16
Jul
13

7.16.13 … George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin … AG Holder Speech … Hoodie Sunday … overt/aversive racism … societal contract and disdain …

George Zimmerman,  Trayvon Martin, Attorney General Holder, speech, Trayvon Martin Case, Washington Wire – WSJ, Hoodie Sunday, Where Do We Go From Here”, overt racism, aversive racism:  I read a lot and these all made me think about and/or rethink my opinion on this case.

Today – starting here and now – it’s time to commit ourselves to a respectful, responsible dialogue about issues of justice and equality – so we can meet division and confusion with understanding, with compassion, and ultimately with truth.

It’s time to strengthen our collective resolve to combat gun violence but also time to combat violence involving or directed toward our children – so we can prevent future tragedies.  And we must confront the underlying attitudes, mistaken beliefs, and unfortunate stereotypes that serve too often as the basis for police action and private judgments.

Separate and apart from the case that has drawn the nation’s attention, it’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods. (sustained applause)  These laws try to fix something that was never broken.  There has always been a legal defense for using deadly force if – and the “if” is important – no safe retreat is available.

But we must examine laws that take this further by eliminating the common sense and age-old requirement that people who feel threatened have a duty to retreat, outside their home, if they can do so safely.  By allowing and perhaps encouraging violent situations to escalate in public, such laws undermine public safety.  The list of resulting tragedies is long and – unfortunately – has victimized too many who are innocent. It is our collective obligation – we must stand our ground – (applause) to ensure that our laws reduce violence, and take a hard look at laws that contribute to more violence than they prevent.

We must also seek a dialogue on attitudes about violence and disparities that are too commonly swept under the rug – by honoring the finest traditions established by generations of NAACP leaders and other nonviolent advocates throughout history;  and by paying tribute to the young man who lost his life here last year – and so many others whose futures have been cut short in other incidents of gun violence that pass, too often unnoticed, in our streets:  by engaging with one another in a way that is at once peaceful, inclusive, respectful – and strong.

via Text of Holder Speech on Trayvon Martin Case – Washington Wire – WSJ.

Trayvon Martin ‘Not Guilty’ Verdict Sparks Hoodie Sunday At Black Churches …

“I knew I would be wearing my hoodie while preaching,” Lee said, “and I wrote to all the pastoral staff that hoodies are welcome.”

Lee is preaching on the topic “Where Do We Go From Here,” in which he uses the Martin Luther King Jr. speech of the same title.

“I wanted Martin speaking on Martin,” the pastor said in a phone conversation with The Huffington Post. “When King gave that speech, he was speaking to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and so he was using a Christian framework to talk about systemic problems with the United States. And King ends that speech with a call for the United States to be born again.”

via Trayvon Martin ‘Not Guilty’ Verdict Sparks Hoodie Sunday At Black Churches.

Trayvon Martin and the Burden of Being a Black Male — The Monkey Cage …

Many studies have demonstrated a decline in overt racism over the last several decades.  White Americans have become less likely to say that they believe that African Americans are inherently inferior to whites, such as that they are less intelligent or hardworking than whites, and more likely to support contact with blacks, such as by living in neighborhoods with a significant number of black residents and by inter-racial marriage. Negative sentiments about blacks still exist, of course. The percentage of whites who express overt racism hovers around 20 to 30 percent. Yet, clearly many white Americans have moved past racism, making it plausible that the individuals involved in the Zimmerman trial—Zimmerman himself, the lawyers, the jurors—had no racial bias motivating their thoughts and actions.

Stopping at overt racism, however, is stopping far too short. Research on aversive racism uses implicit measurement strategies to show that even those white Americans that express racially egalitarian views are not immune from holding—and acting upon—racial prejudice. Negative implicit views are most likely to produce discriminatory or harmful behavior toward blacks when there is no social monitoring of the behavior—that is, no one is “watching”—and the behavior can be justified or rationalized based on a factor other than race. Those who are racially egalitarian on both explicit and implicit measures, however, do not engage in such behavior.

This points to a first feature of Zimmerman’s altercation: it was an interaction that was observed clearly by no one.  Witnesses could only sketch bits of what transpired that night.  None of them was visible to Zimmerman.  Other things equal, this makes it more likely that race played a role in that interaction, even if Zimmerman holds no overtly racist beliefs about blacks. Negative racial attitudes or affect of which Zimmerman may not even be aware remain untested but plausible motivations for his actions.

This brings us to the second feature: the Zimmerman trial judge’s decision to sharply limit the explicit reference to race—including denying the prosecution the ability to argue that Zimmerman engaged in racial profiling.  Studies of the legal system and aversive racism show that the less explicitly race is engaged in the discourse in the courtroom, the more likely aversive racism is to influence the decisionmaking process of the jurors. Thus, the judge’s decision also makes it more likely that race played a role in the outcome of the case.

Finally, there is the question of whether it mattered that Martin was a black male. Here we do not have to ferret out unconscious forms of racial bias.  This bias is readily evident in media coverage of crime, which disproportionately emphasizes violent crime perpetrated by non-white males and helps to increase support among white Americans for more punitive crime policies.  Such bias is also evident in public opinion.  Ismail White and I have been conducting a number of studies on the uniqueness of attitudes toward black men. In a nationally representative sample of white Americans, we find that black men are indeed considered uniquely violent. While a traditional question about racial and gender stereotyping finds that whites perceive “blacks” as more violent than “whites” and “men” as more violent than “women,” a question that asks about combinations of these identities—black men, white women, etc.—shows how black men are uniquely stigmatized.  More than 40 percent said that many or almost all black men were violent, but less than 20 percent said that of black women and white men. The figure below displays these results (with the bands indicating 95 percent confidence intervals).

via Trayvon Martin and the Burden of Being a Black Male — The Monkey Cage.

Thomas Roberts: Americans Are ‘Treating Each Other With Such Disdain It’s Not Even Funny’ (VIDEO) …

Speaking to MSNBC hosts Melissa Harris-Perry, Touré and legal analyst Lisa Bloom, Roberts questioned how minorities in America were treated by fellow citizens:

Don’t we need to do a lot more about our social contract with each other in this country when it comes to being others? Because, as we look at this, we can use this as a great pivot point to talk about race relations in this country. But, being an ‘other’—whether it’s LGBT, because you’re then suspected of being a pedophile and a rabid disease carrier. And if you are a woman, well you certainly don’t have a right to your own body and your own reproductive health, because if you do, then you’re just a slut who wants to sleep around and use abortion as birth control. And then if you’re Hispanic, well you’re just a taker, you’re not a maker. And you just want to come here and have anchor babies and you just want to lay off the land.

Roberts then challenged MSNBC to sponsor an “I Am Other” forum to bring people to discuss what he called “the social contract we have currently negotiated that is so wrong.”

“It’s supposed to be a melting pot but we’re treating each other with such disdain it’s not even funny,” he said.

via Thomas Roberts: Americans Are ‘Treating Each Other With Such Disdain It’s Not Even Funny’ (VIDEO).

George Zimmerman Probably Won’t Be Convicted of Murder or Manslaughter — Here’s Why – ABC News …

Zimmerman waived a pre-trial Stand Your Ground hearing and went directly to trial (likely because his lawyers knew they would lose) and simply argued classic self-defense, which is different. Now no matter how it started, if Zimmerman shot Martin because he reasonably believed it was the only way to protect himself from “great bodily harm” then he is not guilty. That’s the law.

With all of this said, juries are notoriously impossible to predict and the deliberation process can take on a life of its own, but if they follow the letter of the law, it’s hard to see, based on everything we know now, how they find him guilty of either murder or even manslaughter.

via Page 2: George Zimmerman Probably Won’t Be Convicted of Murder or Manslaughter — Here’s Why – ABC News.

Bob Trobich:  Go to the last paragraph. Pretty much sums up everything I was thinking while reading the article. What an “objective” observer saw, heard, believed matters little and, usually, is not helpful. I think manslaughter is definitely a possibility, murder pretty unlikely. Also, I don’t know FL law compared to NC. In NC we have the concept of “imperfect self-defense” in which a person may act in self-defense but uses grossly excessive force. In that case, they are not guilty of murder but are guilty of voluntary manslaughter. As I said, don’t know if FL has comparable law. But what a jury “should” do, in whomever’s opinion, and what the do do are entirely different things.

hate crimes: 

Andrea Mitchell ‏@mitchellreports 12m

.@NAACP @SIfill_LDF says hate crime requires bodily injury because of race. “because of” is the issue here http://video.msnbc.msn.com/andrea-mitchell/52481243 …

via (23) Twitter.

OK, I laughed …

After dubbing Florida “The Worst State,” Oliver had this to say: “Just because you’re shaped like some combination of a gun and a dick doesn’t mean you have to act that way.”

via John Oliver Reacts To George Zimmerman Verdict By Dubbing Florida ‘The Worst State’ (VIDEO).


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