Thursday, April 5, 2012

Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, and Race Relations in the US, in Reverse Order

My close friends not only know that I'm dead-center (fair) regarding races, but they are also dead-center with me.  They don't believe that whites should get advances from society for their skin color, or blacks should, either (or other minorities, some carrying it even to not giving women "help").  And these friends are of all races and both sexes.

In psychology statistics (which is basically a statistics class for psychology that, as a prereq., required general statistics; both courses were mind-boggling to me but I fought for my A's) we learned about how to get a fair "sample."  In other words, if I wanted to ask 100 people (a very small sample by most standards) about race relations, I needed to randomize who I asked and select from all over the country.  It would be hyper-skewed (and hyper-screwed) to sample in only the Bronx or in Amarillo.  A good sample must always be taken from a broad spectrum, and the most important word we learned was "representative."  We needed to run surveys that were truly representative of a particular audience--so much so that the survey could be repeated with equal depth in cross-sections that the results would be nearly identical on a second survey.  And a third.  And fourth.

This knowledge of surveying, and of reading, listening, and talking to friends and strangers across this great country of ours in the 47 states I've been to or through, leaves me with a working knowledge of what's real in this country.  In other words, as little as I trust any "known belief" of any kind, including my own, I do trust that I have a fairly firm grip on what people are saying across the country, which moves us into our next phase.

For what I'm about to say, some white guy could come hunt me down with his hunting rifle.  Or some black guy could have his crew chop me down in a drive-by.  Some Asian might put the Kung Fu upon me (I can handle myself, but some brothers be all Bruce Lee and I gotta go all Wolverine).  Were all of those previous three examples stereotypical?  Yes, indeedy.  And you'll see why, later.

It's time to stop tip-toeing around.  It's time to stop being slaves to social forms, including political correctness.  Most of all, we must all willfully acknowledge that whatever our race is, it is no better, and no worse, than anyone else's.  Just like a paper I wrote 12 years ago, I again call for the same action; judge each person individually, if you must judge them at all.

Let's talk about tendencies, first, and the most important part of what I'm saying but I won't keep repeating is this--there are always exceptions.  So, if I say white people are dorky, I'm not talking about all white people.  Please keep that in mind.

Black people have a reputation among whites, Hispanics, and Asians, for wanting government assistance in any way they can get it.  Now, as I stated in the paragraph above, I personally know black men and women who have never taken a "handout," and who wouldn't--it just doesn't work with their living philosophy.  But how is this reputation growing if it isn't true, in bulk?  Are a large portion of black people seeking to get something for nothing?  Stay with me for the sake of argument--I can already sense some black people getting feathers ruffled and I can't get this message across if you won't at least entertain my thoughts--even if you believe it's entirely untrue that blacks seek handouts.

First, we have to accept whatever the truth is. Are blacks disproportionately seeking handouts from governments and charities?  And if so, and they become used to the lifestyle of gain without sacrifice, would that not lead to increased crime when a "benefit" runs out, making for a disproportionate populous of black people in our prisons?  Do blacks rarely leave tips at restaurants or give to charity or do volunteer work?  Is it true?

Let's leave that on the table, strictly for the sake of argument (again, it may be absolutely untrue) and ask this: what's causing that?  Are governments feeling a sense of guilt over how black people have been treated here since the 1600s?  When I was stationed in Alaska while serving in the Air Force, I saw drunk Eskimos all over the streets, near Fairbanks.  The popular thinking was that since we had "bought" Alaska, we had essentially taken away their industries and paid them for it, giving them no motive to work, sending them into a drinking/drug lifestyle.

American Indians?  Casinos.

Were Europeans (mainly) wrong?  Should we have stayed where we were, let life develop as normal here in America, and just let (enter country here; Spain, perhaps) come over and take the land to be a dictatorship or worse?  The land was too fertile, too rich, too politically malleable and too sparsely populated not to move in and settle.  We humans are very much like pests in that way.  Breed, eat, over-populate, move, but in this case, the Europeans really were looking for a "better life."  A life where you didn't have to bow down to Kings and Nobles and all of the subservience required to survive in the various Kingdoms/Fiefdoms/Monarchies that ruled the day.  So we pay the natives in a new land free of that harsh rule, and give them reservations, but there was no plan for blacks, which we brought with us.  They didn't speak our language, or read or write.  Didn't understand basic scientific principles.  They were brought for labor. 

Many slaves were sold to American plantation owners as willing workers--sold by black business men in Africa (Google it, find a respected source to read from, if necessary).  Black slaves were just like white slaves then; the "indentured servant" market was humming along, globally.  From Russia to the Middle East, China to South America, everybody who needed labor help was interested in finding and buying slaves of any color.

But with the exception of the harsher treatment of the Far East, no slave really wanted to come to America, because rumors were already surfacing about the harsh treatment there, vs., say, England or Holland (minus one Spice Islands event) or even other countries within Africa.

Try to imagine being a slave at this time; your family is starving due to lack of food--your government has not come through to help you and to aid with new crops and crop technology to feed its people--and here were many countries who wanted you to work for them; that guarantees that they'll feed you and give you water, at least, because they need you for work.  Even more, it almost guarantees that they'll look after your health--you are, again, an investment to them.  Nothing more than a farmhand, to be sure, who was owned like property or cattle, but fed and watered farmhands that were mostly free to breed.  Not all came willingly, but some came because they had no choice.  It was either death from their captors in Africa for refusing to go/breaking away, or death from malnutrition.  That made slavery the only hope.  Slavery wouldn't be such a big deal if slaves had been treated with respect.  Almost worldwide, they were not.  And America was no exception. In fact, compared to other parts of the world, we were pretty brutal.

The point of that was to indicate that not only was slavery applicable to any "poor" people of any race, but that slavery has been going on since mankind's beginnings, and only with our world-wide connections and commonality in morals have we seen a global decrease of this type of servitude that was motivated by fear.  But has it really changed?  How about the servants that work in American mansions (mainly Hispanic now)?  Are they not slaves that simply don't get beaten?  Aren't they motivated by threats of dismissal or turning over illegals to authorities rather than the whips or solitary confinement for a while?   Let's agree one one thing; whites were harsh on slaves.  That shows a very ugly side of human nature.  However, if a modern-day white person has a pure heart--a truly non-racist heart in any way--I can not and would not expect him to feel guilt over what somebody in his family tree had done 400 years ago.  Yet, even though living whites didn't commit these acts, there is some sense of injustice, isn't there?

The blacks took the beatings, lived in substandard living conditions (some down-right nasty conditions) and had their freedom taken away from them when they had done nothing wrong.  It feels like something didn't get "evened out," doesn't it?  Does this describe why our governments are so likely to give blacks assistance when they ask for it?  Or why we have an NAACP but can have no NAAWP?  And even though today's blacks didn't suffer that type of brutality of being slaves, doesn't it feel like the country owes them something to try to make amends?

Until then, I'll say it, black people.  I'm sorry.  I'm so sorry for what your people went through.  I have tried to imagine being a slave owner, and I can't.  I can imagine having farmhands working for me, but my basic philosophy, which I would never stray from, would require me to treat them just as well as my children, and allow them to come and go as they please.  When you have a love and respect for people, you don't discriminate.  I can't make it right, black people; I'm just one partially white guy mixed in with some American Indian.  All I can do is say that I am sorry for the way your ancestors were allowed to be treated in this great country--a country who shed as much blood as was necessary to get the ball rolling toward fairness and equality.  And even though that comforts me some, I still don't feel satisfied.  You didn't deserve that treatment.  I think we should all apologize on behalf of the behavior our ancestors displayed when dealing with slaves (always exceptions, including whites working for the Underground Railroad and many other examples of white kindness).  There's that.

And I won't call you African American, as I see that as an insult to you.  You are Americans, and you are just as important as any other American.  I now see the acknowledgement of this from black people from various walks of life; a realization that this is your country--that you do have a say in where it's going--that it is your style of living that we defend on a regular basis with our military actions.

This is not a white country that you occupy pockets of.  It is your country, and it belongs to you just as much as it belongs to any American; that is the solemn vow of the constitution and amendments and other legislature that has clarified such things.  This is your America.  You're not sitting in coach; you're flying the damned plane with the white, Asian, and Hispanic co-pilots.  It is your America, and you are driving her, and you are influencing her across the spectrum of cultural impact.  Why do I love this?  Because I get extremely nervous when groups of people occupy my country that do not care for her because they feel they have no stake in her outcome.  I see black people acknowledging, more every day, that they aren't along for a ride--they are sharing the control room.

I could go on and on writing about global/American race relations.  I really wanted to do some comparisons as to what the average lifestyle is now for a black American vs. the average lifestyle of a black African, ranging from medical benefits to educational opportunities.  And we haven't even begun to dig in to what's wrong with "white America" as a whole, and the behaviors of white people in general.  That's going to have to be for another post because it's hyper-late and I still have to do my take on Zimmerman/Martin.

First, as I always say, we have to wait for the facts.  Second, I agree that black young men are watched more closely than any other group, and I think that is profiling.  But here's where some won't agree with me.  I agree with profiling.  Think about this for a minute.  If you find seven human heads in a freezer, what picture pops into your mind regarding the perpetrator?  If you see a low-rider with lights under the body that has just been stolen and is pumping Latino music, who's face pops up?  If you find out there has been a liquor store robbery near a heavily-black-populated neighborhood, who are you looking for?  It's just a fact that some races/age-groups are more likely to commit certain types of crimes.  We can't get around that.  Israel uses profiling at their airports to identify those that have a higher likelihood of having criminal intent, and it has worked like a charm.  No planes flown into buildings.  No hijacks.

I honestly think most black people, and Hispanics, would be more on-board with profiling if they didn't believe that there was a larger mechanism at work to protect whites.  I can tell you with certainty that although arrests and convictions are still off balance in favor of whites, true justice is making a very strong push toward just being true justice.  You can help this happen by video-taping (cell-phone video is fine, even if you have to "hide" your phone during traffic stops) and getting any racial mistreatment on video and on YouTube or to media outlets.  Get every unfair dealing out there for the public to see.  The fairness will follow; I guarantee it.  Shouldn't take long--we just need to get that evidence out to the public.  And we need more incentive for black people to go on and continue their education after high school.  The people that make real waves in this country--that spring real change--they aren't white people.  They are the educated.

Some say that whites have had easier access to college entrance, yet grades coming from high school seem to tell a story.  No school wants to turn away a black person who comes to their doorstep with straight-"A"s.  That school will gain from having that student.  And education leads to true freedom and power.  The general culture of black people in the past was, "F the white man.  We can't win, anyway, so we'll survive how we have to."  Don't let that be your mantra.  You control your destiny, and to the extent you decide to control your destiny, you control this country and the world.

Anyway, as I've said, we need all the evidence in the Trayvon Martin case,  We need all the evidence in ANY case.   Yes, it took the cry of black people to get the special investigations going, but they are going.  At first, everybody was so sure that Zimmerman had just chased this innocent boy down and shot him in the chest in cold blood.  But now, details start rolling out.

You have to keep in mind that in any case where a client (or defendant-to-be) secures an attorney, his attorney is going to tell him to shut up, about everything.  So who is deciding the case until we get into a court of law?  The media.  And how does the media make money?  Selling commercials.  And how are those earnings maximized?  Having the most viewers watching during those commercials.  So what is the media gonna do?  They are going to take whatever information they have and they are going to try to create the most controversial news story they can possibly create.

When people heard that Zimmerman had been attacked, they all stepped back a little.  Then the media stepped in and said, "Wait, we don't see any bumps or bleeding."  Aha!  The drama is back on!  For a second there, people started tuning out, saying, "Ok, there was a fight, so they'll never convict him."  See how they work?  Then, the media cited the police reports stating blood from the nose and back of Zimmerman's head as well as showing enhanced imagery of him at the police station, showing obvious contusions/cuts/lumps on the back of his head.  But wait; now the media has to do a save job because, again, people may assume that there was a fight, so no case will be brought forward.  So what do they do?  They do a voice analysis showing that an "expert" agrees that the cries for help are very unlikely to be Zimmerman's.  GAME BACK ON!  Now, that was my explanation of how the media is trying to USE you to make money--use you as a lured-in observer such that they can run commercials in front of you and get paid for it.  But it has nothing to do with what I believe.

Here's what I believe based solely on the evidence so far; my opinion may, and probably will, change as new evidence comes out.

1.  Zimmerman pursued Trayvon for some distance.  Even if he stopped at the suggestion of the 911 operator, it was too much.  You don't pursue anybody for looking suspicious (a subjective term, anyway) unless you are wearing a badge, period.  It's three simple words; observe and report.

2.  It sounded a lot like Zimmerman said, "Fucking coons."  That shows me that he not only had at least semi-racist views, but that he was comfortable enough or charged-up enough to use them to a 911 operator.  However, for those that believe he was out for blood that day, you have to ask yourselves this; if Zimmerman wanted to kill that day, would he have used those words on a phone call to 911, knowing the likelihood that those tapes would play a role in his potential arrest/prosecution?  I think not.  I honestly think he didn't know he was going to get in a tangle with anybody.

3.  I believe Zimmerman followed Trayvon for some time, then stopped.  I believe that Trayvon, then, didn't appreciate being followed and approached Zimmerman.  Words were exchanged.  Reportedly, Trayvon said, "Why are you following me?" and Zimmerman said, "What are you doing around here?"

4.  Now it's time to put our thinking caps on.  We pretty much know Zimmerman has some racist tendencies, even though he had black friends and mentored a black child as a "Big Brother" on some weekends, even after funding stopped for the program.  His wife did the same with another black child.  So, I see his racist, "Fucking coons," not applying to all blacks--I see it as his racial slur toward those he suspects are breaking in/stealing things (keeping in mind that the neighborhood could verify a rash of break-ins and trouble that year).  So I think it's safe to assume that Zimmerman didn't hate black people, but he did hate criminals, and would have used any racial slur against one ("Fucking spicks," "Fucking white trash," "Fucking coons," or "Fucking chinks.")

5.  Zimmerman was known for calling 911 over and over and over for suspicious people.  He did seem genuinely concerned about his neighborhood.  However, my background in psychology is screaming from my gut that he had authority fantasies.  He wanted to be a cop, but couldn't be.  So he appointed himself neighborhood cop.  That brought on the pursuit of Trayvon.  Trayvon's reaction was, "Who the eff does this dude think he is?"  Now, from there, Trayvon may have felt threatened and attacked Zimmerman, or may have felt "singled-out" and/or picked on and just got mad and attacked.  Alternatively, Zimmerman could have told him not to move and tried to pin him to the ground knowing the cops where coming (this would explain the screams for help if, in fact, they were Trayvon's who would have only know he was being held down, at gunpoint, possibly, by a stranger).  Trayvon's adrenaline kicked in, he broke free, attacked Zimmerman, got a few good punches and head-slams in and him, and Zimmerman fired.  Keep in mind that he fired a single shot.  A man on a mission to kill--a man with hatred in his heart, empties a clip.  Just keep it in mind.

6.  Based strictly on what we know so far, I think there was a horrible misunderstanding.  However, that misunderstanding would never have materialized if Zimmerman hadn't done the initial pursuit, and therefore, based on current evidence, I would be leaning toward involuntary manslaughter.  My 2.

Anyway, let's all get it together, people.  It's time to get TRUTH out there regarding race relations.  If you know a corrupt official of any type, or co-worker, or anybody that deals with policy creation or manipulation, report them (record them if you have to; just check the internet for "one-party," "two-party" states; e.g. a single party state requires that only one of the people involved know [e.g. you, the recording party] that the recording is happening in order for it to be admissible in a court of law or legal dispute, so you can hide the recorder).  Even if you can't get it admitted in court (if necessary for your goal), you can get it out to social media sites and news agencies.

If we aren't dealing with truth, we won't have any fast solutions.  Talk about how you feel and just try to talk about it in a respectful way to other races and to your own race.  We are all Americans, and we can be a team--a unit--but we all have to believe that that's worth fighting for, and I believe it is.

Thank you for reading this.