns to hate easily, doesn't it?
the opposite of love is not hate but fear. Your post speaks to that message so well.
"There are a lot more people who fear Black men than hate them."
But, just what is it they fear?
Speculating as to their reasons:
- Most of what the White community sees of African-American men (ignoring sports and entertainment) are the violent criminals seen on the nightly news.
- Many Whites are fully cognizant of the mistreatment meeted out to African-Americans over the centuries and assume they would be looking for revenge.
- Fearing what is different.
I think it mostly comes down to fearing the unknown. They have limited interaction with Blacks and, for most, none whatsoever in a predominately Black community.
This even applies to a lot of the haters. What best describes most hard-core racists I have listened to over the years -- to borrow and horribly extend a quote from Will Rogers:
They never met a Black man they didn't like, and never liked a Black man they never met.
The "I have Black friends" defense almost makes sense. For the most part they like every Black man they meet. The Black man they hate appears to be hanging out with Sasquatch.
I know, of course, there are racists that REALLY hate, though I don't know that I have ever met one who doesn't fit the above description. The only prejudiced people I personally know who hate even the ones they meet are men who hate Gays and women who hate Atheists.
I can see that.
Evidently, the fear wasn't there when Blacks were enslaved. Probably because there was more interaction.
There has never been a period in this country of Blacks lynching others, burning and bombing Churches, attacking children with dogs and hoses, murdering people just for trying to vote. Yet some claim they fear the violent Black Man. I have never believed that.
They have no basis for that fear other than the 6 o'clock news where they see the thugs terrorizing communities of color. Most thugs have better sense than to terrorize other communities.
IMO, the "fear" is simply an excuse to justify bigotry.
This could happen to my son even though he's white. Now I have a better understanding for the terrible fear that African American parents live with daily.
This case is keeping me awake at night. I start to fall asleep and startle awake. It is that horrific. Those 911 tapes haunt me.
Of course he was wearing a hoodie
Rides, fully tatted, long beard and is 6'6". I have warned him to be careful with police, and he said they are his best customers. He is very liberal and very mild, plays in a folk band and to my knowledge has never been in a fight. I still worry about the nuts around, but he is cool with it.
that idiot might have stalked anyone who was black, even a black girl. this story is so sad. a kid walking home from the store is accosted and murdered for no reason...except the color of his skin i hope the bastard rots in prison.
Florida is Teabagger Central. Although Rick Scott has offended damn near everyone during his tenure as governor, he is still their man in Tallahassee. He will "say something" in favor of Trayvon Martin when pigs fly.
It's not much, and one would certainly have expected a bit more of a stronger reaction...but I guess in Voldemort's case, it's about as good as one can expect.
If not, then I doubt Rick Scott would care one iota about Trayvon Martin.
... has troubled me more than anything in the news in recent memory. It's abundantly clear that there is a double standard of justice, if a white person were killed any claim of self defense would have to be backed up by strong evidence. In this case the police seem ready to believe the improbable for reasons we all understand all too well.
I hope and pray that the justice department gets involved, that is the only way there is will justice. And if we are lucky we can end up with a discredited police department to boot.
He would've been in jail immediately - probably with capital murder charges. It's ridiculous.
I was a professional employee of an engineering firm (I'm a white woman) in the deep South My student worker/engineering intern ( a young black high school senior in a 98% white/conservative/republican/bedroom commuity Southern county school system) walked from our office to the local sandwich shop to get lunch. He walked on the side of the road because there were (are) no sidewalks. A local neighborhood resident (read Elderly White Dixiecrat) called the sherriff's department to report a young black man walking along the county road. (99% of people in the community drive everywhere they go.) By the time he arrived back at our office, the sherriff's dept. deputy pulled into our driveway. My student intern sighed and said he knew why they were there. (He grew up & lived in the in the community.) I went out and told the deputy that the young man was our intern and a resident of the county. The deputy thanked me and left.
The young man went on to graduate HS & college, join the US Army only to be sent to serve at an arms/weapons depot near Tikrit, Irag (he survived that, thank god) and returned to the USA where he remained in service and began his Master's Degree studies. He was a Sgt. while in Iraq. He may have been promoted since that time.
It can be very dangerous to be a young, black man in the South.
Edit: Please note that I was born in the South and have lived here all of my life. Also, back in the early 1990s, I was shot at by crazy, racist, Deliverance type rednecks in rural TN because I was with a black man. If you've ever been shot at, you will know that it is terrifying.
The thing is that very same incident could have happened anywhere else in "nice and safe" America.
as if that means any goddamned thing whatsoever. Black people know this could happen anywhere.
Right now, I have two friends that are embroiled in costly legal battles over police misconduct towards their black, male relatives. One case is happening back home in Atlanta. The other in sunny California.
People need to wake up and see what black people have always seen and known about this country.
We went to a restaurant I'd frequented often, good food, and we took our seats in a booth there. Not that I didn't work with a lot of black guys, but this was guy was religious and very sweet.
The help refused to come and take our order. The staff (white) had been attentive and courteous with me every other day.
And they weren't busy or out of food or anything, that day, they just looked at us and didn't move.
We didn't have forever to take for lunch, and after a while, I realized they were ignoring us. I was getting ticked off, said we should leave. He wasn't, just accepted it as part of life. Eventually, and with a bit of attitude, they took our orders and we got our meals. I never returned.
Another guy I worked with got an internship with a company in Japan. He claimed that black employees did better there, because they were prepared to deal with being treated differently as foreigners, having to go through some hoops, instead of the deference that white guys were used to getting here.
I have always marveled at the burden that black men and women bear, without going insane. Honestly, I would not be as nice as most of them I know.
After the waitress served them their food, she didn't return to the table, not wanting to encourage them to stay for drinks because, "African-Americans are poor tippers." As the busboy I ended up repeatedly taking drink orders from the group. When the group left they presented her a tip.
"I knew it! They gave me a really crappy tip," she complained.
"That's funny," I replied. "They gave me a $50!"
Of course, busboys are not allowed to accept tips. But in this instance I decided we should take it to management who were *not* amused by the waitresses antics.
And, yes, they told me to keep the fifty.
It is just perfect, that you did the right thing, the customers appreciated you and management let you keep the $50.
after extensive research led me to realize that the S&L industry was about to go belly up, I moved to the Ozarks with the help of my sister and her husband. My sister and I are predominantly Caucasian. My brother-in-law is African-American, Native American, and Caucasian, with skin the color of milk chocolate.
We stopped for breakfast at a small diner in Hope, Arkansas. We were seated by a young woman whose youth probably contributed to her inability to hide her apparent shock and disgust. The waitresses, glaring and grumbling, congregated in the corner farthest from our booth. After a 20 minute confab (during which my BIL adjured us to remain seated and politely exercise a form of non-violent resistance), the eldest of the women slammed glasses of water on our table and asked 'what do you want!?' She would address only my sister or me. My BIL ordered his own meal, to the back of her head. All three of us remained calm and polite.
We could watch the preparation of our food, so were fairly confident no one spat in our water or on our plates. However, it was the longest and most difficult meal of my life.
We thanked our waitress, and left a 20% tip. I've often wondered if her experience with us made any difference.
You took the high road. I hope that the young waitress was changed for the better.
People who've never experienced racism have no idea what it is like to be treated is such an awful, inhumane manner.
and every night I am so very relieved he's made it home safely one more time.
peace and love MrScorpio
I know Trayvon isn't the first and won't be the last, but that very easily could have been me...
I like to take walks; I usually walk alone...I have a lot of personality quirks (moreso than most people) which means I'll wander or change direction or stop and observe something because sometimes I'm fascinated by the most random, inane things I come across...I can sometimes get lost in my thoughts while walking and sort of lose self-awareness around me...If I was in that neighborhood walking, I certainly would have been labeled a "suspicious person, possibly on drugs"
Even though I've known the indignity of doing-whatever-while-black, I've always walked a straight and narrow path, and have never to this day even seen the inside of a police car...I'm a little older and milder (and hopefully smarter) now, but if there is one thing that has always made me go into Roid-rage HULK mode, it's being accused of something I didn't do...
The 17-year-old me, being accosted as some common criminal by some overzealous amateur wannabe crimefighter would have rained fists upon his face right up to the moment I got shot...In Virginia, it would have been a "good shoot", no questions asked...Yeah, my parents and family would have fought for justice, but even today the universal reply from the public, the media and the legal system would be "So what if he was a good, straight-laced student who had never been in trouble before? If he got shot he must have done *something* to deserve it!" So it's not enough to get killed meaninglessly and unavenged, your reputation gets smeared and you are eventually forgotten...
Ironically, if Martin had anything on his juvenile record, no matter how minor or unrelated, police and the local media could have given the "he must have done something" excuse and easily swept this under the rug with no one outside of Sanford hearing about it...That was probably their hope all along..
mentally ill person with tics, etc, or person with movement disorders could have been Trayvon, also. This child was judged by his appearance, and other persons with a variety of disabilities could be treated as violently because they "scare" stupid people.
I'm not trying in anyway to minimize the hate crime here. I see this as a hate crime against an African American male teenager.
Anyone who thinks this couldn't happen to them or someone they know or love is deluding themselves.
Thank God: a news alert says a grand jury will probe this.
I have mannerisms and tics that can come across to some as making me "shady" My trouble with eye contact, especially, causes me trouble.
I understand, but I can see where this would be difficult under some circumstances.
I have a kid with a disability, and fortunately, someone is with him all of the time, but if his safety were to fall through, I would fear for him being alone out in public.
IIRC, he was whittling on a stick with a pocketknife, and was accosted from behind by a cop.
Poor Trayvon. I've been sunk in worry over what might have happened to my son when he was a teenager, and he's white. I can't imagine how black parents must worry.
Why should my two teenage nephews be able to duck out for a quick trip to the store and get get back safely just because they're white? Why should a kid walking down the street with an iced tea and a bag of Skittles be a cause for suspicion just because he's black? Why isn't the worthless shit-for-brains who killed him not in jail awaiting murder charges? This is just sickening.
He is black, mild-mannered, likes Skittles, is about the same age, sometimes wears a hoodie and would more than likely run if confronted by someone he perceives to be a threat.
My nephew's best friend is African American and has been questioned by the police in his own neighborhood on several occasions. Our town is pretty well integrated, but he lives in a neighborhood which is perceived to be "white" because it's a little bit expensive. You can't win. Very scary.
Bless you and your son.
This really has shaken me to my core. My son has talked about going to college in Florida and I am already thinking about his safety if that indeed is his choice. This is the little boy that used to make up his own signs for all the anti-war rallies we marched in, wouldn't harm a fly but would probably do his best to fight off an attacker. I am just beside myself about this case.
I'm glad it's going to be investigated, but it should never have happened in the first place. As for Florida: my Fox-watching mother-in-law lives there and I try to keep my visits to a minimum. Obviously there are some great people in the state, but they don't happen to have control of the government at this time. I hope things will change.
Good luck on the college search. Maybe your son will find a school to his liking elsewhere.
For you it's the color of your skin.
For me it's having a vagina
For others it's loving the wrong type of person.
I think there is a small group of white men recognizing that their control over this country is fading quickly. A black man was elected president and across the country same-sex people are giving the same rights as hetero couples (slowly but surely). And women are demanding and getting equal rights too. I think these men will do whatever they can to get the control back into their hands but I'm hoping that this is a dying breed and in 20 years we won't have this bullshit anymore
BTW when I saw 'white men' I do realize it's a small group of them - that there are plenty of white men in this country who defend equality for all people.
to a soon-to-be 3 year old boy who is half African American. This could happen to him someday.
In a very thought provoking show yesterday, NPR's Neal Conan interviewed several people including Jonathan Capehart . They discussed the rules a young back man must learn:
JONATHAN CAPEHART: It happened after we left the sort of sheltered environment of Hazlet, New Jersey, in sort of central New Jersey, and moved back up to Newark when my mom remarried. And the conversation that we had was just a series of rules for my own safety. At the time I was 16. They were: Don't run in public, don't run while carrying anything in your hand. The first one being, you know, lest than anyone think you're suspicious. And the second one being lest anyone think you stole something. And the third was don't talk back to the police, lest you give them a reason to take you to jail or worse.
As a white Southern man I think we have failed and we are retreating from gains made in the late '60's. This is so shameful and stupid.
Every day I am aware that my son could meet the same fate.