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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Illusions of a Post-Racial Era 

The illusions of a post-racial era 
The New York Daily News by Chauncey Devega  -  March 25, 2012
The Trayvon Martin tragedy lays waste to the notion of a color-blind America

Did he die because he was black?  On Friday, President Obama himself weighed in on the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in a gated community in Florida: “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” he said. The implications of that statement are clear. If a black man killed a white kid for holding a bag of Skittles, he would be in jail. If a black man killed an innocent white teen in an act of vigilante justice, he would also not be walking free. And yet there is a temptation in supposedly color-blind 21st century America to think of racism as a thing of the past. In 2004, Obama famously said, “There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America — there’s the United States of America.” Maybe he spoke too soon. True, we are beyond overt acts of intolerance: burning crosses, white robes, lynchings. But racism is more than this: It is structural and institutional. Today’s racism teaches subtle lessons about whose personhood is to be protected — and which people are deemed expendable.  Zimmerman breathed in this toxic ether. He seems to have learned its lessons well. I think that Zimmerman killed Martin because he knew, either on a conscious or subconscious level, that he could get away with it. This point needs reiteration: The lives of young people of color are systematically devalued in American society.  In New York City, for example, black and Latino youth are routinely subject to racial profiling and police harassment under the policy of stop-and-frisk.  Young black and brown people are faced with consistent threats and intrusions on their civil liberties by police authorities — even though many studies have shown that there is no greater yield of contraband when minorities are stopped. And as documented by The Sentencing Project and discussed in Michelle Alexander’s recent book, “The New Jim Crow,” when charged with the same crimes as whites, blacks are more likely to receive harsher sentences. Researchers have found that whites are more likely to imagine that harmless objects (phones, keys, candy bars, wallets), when held in the hands of black people, are guns or other weapons. As the 1999 killing of Amadou Diallo in the Bronx demonstrated, implicit bias and subconscious racism can have deadly consequences.  The public schools that black youth attend are more likely to be underserved and resource-poor. All things being equal, black children are also more likely to face suspension, be stigmatized as “special education” or find themselves placed in lower educational tracks than their white peers. Because of disparities in access to health care, black people live significantly shorter lives than whites, dying 5-7 years earlier.  In the housing market, racial minorities were offered riskier and more expensive mortgages than whites — even when their credit scores were identical or better. The sum effect of these racist policies was the devastation of the black and brown middle classes.  Zimmerman may not have had access to these facts, but he was certainly influenced by the values they represent: Black youth, and the communities to which they belong, are less valued than those of white Americans.  America is a society still sick with racism. The murder of Trayvon Martin, and the assumption likely made by George Zimmerman that he could kill a black youth at will, is proof of this illness. That Zimmerman is still walking free, and some are rallying to his defense, demonstrates how far America has yet to go in order to exorcise these demons from its collective psyche.  DeVega is the editor and founder of the blog “We Are Respectable Negroes” and a contributor to Alternet and Salon.


Anonymous said...

Justice goes beyond black and white. Haven't we learned this yet? It's more about insiders and outsiders, the connected and the unconnected. Justice is sadly gone in this country.

Anonymous said...

Our post racial messiah has cured our racial divides and brought us together. The fault as he tells us lies in our souls. His soul is pure, but yours is wretched.

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact..came from a black judge a few years back..that OCA hoardes its minority employees in particular courts of the lower status, so that the courts in white rural areas of the state and higher Supreme and county courts ... will receive credit for them even though they have one or none ever working there.. for decades!

OCA gets credit for minority employment in every district no matter where they are located, so OCA hires black supervisors in one low level court and then hires the employees there in the largest numbers and if the other courts need one minority to work in there court for public rural courts ever want minorities....they then pick the best of what the supervisors have in the lower court and therefore covers OCA'S policy of hiring in affirmative action criteria.

The lower court is always the test court for weeding out employees of color and the only court to hire off the streets for black people. If after several years of observing..OCA can deem one to go to the high profile courts..where oddly enough the greatest number of high profile trials and cases include black people esp. men..which by the way is also the minority that is rarely ever hired in any court by OCA.

OCA plays ....the let's post the large plastic poster around the courts spewing that they are anti-bias in all catergories and they will not tolerate any discrimiantion..but the opposite is true and the litigation filed by many who have charged OCA is widely available.

No one sues an entity that handles discrimination cases with due diligence and if they do get sued, the cases would be settled immediately not years and years in the future with a slathering of delays!

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See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

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