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Martin verdict makes being black far more hazardous

Sunday, July 21, 2013
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I believe the George Zimmerman verdict will be of greater racial and civil significance for blacks than the O.J. Simpson trial.

First of all, there is no epidemic of old black ex-football player movie stars (allegedly) killing their young white wives and their friends.

But there has been a dramatic increase in the number of black males killed by whites under “stand your ground” laws. Defendants claiming “stand your ground“ as a justification for their acts of violence are more likely to prevail if the victim is black. Seventy-three percent of those who killed a black person faced no penalty compared to 59 percent of those who killed a white, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

It’s not so hard to imagine that this not guilty verdict might just give any white man the ammunition (pun intended) or gumption to approach any black man on the street and ask them anything they want, such as: “What are you doing? Where are you going? Why are you here?”

And what if the black man tells his white inquisitor to back off, and the white man responds in a menacing way or tries to detain him or attempts to lay hands on him? And what if the black fellow refuses to surrender to the stranger, how is it that he becomes the criminal and the white man has the right to kill him?

We may be returning to a practice that was common in past times when, if a white man was walking on a sidewalk and a black person was walking towards him on the same sidewalk, the black person had to step into the ditch or road and give the white man the whole sidewalk to pass.

One other thing that makes the Zimmerman case far more significant than the Simpson case is that what Zimmerman was accused of, and what the police are often guilty of, is denying people of color due process and equal treatment with their disparate use of official violence. And they are often willing to use deadly force even when their lives are not in danger and their victims are unarmed.

Killed by cops

According to the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, a black man, woman or child died at the trigger of law enforcement every 28 hours in America last year.

It’s easy to kill, but to be civilized is to help people live and to seek ways to end animosity and needless death. You can’t fall into the trap of criminalizing youth or using blanket stereotypes or fearing and wanting to kill someone because they don’t look like you.

That’s why the verdict in the Zimmerman case was so uncivilized, and why it will leave a deep scar for many years to come.

Kevin Alexander Gray is a writer for Progressive Media Project, which is affiliated with The Progressive magazine.

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July 21, 2013
6 a.m.
Phils2008 says...

"Times analysis did not find any obvious bias in how black defendants have been treated". One simple sentence completely omitted from the article written by the Times. Gray also does not give you any statistics letting you know how many times blacks invoked stand your ground as opposed to whites. He simply wants to leave you with the impression that we have a racist situation. He does not want you to know that most blacks are killed by blacks. Nor does he give you any information at all about law enforcement other then citing something from the "Malcolm X grassroots Movement" What is that? This article is nothing but useless crap designed to ensure brain impaired liberals continue stoking race fires across this country. Writing to an unintelligent base has got to be the easiest job in the world.

July 21, 2013
6:37 a.m.
muggy says...

This letter is designed to stoke hatred. Gray states, "Seventy-three percent of those who killed a black person faced no penalty compared to 59 percent of those who killed a white, according to the Tampa Bay Times." Does he not know that many murders in the inner city go unsolved because witnesses will not talk to police? And why is the Zimmerman trial a black/white issue? Zimmerman WASN'T white. Zimmerman was attacked. Now Obama, who lit the match for protests by saying, "If I had a son, he'd look just like Trayvon" adds gasoline to the fire during his Friday press conference. We live in dangerous times. Obama will not "waste a crisis," even is it is a created event.

July 21, 2013
8:21 a.m.
reader1 says...

Not a very thoughtful editorial but throwing stones at Obama misses an important point. Black parents look at this case and imagine - "What if my son, grandson, etc. were walking though a neighborhood and someone followed them and, being understandably annoyed they confronted their pursuer." Those people are concerned that a similar confrontation could end the same way.

Don't let the wrong headed logic of this bad editorial lead you to believe that the President's concerns were not felt by many African American adults. Is the President to be blamed because he expressed a sentiment held by many?

July 21, 2013
8:55 a.m.
muggy says...

If George Zimmerman is murdered, I blame President Obama, Eric Holder, and the race/hate-baiters: Sharpton and Jackson.

July 21, 2013
10:42 p.m.
cheeseburger says...

it was o.k. for oj simpson to kill two whites. the blacks cheered that whites were killed, but that was o.k.

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