Archive for Race in America

Sorry, Trayvon

Can’t say they didn’t try:

The Justice Department announced Tuesday that George Zimmerman will not face federal criminal civil rights charges for shooting and killing Trayvon Martin in 2012.

Zimmerman fatally shot Martin, 17, while the unarmed African American teenager was walking in Sanford, Fla. The shooting became a national flash-point, sparking a discussion of race relations that continues to reverberate in the wake of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and other incidents across the country.

“The death of Trayvon Martin was a devastating tragedy,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a statement. “It shook an entire community, drew the attention of millions across the nation, and sparked a painful but necessary dialogue throughout the country.”

Holder that the “comprehensive examination” determined that there was not enough evidence for a federal hate crime prosecution. But he said that Martin’s “premature death necessitates that we continue the dialogue and be unafraid of confronting the issues and tensions his passing brought to the surface.”

Absolutely, sir. We’ll continue that dialogue and confront those issues and tensions like there’s no tomorrow. For example, do not pound the head of someone who’s carrying a loaded weapon.

And lose the fascination with gangsta “culture”. Not healthy.

I disagree with the caption. I don’t thank Zimmerman for getting into that situation. He’s not liable, criminally or civilly, but he’s not entirely blameless.

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Judas Iscariot?

Irony of ironies. They never got Al Capone for murder or extortion, but for tax evasion.

And Al Sharpton may never go down for tax evasion—but for racial discrimination:

Even though the FCC hasn’t yet ruled on the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, one group has already filed a lawsuit claiming at least $20 billion in damages from the way the two giants allegedly discriminate against black-owned media.

The complaint, filed in California on Friday, comes from the National Association of African-American Owned Media, which also filed a similar suit against AT&T and DirecTV in December.

This time, the plaintiff is not only targeting both Comcast and TWC — on the eve of the two companies merging to become what would be the largest pay television distributor in the United States — but also various African-American advocacy groups and MSNBC host Al Sharpton for allegedly facilitating discrimination.

The lawsuit goes on to say that Comcast made large cash “donations” to obtain support for its acquisition. The money includes $3.8 million to Sharpton and his National Action Network. The money, it’s charged, was meant to pay Sharpton to endorse the NBCU deal and divert attention away from discrimination. As for Sharpton’s MSNBC gig, the complaint says, “Despite the notoriously low ratings that Sharpton’s show generates, Comcast has allowed Sharpton to maintain his hosting position for more than three years in exchange for Sharpton’s continued public support for Comcast on issues of diversity.”

A protection racket: how Sharptonian! But he’s not taking this sitting down:

Sharpton tells us that he “welcomes the opportunity to answer the frivolous allegations” and says he will be bringing counterclaims for defamation.

Sharpton objects that the budget for National Action Network is not even $4 million, and as for his MSNBC show, he believes he has the most successful show in the 6 p.m. hour at MSNBC, that “the numbers speak for themselves.”

It’s a good thing they do, Rev. Because you don’t:

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Remembering Malcolm

Yeah, fifty years is about time:

A ceremony has been held in New York to honour black civil rights leader Malcolm X at the site where he was assassinated 50 years ago.

Activists, politicians and actors were among some 300 people who paid tributes to Malcolm X in Harlem.

They heard a call by one of his daughters to reassess her father’s importance to civil rights in America.

By the time he was gunned down, the Muslim leader had moderated his militant message of black separatism.

But he remained a passionate advocate of black unity, self-respect and self-reliance.

Oh, and in case you forgot:

Three members of the Nation of Islam organisation were convicted of his murder.

Doubtless Malcolm had many white haters, some of whom threatened to kill him. But he was murdered by members of his own community.

Take the other celebrated assassinations of the era, JFK, MLK, RFK. Only Martin Luther King was killed by one of the “usual suspects”. John Kennedy was killed by a Cuban- Soviet-sympathizing Marxist; Bobby by a Palestinian. And Malcolm X by a forbear of Louis Farrakhan. Whatever lessons we can draw from these tragedies are still lost on us today. That’s why Marie Harf can warn of “Christian evangelicals”, why Janet Napolitano can sound the alarm over returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan, and why the media can ignore the political predilections (hard left and hard atheist) of a murderer of three North Carolinian Muslims. As bad an idea as it is to ignore history, it’s an ever worse idea to deny it.

PS: I find Malcolm himself to be a fascinating character, and can’t recommend Spike Lee’s biopic highly enough. X’s “by any means necessary” rhetoric was the yin to MLK’s nonviolent yang. But his story is one for another time. I would just note that many accounts of his murder pin the motive on Eljah Muhammad’s anger at X’s rejection of the Nation of Islam and his growing moderation of tone.

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Shame on You

That was then:

This is now:

In Hollywood:

“It’s a white industry. Just as the NBA is a black industry. I’m not even saying it’s a bad thing. It just is,” Chris Rock wrote last year in a thoughtful op-ed for The Hollywood Reporter. Rock’s piece went viral because of how clearly he laid out the problems in Hollywood: It’s a place where at every level, from the top on down, diversity is lagging behind society.

Except here’s where Rock was wrong: It is a “bad thing.”

But it’s the title that gets me the most:

Why It Should Bother Everyone That The Oscars Are So White

That’s right, you. I’m talking to you. You better be bothered.

But maybe Denzel and Halle made s**t movies this year. Or no movies at all.

But someone did:

[T]he way the nomination process works is still a problem for people like Ava DuVernay, who did not receive a Best Director nomination this year for “Selma.” Many consider DuVernay’s exclusion one of the year’s most egregious snubs.

Of course it is, and I haven’t seen the movie. But the way Hollywood works, a movie about Martin Luther King, Jr.—more to the point, a movie about bad white people—should be an Oscar shoo-in.

What happened?

“Here’s the deal: Most of us in the film community, across the board, work with people who we know, who we consider friends and family. If you use that as a barometer to look at the film world, it just shows you how segregated, xenophobic, sexist, racist and backwards we are as Americans in terms of how we deal with one another,” cinematographer Bradford Young, another snubbed member of Team “Selma,” told The Huffington Post in an interview earlier this year.

Speak for yourself. I am not sexist.

And this is Hollywood he’s talking about! It only sounds like high school.

At least there’s one adult in the room:

“You know what? Fuck ‘em. You made a very good film, so feel good about that and start working on the next one,” director Spike Lee said last month during a candid interview with The Daily Beast in response to DuVernay’s omission from the Best Director category.

Lee’s own unfavorable experience with the organization’s voting body appears to have bolstered his cynicism about the Oscars, at least where black films and their casts are concerned.

“Anyone who thinks this year was gonna be like last year is retarded,” Lee told The Daily Beast. “There were a lot of black folks up there with ‘12 Years a Slave,’ Steve [McQueen], Lupita [Nyong’o], Pharrell. It’s in cycles of every 10 years. Once every 10 years or so I get calls from journalists about how people are finally accepting black films.”

As though to illustrate Lee’s point, 2015 marks 10 years since the Oscars held a record-setting five out of 20 nominations for black actors. That was the year Jamie Foxx took home the Best Actor award for his performance in “Ray,” and Morgan Freeman won Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Million Dollar Baby.”

This year, by contrast, all 20 people nominated in the four acting categories are white.

This is where we came in. And this is why you should be bothered. I’ll just leave you with your thoughts. Your very guilty thoughts.

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Look Who’s Back!

Where you been keeping yourself, Rev?

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a polarizing religious leader and former spiritual adviser to President Barack Obama, told a crowd at Southern University on Thursday that black people have historically turned to the wrong direction for help — from Biblical times through slavery, the Civil War and up to modern day.

“Our help doesn’t come from government. It doesn’t come from guns. It comes from God,” Wright said. “If you’re looking to the government for help, you’re looking in the wrong place.”

Sounds like maybe someone had a change of heart.

Keep listening:

He said the war on drugs was a “war on black people” in disguise. He noted the killings of black teens like Trayvon Martin in Florida and Mike Brown in Missouri.

He twice took aim at the modern conservative tea party movement and referred to the Southerners who supported the Civil War as “great-grandparents of the tea party.”

“They fought a civil war to keep black folks enslaved, and they lost the war,” he said.

Later, he referred to the tea party as the reincarnation of the “lynch party.”

“Nothing scares a racist more than a black man who can think,” he said at one point.

Takes one to know one.

Rudy Giuliani is in hot water for suggesting that Barack Obama doesn’t love America. But isn’t that old news? He listened contentedly to similar rants (“God damn America”, “US of KKKA”) for decades.

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You Say “White Privilege” Like It’s a Bad Thing

But if you’re going to teach it—during physics—shouldn’t it exist?

The head of Seattle’s University Prep says that the school is “fully aware” and “supports” that its science instructor spends six days teaching about white privilege in his seniors’ physics classes.

F=MA, where F stand for the fascist tendencies of modern society, M for its monetary hegemony, and A for its general a**holic demeanor.

Or:

I promise I wouldn’t abuse it or make anyone feel underprivileged, but I wouldn’t mind maybe just a day of white privilege. It would be like my birthday or Father’s Day. But white privilege is even more elusive than the Higgs Boson—something about which the budding physicists needn’t worry their empty little heads—a theoretical construct that exists for unimaginably brief spans of time, and only underground in France.

White privilege, I mean. Turns out the Higgs Boson may be very real.

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In Other Words

Yesterday, we congratulated the WSJ’s Bret Stevens for his description of the current president as a “peevish and callow potentate”. That’s a lot classier than our usual fare of “doofus” and “a-hole”.

But sometimes an a-hole is just an a-hole:

President Obama was shocked and irritated by Mitt Romney’s concession call in the 2012 presidential election — and claimed Romney insinuated that Obama won only by getting out the black vote, according to a new book by presidential campaign strategist David Axelrod.

Obama was “unsmiling during the call, and slightly irritated when it was over,” Axelrod writes.

The president hung up and said Romney admitted he was surprised at his own loss, Axelrod wrote.

“‘You really did a great job of getting the vote out in places like Cleveland and Milwaukee,’ in other words, black people,'” Obama said, paraphrasing Romney. “That’s what he thinks this was all about.”

Romney conceded his defeat, and Obama was irritated? [Bleep] him.

“In other words, black people.” No, those are your words, not Romney’s. Bogus accusations of racism may be worse than racism itself. Racism is universally condemned; accusations, founded or not, stain uniformly and eternally.

But let’s look at the evidence.

Ohio:

According to Secretary of State Jon Husted’s website, President Obama won the popular vote in Ohio with 50.67% of the vote over Mitt Romney in second place at 47.69%, a Democratic victory margin of 2.98%.

President Obama still wins Ohio by over 166,000 votes.

What about Cleveland?

Cuyahoga Country — Obama 420,953; Romney 184,475

Obama won Ohio, a key swing state, in Cleveland alone. So Romney was right.

What about Wisconsin?

When all ballots were counted, Obama won 52.83% of the vote to Romney’s 45.89%, a 6.94% margin of victory.

Popular vote 1,620,985 — 1,407,966

That’s not as close, but Wisconsin was still considered a swing state, not least because Paul Ryan, the Republican VP candidate, hails from there.

And Milwaukee?

Milwaukee County — Obama 332,438; Romney 154,924

Hey, that’s not enough to account for the victory! You lie, Romney!

Oh wait.

Dane County — Obama 216,071; Romney 83,644

That’s Madison, as moonbat a community as there is. So, between Milwaukee and Madison, left-wing bastions, Obama more than made up for Romney’s strength in much of the rest of the state.

Elections have results: Obama won. But he won exactly the way Romney said he did: by getting out the vote in his strongholds.

Elections also have consequences (as Aggie reminds us): this peevish, callow potentate—doofus, a-hole, whatever—is still our president.

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Stop in the Name of Love

Charles Blow is a New York Times columnist. He is black. His son, also black, and a Yalie, was briefly detained by campus security, at gunpoint.

That’s preamble to this:

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: One of the most illuminating voices we hear from “The New York Times” Charles Blow. He’s talked a lot on this program about his fears for his own son’s safety. Well, last Saturday, his fears seemed to come true. His son, a student at Yale, was walking back to his dorm room from the library when a campus police officer stopped him at gunpoint. He hadn’t done anything wrong, he did exactly as he was told by the police officer, got on the ground, hands raised. Later he was told he fit the description of a burglary suspect. Eventually he went back to his dorm safely. Here’s what Charles wrote in his column. “This is the scenario I’ve always dreaded. My son at the wrong end of the gun barrel face down on the concrete. What if my son had panicked under the stress, had I come close to losing him? Triggers cannot be un-pulled, bullets cannot be called back. I’m reminded of what I have always known,” he wrote, “but what some would choose to deny, that there is no way to work your way out, earn your way out of this sort of crisis. In these moments, what you’ve done matters less than how you look. ”

But here’s what Yale said about the incident in the statement that it released: “A Yale police officer detained an African American Yale college student who was in the vicinity of a reported crime and who closely matched the physical description including items of clothing of the suspect, even though the officer’s decision to stop and detain the student may have been reasonable, the fact that he drew his weapon during the stop requires a careful review.

Nothing to argue with here. I counsel my son the same way; if he or I were black, I’d really hammer home the point: “what you’ve done matters less than how you look”.

COOPER: Does the fact that the police officer involved was African- American? Does that change the equation in your mind in any way?

BLOW: It doesn’t for me because we don’t – when we have those conversations with our kids, we don’t say, well, if you run into a white police officer, behave like this and this, and this, and if you run into a black police officer, you don’t have to worry about that. Do whatever you want to do, jam your hands into all your pockets, and, you know, jump around and talk back. We talk about the police in general. And I am very happy that when he turned around and saw whoever was with the gun that he didn’t behave any differently. He didn’t see any difference. He saw a gun, and an officer and he followed the very same script.

COOPER: Do you believe race played a role even though the officer was African-American, do you believe race played a role in what happened to your son? Because there – you’ve come under criticism from some conservative sites, some even call it a race hoax. Because in your original article, you didn’t mention that the officer was African- American.

BLOW: Right. Because in my argument, I’ve been writing about this for probably, years now and I have stopped, almost altogether, mentioning the race of any officers. Period.

Isn’t the obvious follow-up: why? Why is “what you’ve done matters less than how you look” relevant in one case, but not the other? I don’t know how many Yale police officers are black, but as this NY Times report indicates, whites make up the overwhelming majority of police forces even in cities with overwhelming majority minority populations (if you could follow that). So, the detail that the officer was black was newsworthy, if not central to the story. Absent that information, the reader would have assumed he was white. Omitting it says reams more about Blow than Blow has to say about race in America today.

The facts of the story are unremarkable, save for the officer drawing his gun. That is a big deal, and should be investigated (as Yale said it will). But otherwise, a young black male who matched the description—down to the clothing—of a burglary suspect, being detained and questioned, is barely news. Except that the kid’s dad is a New York Times columnist. With an apparent agenda.

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Scarlet Lives Matter

But do their brains?

A West Point man beaten by a crowd in what at least one witness said may have been a racially-motivated incident is still working on what his family said will probably be a long recovery.

A Marine and Iraq war veteran, Ralph Weems, 32, was the victim of a severe beating in August at the hands of a crowd at a Huddle House in West Point. He and his friend David Knighten ended up there after allegedly leaving a Waffle House where he was told it wasn’t “safe for whites” in the aftermath of the death of Ferguson, Mo. teen Michael Brown.

After police were called in regards to a disturbance, the two left Waffle House and went to Huddle House. Several other patrons of the restaurant were asked to leave at the same time, and it’s not clear if they were the ones who attacked Weems once they reached Huddle House, but Knighten said he couldn’t get to his friend to help him because he was held back by the crowd. He told the Associated Press at the time that he heard racial slurs being used against Weems.

Weems was beaten unconscious and was hospitalized in critical condition.

“Without getting into too much detail, he’s physically made a lot of improvements,” said his father, Ralph Weems III. “Traumatic brain injury takes a long time to recover in a lot of different ways. He’s not coming home anytime soon.”

He has a GoFundMe site to raise $$ for his medical bills.

Sadly, Michael Brown died, committing suicide by cop. Said cop, Darren Wilson’s, life has been ruined; so has this Marine’s. Not to mention the livelihoods of many business people in Ferguson. And last week Eric Holder quietly dismissed any federal civil rights issues in the case.

So, yet again I ask the “Official Question of BTL.com”™: what was that all about?

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Are We Done Here?

Now that a grand jury has rendered its judgement, it’s time Michael Brown and Darren Wilson be judged by a higher power.

Eric Holder:

A federal investigation has not found enough evidence to charge Darren Wilson with the federal crime of depriving Michael Brown of his civil rights, according to multiple sources familiar with the investigation.

The FBI has completed its investigation into the August shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, and sent the findings to the Justice Department, a law enforcement official and a separate U.S. official said Wednesday.

Justice Department prosecutors will not recommend civil rights charges against Wilson, who killed Brown, because there is not sufficient evidence to support charges, a U.S. official told CNN.

Ultimately, the decision will be made by Attorney General Eric Holder, who has said he will announce a decision before he leaves office, which is expected to be by spring.

He can’t get gone soon enough. Too bad for him he won’t take Officer Wilson’s scalp with him.

Black lives matter—absolutely they do—even in suicide by cop. Can we now let Michael Brown’s memory rest in peace?

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Hollywood and Whine

I can’t comment on everything, and the spectacle of Al Sharpton going after Hollywood for shutting out black faces from Oscar consideration falls under the heading of letting your adversaries attack each other while you enjoy from the sidelines (with popcorn, appropriately enough).

But I like this comment:

DEROY MURDOCK, NATIONAL REVIEW: I heard Al Sharpton’s organizing an emergency meeting. This is great news. Finally we’ll have an emergency meeting on the black unemployment rate which is about 10.4% versus about 5.6 overall, or that maybe it’s an emergency meeting on the fact that 32% of black kids never get out of high school, never graduate high school? Or maybe an emergency meeting over the fact that in 2013 about 5,600 black people were murdered by other black people, but it turns out to be about the Academy Awards. Given all the problems facing black Americans today, it seems like Al Sharpton ought to organize a whole bunch of other emergency meetings on real emergencies before he has a total freakout about how the Academy Awards are playing themselves out…

Look, these statistics are interesting that the Academy’s 93% white, 76% male. Presumably, this is some kind of white male anti-black conspiracy. These same alleged racists just last year — last year, Hollywood didn’t look like the Rocky Mountains, it looked more like Mount Kilimanjaro. 12 Years A Slave won Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, Best Score, Best Adapted Screenplay.

So just a year ago it was a huge pageant of black cinematic achievement.

Never let the facts get in the way of a good shakedown, as the saying goes.

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Want to Know the Difference Between London and New York?

London:

Muhammad and Amelia have been revealed as the most popular names for baby boys and girls in London.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics show Muhammad overtook Daniel as the capital’s name of choice, while Amelia trumped Olivia to take top spot for girls.

Mohammed – spelt with an ‘o’ and an ‘e’ – also makes an entry at number four in the top 10 most popular boys names in London.

New York City:

New York City’s Health Department has released its annual breakdown of popular baby names. Besides the general top 10, there are also lists for different ethnicities: Among white babies, Esther was the third most popular girls’ name, trailed by Sarah, Leah, Rachel, Chaya, Miriam, and Chana, all in the top 10.

Leah was seventh among all girls’ names, regardless of ethnicity, up from number nine.

The most popular boys’ names included Moshe at number four, alongside biblical names also common among non-Jews, like David, Joseph, Daniel, Benjamin, and Jacob.

If you’re wondering about the qualifier “white” babies, don’t suspect base motives. So many more black babies are aborted in New York than are born, it’s just not a decent sample size.

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