Brother Ali: My fans are kicking the sh*t out of me over Trayvon Martin

Categories: Brother Ali
brother-ali-l-photocredit-JonathanMannion.jpg
Photo by Jonathan Mannion
Note: Brother Ali is a Minneapolis rapper signed to Rhymesayers Entertainment and is one of our 20 Best Minnesota Musicians. His latest album, Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color, will be released in August. Here are portions of an interview following the One Million Hoodies March for Trayvon Martin held March 29 at the University of Minnesota, which drew between 5,000 and 6,000 people.

Related:
Brother Ali on Occupy Homes and the foreclosure crisis
Slideshow: One Million Hoodies March for Trayvon Martin in Minneapolis

Brother Ali: The Trayvon Martin case is part of a legacy in our country that goes back to the very beginning. We created a racialized, second-class citizenship for black people. We had something back then called the refugee slave act, which basically meant that anybody black in America -- even in the North -- could be brought in under suspicion that they might be a runaway slave. We've always had this thing. Throughout time, after slavery, we had Jim Crow. We have a long legacy of the police killing unarmed black people that's still going on. We see about four or five of them every year.

As part of that legacy, vigilantes in the name of "protecting us" go out and hunt and target and kill black people. We saw this with the Klu Klux Klan, then lynch mobs, and we're seeing it with these vigilantes, like the Zimmerman guy. Every single one of these cases, all the way back to the beginning, we find a way to blame the victim. We find a way to let the killers off the hook.

The conversation that's coming out of this is showing that we've become very polite, and we've become deafeningly silent about institutional racism in our society. For a long time, we've given ourselves credit for work that we haven't completed. We've begrudgingly, at a snail's pace, doled out these concessions to our black citizens, but we've never really fixed the institutional problem.
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Photo by Hilary Stein

There's this really damaging, hurtful idea that stifles progress, that we're post-racial. A lot of people think that racism isn't a factor in people's lives anymore, and that Obama is the final symbol that we're past racism. The reality is that whether or not we're bigots individually, hate black people, or say the n-word, we're taught to look at it on a really individual basis. We can say, "I as an individual, I'm not racist." But the reality is that racism has become an institution of its own, and it's also a part of every single institution in American life.
 
Racial lines, class lines, gender lines, sexuality lines, religious lines, nationality, all of these things. We as the people in the dominant group have an unfair advantage. I think that's why we don't talk about this. When we let George Zimmerman off the hook, we're really letting ourselves off the hook. We really are negating our responsibility in this thing. Whether or not we as individuals are bigots, we are benefiting from a system that holds some people back for the benefit of others.
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Photo by Hilary Stein

We really need to take a grown-up, mature look in the mirror, and that's what we're missing. A lot of us can say, "George Zimmerman's a racist," or "Those cops in Florida are racist." The reality is that we have a system in place that keeps going, and we are the only ones who can demand for it to be different. In order to do that, we have to do some really serious soul-searching as members of the dominant, mainstream group. We have to really look and decide what kind of society we really want to live in, what kind of people we really want to be.

Also, this is a national security issue. This is a terrorism that black and brown people live with. The broader, mainstream society experienced on 9-11 what it felt like to be unsafe, vulnerable, and unprotected just based upon who we are. We started wars around the world for that. The reality is that 3,000 people died that day. We lynched 5,000 people in the South during Jim Crow. Since then, the numbers are in the thousands. Unarmed black people get killed by police, and unarmed, innocent people killed by self-appointed protectors of our society.

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281 comments
jimmykelly222
jimmykelly222

i love brother ali, but his white-guilt and douchiness was turned up to 11 for this article

thomas.m.crouse
thomas.m.crouse

Thanks, Brother Ali, for having the courage to raise this dialogue and make it heard. The push back will continue (see the haters below). Life is a video game: if you're encountering enemies, you know you're on the right track. Push through the push back, Ali! 

jm171717
jm171717

brother ali is a dousche

swellbo
swellbo

I have to argue with your premises, Mr. Brother Ali.

To begin with, the Trayvon Martin case has been hijacked by more than just the cause you're arguing for.  You say that the event is a demonstration of the failures of our racist society.  Some people say that it's the failure of our society to prevent idiots from getting guns.  Some say that young people are under attack.  Everyone seems to agree that you shouldn't shoot a guy in a hoodie regardless of his race.  Do you not support hoodies worn by Irish people?  Hell, you can say that the event could cause the sun to explode if you worded it correctly (forgive the exaggeration, internet.) 

And let's be clear- the shooting of Trayvon martin was an entirely fucked up situation.  It's not ok that somebody can kill a human being under suspicious circumstances and recieve an unfitting punishment from a reasonable and civilized society.  But when you try to hijack people's grief to advance an agenda, you will ALWAYS recieve "backlash," because your assumptions are going to be percieved as unfounded.  If Zimmerman had said "I shot and killed this man because he was black," you have a case this was racially motivated.  He never said that.  Maybe you thought he implied it.  Maybe you thought he implied it because it helps your case in some way.   Even if he did imply it, so what?  He's a by product of a racist society?  Because we all are.

Racism isn't over, but I object to your claim that we "created" a discriminatory society.  All society is prejudiced, because every person is prejudiced towards something.  Do you disagree?  Then how do you explain the current state of affairs?  Did one powerful group of prejudice people decide, based on the color or range of colors of someone's skin, that they would somehow do less "well" in this country?  Or did they decide that all people of the same similar attributes would do the same?  There are countless counterexamples to either case, meaning that these hypothetical people aren't exactly doing what you might be saying they are doing.  So perhaps everyone is responsible, and therefore is prejudiced.  Do you decide that an individual or group of individuals should take grief or responsibility for that? If we need to have a national dialogue on discrimination, we need to define our causes.  Society can't point at a fact such as the social standing of black people and then collectively allocate blame without first establishing some common ground.

Perhaps, like you said, it is the entirety of our country's culture that determines what happens during the relations of groups of people.  This is tricky, because you can't blame society for just one facet of injustice.  We did all of it.  And we, as you know, also includes you.  If what you're saying is true, then you killed Malcolm X just as much as I did.  So did every other black person, white person, and I guess when you think about it, every person that ever existed.  This begs the question, why did black people participate in the killing of Malcolm X?  Does this begin to sound absurd?  I'm simply following the logic that extrapolates from the premise of "we are all responsible."  Because it is not true that we all killed Trayvon Martin.  George Zimmerman did.  



Jesse.G
Jesse.G

Racism isnt an american phenomenon. It's global. It's a human issue. It's a fact, people fuck up. People hold grudges against the race of the person who fucked up. Unfortunately, as long as there are uneducated, ignorant people in the world, racism isn't going anywhere.

dylboz
dylboz

What the hell is all this "we" shit? "We" didn't do any of that stuff. I wasn't alive for most of that history, despite being acutely aware of it, so don't try and tar me with guilt over things I didn't do just because I'm white (about which I wont be ashamed nor feel guilty). People are INDIVIDUALS, responsible for their OWN actions, and their OWN motivations. Collectivist garbage is garbage, whether its political, racial or religious.

revauditguy1313
revauditguy1313

Brother Ali is 100% correct in his statements.   @timjohnsonpainting it seems like you are using your white sheets for more than just painting.  Any evidence that you or anyone for that fact is spewing about this case is incorrect.  It is all speculation and the eyewitness that said theysaw Trayvon on top of Zimmerman... that person has declined to testify to that in a court becasue it isn't true, they admitted that.   How about instead of accusing people of being ignorant throw some facts, backed up by actual court documents for this case.  Or just keep up the trolling timjohnsonpainting it's hilarious how much you believe everything you are saying.  

Tha1YouLuv2hate
Tha1YouLuv2hate

Good for Brother Ali he told it like it was the truth...but yet look at all the negitive comments on here smdh...If black ppl are so bad in your eyes how come u want to dress and act ike them but behind a screen your a raciest piece of sad shit lol...bet you wont say that on a crowded bus full of black ppl on it...What would you do??? Shit in you pants and suck you thumbs lol

Army Navy
Army Navy

Dude, Zimmerman is Hispanic.  Trayvon attacked Zimmerman and paid the price for his thuggery. Stop being guilty about being white.

Redautosurf
Redautosurf

Another white guy wanting blacks to think he is on their side by pointing his finger at Zimmerman. Shame on you Ali.

pitpat
pitpat

LOL @ white people saying "i don't see what the big deal is"

Econmetrics
Econmetrics

 "Tulsa's police department has been tainted by accusations of corruption. Three ex-police officers and a former federal agent were sentenced to prison in December after a two-year investigation involving allegations of falsified search warrants, nonexistent informants, perjury and stolen drugs and money. Two other ex-officers were acquitted of stealing money during an FBI sting but fired after an internal affairs investigation.

More than a half-dozen lawsuits have been filed by people who claim they were wrongfully locked up by police, and nearly 40 people had their convictions overturned or prison sentences commuted as a result of the corruption probe. Prosecutors have suggested the five police officers who were charged were part of a broader plot in which corrupt officers stole money and drugs, conducted illegal searches and fabricated evidence without fear of getting caught." From huff Post.

Some problems should just be beyond racial lines.  We know we have a growing police state.  A life can be lost and many people get away with it because they have a uniform on. We know that crime isn't punished equally across racial lines for the same crime. We know this.. it's not up for debate and yet nothing is being done about it.  It's not a problem for the majority because the court system is designed to usually protect their interest at the expense of others.  Unless those in the majority find them selves against those of higher class. Only then do we see how unfair the system can be.  However, criminalizing an entire class of people is very problematic and should be something we should all agree to fight agaisnt despite our back ground.

cmac
cmac

Don't mean to be a complete a-hole, but the culture of prodominatly black youths and their gangter attitudes/mindset frankly does not help people feel comfortable about their surroundings.  If you don't want to be treated like a gangster, don't act like a gangster.  I hope this case brings about respect for all people invovled, Zimmerman should see time behind bars or legally shot on the street (becasue I would feel a threat to my life as an African American with my hands in my pockets in sight of zimmerman)

Donny
Donny

America is not only one of the most racist places in the world, but the most lacking in true freedom and democracy. Compare it to Sweden or even Germany of all places. Complete health care coverage for all and tons of cultural benefits for all nationalities.Sorry, but America is dead since the Regan era f***d it all up and the rich right wing extremist started ganging up on the hard working people of the USA

Bronwen Eide
Bronwen Eide

I appreciate all of Brother Ali's commentary on Trayvon Martin. His writing has made me MORE of a fan of his than ever before. Brother Ali is educating me. Thank you. While reading his article in the City Pages it occurred to me that the "random violence" on Nicollet Mall in MPLS, particularly that on St. Patrick's Day, was not "random" at all but a response to how the youth here felt about Trayvon Martin. Although I do not condone violence as a "response" to violence, I realized that they were angry and frustrated on St. Patrick's Day about Trayvon Martin and that could have been a reason why a man named Pieter was badly beaten in an assault that no one could seem find a "motive" for. The situation could take us back to how many people felt after the Rodney King verdict. If we think a little deeper about the situation, which Brother Ali is helping us to do, we might be able to conclude that George Zimmerman not only murdered an innocent man but he created so much rage in the youth in our communities that he is also responsible to that extent for the assault on Pieter. Thank you for making me think about it. Perhaps our city and government officials should also think more deeply about the situation this past March before they impose stricter curfews on our youth in MPLS.

Marie
Marie

Thank You.  Dankie  ("Dung-Key")  merci   salamat    Arigato   Kamsa hamaida (kam'-sah hum-nee-dah' )     un millón de gracias     Ahsante   

Timjohnsonpainting
Timjohnsonpainting

Sick of all the bs.  You guys wanna protest about wearing hoodies?  I'm all for the slut walks and protests too.  But bottom line is, if you're going to dress slutty, chances are you will get a reaction. 

Same with if you're trying to look or act like a "gangsta".  If you look and act like a punk that's up to no good, chances are you will not be received well.  You could scream "sterotyper!"  Yeah?  So what?  It's was people do.  It's reality. 

All this bs talk that Africa was an enlightned cultural oasis before Europeans started buying slaves from other Africans is so delusional.  It's like the whole "noble savage" thing we've had here with Native Americans. I'm sorry but have you ever heard of the book "Exodus"?  Yeah, that's where a bunch of Jews were slaves of the Egyptian empire. 

Only white people are racist and privileged?  Only a delusional idiot could assume this.  The irony is, most people I see pushing an agenda are privileged in the first place.  That's great.  If you got the time and money to help people you deem are "underprivileged", by all means shut the hell up and do something about it.  That doesn't mean you need to force others to feel guilty because you do.  Just shut up and do something instead of talking about it.  If you feel guilty, that's you're own problem.

Delmore13
Delmore13

Damn son!  This was awesome!  Screw your fans backlash dude, stick to the truth and how you really feel and you'll never go wrong!

Huh?
Huh?

If "Race doesn't exist until people start talking about it", then why garble on for four pages worth of talking about it?    Pointing out differences can only ever serve to divide.   

There are 130 other 'stand your ground' cases in Florida.  This entire Zimmerman/Martin story is about justice (or lack thereof) and I find it odd that you are actually underscoring the importance of the bigger picture to change the subject to racism.  The Florida government appears to be treating a lot of victims in stand your ground cases with the same treatment as Trayvon Martin.  They are of all races.   His is not the only family wondering why no one cares about their murdered family member.  

This event should have conjured up discussions about guns and male rage and ineptly applied laws and how we as a country could figure out how to disown Florida..  

I'm also fairly sure that Malcolm X was killed by a black man.  That Beyonce and Jay Z are classic American tales of impressive success and should not be slighted for it.  That Ali's definition of cultural currency for young black kids is asinine, narrow minded, and a blatant admission that apparently the "we" problem he speaks of is more of a "him" problem.   That isn't how I view black people and their contributions and options.   In general, there is a narcissistic energy about the whole article.   The title of the article manages to include  the words, "me", "my", and Brother Ali's name, and there are only fourteen words in the title, eleven if we omit the prepositions.  

Facepalm
Facepalm

"I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters." - Frank Lloyd Wright

Aubreyhusar
Aubreyhusar

Ummm..." we " as white people as your picture declares, didnt kill malcolm x, he was actually assassinated by members of his own race... allegedly for going against the tenets of the nation of islam...

Iyamb001
Iyamb001

great words Brother Ali...I wished more white's had your len's and the perspective that many are neglecting to even consider or even acknowledge. As a black man I must take a different stance to reach the myopic minded, but I agree with you whole heartedly..Peace and blessings

Me
Me

The Zimmerman guy called the cops on everyone from playing children to happy, partying neighbors.  He's not racist, he's a frickin busybody. 

el_commondante
el_commondante

Just reading this gringo going on about how being albino made him identify with minorities, namely black, and our American experience (I'm Mexican) shows what a dumb ass he is and all who who agree with such white guilt ramblings. Trayvon lived the thug life and got taken out by another thug, end of story.                                                                                       Zimmerman is by the way a Latino, we all don't have Hispanic last names but you wouldn't know that because you learn all about our culture from magazines and driving through our barrios on the way to Starbucks and such. So, pat each other on the back and feel like you've really done something by responding positively to this drivel.

Erin H
Erin H

Thanks for this, Brother Ali--your analysis is totally right-on. Thank you for sharing it. 

stop and think
stop and think

I think a lot of this article is misguided in its' assertions that "we" have a lot of work to do in ridding our society of racism. I think by "we" he is referring to himself and other whites. This way of thinking puts no impetus on any other group to change at all and doesn't take into account the immense positive changes that have been made by whites in this country over the past decade. Ask yourself white people, how many legitimate racists do you know? 

While Trayvon's death is certainly a tragedy (aren't all untimely deaths?), and we shouldn't play the media's game and jump to conclusions when we don't have all of the facts, there is something to be said about the "Do I look suspicious?" campaign and the origins of people's suspicion of young black men who portray themselves a certain way and might be best summarized with the words of George Mason professor Walter Williams "The fact that black parents, teachers, politicians and civil rights organizations tolerate and make excuses for the despicable and destructive behavior of so many young blacks is a gross betrayal of the memory, struggle, sacrifice, sweat and blood of our ancestors. The sorry and tragic state of black education is not going to be turned around until there's a change in what's acceptable and unacceptable behavior by young people. That change has to come from within the black community. " emphasis mineCommentaries like this always simply pull at the heartstrings of soft people who want to appear sympathetic but don't have the information or heart to do what's right. In the mind's of these people "we" always need to do something but never give any constructive ideas. What should "we" do? We already do a lot I think and the policies governments have instituted have been disastrous and only served to worsen the plight of disenfranchised blacks and heighten the power of race card playing politicians. Our reverse racist government policies which on the surface seem to be aimed at helping blacks have created ghastly moral hazards within black populations and inhibit the relative rise of poorer black people's economic condition. Knowing this there is nothing we can or should do to help but to undo the burdening welfare state and give blacks (and everyone else for that matter) true economic freedom.

We live in a multicultural society where the reality is that not all cultures are created equal. What we need to do, and I think most of us are good at, is treat each other with respect and dignity. Don't look at other groups as the source of your personal problems because your shortcomings are your own. Don't fall into cultural traps if you know that they don't lead to the prosperity of you and your family. Most importantly, don't look to a government official or political organization to help you, they only seek to further their own power and control.

"The shortest and surest way to live with honour in the world, is to be in reality what we would appear to be; and if we observe, we shall find, that all human virtues increase and strengthen themselves by the practice of them."-Socrates 

Fister_20
Fister_20

Wasn't it the southern DEMOCRATS that started the KKK???

mike.ryan.bartlett
mike.ryan.bartlett

@dylboz But as a group of individuals is it not the responsibility of a individuals within a group for ensuring that every individual within our society has the opportunities you yourself as an individual desire? I agree, I didn't cause slavery, I was not born into a family that explicitly racialized issues, but I can recognize implicit systemic biases. Yes, people are individuals, responsible for their own actions, but political policy and institutional norms effect everyone collectively so I think it is a necessary half of the discussion. That is why individuals like Brother Ali take it upon themselves to identify these norms effectively taking responsibility for issues and hoping it will entice other individuals to critically look at their relationship to a set of social norms that effectively excludes entire groups of people from societal accessibility.

TeamJesus
TeamJesus

@Army Navy Hey Army Navy, Your comment is highly offensive. To be honest, you weren't there, therefore you cannot provide an accurate description of what happened. One thing you should focus on is the ten commandments, one of them states "Thou Shalt Not Kill". Zimmerman committed an inhumane act and it was racially motivated. God will handle him. My suggestion to you; Do not spew your ignorance, hatred or such biased opinions which go against the plight for making change. I will pray for you, we don't need this type of ignorance in our City. Btw, Zimmerman's father was White, Jewish and a judge which is quite interesting. Do your homework. 

mike.ryan.bartlett
mike.ryan.bartlett

@Redautosurf are you suggesting that this is 'a black issue' and cannot be universally understood or experienced? I am not meaning to troll. I am only asking that you clarify, understanding that Ali is a albino muslim.


Army Navy
Army Navy

when some white guy is ramming your head into the ground, im sure you wont think that is any big deal?

olivia2094
olivia2094

@cmac It's easy to say "don't act like a gangster" for people who have never had to choose between that lifestyle and death or other inhumane circumstances that our society chooses to ignore and blame on the "gangsters" themselves. I'm not saying I know your life and what you have experienced, but this rhetoric succeeds in keeping the problem invisible. If the problem remains invisible, it will never be stopped. 


For example, it is true that there are a large number of black individuals in prison and most of them probably committed a crime. However, when you take a good long look at the practices surrounding this fact, you can see that these people are systemically discriminated against at every point in life. 

Studies have shown that white people are just as likely to commit drug crimes than blacks, and when income is controlled, blacks and whites commit the most violent acts. Even though this is true, predominantly black neighborhoods are targeted more often than white neighborhoods for drugs and such. 

Then, a lot of African americans aren't given adequate representation in the courtroom and are often given longer sentences than whites for the same crime. If you look at the sentencing for drugs that are associated with black people (crack cocaine) and white people (powder cocaine), you can see that historically, those drugs that are associated with blacks are given higher sentences. Higher sentences for the same drug in a different form. As if that isn't obvious enough to prove that there is systemic racism, there is also the discrimination against felons when they get out of prison, in public assistance, jobs, etc. This forces them into poverty and often right back to crime. We criminalize these people when we don't give them any other options. Then they end up living in the same impoverished and predominantly minority communities and have children and these children are subject to the same discrimination.

When are we going to realize that our racialized hierarchy is in part responsible for "black culture" and stop telling people to stop "act[ing] like a gangster" when they are often given no other choice?

Timjohnsonpainting
Timjohnsonpainting

 You almost had it right.  But where you show your ignorance is saying Zimmerman should be behind bars without using any evidence to back your statement up. 

Fact:  eyewitness report and evidence found at scene were in agreement. Eyewitness testifies he sees the black guy on top of and assaulting Zimmerman.  Evidence shows Zimmerman has cuts and blood on his face and grass and grass stains on the back of his shirt. 

Before you idiots make claims out of thin air, investigate what the evidence is. 

Timjohnsonpainting
Timjohnsonpainting

 Yep, it must be Zimmerman's fault somebody in MPLS got their ass kicked...What planet are you from, the "hey I can jump 10 million miles and reach an idiotic conclusion" one? 

NoLimitSkittles
NoLimitSkittles

Id like to see you look Pieters family members in the eye and tell them that.

me
me

The mob attack teens on Nicollet have attacked people six times now, starting back in February, before the Trayvon Martin story was a story.  They're just criminals.  Sorry. 

Drewl
Drewl

Right... Racism will just go away if we stop talking about it...

Wow.

I don't disagree that the stand your ground law is really the issue with this case, but the stand your ground law was a product of fear and institutionalized racism. Racism IS the bigger picture.

Since there are so many people here who don't seem to get it, let me make this clear (though I know this will fall on deaf ears, since not even BROTHER ALI and his eloquence could get this simple point across): there is a difference between individual, conscious racist behavior and systematic, subconscious, institutionalized racism. Just because an individual (like you or I or the Brother) chooses not to discriminate, stereotype or otherwise degrade a given minority based on their skin color does NOT fix the problem that racism is deeply rooted and engrained in the American societal structure. To refute that is to ignore simple statistics and years upon years of perseverance from minority groups fighting for change.

We, speaking as a privileged white American, are always so quick to point out "I haven't done anything wrong, so quit telling me to change!" Or, to quote you directly, "That isn't how I view black people and their contributions and options." That is the issue. Inflated egos and a "don't blame me" mentality keep the issue from ever reaching any light. So it continues to perpetuate and America continues to fall behind in the global rat race.

Did you actually read the article or just glance over it and then react?

Mencken
Mencken

I look forward to all you hand-wringing pussies being beaten half to death by a black flash mob that couldn't give two shits about your good intentions.If one were to do a demographic breakdown of which part of the taxpayer base spends the most on charities and "community enrichment"programs,then juxtapose that with the percentages of white-on-black crime as opposed to black-on-black crime,one might reasonably conclude that NO ONE,not even other black people,are nicer to black people...than white people.

Mencken
Mencken

A Black Flash Mob (described as Youths) Assaulted a 78 Year Old White man in Toledo, Ohio.

They were screaming "This is for Trayvon" & "Kill That White Man."

Let the excuse-making begin!

is ignorance bliss?
is ignorance bliss?

Your ignorance is astounding. "Trayvon lived the thug life and got taken out by another thug - end of story." Is that what you think happened? He was shot in a gated community, after visiting a convenience store to buy SKITTLES, and was shot by a 'community watch coordinator.' Does that sound gangster or thug to you? Also, when did he mention anything along the lines of how being albino helps him identify with black people? He is merely stating that white people need to address the deep rooted racism in this country - how could that irk you? 

Get your head out your ass man.

olivia2094
olivia2094

@Fister_20 The political parties today are not really similar to how they were during those times. They went through kind of a switch in the way that they lean….so even if they did why does it matter?

dylboz
dylboz

@mike.ryan.bartlett It is alienating (not to mention unethical) to assign collective gult to individuals for historical crimes they didn't commit, and to tell them they are benefiting from "white privilege" to such an extent they ought to feel ashamed of themselves, or have some reason to atone. I didn't create the white privilege I supposedly benefit from anymore than a black man created the racism he experiences. I can't change the circumstances of my birth, either. So, to tell me I am part of some institution of oppression, and to indict me as a willful co-conspirator in all its machinations is to essentially make an enemy of me. Typically, when you do that, even just rhetorically, you'll get the same defensive, reactionary responses from most people. Je 'cuse...

It gets even worse when folks acts like it's a valid excuse for the initiation of violence (which includes passing laws which use the force of government to control people's behavior toward each other), as a commenter in this thread did, essentially suggesting that it was Zimmerman's fault that some entirely unrelated black kids beat the crap out of an also entirely unrelated white guy in a city a thousand miles away. Any system of thought that justifies violence against one individual simply because he or she shares characteristics, whether physical, ideological or religious, with another person or group of people is shameful. Indeed, collective punishment is regarded as a war crime in international law.

Anyway... why not start with the here and now? Why nurse ancient grievances over crimes for which neither victim nor perpetrator still draws breath on this earth? Why pick sides based on race, when in many cases (the Martin/Zimmerman one in particular) it is, at most, an ancillary factor? I was on Treyvon's side in the immediate aftermath, and fell for the media narrative, hook line and sinker. As more facts came out, I realized I had been fooled, and the media narrative was just that, a story crafted to inflame racial tensions and provoke anti-gun and self-defense hysteria. It was twisted to further an agenda. Brother Ali is unfortunately pursuing that same agenda above, despite it no longer conforming to the facts as we know them.

As so often happens in America, a tragedy was compounded through its exploitation for political purposes. Sides are chosen, and the shouting commences. That is a sure way to divide people and destroy any hope for a post-racial future.

mike.ryan.bartlett
mike.ryan.bartlett

Which I recognize is not a race, before anyone loses their mind lol But by accepting Islam he has also accepted his fair share of discrimination and suspicion that would be experienced by those in this collective group of peoples. Therefore, I would think it is possible for him to relate to Trayvon in a non-shameful way


TeamJesus
TeamJesus

@Army Navy That isn't true. 

Mencken
Mencken

Oops!

A fifty-one year old white man is on life support after being attacked with a hammer by two black males in Dandorra,blocks away from where the "St.Treyvon" rallies were being held.Wonder if his family will get a call from Obama...

mike.ryan.bartlett
mike.ryan.bartlett

@shinmei2006 Thank you, that was essentially what I was getting at. The fact is that even starting in the here and now as dybolz suggests would require recognitions of present day institutional problems. Whether you take an ahistorical perspective or not these issues need to be addressed because they are presently problematic. Regardless of a an historical precedent, they need to be address by individuals, whom make up collective institutional bodies. So @dylboz I am a white hetero middle class male, and do not feel guilty for anything historical, I am actually quite proud of my situation as per the work my forefathers put in to get me here, as I am sure you are too. With all that aside I recognize that others are not in the same position and in the present day do not have similar opportunities, and there is often an image or group that embodies particular conflict. In this case, Hispanic Americans and Black Americans. The question I think is necessary to ask of individuals, is why are these racial groups persistently represented in these types of cases and how do the current institutional norms facilitate and perpetuate this situations. As these institutional norms are very present, and effect groups on mass.


shinmei2006
shinmei2006

@dylboz  I see what you're getting at, however I believe your point both neglects to address and subsequently exemplifies the crux of this issue.  I am also a white man, toward which I feel no guilt or shame.  However I am a living thing who just so happens to be alive before I am white or a man, and what I have been born into is a society that quite arbitrarily, due to errors of its past, has embedded within itself these vestigial contaminations like racism.  Don't you think your whole life perspective would be accordingly altered if you knew that your culture INSTITUTIONALIZED nightmarishly unethical treatment of your family and very identity in an uncomfortably recent past?  Yet you refuse to even acknowledge this issue long enough to extend compassion toward that whole group of people who feel its presence nearly every day of their lives.  Maybe if you felt that compassion was not being demanded or required of you (never feel guilty or shameful), you would offer it freely...  Also, I find it relevant that you seek to defend (I tend to think of it as "sentimentalize") guns in the same breath.  I feel, as do, it seems, the majority of other developed countries in the world, that is is American gun owners who are behaving hysterically.  They would rather symptom solve and encourage a citizens arms race than tarnish their John Wayne cultural mythology, grow up a little, and evolve into a healthier relationship with their weapons.  I'm willing to venture that many slave owners (not to compare the issues, only the attitudes), believed the practice was (besides being morally bankrupt) an example of an excessively indulgent cultural institution, but were unwilling to cease it because it would be uneconomical, inconvenient, impractical... 

NoLimitSkittles
NoLimitSkittles

And...

-- A 13-year-old Kansas City boy is back home after two teenagers poured gasoline on him and lit him on fire.

It happened Tuesday at the teen's home on Quincy Avenue, just down the street from Kansas City's East High School. The boy lives less than two blocks away from the school and was walking home when the attack happened.

Melissa Coon said her son turned from the school's stadium onto Quincy Avenue and noticed two teenagers following him. She said the teens followed her son home and attacked him outside his front door.

"And they rushed him on the porch as he tried to get the door open," she said. "(One of them) poured the gasoline, then flicked the Bic, and said, 'This is what you deserve. You get what you deserve, white boy'."

Mencken
Mencken

And...

Seven black teens have been arrested on suspicion that they committed a hate crime when they attacked a 15-year-old Hispanic boy while he was walking home from school in Southern California, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office.

The March 14 beating in Palmdale was captured on video and posted on YouTube, but has since been removed from the site. The seven boys, ages 13 to 16, were arrested Wednesday for investigation of assault and committing a hate crime, Lt. Don Ford said.

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