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In the post civil rights era, the colorline is beset by many paradoxes.

The United States finally elected its first black president. There is a multicultural elite class. In this same moment, African Americans are harassed and racially profiled by "stop and frisk laws" and the experience known as “shopping while black”.

Black people are subjected to extrajudicial murder and violence by gun mad vigilantes, operating under onerous stand your ground laws, who shoot and murder young black people for the “crime” of walking down the street, in a neighborhood “where they don’t belong”, not being duly submissive, and carrying a bag of Skittles and iced-tea.

Full citizenship involves the presumption that one belongs to a political community. By virtue of that fact, citizenship also means that a person is entitled to safety and security in their person without qualification, exception, or justification. Full citizenship is not contingent or precarious.

African-Americans are not allowed such protections by the White Gaze. They are viewed as guilty until proven innocent, a criminal Other who is a priori categorized as “suspicious” and “dangerous”. While formal racism and Jim and Jane Crow were shattered and defeated by the Black Freedom Struggle, this ugly cloud continues to hover over the United States, some 400 years after the first black slaves were brought to the country.

Consequently, black Americans are not really allowed to seek help from white people; the Parable of the Good Samaritan does not apply to people of color as viewed through the twin lenses of Whiteness and the White Gaze. The black and brown Other is not allowed the luxury and privilege of knowing that if they seek help when in distress—either from the police, or white folks, more generally—that such pleadings and requests will be met with a “How can I help you? Are you in trouble?”

Of course, black Americans do not live under the threat of mass violence and racial pogroms that characterized the “Red Summer” of the post World One era when whole towns and communities were blown up, burned down, and the bodies of black people were hung from trees and signposts in the dozens and hundreds by rampaging white mobs.

There is a sense of dread and worry that remains. It impacts our peace of mind, and gives a tragic patina to the types of life skills which we have to teach young black boys and girls to avoid being killed by the police, racially harassed while conducting their daily business, and how to navigate a society where white racism and white privilege still impacts their life chances and upward mobility.

Such a burden can be mentally exhausting.

Freedom and the end of chattel slavery subtly modified how violence could be visited on black bodies by white society. This is signaled to by a scene in the new movie 12 Years a Slave, in which Solomon Northup, a free man kidnapped by white slavers, is forced to show a white man his “slave tag”. The latter were pieces of metal, similar to a dog license, which indicated to whom a given black person, owned as human property, belonged.

The slave tag offered some protection from the random violence of white people because it indicated that a slave owner had a monopoly of force over their black human property. Chattel slavery was a system of mass violence and racial terrorism against black Americans that fueled American wealth and empire. But, the right of a given white person(s) to maim, murder, rape, and kill a given black person was relatively exclusive.

With the end of slavery and Reconstruction, black people—men, women, and children—were subjected to the racial violence of Jim and Jane Crow, along with its constant companion the lynching tree, and its bounty that Billie Holiday so mournfully described as strange fruit. These lived experiences, historical memory, and pain of extrajudicial violence and vigilantism (which was legitimated by the State) is a legacy passed down across generations.

Black people would like to forget this violence. We do not have such a luxury in America if we are to honor our ancestors and understand how their experiences and history informs the present.

Many white folks would like to forget this violence too, as it would further a narrative of Whiteness as something benign, and just like the standard white privilege colorblind racism denying deflection that “none of their ancestors ever owned slaves” (we are a nation of immigrants after all), they also want to believe that their people, family, and kin did not participate in the blood sport which was the spectacular lynching.

Americans want to believe that they are an “innocent” and "good" people. Lies, both personal and collective, are very comforting. American Exceptionism is an ideal-typical example of this yearning.

Formal lynchings are part of America’s near past. In the present, Stand Your Ground Laws, police brutality, and how black people are still treated as alien Outsiders, embody the descendants of a tradition which links whiteness, "Americanness", and violence together.

Renisha McBride was shot in the face with a shotgun after knocking on a door and asking for help in a mostly white Detroit area suburb because her car was broken.

Jonathan Ferrell was shot multiple times by a white police officer after being in a car accident and approaching them for help.

Glenda Moore’s children drowned during Hurricane Sandy because she had the misfortune of seeking help in a white community that refused her any aid.

Roy Middleton was almost killed by the police outside of his own home because he had a flashlight on a key chain.

In the United States, there are many different types of freedom. Black folks and other people of color have the freedom to vote—although this right is in under assault by the Tea Party GOP. Black Americans have the freedom to participate in the consumer’s republic and the marketplace as equals with white people—but, this freedom is also constrained in practice. African-Americans exercised their freedom to elect a black man President—yet, he has done little if anything to address the specific needs of that community.

The freedom of black people to be strangers, and to be offered help when in distress, seems minor when compared to confronting the institutional white supremacy which still exists in the United States. They are complementary goals because both involve accepting that black people are full members of American society, and our personhood and freedom is not peripheral to the democratic project, but rather central to it.

The White Gaze which believes that President Obama is not an American citizen is the same one that shot Renisha McBride in the head with a shotgun. They both operate from an assumption that the black body and the personhood of black people are existentially outside of what it means to be an “American”.

For that political imagination, black people are poisons in the body politic of the United States.

As a country, the United States has made great strides in confronting formal racism and white supremacy. There remains a long way to go in changing how people of color are still viewed as second class citizens deemed uniquely fit for a state best described as “unsafe, unguarded, and unprotected”.

The White Gaze which murdered Renisha McBride and Jonathan Ferrell and Trayvon Martin is predicated on the above assumption. Ultimately, the problem here is not with black or brown people. We have done nothing wrong. The White Gaze is a type of pathology, one that is incapable of viewing non-whites as full human beings.

Once more, although it will not, White America needs to have a moment of introspection and a “national conversation” about how its laws make it legal to shoot and kill innocent people of color who are "guilty" of "crime" such as walking down the street or seeking help after a car accident.

Originally posted to chaunceydevega on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 12:27 PM PST.

Also republished by Invisible People, RaceGender DiscrimiNATION, Firearms Law and Policy, and Black Kos community.

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Comment Preferences

  •  every day is a sundown day. (28+ / 0-)

    every town is a sundown town.
    my breathing is short and my heart is so heavy.

    Addington's perpwalk? TRAILHEAD of accountability for Bush-2 Crimes. @Hugh: There is no Article II power which says the Executive can violate the Constitution.

    by greenbird on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 12:33:28 PM PST

  •  I can't understand the hate, bigotry (22+ / 0-)

    and just plain evilness and I'm white.  I thank the gods daily
    that my mother had no color barriers, we were brought
    up with a diversity of people in our world.  It still shocks me to
    this day how ugly people are.  So sad...

    "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." *Ansel Adams* ."Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."*Will Rogers*

    by Statusquomustgo on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 12:51:20 PM PST

    •  They Believe The Hype (9+ / 0-)

      Tabloids, the local news, Limbaugh, et al. -- each of them offers up a paranoid view of the world with black criminality at the center of it. I'm sure somewhere this idiot murderer read or heard something about black women coming to your door late at night asking for help but when you open the door, their evil and even blacker partner pushes his way into the house rob/rape/murder/whatever you. I bet you this guy believes stuff like that.

      I'm not saying it doesn't happen or can't happen but it's not that ubiquitous.

      The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

      by The Lone Apple on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 01:16:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The problem is that it isn't just hate (18+ / 0-)

      and it isn't conscious. Even people who are liberal and otherwise not racist make racist snap judgments. People are more likely to perceive an object in a black man's hand as a gun than they would in a white mans hand. Even if they are black. The more we make this simply about hate the more we obscure the deeper problems.

      •  One of those deeper problems (11+ / 0-)

        is that our ALEC sponsored gun laws too easily enable people to act on those racist snap judgments and just take a life, just like that. Snap, snap. Don't like the music in the next car? Snap, snap! Someone's kid is dead.

        Someone knocks on the door in the dead of night? If you are really that scared you won't open the gdnm door. The gun made that man feel empowered to open the door and take offensive action.

        Thanks to New York's strict gun laws, Glenda Moore's tragedy of losing her boys, wasn't compounded by a shooting on the porch.

        "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

        by LilithGardener on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 01:41:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  to me Glenda Moore's tragedy was almost (12+ / 0-)

          worst than getting shot on the porch...  to think that no one would help her and her children during that storm just rips my heart out.  I have been refraining from commenting lately because all I can seem to say is the mother fuckers... that's what I think of those people that wouldn't help her.

          "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." *Ansel Adams* ."Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."*Will Rogers*

          by Statusquomustgo on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 01:58:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So true. Even if she hadn't been shot, the fact (5+ / 0-)

            that she could seek help and get none sickens me.

            Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

            by bigtimecynic on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 02:13:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Let's be fair (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Statusquomustgo, Amber6541

            as fair as we can be to all parties.

            I live in NY and my partner studied the reports of that tragic situation.

            The place where that occurred is the last street of that neighborhood, facing a park, the beach, and the ocean beyond. The water had probably already been up over the street for a few hours. There had been pre-announced time that the Verrazano bridge would be closed for the duration of the storm.

            Mr. Moore was a work. Glenda had to get her two kids to a relative's or friends so that she could report for work (that night or the next day, I don't remember).

            There may have been traffic backed up going onto the Verrazzano. She probably took a short cut, going down hill toward the beach, in an effort to make the bridge on time. On Father Cappodano boulevard she likely encountered high water and might have tried to turn around. It was probably hard to stay on the road because it was already covered with water. She drove off the edge of the road and got stuck. She got out and took her boys out of their car seats. Her boys were swept away by a large wave. This was probably right as the storm surge was really coming in full force. She managed to climb up steps to the man's porch and tried to get his attention.

            He was probably scared too, about losing his home, about how bad it could still get. The man may have lost power, might have had no access to any news about the storm. IIRC he lives alone. So maybe he was afraid of being taken advantage of by unscupulous actors? When you live in NYC you don't throw your doors open to someone who knocks. Period. That's not racist. That's prudence, living in a large city.

            Now you might ask why didn't he call 911 on her behalf? Maybe he tried. Or maybe he didn't have any phone service. As the storm surge hit, the NYC 911 system was overwhelmed, getting 10,000 calls per half hour. A lot of calls did not get through. The Office of Emergency Management posted notice on the local TV station not to call unless your life was at stake.

            During the same time there was a fire in Queens where more than 100 homes burned as firefighters and others had to just watch. They couldn't get in close enough and hook up to water hydrants. The volunteer firefighters in that neighborhood were flooded out and were busy rescuing themselves and getting people out.

            But back to Glenda Moore. The man didn't have a gun, he didn't shoot her, and she survived the night huddled on his back porch. I read this week that she and her husband are planning to have more children.

            That's the difference of a state with tight gun laws and a state with ALEC sponsored SYG laws.

            "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

            by LilithGardener on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 02:23:50 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  regardless of the gun issue & everything else (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              LilithGardener, Amber6541, bumbi

              What the hell... huddled on his back porch?!?!?!?

              But back to Glenda Moore. The man didn't have a gun, he didn't shoot her, and she survived the night huddled on his back porch. I read this week that she and her husband are planning to have more children.

              {{{{shakes head in absolute bewilderment}}}}

              "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." *Ansel Adams* ."Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."*Will Rogers*

              by Statusquomustgo on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 02:29:10 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Another thing to bear in mind (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Statusquomustgo, Amber6541, bumbi

                They were in zone A, that was under a mandatory evacuation order. She chose to drive there, he chose to stay there. His house is the last one at the end of the block next to a large open field.

                He may have stayed out of fear that an empty house was a magnet for thieves or looting. It's very easy to judge others' mistakes in retrospect. The two of them were just 2 out of hundreds of thousands who ignored the mandatory evacuation order for zone A.

                We all make our own calculated guesses about the risk. I'm not saying what he did was right. I'm just saying it's possible to understand it, if we acknowledge the fact that many people were complacent because Hurricane Irene passed over NYC as a virtual whisper. By the time Hurricane Sandy storm surge was here, it was too late for people to make back up plans.

                YMMV.

                "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

                by LilithGardener on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 02:38:41 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I just can't wrap my head around it (0+ / 0-)

                  there is no justification that can make me understand...

                  "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." *Ansel Adams* ."Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."*Will Rogers*

                  by Statusquomustgo on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 02:51:52 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  he was a very generous home owner letting that (10+ / 0-)

                poor Negress huddle there in a hurricane. a model for our humanity.

                •  christian charity at it best... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  bumbi

                  "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." *Ansel Adams* ."Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."*Will Rogers*

                  by Statusquomustgo on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 02:52:46 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  the thought of letting another human being (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  bumbi

                  huddle on my back porch while I am inside warm and
                  comfortable is vile and incomprehensible... regardless of
                  the circumstances.  

                  "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." *Ansel Adams* ."Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."*Will Rogers*

                  by Statusquomustgo on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 02:55:43 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You're making a lot of assumptions that really (0+ / 0-)

                    aren't warranted.

                    People were ordered to evacuate, and people who stayed were warned that the EMS services would not risk their lives to rescue if it was too dangerous to do so. Until I've lived through the experience of having ignored an evacuation order and finding myself surprised to find the Atantic Ocean knocking at my front door... let's just say I can't imagine how terrifying that was and will not pass judgment.

                    He is not to blame for her lost boys, not in any way. They were swept away by the storm surge. You are missing the fact that NYC experienced an 11 foot storm surge and she ran off the road in water that was deep enough to lift the car with the next wave.

                    Anger is understandable.

                    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

                    by LilithGardener on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 03:26:18 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I'm just stating how I feel (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      bumbi

                      I'm not judging just shocked it's the way I feel I didn't say he was responsible for her boys I understand there was a hurricane I just couldn't in good conscience have done that.

                      "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." *Ansel Adams* ."Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."*Will Rogers*

                      by Statusquomustgo on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 04:02:10 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I hear you - it horrifies me too (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Statusquomustgo

                        And I can't imagine what kind of world he lives in, before the storm, what would make someone who lives at the beach, literally facing the beach, decide to stay through a hurricane? And I can't imagine what how small is life is now that he's famous for letting her tough out the storm outside on his back deck.

                        "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

                        by LilithGardener on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 10:56:31 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  My judgement of him (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      high uintas, TheDuckManCometh, bumbi

                      has nothing to do with her boys... He denied a sobbing woman entrance to his home DURING A HURRICANE for 12 HOURS when she literally had nowhere else to go with the water surrounding the house. So she stayed outside where the water could have risen further and drowned her, where any number of debris could strike and injure her... As someone who would probably have died trying to help her find her children and knowing any number of people who would do the same, I can't imagine not even letting her into the house.  

        •  Actually, that's one of the symptoms (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LilithGardener, bumbi

          Those gun laws come from the racism and are an attempt to enforce the racism. They are a problem for sure, but they are the symptom as much as the disease.

      •  totally understand what you are saying... (7+ / 0-)

        it's just hard for me to grasp why people are so afraid that they
        make the racist snap judgements to begin with.  I travel all
        over, work will all kinds of people in some strange places
        for my job and I have found that if you smile at someone and
        ask "how are you today" no matter what color they are they
        smile back and reply "fine how are you".  

        It's all so senseless, unnecessary and sad...  We are all just
        humans with the same goals/aspirations to love and take
        care of our families, to make a living and be left alone to live
        in peace.  

        Sigh... sorry if I sound stupid, just care about everyone, have
        stopped for anyone I see that needed help no matter who they
        were, have fed the homeless no matter who they were, have
        hugged and comforted people in sad times no matter who they
        were.  I guess I'm just simple.

        "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." *Ansel Adams* ."Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."*Will Rogers*

        by Statusquomustgo on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 01:50:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Are you kidding me? With all the white gun nuts (6+ / 0-)

        walking around, and the fact that most mass shootings are by white guys,  I view white people with MORE suspicion than black people when someone is acting "odd."

        Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

        by bigtimecynic on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 02:12:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  funny, so do I... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bigtimecynic, Matt Z, Amber6541, bumbi

          "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." *Ansel Adams* ."Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."*Will Rogers*

          by Statusquomustgo on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 02:29:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well, it's not about facts, its about perception (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Amber6541, TheDuckManCometh

          That's what the white gaze is, perception.

          You're also more likely to be the victim of wage theft, but no one talks about that as an everyday threat, or at least most people don't. What we're talking about is our conditioned reaction based on what the media and culture feeds us.

          And you might have a learned suspicion but what I'm talking about is different. People of all different races are more likely to perceive and object held by a black man as a gun. It cuts across race line even. People are very surprised when they are tested and find out that they too have these conditioned responses.

  •  About that "national conversation on race" (20+ / 0-)
    Once more, although it will not, White America needs to have a moment of introspection and a “national conversation” about how its laws make it legal to shoot and kill innocent people of color who are "guilty" of "crime" such as walking down the street or seeking help after a car accident.
    Reluctantly, I have to agree that the conversation isn't going to happen.  We've been talking about having it for a good long while, but as you say, it can't happen until there's some actual introspection from white people.  (And it'll take a lot more than a "moment of introspection.")

    The introspection I'm talking about would necessarily entail white people acknowledging that we all benefit from racism, whether we are consciously working to perpetuate it or not.  It would also require an understanding on the part of white people that a lot of racism isn't conscious, so even honest claims that a person had no racist intent don't absolve that person of responsibility.

    Another important aspect would have to be a recognition that nonwhite Americans have entirely legitimate grievances that have yet to be addressed.  It's no answer to say that things have changed since the Brown decision and the civil rights laws of the mid-60s.  Sure they've changed, but the elimination of de jure discrimination hasn't brought about the elimination of discrimination in fact.  Statutes like Title VII, while both helpful and necessary, will not get rid of racism in our society, and we probably shouldn't expect them to perform such an overwhelming task.

    As a gay man, I look at the progress we've made on LGBT issues and note that they came about as a result of society's changing attitudes toward LGBT Americans.  Progress wasn't top down; it came at the individual level.  LGBT Americans came out and started living authentic lives.  That's what changed opinion.

    I don't know whether such a strategy will work for racism.  No one can guarantee he won't have a gay or trans child, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, or cousin.  So it can be harder to separate oneself from LGBTs.  Any family could end up with an LGBT member.  It's much easier to separate oneself from people of another race, which means that it's much easier to consider those people "others" who are unlike you.

    No matter what we do, the fact of the matter is that white people are going to have to own up to some very difficult truths.  Until we all do, I don't think we'll get very far.

    (My apologies for what may appear to be excessive pessimism.)

    "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

    by FogCityJohn on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 01:02:02 PM PST

    •  Insightful (4+ / 0-)

      I went through "Race Relations Training" when I entered the USAF in 1966 - a mandatory, in-your-face intense training designed to end any vestiges of racism/bigotry against black Airmen and women in the USAF.  Integration of the US Armed Forces began under President Truman, I think in 1949.  I literally saw racist, hateful persons who were forced to choose their racism or the USAF.  One or the other.  If they refused to change, they were discharged.  End of story.  The Air Force was then totally and beautifully integrated.  It was a poetic and inspiring change.  I loved it.

      The same thing happened with the integration of gays in the USAF and other branches of the US military.  Intense gay sensitivity training, thanks to President Obama, Secretary Gates and Admiral McMullen took place.  Hallelujah.  Reports are that there were no issues of compliance with the order to integrate fully gay troops into the USAF.  I am so proud of that.

  •  The Stress Agenda Continues... (4+ / 0-)
    Consequently, black Americans are not really allowed to seek help from white people; the Parable of the Good Samaritan does not apply to people of color as viewed through the twin lenses of Whiteness and the White Gaze.
    Not true at this white man's home, or on the road, or among my (two) offspring. But I'm of little consequence in the larger picture, and I so wish I could do more personally about ending the stress agenda that you speak of.

    What worries me about the future of this is that I was raised in a home where no group of people was ever put down for something they were born with (race), or that they chose to help them understand life (religion). What about others?

    To be inclusive, though, my wife was raised in a home where she overheard the 'there goes the neighborhood' comment once from her father when seeing a black family and, as she told me, she resisted that idea right away. She even asked her dad what he meant, and he did not answer.

    How can white folks who reject "The White Gaze,' who do not see through that evil lens, help?

    Yonder stands your orphan with his gun... Crying like a fire in the sun ~Bob Dylan

    by paz3 on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 01:16:06 PM PST

  •  Let's begin that conversation, today... (5+ / 0-)

    The spectre of racism has haunted our national gun policy since before the Second Amendment was even ratified. Many have been waiting a very long time for a conversation about why we enable extrajudicial killings of innocent people of color who were judged "suspicious" for simply walking down the street or seeking help after a car accident. Let's begin that conversation...

    Republished to Firearms Law and Policy

    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

    by LilithGardener on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 01:28:44 PM PST

  •  Over at HuffPost, some numbnut brought (10+ / 0-)

    up Castle Doctrine as some sort of reason for this tragedy. This Doctrine, however, is predicated on 'threat'. So I asked him where the threat was in a person approaching a home to ask for help.  Of course, there was no response.

    I hope that this murderer is brought to justice. It makes me so sad know such an innocent person should meet such a fate.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities" Voltaire.

    by JWK on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 01:33:20 PM PST

  •  Great diary! (6+ / 0-)

    We all need to do some serious thinking on this issue. What a tragic history we have. How can anyone possibly think we're a greater country than any other?

  •  Another thing I don't understand.... (5+ / 0-)

    I'm white. I grew up in rural midwest. From reconnections with classmates on FB, I can discern that many of them are bigoted at best, and probably racist.

    I don't understand how I escaped learning to hate. I wish I could understand how this blessed enlightenment happened to me so that I could share it with others.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities" Voltaire.

    by JWK on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 01:39:50 PM PST

  •  I used to work for US PIRG (7+ / 0-)

    and we canvassed in the Atlanta suburbs in the mid-90s, up until 9 pm, asking for donations and educating on environmental and consumer protection issues.

    Only had a gun (shotgun) pulled on me once, when I was training a black canvasser.   (I am guessing the shotgun wasn't for me.)

    We could both be dead if SYG was in effect then.

    No way in hell I'd let me kids do anything like that today.  Not even delivering pizzas, which I also did in college.

    I can only imagine how much greater that fear is parents of black kids.

  •  A few years ago I was driving home from work... (8+ / 0-)

    It was bitter cold and snowing heavily with a nasty wind.  I passed a disabled car, and shortly after passed a woman walking, so I stopped and offered her a ride home (we were @2 miles out of town at the time).  She seemed quite grateful, which made sense, but also expressed surprise that I would risk helping her, which struck me as bizarre; of course I would help someone in that situation (or most any, really).  It was only later it occurred to me that she probably presumed the fact she was African-American would somehow deter/scare me.  Such a sad (if not as tragic) commentary on our society.

  •  Don't look for help (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NormAl1792, LilithGardener, a2nite

    in gun country, while breathing as black.  Or gay.  Or different from everyone else in the neighborhood.  Simple as that.  I swear I would leave this godforsaken state, Florida, if I had good health and a little more money.  Somewhere, a place without guns would be better.  Ideally, the South of France, or a gated community in Costa Rica or Panama.  Any country with sane gun laws.  Leave Florida.  For the sake of one's own safety - the safety of one's partner or spouse and of the children.  Leave Florida.

    •  Er- in case you haven't noticed, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tommyfocus2003

      the whole damn country could be considered "gun country"

      "Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons." - Woody Allen

      by blueoregon on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 02:16:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You'd be safe as heck in Vermont (5+ / 0-)

      despite the fact that many of neighbors could be hunters and gun owners.  Just saying, it's the people.  You need some good old fashion Yankee sanity. And I hear Vermont is full steam ahead for single payer.

      Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

      by bigtimecynic on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 02:17:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It is almost always surprising to people (0+ / 0-)

      that I love the way of life in France - a civilized, fascinating, kind and gentle public square with the best health care system in the world, many workers' benefits, strong unions (even college students), love of good food and wine (no high fructose corn syrup to make everyone fat).  Good sexual vibes - not repressed.  Believe in "Liberty, Equality and Brotherhood."

      Well, I have lived in Belgium and travelled throughout France.  I never had a negative experience.  Even the country people were gracious and welcoming.  I served with NATO a couple of years and immersed myself in the Belgian culture.

      Paris is my favorite city.  I am not young and not in great health.  My income is fixed and not high.  I have some wonderful memories.

    •  ...or a gated community in Costa Rica or Panama (0+ / 0-)

      Yeah...hate to go to all the trouble of getting out of Florida only to have to move in next to one of those Spanish-speaking riff-raff types!

      Really...if you feel Florida is such a bad place, why would you want to go to some other place where you feel the need to wall off your privilege to protect it. Don't get that...

      And you also seem to wax so poetic about living in France. While I agree it is a beautiful country, the old white Frenchies can hate, segregate, discriminate, isolate, steal from, kill and demean just as well as their southern-redneck brethren over here. Just ask any of the 5 million French citizens of Arab descent.

  •  Great diary, thanks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener

    "Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons." - Woody Allen

    by blueoregon on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 02:17:00 PM PST

  •  There is no such thing as White America. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, Victor Ward

    I know it is convenient for advertisers and political strategists to create target blocks (Soccer Moms! NASCAR Dads!  Generation X!) , but reality is a different beast.

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 02:19:56 PM PST

  •  Thier is still unsettle business with Trayvon (0+ / 0-)

    And Blacks go from victim to victim ,without putting the  peddle to metal on previous death of blacks,this woman death will be more than an afterthought in some circle of the black community,until  the next black is  killed under similar circumstances

  •  Do we even know... (0+ / 0-)

    if she was killed by a white guy??  Zimmerman turned out to be Mexican or something so lets not jump to conclusions.

    And to be honest, the fact the this has been in the news for about a week and we still don't know the killer's name leads me to believe he is not white.

  •  White Gaze is everywhere (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener

    I think about it a lot, especially when it comes to our education system. The studies published in the last few years conclusively show that teachers of all colors really do see black children in a different way than others, which leads to greater punishments and less compassion.

    Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

    by moviemeister76 on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 04:02:12 PM PST

  •  This is an important post (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, viral

    but this is not just about racism. American are paranoid. And republicans keep them that way. It's republicans that keep the fear bar at maximum. It's republicans pushing eye for an eye justice (while at the same time hating the Muslim version of it).

    I hate to say it but that poor Renisha McBride should have had a phone on her. There are only a few houses in my own middle class neighborhood that I would be willing to knock on the door. We're all terrorized xenophobe gun-totting hate-filled malcontents.

    Knock twice, rap with your cane

    by plok on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 04:41:08 PM PST

  •  there is no paradox (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener

    if you look at things from a basis of class rather than a basis of race.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 04:48:10 PM PST

  •  One in every three black males go to prison! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    viral

    One in every three black males born today can expect to go to prison at some point in their life.
    Almost one in three (32.2%) young black men in the age group 20-29 is under criminal supervision.
    In 1860 there were 4million blacks, 1/2million free= that’s one in eight.  they've come a long way in 150 years … Or maybe not….

    More black men are behind bars or under the watch of the criminal justice system than there were in slaved in 1850
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...
    Post-civil rights era? Oh, you mean the crack era….
  •  Thanks for an excellent, insightful post (0+ / 0-)

    We will not be a truly equal society until all of us are seen as equally human.

  •  I wonder sometimes... (0+ / 0-)

    ...if the days of lynch mobs are really behind us. As the USA lurches toward an economic and environmental cliff, with the climate clock ticking away, could those days return?

    In times of severe social stress there will always be those who will look for scapegoats and are backed up by a  frightened ruling class.

    I believe it would be prudent to prepare for that possibility.

    "Don't believe everything you think."

    by BobboSphere on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 08:55:27 AM PST

  •  When viewing America's historical past.. (0+ / 0-)

    I find little to be proud of. That this level of racism still goes on, is even allowed in a polite society is shameful!
    The GOP of today not only promotes racism it doesn't condemn or shut down those who openly do it. This GOP of today..( I used to be one BTW).. operates for and by the racism still alive and well in America today. Worse, they want to bring it back and haven't the decency to acknowledge it, except among themselves.
    Every racist should be forced to watch the movie 12 years a slave and then if they still feel superior, perhaps it is them who we should exclude and fear.
    It's time we made being a racist socially unexceptable again! Even our President is subjected to racial abuses by the press and the GOP daily.
     I feel what these racist fear the most is that their own ignorant hatred of people of color might be turned back on them with the same sick intensity.  
    Instead of being ashamed of their racial brutality, they now fly offensive flags of ignorance.  Those white people are the ones we should be in fear of. Something EVIL is very wrong with these racists today and it's time we all stopped it from being "acceptable" anywhere!

  •  Can we talk about Black Gaze? (0+ / 0-)

    Human beings, like any other animal, fall prey to setting patterns. This is how they have survived until today. If they see a bad pattern, they go on the defensive. That is nature. Only a human mind can override that instinct, but it is still always there.

    I encounter some black people who don't even register as 'black' to me. Then I see their polar opposites walking around with pants around their ankles or bumping stereos in their cars, can barely string together a sentence in English. I feel it is unfortunate, but nonetheless some black people solicit what you call 'white gaze.' They crave this drama, this attention. If they get hassled by the cops or put in jail, then that's more braggin' rights. So, you go into the world and you encounter these patterns of black people. Some good, some bad. Then something like the Trayvon Martin case happens. And I don't know if he was killed by the black gaze or the white gaze. Zimmerman probably encountered the typical, trendy black thug teenager countless times. And Trayvon paid the price for those prior encounters. It is easy to blame Zimmerman or 'white gaze' because then black culture doesn't have to admit they are wrong. Not that Zimmerman was in any way justified, because it's 100% true that he had no reason to kill a kid in that fashion.

    I appreciate how well-written your article is, however you have to ask what causes 'white gaze.' White people don't just grow up disliking black people because of their skin color. White people don't dislike Ethiopians. They don't dislike other African immigrants- they dislike these types that want to be thugs and solicit attention and judgment from civilized people of all colors including black. So people give them what they ask for, and then they bitch about 'being kept down by the man,' when instead of working hard and saving money they just smoke weed with their dough or get drunk.

    I dislike the same attitude in white people. if someone wants to make some bastard kids, sell crack and get their face tattooed and be an overall p.o.s. then I don't really care what color they are. Black. White. They all piss me off. And if you want to project yourself that way, then others of your race will pay the price. Just like as soon as there's a mass shooting or serial killer, everyone (including white people), figures its another loner white dude. I am white and that is a fair stereotype because the loner white dudes are often, but not always, the pers in these cases. People are prey to patterns. That's just reality. Sorry. You're living a dream if you think you can have rappers talk about ass and weed and shooting people all the time and then not expect it to filter into peoples' minds.

    Can't have your cake and eat it too. Old saying. Very poignant.

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