Thursday, July 18, 2013

A lot of bullshit about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman

The George Zimmerman verdict has sure brought out a lot of stupidity from the smart people I follow on Twitter, and especially the smart Europeans who don't actually know much about Florida.

I know that Martin's death was tragic; a young man's snuffed out so needlessly. I agree with Gary Younge that "it appears that the only reason the two interacted at all, physically or otherwise, is that Zimmerman believed it was his civic duty to apprehend an innocent teenager who caused suspicion"  by his presence in the wrong place at the wrong time. And I know that neither I, nor most of the people angry at Zimmerman's acquittal, know much more than that. 

So, I urge you to do as I have done, and read about what the court actually heard, about Zimmerman's defence in court, about what Zimmerman actually said to the 9./11 dispatcher. Read about his campaign for justice for Sherman Ware (a homeless black man beaten by a cop's son). Read about Zimmerman's multiracial family, about his low-income multi-ethnic neighbourhood plagued by anti-social crime. Read about who Zimmerman is, who he votes for. Finally, try and find a way in which on the evidence we have (and despite a jury who wanted to convict him and a judge who bent over backwards to thwart the defence case) that Zimmerman can have been convicted beyond a reasonable doubt.

The more you read, I think, the more you'll see the inadequacy of reducing the story into the two simple unambiguous elements of black victim and white perpetrator. 

In fact, if Zimmerman had been the victim in a different situation, the heroic anti-racists would not have had any trouble claiming him as black.

Finally, there is of course another element to the story that gets spoken more rarely. Gary Younge and others have suggested it is now open season on black boys in Florida. But of course it has been open season on black boys in Florida - and all over urban America - for many years now. Not many of the shooters are Neighbourhood Watch members and not many are NRA members; most of the shooters are black boys or black men. This is an important tragedy, but one too complicated and intractable for the simplistic heroism of the Twitter campaigners.

Some of the more bullshit-free pieces about the case are: "You Are Not Trayvon" by William Saleton (my favourite)*; "Law and Justice" by Andrew Cohen; Jonathan Turley's legal commentary**; and Jason Riley's "Race, Politics and the Zimmerman Trial" (although I don't agree with all of that)***. One other text I found refreshing and compelling was from a more surprising source: Rush Limbaugh. Here, he argues that the class and not race was at the heart to the killing: "I think the precarious economy -- hardworking people trying to hold onto what they got -- is the key to this." While my explanation of why the economy is precarious is profoundly different from Limbaugh's, he's right about that.



Credits: *David Adler; **Glyn Welshbeard; ***Sohrab Ahmari.

53 comments:

kellie said...

That Jason Riley piece - he has his cake here:

"We also know that young black men will not change how they are perceived until they change how they behave."

He eats it here:

"Civil-rights leaders today choose to keep the focus on white racism instead of personal responsibility, but their predecessors knew better."

The first statement declares black men collectively responsibility for how they're perceived. The second demands they take individual responsibility. See the problem?

Jason Riley's problem with collective responsibility gets worse when he writes:

"So let's have our discussions, even if the only one that really needs to occur is within the black community."

He's writing of a particular group having a problem with lawlessness but wants to rule out questions of how that group historically and currently relates to society as a whole, despite the long history of that group having had a very different status in law to the rest of society.

The point that the peak in violent crime by African Americans comes after segregation and after the Great Migration does nothing to rule out the historical legal status of the group as a key factor. We know from other contexts that traumatic liberation struggles are not automatically followed by a decline in violence. We know from other ethnic conflicts that wounds can remain raw for centuries.

His suggestion that the only discussion that's needed is within "the black community" assigns the group not just difference of appearance or culture but difference of social status. Society is made up of interactions not just within distinct groups or communities but between and across these sub-categories. A problem of this seriousness within a major section of a society is a problem for the whole society, and the whole of the society must be taken into view in understanding it. To argue that a particular group needs to solve their problems on their own is one-eyed discriminatory stupidity, even if the argument is made from an "as-a-" position.

Collective responsibility has to rest with all those involved across society, not just one blurry-edged sub-category. Individual responsibility exists also not just for those in one category, but for all members of society in their dealings with allothers, no matter what "community" a particular other might fall into.

Anonymous said...

One part of the story that you have missed, and the lynching of Zimmerman is indicative of black institutional power to persecute. It is more evidence that the disclaimer that blacks cant be racist because they lack institutional power as a minority is bunkum. The zeitgeist today gives enormous power to minorities, and enshires discrimination into policy and law. Not only is discrimination against males, white Europeans, Christian legal, it is often required by statute.

Such is the result of law which makes special protected classes of people, whose rights and well being are to be promoted and protected above others. Disparate Impact for example is a farce of jurisprudence. Treating people as equals and equal before the law has been totally abandoned and probably was never the point for many minroity identity political individuals and groups.

Now the DOJ has a dig up dirt on a citizen in good standing because that cracka needs lynching for daring to harm a black person.

bob said...

Kellie,

All excellent points. You're absolutely right.

I guess I would add the following. Conservative commentators talk about these issues solely in terms of cultural explanations and individual moral responsibility, while liberal commentators talk about them solely in terms of structural/historical explanations and societal responsibility. My sense is the latter are more important, but that we need to pay attention to both. It doesn't help to ignore one. Another issue is how little the liberal public sphere pays attention to the issues of violent crime among African-Americans; it should not be a topic left to the WSJ.

I also agree there is a huge problem in talking about "the black community", which is not by any means restricted to conservatives; it's a discourse across the political spectrum, and perhaps especially used by liberals and the black politicians who claim to represent this imagined community. What's interesting, by the way, about the local communities where Zimmerman and Martin lived is that they were fairly multi-ethnic, certainly by the norms in many regions of the US.

bob said...

As for Anonymous, I think you're absolutely wrong. What on earth is "black institutional power"? Show me real examples. Let alone "black institutional power to persecute". What's that?

In what way is there real in practice discrimination against "males, white Europeans, Christian[s]"? Where is the "enormous power" that minorities posses, and how does "the zeitgeist" grant it? In what way are black Americans a "special protected group" in the law?

There are some examples of affirmative action (whittled away, as far as I can see, over the last decades) in some institutional contexts, but these do not begin to redress the massive imbalances by any structural indicator that clearly demonstrate African-American disadvantage. In any walk of life, from conviction rates and imprisonment rates and stop and search on the street, through pay levels and professional advancement, to income, African-American disadvantage remains an objective reality in the USA.

If your claims were true, Zimmerman would not have been acquitted. It is true that there is a massive campaign of vilification (out there in the "zeitgeist") against Zimmerman, and also against the jurors who found there was too much reasonable doubt to convict him, including death threats and so on -- but the court of law upheld is rights and he has walked free. Where's the black institutional power in that court, where the judge, lawyers and jurors were all white?

(PS, anonmyi commenting here, please at least sign with a nickname to ease conversation.)

George S said...

I think the hesitations are worthwhile and that cries from any mob, however sophisticated, however education, however generally bright and socially conscious are still mob behaviour. All individual cases are more complicated than the causes they sooner or later embody - and in this case much sooner, almost before the verdict itself.

Interesting point of detail that both the judge and the jury were female, and that Zimmerman's people preferred this.

Interesting correction of detail: I have read that one of the jurors was "black or hispanic" http://edition.cnn.com/2013/06/20/justice/florida-zimmerman-trial

The distinction between justice and law remains vital, if only because justice is perceived in many different ways.

I wanted to know more about both Zimmerman and Martin so thank you for providing some links on Zimmerman, even though they don't fully settle any particular question. More about Martin would be interesting.

Nevertheless, in the end one cannot help knowing that a man in a car with a gun got out of his car to follow someone without a gun, someone who not only hadn't done anything but had not done anything to reasonably suggest that he might have done or was about to do. Man with gun intervenes in the life of the man without the gun. There is an altercation. The man with the gun shoots dead the man without the gun.

In terms of justice that doesn't look good.

George S said...

I think the hesitations are worthwhile and that cries from any mob, however sophisticated, however education, however generally bright and socially conscious are still mob behaviour. All individual cases are more complicated than the causes they sooner or later embody - and in this case much sooner, almost before the verdict itself.

Interesting point of detail that both the judge and the jury were female, and that Zimmerman's people preferred this.

Interesting correction of detail: I have read that one of the jurors was "black or hispanic" http://edition.cnn.com/2013/06/20/justice/florida-zimmerman-trial

The distinction between justice and law remains vital, if only because justice is perceived in many different ways.

I wanted to know more about both Zimmerman and Martin so thank you for providing some links on Zimmerman, even though they don't fully settle any particular question. More about Martin would be interesting.

Nevertheless, in the end one cannot help knowing that a man in a car with a gun got out of his car to follow someone without a gun, someone who not only hadn't done anything but had not done anything to reasonably suggest that he might have done or was about to do. Man with gun intervenes in the life of the man without the gun. There is an altercation. The man with the gun shoots dead the man without the gun.

In terms of justice that doesn't look good.

Sophie Hannah said...

Excellent article! I have written a blog post about this case too - thought you might be interested!

http://www.sophiehannah.com/about/

Anonymous said...

Bob, I apologize for the garbled communication yesterday. It was late and I obviously was in no condition to comment.

Let me just recommend this site for information on the Trayvon Martin - George Zimmerman affair.

http://theconservativetreehouse.com/

EV

There should have been no arrest. The Obama Administration and racist lynch mobs applied pressure for an arrest and trial. Pressure was applied to the Gov. of Florida and the Mayor and City Manager of the City of Sanford. The Chief of Police refused to arrest without merit and was fired, so that the arrest could be made.

You may not know this Bob, but this is how it was done to black folks a few decades ago. White lynch mobs demanded that the powers that be take action against uppity negroes, so that those negroes would get the message that wronging a white person in that white person's estimation was not to be tolerated...facts of the matter be damned.

This is only one facet of the ugliness that has taken place since Trayon Martin's encounter with George Zimmerman.

Check out The Last Refuge blog. I also recommend Andrew Branca blogging at Legal Insurrection on the Trayvon-Zimmerman affair.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

And now check out this:

"The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday afternoon appealed to civil rights groups and community leaders, nationally and in Sanford, for help investigating whether a federal criminal case might be brought against George Zimmerman for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, one advocate said."

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/os-george-zimmerman-doj-investigation,0,4338518.story

An officially organized posse of vigilantes to get Zimmerman no matter whether the law failed to do it?

Truth Chuck said...

Three armed robberies
One home invasion
Five windows smashed
Two tires and two vehicles vandalized
Two assaults

All on a white man by black men

And professional negroes change the issue. I have been a member of the ACLU since 1991 so call me what you wish.

Anonymous said...

Yeah the DOJ Civil Rights Division with the Attorney General's hands directly all over the matter as a branch of Obama Administration is gonna get some justice for black folk.

Which individual will they target next?

The IRS under the direction of the Obama Administration is already hassling Obama's and Leftist "enemies."

Now the racist nature of this administration is coming to light. It isnt as if it has been a secret. Obama basically demonized white European people in his latest statement, things that arent even true, BTW. Provably so. And has shifted to an attack on the individual right to self defense (and the 2nd Amendment), especially stand your ground laws, which werent even part of the Zimmerman claimed defense, who pleaded normal self defense. Black and white individuals have both used stand your ground as defense in Florida and the success/failure rate of that defense by race white/black is 83% and 80%...and it isnt very common.

Latinos and whites have been assaulted by blacks nationwide in retribution attacks and Obama and Holder are ramping up the demonization and stoking the fear and hatred and indignation, instead of trying to calm the situation.

This Administration is despicable.

EV

Anonymous said...

It should be noted that the Sharpton-Crump brigades have coordinated with the New Black Panthers.

Remember that Obama Administration DOJ Attorney General Holder stepped in and helped the New Black Panthers in their Voter Intimidation case in 2009.

It has also been well documented by J. Christian Adams and Hans Von Spakovsky that the DOJ has refused to enforce Voting Rights law in defense of white voters whose rights are being abused by black and minority authorities. Thus refusing to enforce the law equally in a race neutral manner.

It's pay back time.

EV

Anonymous said...

Even Gene agrees...

http://hurryupharry.org/2013/07/18/profiling/#comments#disqus_thread

EV

Anonymous said...

I ran across this typical example of Leftwing propaganda and dishonesty being promoted at The Root, a Black racist site, owned and operated by the Washington Post.

How America profiled Trayvon Martin and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

http://www.salon.com/2013/07/19/how_america_profiled_trayvon_martin_and_dzhokhar_tsarnaev/

Tsarnaev was portrayed in the media as your average American teenager by Leftwingers determined to deny that his religion had anything to do with his violence.

That propaganda was and is despicable and to use it as evidence of racism is despicable. Im afraid the Left is trolling the depths of moral depravity, desperately trying to salvage the imminent demise of their ascendant zeitgeist as their underlying narratives fall into utter disgrace.

EV

bob said...

Well, this topic sure brings out the madness in the contemporary American conversation about race - except conversation is not the right word when things are so polarised and positions are so entrenched. Sophie#s post is a rare example of someone not taking up one of the entrenched positions; here is direct link to the post http://www.sophiehannah.com/dear-florida-department-of-justice/

I will try to reply to all comments within a day or two, but for starters:

George, wise words as always. No, it looks bad for justice. I was shocked when I first read about GZ not being prosecuted, and immediately assumed racism and injustice. But the more I read, the less that seems to be the case. You're absolutely right justice and law are different, and there is a strong argument for changing the law in Florida, but certainly under the law there was no other verdict possible than the one that was reached. The trial was a fiasco; the judge bent over backwards to favour the state and not the defence; at least half the jury was initially disposed to convict. The jury was not all white, a fact I'd missed: "Five of the jurors are considered white, one is considered non-white, or mixed black and Hispanic. All of the alternates were white (one male alternate has been described as possibly Hispanic." So, justice did not perform well, but

DKNIGHT said...

Hello I'm ThisisTheEnd from twitter.

I know you disagree but this article amounted to little more than "George Zimmerman can't be racist as he had a black friend". You seem to be approaching this from the perspective of anti-immigrant type racism, ignoring the fact that African Americans are not immigrants and constitute a "pariah class" in America.

White supremacy has been the dominant political and social ideology in America for nearly 3 centuries (think British rule in Kenya). Slavery, the failure of post construction, lynchings, African Americans being shut out of the New Deal, "Sun Down" towns, Rosewood, Jim Crow, voter suppression etc.

White people killing black people and facing no legal consequences is not new. And yes the high rate of black on black crime is an issue but that doesn't mean that black lives should be considered worthless. (though white america disagrees)

You can spend a lifetime studying this fascinating, complicated subject. Obviously I'm not saying that you need to be an expert but that's no excuse for such a limp article.

BenSix said...

Yes, I've seen no reason to believe that George Zimmerman should have been convicted, or, indeed, that race was a substantial factor in his act or his acquittal. A black man shot a teenager in similar circumstances a few years ago and was acquitted. I'm sympathetic to arguments about the moral merits of intervening into potentially disputatious situations while armed - it seems reckless, for example, for an armed and fired-up Zim to leave his car in the knowledge that Martin knew that he was being followed and was liable to vexed by it - but in a culture where carrying guns is legal I'm not sure what legislation could be introduced to prevent it.

One thing I would say about the reference to gang crime, though, is that I’ve seen it referenced by a lot of guys who dislike the furore surrounding this case but few of them care all that much about problem themselves. You have far better reasons for this than U.S. Conservatives - you're not a Yank - but if people are bothered by other people's failure to address it they should start the conversation themselves. Crystal White's blog has a lot of posts making the point that no one pays attention to black-on-black crime but minimal analysis of the actual issue.

BenSix said...

I would add that left-commentators were claiming, before Zimmerman had even been brought to trial, that police should have “punished” him. Comparisons with lynchings are noxious - this cartoons should be perhaps be introduced to a peer with a similar fondness for using atrocities as punchlines - but the case has revealed a certain impulse towards extrajudicial vengeance.

Anonymous said...

This idea that black men are essentially violent by making Trayvon Martin the poster child for young black men, is racist.

The lesson in the Trayvon Martin death, is that one shouldnt physically assault strangers on the street, because you are likely to have deadly force used against you.

Not that laws are inherently racist because they disparately impact young black men. That essentializes black skinned people as inherently more violent. Individuals must control their violent impulses period. But this cuts to another issue which is European Christedom's laws being changed to accomodate foreign Third World cultural norms. These immigrants need to be conforming to European law and culture and not the other way around. We have standards of behavior and thresholds on resorting to violence. We shouldnt be Third Worldizing our nation states laws and customs to accomodate lower thresholds of violence in the service of multiculturalism and moral and cultural relativity.

EscapeVelocity

Anonymous said...

BenSix, Al Sharpton is a vile racist agitator who is embraced by the mainstream Left, who help him to promote his hatred. He should be ostracized in the manner of David Duke, but he is not, which is a huge problem if one is interested in moving race relations in a positive direction. It isnt just Sharpton, the majority of black political organizations are dominated by bitter racist haters of white Europeans....and now the DOJ is headed by a bitter racist hater, as well as the whole Civil Rights Division of the DOJ, which is dominated by far New Leftists.

The DOJ not enforcing civil rights law when the victim is white and the perpetrating authorities are black isnt advancing civil rights. It is damaging civil rights and the civil rights movement. As it makes people question the motives of the civil rights movement, in contrast to some of their lofty rhetoric. It is the same situation you have where Islamists are using lofty civil rights rhetoric to protect their supremacist agenda.

The power structures will punish whites where minorities will not be touched for fear of Political Correct backlash negative consequences to the authorities. This in effect creates an oppressive situation for whites, who are not being treated equally under the law. It undermines the legitimacy of the current system.

EV

Anonymous said...

Iran Foreign Ministry comments on the Martin-Zimmerman affair.

"The acquittal of the murderer of the teenage African American once again clearly demonstrated the unwritten, but systematic racial discrimination against racial, religious, and ethnic minorities in the U.S. society," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyed Abbas Araqchi said, in the nation's state-owned Fars News Agency.

"The court ruling has also seriously put under question the fairness of the judicial process in the United States," he said.

EV

The Contentious Centrist said...

From Hannah's post:

"The Florida Department of Justice has set up a ‘tip-line’ in order to solicit tips about possible past bad behaviour on the part of George Zimmerman"

Here is a source for the information.

"On Monday afternoon, the US Department of Justice appealed to civil rights groups and the general public across the country for “tips” on George Zimmerman in their pursuit of potential federal civil rights charges against the just-acquitted defendant in the Trayvon Martin killing. The DOJ actually went so far as to set up an e-mail address to allow such tips: Sanford.florida@usdoj.gov. The email address is slated to go operational by the end of the week.

Barbara Arnwine, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law told the Orlando Sentinel that the DOJ had held a Monday conference call “calling on us to actively refer anyone who had any information” that would help build a case against Zimmerman. "They said they would very aggressively investigate this case,” Arnwine stated."

Frightening development. What's missing is a list of markers looked for in these solicited "Tips".

Here is what it reminds me of:

" Under the tyranny of the Spanish Inquisition .. Catholics were urged to spy on their neighbors and inform on suspected marranos. Torquemada's office published a set of guidelines to help Catholics identify practicing Jews in their midst: "If you see that your neighbors are wearing clean and fancy clothes on Saturdays, they are Jews. "If they clean their houses on Fridays and light candles earlier than usual on that night, they are Jews. "If they eat unleavened bread and begin their meals with celery and lettuce during Holy Week, they are Jews. "If they say prayers facing a wall, bowing back and forth, they are Jews."

And of course, this:

"It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself--anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face...; was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime..."
- George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 5

A man found not guilty is being openly targeted by an organ of the state for persecution. By hook or by crook, they will manage to compile the necessary dossier to bring him to "Justice".

WTF are they thinking about? If a hate crime were committed, would it be necessary to look under carpets and in dark corners to know it is a hate crime?

The fact is I don't understand what GS means by justice in this context. Perhaps biblical justice, which stipulates the acceptability of blood revenge upon him who killed another human being without malice aforethought, either express or implied. In those times, revenge was considered legitimate even when the killing was done inadvertently. But even the bible offers such a man some
relief by allowing him to flee to a designated city of refuge until such time as it is safe for him to go back home.

This baying for GZ's blood is not about justice. It is all about revenge.

bob said...

I've left it a bit long, and am not sure where to start now.

First, I want to make clear I wasn't endorsing Gary Younge's piece. I said: I agree with Gary Younge that "it appears that the only reason the two interacted at all, physically or otherwise, is that Zimmerman believed it was his civic duty to apprehend an innocent teenager who caused suspicion" by his presence in the wrong place at the wrong time. The full quote was: It appears that the only reason the two interacted at all, physically or otherwise, is that Zimmerman believed it was his civic duty to apprehend an innocent teenager who caused suspicion by his existence alone. The "existence alone" claim is surely complete bullshit, as were some of the other things GY said.

The DoJ inquisition and other developments that Snoopy, Contentious Centrist, Hannah and others bring up are truly terrifying. This story is going to get worse and worse; the kulturmapf over race in America will get more and more poisonous as this develops.

BenSix, all your comments are spot on. The point about the tutting about black-on-black violence is relevant: a lot of conservative emphasis on this has the quality of what-aboutery. It's a conversation that we can't leave up to them: itt may be that there is serious discussion of it in the African-American public sphere, but there certainly isn't in the liberal public sphere and there should be.

bob said...

Talking of the poisonous kulturkampf on race in America, I guess EV and DKnight/ThisIsTheEnd represent the two poles of that, and I completely disagree with much (but not all) of what both of them say.

I agree that Holder's actions are inflaming not calming the situation, that Sharpton is a dangerous and horrible demagogue, that his proximity to the fascist New Black Panther Party is disturbing (note, the Martin family have un-ambiguously condemned the NBPP). I don't see Sharpton as a David Duke: altho his reach is far greater (which makes him more disturbing), his message is nowhere near as noxious. I agree the liberal focus on Stand Your Ground is misplaced given that it did not play a role in the Zimmerman verdict (tho it did play a role in the initial decision not to arrest).

On the other hand, it seems absurd and ridiculous to me to think that the Obama administration is racist, that Obama's speech "demonized white European people", that The Root is a racist site, that Holder is a bitter racist hater, etc etc. I don't think Sharpton has been embraced by the mainstream left, or that the "far New Left" controls sections of the DoJ. This is conspiracy theory on a par with those spun by paleocons, 9/11 Truthers, ZOG and New World Order obsessives and suchlike - i.e. they mirror the paranoid fantasies that circulate on the fringes of the Sharpton and Duke milieux.

I also have no idea what this could possibly have to do with "European Christedom's laws being changed to accomodate foreign Third World cultural norms", which again suggests to me unhinged lateral thinking. The only Third World immigrants anywhere near this case would be George Zimmerman's Peruvian mother or perhaps his distant German ancestor that left him with the name Zimmerman that helped condemn him in the eyes of the mob. I could go on and on around these sorts of claims, but I won't because I've already indulged the nonsense enough.

bob said...

Turning finally to the other side of the kulturkampf, DKnight/ThisIsTheEnd: your points are more digestible in this comment thread than in Twitter, which seems to encourage malicious ad hominem framings of disagreements, so I'll give it a go.

Sorry you found my "article" (blogpost) "limp", but if you read it as saying little more than "George Zimmerman can't be racist as he had a black friend", you haven't read it. Maybe GZ is racist; in my view we all are to some extent. My point is that we can't reduce this story to one of an evil white racist and a saintly black boy, as the liberal consensus has done, not least because GZ isn't even white, despite the desperate attempts of the heroic "anti-racists" to designate him as such.

I'm not sure why you think I am "approaching this from the perspective of anti-immigrant type racism"; I don't see what I said gives that impression.

I'm of course well aware African-Americans are not immigrants. However, I disagree with the designation of African-Americans as a "pariah class". As a sort-of-Marxist, I'd completely reject the idea that blacks are a "class". "Pariah caste" maybe - certainly historically, subject to a series of "peculiar institutions" that have structurally placed them partly outside the egalitarian promise of American democracy. I reject the paradigm of "white supremacy" (particularly if white supremacy is described as an "ideology")as the right paradigm for talking about the everyday racism wired into today's America. While it may have been the correct terminology in the era of slavery, its purchase today is limited and the concept begs more questions than it explains. There is no similarity between Britain's murderous colonial regime in the Kenya of yesterday and Obama's America today. Voter suppression is a real problem, but it is not the same as the litany of peculiar institutions that came before it, such as lynching and Jim Crow.

One of the many problems of the "white supremacy" paradigm is it naturalises race in general and whiteness in particular. The GZ affair shows the extent to which "race" is not an inherent quality of individual bodies, but constructed, imagined, visualised, situational, etc. GZ might benefit from "racial" privilege in some situations, but not in others.

I don't think anyone sensible would disagree that White people killing black people and facing no legal consequences is not new. However, that is so manifestly not what happened in this particular case (in which the killer was not white, in which there were quite serious consequences, and in there is no way his guilt could be established beyond reasonable doubt) that it is insane to raise that point.

And yes the high rate of black on black crime is an issue but that doesn't mean that black lives should be considered worthless. Well, of course, but who considers them worthless here? Me? Jason Riley? Crystal Wright? The bloggers at The Root who occasionally raise this issue?

Oh I see, it's "white america" that thinks that. Would that include the 41% of white Americans who think blacks receive unequal treatment? The 33% of white Americans who think the shooting was unjustified? The 27% of white Americans who think GZ should be charged in federal court with violating Martin's civil rights?

"White America", like "the black community" is a myth. "White supremacy", the idea that all whites profit equally from black oppression (let alone can kill blacks with impunity in America today) is also a myth.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, it seems absurd and ridiculous to me to think that the Obama administration is racist, that Obama's speech "demonized white European people", that The Root is a racist site, that Holder is a bitter racist hater, etc etc. I don't think Sharpton has been embraced by the mainstream left, or that the "far New Left" controls sections of the DoJ. --- Bob

Well Bob, you have a long way to go to alleviate your ignorance in regards to the above.

White Europeans are demonized by the Left and minority identity politics groups as racist no matter who they are, they are subconciously racist.

The Root is a racist sit.

Holder is a bitter racist who does not enforce the law in a race neutral manner.

Sharpton most certain has been embraced by the mainstream Left which is why you see him standing on stages with them everywhere and invited to Meet the Press regularly and given his own show on MSNBC to inflame race hatred and demonize America and white Europeans. He likewise was given prime speaking time slot at the 2004 Democrat National Convention.

Now as for the "the far Left" controlling sections of the DOJ, the Civil Rights Division in particular and the verb was dominating. It may be a difference of definitions....because these minority identity political operatives that dominate the DOJ Civil Rights Division are embraced by the mainstream Left, and therefore could be described as such, whereas they are really radicals and not centrists. The mainstream Left is now dominated by New Left radicals. None of whom are the least bit interested in prosecuting minorities for the infringement of white Americans civil rights. In fact that was what one of the brouhaha's during the Bush Administration was. DOJ Attorney's refusing to prosecute minority authorities for violation of white Americans civil rights, which were removed by the Bush Administration and replaced. Remember the haranging that Attorney General Gonzalez got on this, by the newly Democratic House? Then Obama came in and fired all the political appointed assistant AGs and replaced them with 100% leftwing radicals.

May I recommend a book for you. J. Christian Adams (former DOJ Civil Rights Division employee/whistleblower)....Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department.

Al Sharpton is worse than David Duke. David Duke has been ostracized to the nether regions by the Mainstream Conservatives and lives in a trailer. Al Sharpton is well funded and enthusiastically embraced by the Black leadership and elite and the Democrat Party, as well as the mainstream Left, lives the high life, is invited to all the gatherings, given lauds, adulation, awards, and praise, not to mention his own show on a major national television news network.

So Im going to have to disagree with you Bob.

At least Jesse Jackson didnt call Florida, Hymietown, though he did call it an Apartheid State.

EV

Anonymous said...

Here is a start on understanding the Obama-Holder DOJ. I recommend this for Noga as well.

J. Christian Adams blogs mostly about the DOJ and Voting Rights law. This article is one of many on the subject.

http://pjmedia.com/blog/j-christian-adams-you-deserve-to-know-%E2%80%94-unequal-law-enforcement-reigns-at-obamas-doj-pjm-exclusive/?singlepage=true

The Contentious Centrist said...

EV, whatever good arguments you may have included in your comments, they are disregarded because you insist on presenting this persecuted white Europeans fantasy of yours. Numerically it does not hold water. White Europeans are very much in control and the minorities know that.

That said, there is something in what EV contends about "the Left and minority identity politics groups". A few years ago I had a pretty heated argument with the blogger who ran a blog whose name I forget (It had "Sojourner" in it and something about the third way or something). He was a pretty decent guy but he couldn't help refering to how Jews are enjoying "white skin privileges" unlike Arabs, or something. A most repulsive way of describing Jews especially since it is also based on a completely false premise. If this is not racist I don't know what is and it is the sort of meme that those who hate Israeli [Jews] find very easy to exploit for their own venal purposes. As in Jose Saramago's famous harangue: "The blond David of yesteryear surveys from a helicopter the occupied Palestinian lands and fires missiles at unarmed innocents; the delicate David of yore mans the most powerful tanks in the world and flattens and blows up what he finds in his tread;"

There is something of this ugly sensibility that is manifested in the way the media keeps referring to Zimmerman as a "White Hispanic". It seems that those who protest the loudest appear to extract the most value from the "white" adjective. How is that different in any substantial way from what once used to be a pretty commonplace praise: "That's mighty white of you"??


Anonymous said...

If George Zimmerman was cast as a Jew, then I bet Bob could clearly see the ugliness of what occured here.

George Zimmerman is mixed race and speaks fluent Spanish. Some of his friends and family call him Jorge. He voted for Obama and is a Democrat. He identifies as a Hispanic/Latino.

The man was transformed into the White Devil for a racist lynching. And the Left and the Black Authorities (Holder and Obama) supported the lynching, and pressured the local authorities to comply.

It's as simple as that.

That means that blacks have institutional power to persecute others. They therefore pass the moved goalpost of the defintion of racism. That Noga cant see that, and insists that I am discredited by my observation is exactly what Bob did, but he called it the ZOG conspiracy.

Noga, I think you would enjoy the J. Christian Adams book. It goes into detail about a situation down in Alabama where a black majority locality abused the voting rights of the white minority. And the DOJ Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division's actions (or lack of actions) surrounding it.

You may revise your assessment of mine persecution narrative.

Really Noga, do you think that the Palestinian Human Rights activists might indulge in some payback against their perceived Israeli Jewish Oppressors given the power and opportunity. This is basic human nature stuff. As Martin Luther King Jr. stated.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

But that is exactly what has happened. As the zeitgeist at the DOJ Voting Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division is dominated by people who came from a movement that claimed equality before the law as a great moral burden, but now dominate a powerful instituion in which they deny white Americans equal justice by race neutral enforcment of the Voting Rights law. They have succumbed to bitterness and hatred...and have the power to impose their will upon those they hate, by denying them justice.

That is just the plain fact of the matter. Sorry to burst your bubble. People are still being denied their right to vote in Alabama, just the places of the races have changed. And as far as Obama and Holder are concerned, it's for the better.

EV

Anonymous said...

And here you go Bob. You can believe what you want to believe, but the truth is out there. (Just not coming from the Martin legal team or the Leftwing MSM).

"Whoopsie – Um, well lets take a look at this, shall we: The capacity of the Trayvon Martin supporters and Scheme Team to boldly lie is quite staggering. The latest *cough* claim from the schemers is their protestations that the Martin Family and family Attorneys did not support the New Black Panther Party."

Notice the Panthers holding up a Wanted Dead or Alive $10,000 reward poster/handbill of George Zimmerman (a Felony). But of course Holder's DOJ CRS was involved and they wont be charging anybody with a civil rights crime in that picture. Which is further damning of Obama's Justice Department and Eric Holder the Attorney General of the USofA...not to mention the Civil Rights Division of said DOJ.

http://theconservativetreehouse.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/mellon-park-rally.jpg?w=640&h=356

Remember when Obama shared a podium with the New Black Panthers down in Selma, Alabama, before the 2008 Presidential Election?

http://ts4.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.4750647229547263&pid=1.7

Remember Loretta King of the Obama Administration DOJ Civil Rights Division who in 2009 stepped in to protect the New Black Panthers from Voting Rights law prosecution? Remember Obama condemning it? Remember Eric Holder condemning it?

Wake up and smell the Black racists all up in our institutions Bob.

EV

Anonymous said...

"The family rescued by George Zimmerman after a rollover crash in Florida are terrified they will become targets for hate mobs."

"Mark and Dana Michelle Gerstle told friends they do not want to talk publicly about Zimmerman for fear they will be accused of portraying him as a hero — and face a backlash from those who consider he got away with murder. 'They are very grateful to Zimmerman for what he did, but they do not want to get involved,' said a friend, who asked not to be named."


What does this reveal about America, Bob? Remember Zimmerman's parents are in hiding.

EV

Anonymous said...

If you had any doubt at all about the political clout the Rev. Al Sharpton has accrued since the start of the Obama administration, seeing the political heavyweights who showed up and spoke at the 20th-anniversary convention of his National Action Network (April 6-9) should put those doubts to rest. President Barack Obama himself made remarks at a gala celebration for the convention Wednesday night in New York City, with several cabinet secretaries addressing the gathering in daytime sessions.

Earlier in the day, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, as well as former Senior White House Adviser David Axelrod, all addressed a packed room of hundreds of members and guests of NAN at the Sheraton hotel in Manhattan.

Oh yeah, Al Sharpton hasnt been embraced by the mainstream Left.

Ha! Ha! That's a good on Bob From Brockley.

Here is Al Sharpton giving the primetime speech Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention. Notice how enthusiastic the Democratic delegates are.

Al Sharpton, isnt embraced by the mainstream Left?

How many times has he visited the White House? How many times has he shared a stage with Congressional Black Caucus members?

Really?

EV

Anonymous said...

Oops links...

http://www.theroot.com/views/does-sharpton-have-white-house-speed-dial

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SBFREiCkf8#at=417

TNC said...

Re: Conservative bloggers and others bringing up black-on-black crime

Whether someone brings up black-on-black crime because they are concerned about the issue and want to get to some sort of solution is not the issue. What matters is the complete lack of balance and perspective in this conversation. All the discussion about "the talk" that black parents need to have w/ their kids, as if the greatest threat they face is from white folks w/ guns. It's other black youth that they need to be concerned about. Every time there is a young black victim of a shooting, it is over 95% likely that the shooter was another black youth. This is “the talk” that needs to take place. Riley is correct that this needs to start in the black community because if people who are not black bring it up they are condemned as racists.

Re: Sharpton
Bob, I think you are underplaying his influence. As EV points out, he is no David Duke. Duke is a racial extremist and treated as one. Sharpton has a cable news program (MSNBC) and is rolled out as an expert on race on the major networks and many other media outlets. He is the head of a multi-million shakedown operation but says he earns no money as an activist in order to avoid paying taxes. He may not be a personal friend of President Obama, but the two have hung out at the White House and political events. He is good friends with much of the Black Caucus. Granted, he is seen as a buffoon outside of some very limited audiences but money and political connections = power or at the least, influence. He may not be part of the liberal establishment but he is a recognized voice of the progressive/”social justice” wing of the Democratic Party.

Re: Holder
Even more troubling is AG Holder. He is someone who actually has quite a bit of power and appears incredibly biased regarding which cases the Department pursues. It is starting to look like Holder believes white peeps cannot have their civil rights violated, which is extremely disturbing. That combined with his comment that we are a “nation of cowards” when it comes to race, the DOJ *assisting* activists in the Trayvon Martin protests, his role in the “Fast and Furious” cover up, etc. make him an incredibly polarizing figure.

I remember back during the W Bush years when all those attorneys were getting fired from the DOJ Civil Rights Division. I actually had a conversation with one in an airport. Liberals said it was a “political purge” and that “good qualified attorneys” were being replaced with “political cronies”. If what J. Christian Adams says is correct, that attorneys were refusing to prosecute cases that had white victims and *that* is why they were fired, I wonder how long this was going on?

The Division was started to have a federal mechanism to enforce the Constitutional rights of blacks at a time when those rights were being refused to them by local and state authorities in the South. But, over time, the Division’s scope was expanded to other people of color and eventually became almost “colorblind”. Today, the Division is tasked with enforcing, “federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status and national origin.” That is vague enough to include everyone.

bob said...

I vaguely recall the debate you're referring to Noga. It was either Michael Staudenmaier who had a blog on the history of the Sojourner Truth Organisation, or it was his associate in the 3-Way Fight group Matthew Lyons. I missed the discussion.

Interestingly, Zimmerman has been cast as a Jew - including by the New Black Panther Party when they put a bounty on his head ("a no good Jew") and also some white supremacists who've disavowed him (watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5nvaTlM9f8). For some kinds of black identity politics - based on a morbid attachment to a damaged identity - it is commonplace to both hate Jews in an old-fashioned antisemitic way and see them as bearers of white skin privilege.

I think I would go so far as to say that some and perhaps even most Jews in contemporary North America and Western Europe do, to a certain extent, benefit from "white skin privileges" in that, in as far as they are taken for or pass for "white people" they do not experience the constant (sometimes banal, sometimes brutal) everyday racism experienced by those who are visibly "non-white" - and, especially, those who are visibly "black". Put a yarmulke or other sign of visible difference on a Jew, and that privilege can vanish fairly quickly, at least in many circumstances.

That doesn't negate the reality of high levels of antisemitic discourse and action, including that coming from some non-white people, as demonstrated in the adding of the antisemitic salt to the Zimmerman demonisation stew.

---

And OK, I completely take back what I said about the mainstream left and Sharpton. It's a terrible indictment of the American left that they take such a malignant clown seriously. That's not my left.

bob said...

Re: Conservative bloggers and others bringing up black-on-black crime

I wonder if it is not as common in black families, in the relevant parts of America, to have "the talk" with their sons about gangs and violence as it is to talk have "the talk" about white men in guns. My hunch is that they already have that talk on quite a major scale.

"The talk" needed is bigger than that: the talk about why it is and how to stop it. As TNC says, that talk does need to start in black communities (not "the" black community) and it needs to also go bigger than that too. And, to repeat myself, it needs to include both the structural/social stuff and the moral/cultural stuff.

The Contentious Centrist said...

"I think I would go so far as to say that some and perhaps even most Jews in contemporary North America and Western Europe do, to a certain extent, benefit from "white skin privileges" in that, in as far as they are taken for or pass for "white people""

What does that mean, Bob? What are Jews who have pale skin to do in order to declare to the world that they are not white and that they should not benefit from the privilege of their skin colour? Should they perhaps, in order to satisfy the needs of Rancid leftists and grievance-filled minorities wear a certain marker? If they are not religious and do not wear a kippa then what other options are there? A yellow ribbon, perhaps? Or perhaps there shouldn't be Jews anymore thus there will be no confusing problems with identifying them by colour.

It is an ugly thing to say and accuse Jews of, no matter how you parse it.

bob said...

I would hope one day we live in a world where no-one has more or less privilege than anyone else because of their perceived race or identity. In the meantime, I wouldn't want those who have a precarious claim to some limited privileges to give them up or atone for them or anything; I don't see there being anything immoral in not being the victim of racism; I'm not blaming light-skinned Jews for the fact that they are not visibly marked out as subjects of routine racism.

Nor am I denying them whatever badge of honour some might see in being victims (not that I would want to claim that badge myself). As I said, the everyday benefits of whiteness (for some) co-exist with the continued (even revived) vitality of antisemitism.

I don't understand why that's an ugly thing to say.

Anonymous said...

It's an ugly thing to say and accuse white European Christians of, as well, Noga.

The White Devil and his skin privilege.


Of note...related...

Israel is now in the process of mass detention and deportation of dark skinned Africans.

EV

The Contentious Centrist said...

Bob, I cannot see how you miss or underestimate, the outrageousness of blaming Jews for having white skin privileges. It is just as racist to say so as it is to blame them for anything that marks them out, whether good or bad. Jews have nowhere to fit into in this type of thinking. For black racists, they are white people who deserve contempt for "passing" rather than being authentically white. For white racists they can pass for white but are not really white so that is a source of great anxiety and hatred. For me personally, there is no better place to be then in this in-between hostilities, as far as cultivated selfhood goes but most people who happen to be normal want to feel secure and to belong somewhere that can actually offer safety. Why would you encourage anyone, or justify them, to pursue this line of thinking? Stereotypes of Jews as wily and dangerous shape-shifters have hounded Jews throughout history and there is an entire literature forming around the ideas that Jews are not at all who they claim to be, beginning with Edward Said's Moses theory and through the more recent attempts by the likes of Nadia El-Hadje to deny Jews their identity on a racial basis. Why would anyone wish to be a part of that conversation and give it legitimacy by buying into the shape-shifting myth?

The Contentious Centrist said...

EV: In your sensibilities and search for making your case that European Whites are a persecuted lot, you will stop at nothing. In fact I highly recommend you read The Angry Arab News Service blog, (which I follow closely on my own blog) to find a kindred spirit. He also likes to make the point that Zionism is always racism and brings examples from the African so called refugees who managed to get into Israel through its Southern border. I can see a long and thriving friendship there for you, dear EV.

Of course EV's so called admiration for Israel is based on his own interest of roping in the Jewish state for his own unfathomable ends. That is why I do not take him seriously. He knows next to nothing about Jewish history yet dares to draw analogies between them and white Europeans, or Christians, or whatever.

Anonymous said...

Your just hypersensitive, Noga.

That isnt a defense of Angry Arab, who is truly despicable and deranged.

Israeli Jews and European Christians are under the same deligitmiing fire from the Western Left. You just have sympathy for one and not the other. Whilst I oppose them both. Bob thinks that Whites are inherently racist and thus privileged as well. However in your mind Jews arent priveleged in Israel. It's those ebil white European Christians, dont ya know.

And so the demonization of white Europeans continues, whilst people deny it.

Im here to say that it is OK to be a white European, no matter what hatefilled bile is hurled at you. It's OK to be proud of your culture, history, and heritage. There is no perfect people on Earth. Be proud of who you are and be proud to preserve and promote the well being and future of your people and culture. Dont wgither away from the hatred that is heaped upon you by "Others." You have a right to be and live on this planet just like everybody else, and in your own nation states that havent been diversified away, just like everybody else.

That doesnt make me a horrible person. Im still classically liberal. I just dont buy into the self hatred that Im being force fed by the education system and the media, etc.

EV

Anonymous said...

When White Israeli Jews are accused of "privilege" for the purpose of delegitimizing Israel it is offensive and Anti-Semitic.

It is just as offensive when it's done to White European Christians for the purpose of delegitimizing their nation states and institutions and it is Anti-EuropeanChristianism.

EV

Anonymous said...

Critical Race Theory Explained by Ben Shapiro

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/03/11/What%20Is%20Critical%20Race%20Theory

EV

bob said...

I've not heard of Nadia el Hadge - please tell me more.

More substantively, I am not "blaming" (some) Jews for having (some) "white skin privilege". I explicitly said I don't see it as a moral issue. I simply think it is a fact that most Jews in the West who are not visibly Jewish don't experience the effects of everyday racism which have an enormous impact on the lives of all black people. It's not something I'd make a big deal of on my own, but if the topic of Jews and "white skin privilege" comes up that's my response. Further, I kind of think we need to at least acknowledge this if we want to understand contemporary antisemitism and how it relates to other forms of racism, including anti-black racism.

Anonymous said...

We have our disagreements Bob.

I thought you and Noga might find this interesting.


-------------

American Atheists president David Silverman, who is opposed to a Ohio Holocaust memorial that will display a Jewish "Star of David" symbol, said on Fox News Friday afternoon, "It's important that we don't give the Holocaust just to the Jews."

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2013/07/26/Its-important-that-we-dont-give-the-Holocaust-just-to-the-Jews-Athestist-Fighting-Ohio-Memorial


Also related...

FIRST ATHEIST MONUMENT ON GOVERNMENT LAND TO BE UNVEILED

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2013/06/08/Atheists-Unveil-First-Monument-On-Government-Property-in-US-History

EV

The Contentious Centrist said...

Sorry. i misremembered the name. It is Nadia abu elHaj and here is a good account of her researches:

http://publicbooks.org/nonfiction/scientific-semitism-exceptional-or-exemplary

Anonymous said...

Looks like the vile lawfare organization Freedom From Religion Foundation is in on the action too.

http://aclj.org/us-constitution/angry-atheist-attack-star-of-david-holocaust-memorial-reprehensible

Conveniently, when you dissallow the expression of religious ideas, tradition, philosophy in informing governance and law, then that leave only Atheist approved perspectives as allowed to inform government policy and law. How convenient, heh? Radical secularization is not liberal, it's tyrannical.

EV



Anonymous said...

Noga, Id be interested in your thoughts on the term "Judeo-Christian" which came into fashion the (later) 20th Century. Do you think this is an attempt at smearing Jews with the taint of Christian oppressors? Like lumping Jews in with skin privileged White (European Christians)?

EV

The Contentious Centrist said...

Judeo-Christian is a benign attempt to describe the uniqueness of Western liberal thinking. Some people oppose it on the grounds that it is a misleading term that purports to suggest a commonality between Christianity and Judaism whereas in fact there is no such commonality, from a strictly religious point of view. The reason being that Jews have never accepted the messianity of Jesus. my own thoughts about it evolved over the years and I happen to think that a Judeo-Christian tradition is a proper way to describing the core ethos of Western thought. If you remove all the mythology what we are left with a code of being and behaving in the would, which could be summed up simply as: Don't be a jerk.

Does that answer your question?

Anonymous said...

Curious to how your perspective evolved. If you have the time.

EV

The Contentious Centrist said...

I used to think it was a term that mischaracterized Jewish Christian relationship, because on the big religious questions of Christ there was a deep disagreement that can never be solved. At most some Jews regard Jesus as a lay rabbi, a teacher (there is a very interesting book by an Israeli professor about Jesus as he emerged from Hebrew writings of the period). But as we have come a long way from religion being the final arbiter between people and cultures, the age of secularism if you like, at least when we talk of Judaism and Christianity, there emerged a commonality of ethos that can and is rightly referred to in this manner. Somehow I do not see the same sort of congeniality in a phrase like "The Islamo-Christian" tradition.

But these are just my own musings.

Anonymous said...

"Judeo-Islamic" tradition doesnt seem to have caught on.

Though their seems to be some push for "The Abrahamic Faiths." Mostly that term seems to be used for nefarious purposes.

EV