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DPChallenge Forums >> Rant >> Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown
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08/28/2014 12:19:41 AM · #1
I've wanted to have this conversation for a while but never knew how to articulate myself in a way that didn't come off sounding unsympathetic to losing a child, which I'm sure is the worst pain for a parent.

As far as Trayvon Martin is concerned, I always felt he was the person who caused the situation to escalate and was now responsible for his own death. I just watched this Youtube video by Stefan Molyneux : //youtu.be/bF-Ax5E8EJc

He explains it very well. He does a great job at breaking things down and shows how the media distorted the facts to cause a 'racial' debate. I like Jon Stewart, I like most of the late night mock news shows and agree with almost everything they say, as funny as they put it. BUT for whatever reason, I couldn't bring myself to agree with their own handling of these 2 situations. I and to think...am I being a racist? I didn't think so. Before coming to Japan I had friends of all races and religions. There were classes in junior and senior high school where I was the only white kid, and I never even thought about it until I came to Japan and was asked. I live in a country where there is racism, towards foreigners by politicians, but that's getting off topic a bit.

Now we have Michael Brown, and not all the evidence is in. Stefan Molyneux did a video on this particular situation as well. While it's unfortunate that a kid is dead, the way the media is portraying Michael Brown is wrong. The day he was shot he man handled a convenience store clerk and walked out with stolen goods. They talk about him as being a 'good kid' but this points to him NOT being so good. And while his record before 18 is locked away, with the way he managed himself in the video to just TAKE what he wanted, to me anyways, shows that it wasn't the first time. Of course, not all the evidence is in. And while there is racial divide in the community, it seems that a good police officer has been crucified before any real evidence has been shown. In this case, I'm still not sure as to what is and isn't true outside of what witnesses and videos have shown.

Then there's Al Sharpton, who at the funeral called for 'vengeance'. For those who are religious, how many pastors and preachers call for vengeance at pulpit. To me Al Sharpton sees this as another opportunity to make himself 'important'.

I wish neither of these kids were dead. But I also wish that the media would do their job and that people would wait for the facts to come out and then REALLY take into account what is true and not true. Without a doubt there are racist cops. That doesn't mean that when a white cop shoots a black man, he is automatically a racist. Just like if a black cop shoots a white man, we don't label him a racist.

So, the reason I ask here is because I actually don't have any friends other than white and Japanese. My best friend in the 10th grade was black, but we didn't have internet back then so when I moved we lost touch. In high school I had black friends amongst others but have since lost touch. I'm not sure if there was racism towards blacks in Canada. Maybe I was too naive to notice. I'm hoping some people, regardless of race, could chime in with their views. I can't for the life of me understand why what is happening is happening.

BTW:
Stefan Molyneux has quite a few videos that are very interesting with a range in topics. They are long but very very well done. His video came up in my Youtube feed when I was doing research on the history of slavery in America. I just watched 12 Years a Slave, unbelievable movie, must watch.
08/28/2014 12:56:56 AM · #2
In both cases, we don't know (and may never know) what really happened. As various facts or rumors come out, they tend to reinforce preconceived notions of the event and whch sources we find believable depending upon whether we see the police as respectable peacekeepers or abusers of authority and the other guys as imminent threats or innocent profiling victims. The stronger your opinion, the less likely facts will sway them, and it poisons the well when reports include the race of those involved. It would sound silly to say a blonde cop shot a green-eyed teen, but that's what we do with race, and we do it to ourselves. The initial reports may be "cop shoots unarmed man," but it's "white cop shoots unarmed black teen" by the time most of us hear it because more often than not THAT'S what makes it national news. In colonial times, a violent scandal might involve a catholic and a protestant, not because of what the people did, but because of who they are. The same thing happens today with race, and that is unquestionably racist regardless of our personal tolerance. The simple fact is that this will not change until race is considered as irrelevant as eye color or religious belief, and the same applies to sexual preference, political affiliation and immigrants.

Message edited by author 2014-08-28 00:59:47.
08/28/2014 01:02:08 AM · #3
I agree with everything Shannon said, but I blame the green-eyed gay catholic liberal immigrants for the whole mess.
08/28/2014 01:45:52 AM · #4
that's "mass," sonny.
08/28/2014 02:06:39 AM · #5
Originally posted by heavyj:

... I'm not sure if there was racism towards blacks in Canada. Maybe I was too naive to notice.


Yep... most definitely did exist and has increased with the number of blacks in Canada.

We as a society like to think of ourselves as being more tolerant than our friends in the USA, but trust me, we too harbour a level of distrust, fear and dislike to varying degrees to the various non-white members of our community, as well as some of the ethic groups that live in Canada.

As far as "not understanding why things are happening the way they are", I would, from personal experience suggest that a great deal of our actions and reactions are centered around "fear of the unknown". Most of us have no knowledge or understanding of other ethnic groups and because of this attribute perceived values or character traits that lead us to what in most instances are erroneous conclusions.

Just another man's view.

Ray
08/28/2014 03:12:54 AM · #6
Originally posted by heavyj:



I and to think...am I being a racist? I didn't think so.


In your avatar you appear to be Caucasian, therefor to many people you are automatically racist. I tolerate this type of discrimination because I know most of it is caused by slavery and Jim Crow. If this country survives another 50 to 100 years what Shannon speaks of might have a chance.

As for Al Sharpton I find it hard to believe he's still relevant 30 years after his arrival as a lying, sack of crap. Plus he's promoted to a glorified pundit in mainstream media by MSNBC. His call for vengeance shows a level of contempt for civility that boggles the mind. I don't give him any excuse. He should shut the heck up and disappear.

The grabbing of this incident by political pundits, media, White House, Republicans, and others is a disgrace. All sides distort the truth and just plain lie until they are called out or discovered. My one personal thought on the matter depends on the veracity of one bit of info I've read: The officer who shot him was supposedly carrying a Taser. So why did he not use it, rather than his sidearm? I mean, at close range, a police taser can be used as a cattle prod type device. No need to fire the projectile. It would have also proved that Mr. Brown was within arms length of the officer. But alas, I believe nothing I've seen on the matter.

We're entering the final chapter of the United States as a democratic republic where you have enumerated rights. The middle class is waning, the poor are suffering as they always have, and the rich are abandoning our country to the wolves. Pulling together as citizens of the USA, rather than divided into all the many ethnic, religious, gender, and whatever groups, is the only thing that might save our asses. I rate our chances of that at about .001 percent. Was a good run while it lasted.

08/28/2014 04:30:27 AM · #7
In the cases of Martin and Brown the facts are disputed and without doubt the media (which is just really a reflection of ourselves) portray the story to reinforce or support already held ideas. A lot of countries, but especially America struggles under a huge weight of historical racial prejudice. To live in modern America and not have this prejudice affect your judgements and opinions on current matters makes you either uniquely special or self-deluding.

A police officer having to make quick life and death decisions is going to base those decisions on his own prejudices and experiences, probably unconciously. Although not all young black men are dangerous or violent, a police officer is, understandably, going to act completely differently when he sees a young black man behaving 'strangely' in the street than when, say, he sees an old white woman behaving similarly.

A daily scan of the US news (I'm a black man living in London) shows that in America police regularly shoot and kill 'criminals' of every colour or stripe. It's interesting that the 'white cop kills black youth' stories cause such violent reaction, which seems in some degree to be an extremely painful collective recollection of America's treatment of black men in the last 100 years or so.

So, at the op, it's not really about being racist or non-racist. I think one has to understand and analyse oneself to recognise the cultural history and differences that make you think and behave the way you do, whether in your reading of the news or your treatment of other people.
08/28/2014 06:48:17 AM · #8
cultural perception. the black leaders need to do a better job.

maybe if Sharpton et al spoke out more like Bill Cosby.

08/28/2014 07:24:37 AM · #9
Originally posted by Mike:

cultural perception. the black leaders need to do a better job.

maybe if Sharpton et al spoke out more like Bill Cosby.


good points, though without appearing to be a conspiracy theorist, I find it interesting to note how frequently the media report the statements of 'leader' Al Sharpton ahead of more reasoned statements from less controversial figures. Many black people would not own Sharpton as their spokesman. Also, I have seen Sharpton speak on more than one occasion and he is nowhere near as inflamatory as his quotes seem to make him, but one could easily take the odd statement from a two hour speech and turn him into a modern lucifer.

In 2014, unless you own the machinery of media or control/affect it through financial power (as the Jews have done - all power to them, I'm not being racist!) you can become it's victim.
08/28/2014 07:36:17 AM · #10
' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_N.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_N.gif', '/') + 1) . ' ray_mefarso from the Youtube video I posted, it seems that the facts aren't disputed but distorted. If George Zimmerman had his gun drawn, and was looking to shoot a 'black person' because he was a racists (Supported by evidence), found this person and shot him without a confrontation, then called it self-defense, I'd call him a murderer. But the facts aren't disputed here, which is why he was not charged.

With Michael Brown, I don't know all the facts yet. To say "Why didn't the officer taze him." is playing everything hindsight 20/20. It's easier to say "You should've done this/that." once you have all the facts AFTER the incident. However, in the moment, split second decisions have to be made. A good example of this would be the true story shown in this re-enactment of a police officer stopping someone: https://vimeo.com/90068717 After the fact, you would wonder why he didn't shoot him fatally once reaching for his gun.

As well as Sharpton, you have people like Spike Lee, who tweeted the WRONG address to a different Zimmerman family which caused this unrelated Zimmerman family a great deal of harm. This, had it been the other way around racially, would have garnered far more media attention. Imagine Clint Eastwood tweeting the address of the wrong people 'accused' of being the parents of a 'yet to be convicted' and 'innocent' black man. It would have been tabloid news. "White Hollywood Star Brings Back Lynch Mob!" But it barely got noticed when Spike Lee did it...it's like the upper-class of the black community FEED off of this type of tragedy and want to stoke the fires of racial divide.

As far as Canada having racism...maybe I was blind. My friends came from all walks of life. Now I live as a white man in Japan. There is racism against all foreigners in Japan, we are not equals here and have little to make things right. However, I would never equate that to what the black community of America has to deal with. I just wish their leaders would handle these situations differently and the media be responsible in how things are covered.
08/28/2014 07:52:55 AM · #11
Originally posted by ray_mefarso:



In 2014, unless you own the machinery of media or control/affect it through financial power (as the Jews have done - all power to them, I'm not being racist!) you can become it's victim.


you bring up a good point and we could probably run off on a tangent about how powerful and controlling the media in this country actually is. when there isn't a story you make one.

08/28/2014 08:09:20 AM · #12
@ [user]73981[/user]

I agree - no doubt the media distort the story in both directions: the liberal, left-leaning media want to show their liberal credentials and, well-meaningly perhaps, seek to redress the imbalance in the decades of past treatment of race matters. The tendency of the conservative media is to show every person responsible for their own actions and fate and the law officers generally the 'good guys' I don't argue the Trayvon Martin outcome - I believe the best people to judge were the jurors and they couldn't find Zimmerman guilty under the law. I don't believe there was a miscarriage of justice as the law stands but, of course, the law was framed by, generally, the 'haves' who want to protect their lives and property from the 'have-nots' In the case of Brown, the aftermath is almost more noteworthy than the killing (though how acting aggressively in a shoplifting incident is justification for being shot to death while unarmed escapes me) What is clear is how much distrust and hatred there is/was between the community and law enforcement; How polarised the different sides of the tracks are.

You speak of a lynch mob? in the early years of the last century US newspapers would 'advertise' public lynchings of black men. No trial, no recourse just torture and summary execution. This is just part of the weight of history that hangs over every state killing of black men. Spike Lee's erroneous tweet (that I'd never heard of until now) is surely insignificant in comparison.

Your experiences in Japan are interesting, there and in other parts of the world that I have visited (e.g. Saudi and the Middle East) a history of relative isolation coupled with localised caste and feudal structures have led to deep mistrust of foreigners, often implicitly state-sanctioned.
08/28/2014 08:20:42 AM · #13
Racism is certainly an issue in the United States BUT there has to be a better way to deal with an unruly youth.
Ever sit around after a few drinks and tell storys of the stupid things you did when you were young?
I'm not saying criminals shouldn't go unpunished I'm saying they shouldn't be gunned down for it.

Living in Brooklyn I see all types, when you live amongst everyone it's not about race it always boils down to good and bad.
08/28/2014 08:48:37 AM · #14
Originally posted by ray_mefarso:

What is clear is how much distrust and hatred there is/was between the community and law enforcement; How polarised the different sides of the tracks are.


when your race makes up the majority of population of a community and arent represented equally in law enforcement and government of course there is going to be mistrust. i'm curious is there ever civil unrest when a local head politician is black, I work in philly and i know there have been blacks killed by white police officers abut the mayor has been a black man since i can remember the last instance of any rioting was 50yrs (anniversary today, actually)

08/28/2014 09:03:29 AM · #15
Originally posted by nygold:


Living in Brooklyn I see all types, when you live amongst everyone it's not about race it always boils down to good and bad.


i work in Philly and i spend a lot of time here, i work in a building that is predominately black.. I feel most unsafe around the white addicts who come into the "pain management" doctor to get their fix, those are some real shady characters.

i dont care what color you are, if you act and look like someone who would cause me harm, i'm going to give you a second look.

Message edited by author 2014-08-28 09:04:04.
08/28/2014 09:15:19 AM · #16
Originally posted by Mike:

Originally posted by ray_mefarso:

What is clear is how much distrust and hatred there is/was between the community and law enforcement; How polarised the different sides of the tracks are.


when your race makes up the majority of population of a community and arent represented equally in law enforcement and government of course there is going to be mistrust. i'm curious is there ever civil unrest when a local head politician is black, I work in philly and i know there have been blacks killed by white police officers abut the mayor has been a black man since i can remember the last instance of any rioting was 50yrs (anniversary today, actually)


well said (and I would add, if 90+% are also below the median wealth line and that same 90+% are black...)
08/28/2014 09:17:14 AM · #17
Originally posted by Mike:


i dont care what color you are, if you act and look like someone who would cause me harm, i'm going to give you a second look.


for many people, the colour you are directly informs whether they think you are going to do them harm...
08/28/2014 09:40:58 AM · #18
Originally posted by ray_mefarso:



for many people, the colour you are directly informs whether they think you are going to do them harm...


i disagree, the way you carry yourself and dress dictates that.

if i see a black man in his 20's wearing a suit, im not going to even consider the possibility of harm.

if i see a white man in his 20's wearing a wife beater and his hat sideways and his pants falling off his ass i'm going be keeping and eye.
08/28/2014 09:47:48 AM · #19
Originally posted by Mike:

Originally posted by ray_mefarso:



for many people, the colour you are directly informs whether they think you are going to do them harm...


i disagree, the way you carry yourself and dress dictates that.

if i see a black man in his 20's wearing a suit, im not going to even consider the possibility of harm.

if i see a white man in his 20's wearing a wife beater and his hat sideways and his pants falling off his ass i'm going be keeping and eye.


of course you may be different from many others and I'm not presuming that you have any bias one way or another, but if we agree that racism is a fact in the US then the true test is when you see a black man and a white man both in their 20s and both wearing suits and you then treat them differently. Does one pose more of a threat than the other? Is one more trustworthy than the other? Is one more intelligent than the other? Are you more likely to invite one over the other to your home and introduce to your sister?

Again, I stress I ask these questions generally. Racism is when all other factors being equal (or close to equal) we deal with the person with a degree of bias.
08/28/2014 09:55:20 AM · #20
i agree and I'll admit yes i apply bias given other equalities, but it extends beyond black and white and applies to all cultures and ethnicities.

race is just one, not the only, of many factor I apply to judging someone not knowing them personally. I am human, I must process the information given to me.

Everyone does this and we carry and present ourselves the way we wish to be perceived in a given situation.

08/28/2014 10:35:42 AM · #21
Originally posted by ray_mefarso:


I agree - no doubt the media distort the story in both directions: the liberal, left-leaning media want to show their liberal credentials and, well-meaningly perhaps, seek to redress the imbalance in the decades of past treatment of race matters. The tendency of the conservative media is to show every person responsible for their own actions and fate and the law officers generally the 'good guys' I don't argue the Trayvon Martin outcome - I believe the best people to judge were the jurors and they couldn't find Zimmerman guilty under the law. I don't believe there was a miscarriage of justice as the law stands but, of course, the law was framed by, generally, the 'haves' who want to protect their lives and property from the 'have-nots' In the case of Brown, the aftermath is almost more noteworthy than the killing (though how acting aggressively in a shoplifting incident is justification for being shot to death while unarmed escapes me) What is clear is how much distrust and hatred there is/was between the community and law enforcement; How polarised the different sides of the tracks are.


The 'Stand Your Ground' law is perhaps a law that should be changed, but this law didn't apply to the Trayvon Martin scenario. The first person to commit a crime was Trayvon Martin when he punched (Attacked) Zimmerman. At this point it's now 'self-defense' and not 'stand your ground'. What law was in favor of Zimmerman that brought Martin (And his family) to a disadvantage? His father lived in the same gated community.

Originally posted by ray_mefarso:

You speak of a lynch mob? in the early years of the last century US newspapers would 'advertise' public lynchings of black men. No trial, no recourse just torture and summary execution. This is just part of the weight of history that hangs over every state killing of black men. Spike Lee's erroneous tweet (that I'd never heard of until now) is surely insignificant in comparison.


But we don't live in the early part of the century anymore. Because people were immoral 100 years ago isn't an excuse to be immoral today. And as you said, you never heard of this tweet...it wasn't big news. But the deeper you look, the more you see how much it harmed an innocent family. But that wasn't news worthy because it went against the narrative.

Originally posted by ray_mefarso:

Your experiences in Japan are interesting, there and in other parts of the world that I have visited (e.g. Saudi and the Middle East) a history of relative isolation coupled with localised caste and feudal structures have led to deep mistrust of foreigners, often implicitly state-sanctioned.


The 'racism' in Japan is not so much mistrust but a lack of acceptance. WE are not JAPANESE. The government is proposing a bill to cut of any welfare funds to non-Japanese residents. I'm a permanent resident of Japan, I have a job, I'm pretty sure I'm safe as far as work, but to be cut off from a system I pay into is...I don't even know what word to use. I love the country and the people, but the government I do not like.
08/28/2014 10:55:26 AM · #22
Originally posted by Mike:

Race is just one, not the only, of many factor I apply to judging someone not knowing them personally.

Not singling you out personally (definitely not, this is a pervasive thing) but THAT is exactly what has to change across the board. Race ought not be a factor at all when it comes to "judging" people.
08/28/2014 11:00:52 AM · #23
Originally posted by heavyj:

Originally posted by ray_mefarso:


I agree - no doubt the media distort the story in both directions: the liberal, left-leaning media want to show their liberal credentials and, well-meaningly perhaps, seek to redress the imbalance in the decades of past treatment of race matters. The tendency of the conservative media is to show every person responsible for their own actions and fate and the law officers generally the 'good guys' I don't argue the Trayvon Martin outcome - I believe the best people to judge were the jurors and they couldn't find Zimmerman guilty under the law. I don't believe there was a miscarriage of justice as the law stands but, of course, the law was framed by, generally, the 'haves' who want to protect their lives and property from the 'have-nots' In the case of Brown, the aftermath is almost more noteworthy than the killing (though how acting aggressively in a shoplifting incident is justification for being shot to death while unarmed escapes me) What is clear is how much distrust and hatred there is/was between the community and law enforcement; How polarised the different sides of the tracks are.


The 'Stand Your Ground' law is perhaps a law that should be changed, but this law didn't apply to the Trayvon Martin scenario. The first person to commit a crime was Trayvon Martin when he punched (Attacked) Zimmerman. At this point it's now 'self-defense' and not 'stand your ground'. What law was in favor of Zimmerman that brought Martin (And his family) to a disadvantage? His father lived in the same gated community.

I do say above that I don't argue the Trayvon Martin outcome.

Originally posted by ray_mefarso:

You speak of a lynch mob? in the early years of the last century US newspapers would 'advertise' public lynchings of black men. No trial, no recourse just torture and summary execution. This is just part of the weight of history that hangs over every state killing of black men. Spike Lee's erroneous tweet (that I'd never heard of until now) is surely insignificant in comparison.


But we don't live in the early part of the century anymore. Because people were immoral 100 years ago isn't an excuse to be immoral today. And as you said, you never heard of this tweet...it wasn't big news. But the deeper you look, the more you see how much it harmed an innocent family. But that wasn't news worthy because it went against the narrative.

racism, bias, discrimination are all based on history and events that happened in many cases many more than 100 years ago. Do you think people just spring into being and somehow learn to be racists? Society has a learned collective conciousness that is in some cases good and in others bad. Most racial slurs and insults aimed at people of African descent come directly from slavery times. Yes, you never kept slaves and probably never would, but the legacy of slavery informs and colours language, behaviour and stereotypes.

Originally posted by ray_mefarso:

Your experiences in Japan are interesting, there and in other parts of the world that I have visited (e.g. Saudi and the Middle East) a history of relative isolation coupled with localised caste and feudal structures have led to deep mistrust of foreigners, often implicitly state-sanctioned.


The 'racism' in Japan is not so much mistrust but a lack of acceptance. WE are not JAPANESE. The government is proposing a bill to cut of any welfare funds to non-Japanese residents. I'm a permanent resident of Japan, I have a job, I'm pretty sure I'm safe as far as work, but to be cut off from a system I pay into is...I don't even know what word to use. I love the country and the people, but the government I do not like.


and yet, people do not immediately think of the Japanese as racist, do they? Perhaps because, unlike the US, they are not (recently) murderously racist and have not (recently) previously enslaved people they perceive as 'other'. When I was in Dubai, the government didn't allow any foreigner to claim welfare - you lose your job you leave the country immediately. Also, a local had to be employed for every expat worker and locals couldn't be fired by a foreigner. All of which led to a very unbalanced and inefficient workplace but, like true enterprising westerners, we sucked the c**k and took the shilling...

eta "(recently)" the Japanese, of course, enslaved and murdered the chinese in the last century.

Message edited by author 2014-08-28 11:05:00.
08/28/2014 11:05:20 AM · #24
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by Mike:

Race is just one, not the only, of many factor I apply to judging someone not knowing them personally.

Not singling you out personally (definitely not, this is a pervasive thing) but THAT is exactly what has to change across the board. Race ought not be a factor at all when it comes to "judging" people.


how can it not though? its natural to perceive someone different than you as different, i'd argue its instinctual. What needs to change is the perception that a particular race is viewed negatively.

Message edited by author 2014-08-28 11:12:50.
08/28/2014 11:09:41 AM · #25
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by Mike:

Race is just one, not the only, of many factor I apply to judging someone not knowing them personally.

Not singling you out personally (definitely not, this is a pervasive thing) but THAT is exactly what has to change across the board. Race ought not be a factor at all when it comes to "judging" people.


I think it's very difficult and everybody processes the visual and other cues they get from a person they encounter. If the person doing the processing has a gun and a badge then we get a case like Brown's and, I have to slightly disagree with heavyj here, Martin's. The fact that self-defense laws allow you to kill someone and not be found guilty of a crime is not to say that the precipitating action and reaction was not racially motivated. In the Martin case there were a number of different possible outcomes and both protagonists made choices that led to tragedy and those choices were, to some degree, based on race I believe.
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