This Week on OUR COMMON GROUND φ “40 Years, $1 Trillion, 45 Million Arrests Later: “The Truth About the War Against Us” φ LIVE

OUR COMMON GROUND with Janice Graham

“The Truth About the War Against Us”
09-12-15 War on Drugs4
40 Years, $1 Trillion, 45 Million Arrests – the war still rages against our community. IT WAS NEVER ABOUT DRUGS

 Saturday, September 12, 2015

10 pm EDT
LISTEN LIVE and Join the OPEN Chat

LISTEN LIVE HERE

Learn more and join us on Facebook
Call In – Listen Line: 347-838-9852

This week on OUR COMMON GROUND, we review and examine the truth about the policies and intent of the “War on Drugs”. We need to talk about the money making behind the politics; how the drug war can be considered slow Nazi policy on the poor and the racial profiling used. We look at these destructive and failed policy and manipulation in its historical context and destructive outcomes. We will present audio clips for our discussion which will assist us in understanding just how much the “War on Drugs” was really never about drugs.

For sheer government absurdity, the War on Drugs is hard to beat. After three decades of increasingly punitive policies, illicit drugs are more easily available, drug potencies are greater, drug killings are more common, and drug barons are richer than ever. The War on Drugs costs Washington more than the Commerce, Interior, and State departments combined – and it’s the one budget item whose growth is never questioned. A strangled court system, exploding prisons, and wasted lives push the cost beyond measure. What began as a flourish of campaign rhetoric in 1968 has grown into a monster. And while nobody claims that the War on Drugs is a success, nobody suggests an alternative. Because to do so, as Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders learned, is political suicide.

As a community we need to understand how Drug War fever has been escalated; who has benefited along the way; and how the mounting price in dollars, lives, and liberties has been willfully ignored. Where are the policy maker offices where each new stage was planned and executed? What happened in the streets where policies have produced bloody warfare. This is a tale of the nation run amok – in a way the American people are not yet ready to confront. Are you?

You are invited to bring your thoughts about the pressing issues facing our community. Come listen and learn. SHARE please.

OUR COMMON GROUND where friends come to confer with allies.

Listen & Call In Line: 347-838-9852
Saturday, September 12, 2015 10 pm ET
Join the LIVE Broadcast Here

 http://bit.ly/1KIQv2q

            BROADCASTING   BOLD BRAVE & BLACK

Web     Facebook     Community Forum   Pinterest    Visit our Tumblr Page

Twitter: @JaniceOCG #TalkthatMatters

“Speaking Truth to Power and OURselves” 

email: OCGinfo@ourcommonground.com

Call In – Listen Line: 347-838-9852

 

 

Jordan Davis, Another Victim of a Murderous Historical Continuum | Politic365

Jordan Davis, Another Victim of a Murderous Historical Continuum 

Dr. Wilmer Leon, Producer/ Host of the Sirius/XM Satellite radio radio program “Inside the Issues”

Can a Negro, whose ancestors were imported into this country, and sold as slaves, become a member of the political community formed into existence by the constitution of the United States…they are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word “citizens” in the constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for…” Chief Justice Roger Taney – Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857)

The verdict is in.  Michael Dunn was found guilty on three counts of attempted second-degree murder but the jury failed to reach a verdict on the most significant charge of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Jordan Davis.

Instead of celebrating what would have been his 19th birthday, Jordan Davis’ parents continue to mourn the legally unrecognized murder of their son. I can only imagine that this verdict is analogous to killing him again.  Jordan Davis has become another victim of a murderous historical American continuum.

In the wake of the Trayvon Martin murder, the killings of Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day 2009, Sean Bell on November 26, 2006, Police Sgt. Cornel Young, Jr. on January 28, 2000, Police Officer Willie Wilkins on January 11, 2001, Amadou Diallo on February 4, 1999 and so many others we find ourselves coming to the same conclusion, by focusing on their color; people failed to see theirhumanity.

The subtext to all of these untimely deaths remains race.  The subtext to the inability of juries to convict the George Zimmerman’s and Michael Dunn’s of the world of murder is tied to race as well. They are the most recent victims of a murderous historical American continuum.  Tolnay and Beck in their book A Festival ofViolence, “identified 2,805 victims of lynch mobs killed between 1882 and 1930 in ten southern states.  Although mobs murdered almost 300 white men and women, the vast majority-almost 2,500-of lynch victims were African-American.  The scale of this carnage means that, on average, a black man, woman, or child was murdered nearly once a week, every week, between 1882 and 1930 by a hate driven white mob.”  Today, lynch mobs have been replaced by Zimmerman’s and Dunn’s and sanctioned by “Stand Your Ground” and “juries of their peers”.

As Africans in America and later African Americans, we have been engaged in a struggle for a very long time. Too many of us have forgotten what’s at the crux of the issue.  Many believe it’s economic, others believe its civil rights.  Both of those are important and play a significant role in improving our circumstance but what we’ve been  fighting to have recognized since those first 20 and some odd “African indentured servants” disembarked from the Dutch Man O War off the shores of Jamestown, VA in 1619 (395 years ago)is to be considered human.

According to the Virginia Statutes on Slavery, Act 1, October 1669; what should be done about the casual killing of slaves?  “If any slave resist his master and by the extremity of the correction should chance to die, that his death shall not considered a felony, and the master should be acquitted from the molestation, since it cannot be presumed that prepense malice should induce any man to destroy his own estate.”  We were property, not human – part of the estate.

In Dred Scott Chief Justice Taney wrote, “…they (Negro’s) were at that time an considered as a subordinate and inferior class of beings, who had been subjugated by the dominant race, and, whether emancipated or not, yet remained subject to their authority, and had no rights or privileges but such as those who held the power and the government might choose to grant them.”  Unfortunately, Taney’s perspective remains prevalent in the minds of too many Americans.

For decades, the law recognized the value of life over property.  In many jurisdictions, before a person could use deadly force they had a duty to retreat.  They had to prove that the use of deadly force wasjustified. This is often taken to mean that if the defendant had first avoided conflict and secondly, had taken reasonable steps to retreat and so demonstrated an intention not to fight before eventuallyusing force, then the taking of a life could be considered justified.

Today, Stand Your Ground has turned this long held principal on its head.  Today it provides individuals (seemingly mostly European American’s) the right to use deadly force (seemingly against African American’s) to “defend” themselves without any requirement to evade or retreat from a circumstance of their own creation.

One cannot stress enough, in both the Treyvon Martin murder and the murder of Jordan Davis, both victims were in public space, engaged in legal activity, and at the time they were confronted were not a threat to anyone. George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn initiated the confrontations, put themselves in harm’s way, and thentook matters into their own hands, choosing to use deadly force against unarmed and non-threatening innocent victims.  Neither Martin nor Davis was given the opportunity to stand their ground.

What ties the death of all of the individuals listed above together is the culturally accepted stereotype of the threatening Black male. Defense counsels in the murder of Treyvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Amadou Diallo and so many others rationalized these irrationalshootings by tapping into the oftentimes unspoken but clearly recognized and understood fear of the Black male.

Even though no weapon and nothing resembling a weapon was found in the vehicle Jordan Davis was riding in, at least one member of the Dunn jury understood his claim that he was in fear of his life.  Even though Treyvon Martin was unarmed, members of the Zimmerman jury understood on a gut level his claim that he was in fear of his life.  Amadou Diallo was armed with only his wallet when NYPD unleashed a barrage of 41 bullets striking him 19 times.

Since those first 20 and some odd “African indentured servants” disembarked from the Dutch Man O War off the shores of Jamestown, VA in 1619 African’s in America and now African Americans have been victimized by a murderous American historical continuum.

Dr. Wilmer Leon is the Producer/ Host of the Sirius/XM Satellite radio channel 110 call-in talk radio program “Inside the Issues with Wilmer Leon” Go to http://www.wilmerleon.com or email:wjl3us@yahoo.com. http://www.twitter.com/drwleon and Dr. Leon’s Prescription at Facebook.com  © 2014 InfoWave Communications, LLC

 

 

Jordan Davis, Another Victim of a Murderous Historical Continuum | Politic365.

Tim Wise » Choosing Whiteness or Humanity: Jordan Davis and the Minimizing of Black Pain

Jordan Davis was killed by a white man, who had learned well the lessons of his country, handed down by other white men going on 400 years now. The fact that some black men have also int

ernalized those lessons — that black life is not worth much and as such can be disposed of with nary a second thought — does not change the identity of the teacher.

via Tim Wise » Choosing Whiteness or Humanity: Jordan Davis and the Minimizing of Black Pain.

Update: Marissa Alexander Is Given No Bail Today – New Evidence Comes To Court

WED NOV 13, 2013

Updated: Marissa Alexander Is Given No Bail Today – New Evidence Comes To Court

by Leslie SalzilloFollow

in SOLIDARITY mARISSAMarissa Alexander, the Florida woman who was sentenced to 20 years for firing a warning shot to ward off her abusive husband, was granted no bail Wednesday afternoon in a Jacksonville courtroom. The mother of three will most likely not get to spend Thanksgiving or Christmas with her children, as the ‘deciding judge’ opted to make no decision and set another hearing for January 15, 2012 – pending of course, that he does, or does not, change his mind.In 2010, just days after giving birth, Marissa Alexander fired a warning shot in self-defense to keep her abusive husband, Rico Gray, from attacking her. In his deposition, Gray who has a history of abusing Alexander, admitted it, stated he intended to hurt her had she not fired the warning shot, and said she did the right thing. He also said Alexander did not aim he gun at him. Gray then changed his story once the case went to trial. He walked out a free man – Marissa Alexander, the battered wife, received 20 years. The Florida Stand Your Ground Law did not work for Alexander because she fired a warning shot. Had she shot and killed Rico Gray that day, she would have most likely served no time at all.

My source who was in the courtroom today, reported new evidence has been brought forth – a text message of Rico Gray asking Marissa to come over for sex while there was an order of protection. Rico Gray claims Marissa should not be let out on bond because he is afraid of Marissa; he fears/feared for his life. Does asking her for sex sound like someone who feared for his life?

“I was in a rage. I called her a whore and bitch and . . . I told her, you know, I used to always tell her that, if I can’t have you, nobody going to have you. It was not the first time of ever saying it to her.”~ Rico Gray in his deposition on November 22, 2010.

Again, does this sound like a man fearing for his life?Marissa Alexander’s case has been highly publicized from the start, and the Free Marissa Now campaign has grown throughout social media. The case was catapulted into even more national spotlight, following the George Zimmerman case. In July 2013, Zimmerman was set free after killing teenager, Trayvon Martin, even though Zimmerman was the aggressor. Ironically, the same state attorney that failed to successfully prosecute George Zimmerman, is the same attorney that sent Marissa Alexander to prison. State Attorney Angela Corey ‘twisted the knife’ by refusing to drop Alexander’s case,even after it was overturned in September.

Unless something changes, it doesn’t look as though Marissa Alexander and her three children will be having happy holidays, as she awaits a new bail hearing, and then a whole new trial in March 2014. Supposedly the next trial will be different. This time, Florida courts say the burden of proof will be placed upon them rather than Marissa Alexander. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work, Florida?

If you’re in an abusive relationship, or know someone who may be, there is help: Call: 800-799-SAFE/National Domestic Violence Hotline or Call: 800-656-HOPE/RAINN (Rape,Abuse, & Incest National Network) 

Michelle Alexander: I can no longer just stay in my lane

Michelle Alexander: I can no longer just stay in my lane

September 3, 2013

by Michelle Alexander

For the past several years, I have spent virtually all my working hours writing about or speaking about the immorality, cruelty, racism and insanity of our nation’s latest caste system: mass incarceration. On this Facebook page I have written and posted about little else. But as I pause today to reflect on the meaning and significance of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, I realize that my focus has been too narrow.

Michelle Alexander graphic, webFive years after the March, Dr. King was speaking out against the Vietnam War, condemning America’s militarism and imperialism – famously stating that our nation was the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world.” He saw the connections between the wars we wage abroad and the utter indifference we have for poor people and people of color at home. He saw the necessity of openly critiquing an economic system that will fund war and will reward greed, hand over fist, but will not pay workers a living wage. Five years after the March on Washington, Dr. King was ignoring all those who told him to just stay in his lane, just stick to talking about civil rights.

Yet here I am decades later, staying in my lane. I have not been speaking publicly about the relationship between drones abroad and the War on Drugs at home. I have not been talking about the connections between the corrupt capitalism that bails out Wall Street bankers, moves jobs overseas and forecloses on homes with zeal, all while private prisons yield high returns and expand operations into a new market: caging immigrants. I have not been connecting the dots between the NSA spying on millions of Americans, the labeling of mosques as “terrorist organizations” and the spy programs of the 1960s and ‘70s – specifically the FBI and COINTELPRO programs that placed civil rights advocates under constant surveillance, infiltrated civil rights organizations and assassinated racial justice leaders.

I have been staying in my lane. But no more. In my view, the most important lesson we can learn from Dr. King is not what he said at the March on Washington, but what he said and did after. In the years that followed, he did not play politics to see what crumbs a fundamentally corrupt system might toss to the beggars of justice. Instead he connected the dots and committed himself to building a movement that would shake the foundations of our economic and social order, so that the dream he preached in 1963 might one day be a reality for all. He said that nothing less than “a radical restructuring of society” could possibly ensure justice and dignity for all. He was right.

I am still committed to building a movement to end mass incarceration, but I will not do it with blinders on. If all we do is end mass incarceration, this movement will not have gone nearly far enough. A new system of racial and social control will be born again, all because we did not do what King demanded we do: connect the dots between poverty, racism, militarism and materialism. I’m getting out of my lane. I hope you’re already out of yours.

This statement was posted by Michelle Alexander to her Facebook page on Aug. 28, 2013.

A Black Boy is Dead

A Black Boy is Dead

 

Posted by:  | Comments (1)

Histories of gender and slavery focus overwhelming on women, as if gender and women are coextensive and men have no gender. This observation points to a problem with the conceptualization of sex and gender across academic disciplines. For if there is a structural neglect of manhood in studies of gender, and if womanhood is misunderstood to be synonymous with gender itself, then this approach signifies an extension rather than an analysis of gender ideology, which traditionally inscribes women as being gendered and men as being generic and beyond gender.

Greg Thomas—The Sexual Demon of Colonial Power—2007

Introduction:

Last week, Black America’s heart was broken and their hopes and expectations of fairness, justice, and equality shattered. The murderer of a young Black boy was freed. George Zimmerman gets to live his life an acquitted killer, and Trayvon Martin, his family, and other Black men and boys will forever be impacted by the reality that any confrontation with white men and/or women can mean death. Black men and boys remain invisible to conversations about gendered violence and death. Their existence and suffering is replaced by negation, or replaced with only the problematization of any scholarship that seeks to address their peculiar racial existence as being marginalizing to the their Black female counterpart. In short, any work seeking to speak to, and for Black male oppression is attacked for not being sufficiently feminist, and as such, worthy of dismissal and censor.

Being Black and Male is not a Privilege—It’s a Death Sentence

Within minutes of the verdict, Black feminists from across the web began posting and comparing the life of Trayvon Martin to that of Black women killed or incarcerated within the last year. On facebook, Black feminist postings about Rekia Boyd, Marissa Alexander, and Aiyanna Stanley-Jones, were on statuses and shared prolifically. Reiterating Jamila Aisha Brown’s piece, “If Trayvon Martin had been a woman…” these feminist posters/bloggers saw themselves making a point about the difference in the attention Black men’s and boy’s deaths receive next to these Black women’s lives. However, when one actually reads Ms. Brown’s piece one can only be amazed by how causality and history are vacated for ideology. Brown’s piece is written as a response to a Marc Lamont Hill’s interview where he was asked “How would things be different if Trayvon was a young Black girl? Hill responded “[Zimmerman] would have been convicted, because we have this history of seeing Black male bodies as dangerous and threatening and always worthy of lethal force.” Hill makes an observation many Black men and women across the country actually agree with, namely that Black men and boys are by and large the victims of state sponsored murder and violence and white vigilantism. This is not to deny Black women as victims, but to acknowledge the dangers of being Black and male in the United States. A point recently supported by Melissa Harris Perry’s admission that  America is so dangerous for Black men that she wishes her sons away, a burden only alleviated somewhat by “the relief I [she] felt at my [her] 20-week ultrasound when they told me [her] it was a girl.”

Unfortunately, the sentiments that express fear, anger, and hopelessness are lost on Brown and many of her readers. Despite the outrage of the Black community, the powerlessness endured by the parents of young Black men and boys, and the fear of death Black men/boys suffer, Brown seems to conclude these emotions are simply inconsequential to the larger identity politics needing to be advanced.  For Ms. Brown, any and all experiences of violence against Black women are examples that they could in fact have been Trayvon Martin. She begins her argument with a brief point that Black women have been lynched, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by historians or even anti-lynchers back in the 19th century given the cataloguing of Black women’s and girl’s names and alleged offenses in both Ida B.Wells-Barnett’s Red Record (1895) and John Edward Bruce’s A Blood Red Record (1901).  In Brown’s view, however, these women’s lives have been erased and go to prove that if “Trayvon Martin were a young Black woman, we would not even know her name.”  

 

On the face of it, this seems silly. All violence is not the same, so to suggest that Black women who have been focused on less regarding lynching, or police-state-sponsored violence means that an unarmed teenage girl who was shot by a white man on the claim of self-defense would not been known to Black America is non-sequitar. Ida B. Wells-Barnett was clear that lynching was justified against the manhood of the race and used as a weapon to discourage Black economic independence. Contrary to the popular account of Well’s anti-lynching activism as revelatory, Ida B. Wells-Barnett understood the unique vulnerability of Black men, because at one time she supported the lynching of Black men as justifiable. As she confesses in Crusade for Justice “…I had accepted the idea meant to be conveyed—that although lynching was irregular and contrary to law and order, unreasoning anger over the terrible crime of rape led to the lynching; that perhaps the brute deserved death anyhow and the mob was justified in taking his life.” After the death of her friend Thomas Moss, she began to understand that lynching was a punishment driven by the desire to murder Black men. When the white lynch mob declared to Ida B. Wells-Barnett that her “sex would not save her,” if she returned to Memphis, it reaffirmed the masculine ontology at the bottom of lynching. It was Wells-Barnett’s debasement to the status of Black maleness that threatened her life and erased her sex. Despite the historical evidence that give ample support for the view that anti-Black death (lynching, police state violence, and public executions) are directed primarily at Black men, Black feminists cannot conceptualize a reality in which Black maleness is a gendered vulnerability that warrants being the center of any account of American racism.

Brown claims that the deaths of Rekia Boyd, Deanna Cook, Aiyana Stanley Jones, and Tarika Wilson, despite being protested, taken up by the NAACP in their respective cites, and warranting lawsuits, are ignored because of “Black male privilege,” or the idea that “the victimization of young women is subsumed into a general well of black pain that is largely defined by the struggles of African-American men.” Are they not ignored by the asymmetrical power relationship between impoverished Black communities and the police state, or the general apathy for Black life? By asserting the existence of “a Black male privilege” that somehow remains unaffected by the exponential deaths, imprisonment, unemployment, and poverty of Black men and Black boys—conditions that deserve particular attention, these authors make acknowledging Black male privilege axiomatic, and indisputable.  In short, these feminists claim that regardless of the death historically associated with being a Black man, these Black men enjoy the political privilege of being male, and of being recognized even in death over Black women, some of whom are still living and breathing. Rather than being a serious analysis of how Black men concretely have privilege (education, wealth, mortality, health), this contention is about the ideological politics of academic recognition confined to blogs more than an empirical study offering insight into the tragedies that actually impact the Black community. In the death of Trayvon Martin, Black male privilege attempts to demonize a community that has lost Black fathers, sons, and husbands alongside mothers, daughters and wives for not holding a particular brand of feminist politics. These Black feminists pretend that despite the tragedy of losing a 17 year old Black boy, a child, they are ultimately the arbiters of what his life should mean for the Black community, or what his life would mean if the Black community was not blinded by the ignorance of their hetero-patriarchal pathology.

 

While the Black left, and Black independent news outlets have concerned themselves with the death of Black men and women, as well as Black boys and girls, Black feminists have not made the death of Black women killed by state violence, police brutality, racial profiling, or anti-Blackness their central agenda, unless of course those women were killed or brutalized at the hands of Black men, which makes their suffering fit nicely with their predetermined (Duluth) account of domestic violence. Voxunion presented evidence of Black men and women dying hourly, Redding News Review covered the death of Rekia Boyd, and Aiyana Stanley Jones, as well as the arrest of Marissa Alexander; I  constantly commented on these deaths as topics of conversation on my own radio segment, and Black Agenda Report has reported the deaths of Black women and children alongside their Black male counterparts. But given the gender ideology in the university, these Black feminists feel more than comfortable using the death of these women and children to point out why the death of Trayvon Martin should not be valued as much as it is because he is a Black boy.

Black Males are Victims of Racism and Sexism
It’s sickening that these individuals are now claiming they get to decide how Martin’s death should be valued, but say nothing against the specific white supremacists and institutions that devalued Black life in the first place. The central question posed by Piers Morgan in asking what would happen “If Trayvon Martin was a Black girl,” is whether or not a white vigilante could have claimed he feared for his life and used self-defense as a justification for killing her. Many commentators simply think Zimmerman would have been arrested for killing a Black woman, and the opposing feminist commentaries have offered no reason for this not to be the case. So, in an attempt to “one-up” Black male death, these commentaries pose endless hypotheticals that ask the audience to imagine the Black female victim being raped and sexually assaulted rather than simply being murdered in cold blood. Mind you, these hypotheticals are being embraced as fact, something that would necessarily happen to the Black female victim, despite Rachel Jeantel telling the American audience that she actually told Trayvon Martin that Zimmerman could have been a rapist. This sexualized aspect of racist violence is completely ignored when talking about Black men and boys.Eric Glover and Terrence Rankin were murdered to fulfill the necrophilia fetish of three white teens, and as expected not one “feminist” analysis on the particular gendered vulnerability of these Black men.  But this fear, the fear a young boy may have of being raped, is ignored, because as Greg Thomas explains, “for feminism, gender means for females only,” and as such, only females can fear, be assaulted by, be victims of, rape.

Why are these Black feminists not attacking the comparison between white men’s, women’s, and children’s lives next to the death of these Black women? Why are the deaths of Black men and boys the only comparable examples? Why are they not attacking their figureheads like Beverly Guy Sheftall for publically announcing the agendas of Black feminism in popular venues like the Root, but excluding Black death? Why are these Black feminists not writing about these women in their journals and blogs as analyses of anti-Black death and suffering rather than the reaction to the death of a Black boy? Why is it when a Black community mourns, the feminist response is to divest the meaning the symbolism a Black male life has taken on—a life embraced by Black men, women, and children alike, a life taken from Black families across the world, and a life that continues to represent the fear of growing up a Black boy who wonders if he shall live to become a man? Does this fear of death not warrant political organization around Black male issues and erasures?

In this case, Black Feminism isn’t any better than the white supremacist who denies the political possibilities held by Black manhood. Black manhood is not a pathology; a sickness to be cured by either death or by feminism. Angela Davis is clear in Women, Race &Class that Black men didn’t have male privilege during slavery, because it endangered the slave system, nor did they have it during the civil rights movement despite Michelle Wallace’s contention given the myth of the Black male rapist. Feminists are using this tragic incident to bring further attention to their political agendas. J.N. Salter’s article, “Am I A Race Traitor? Trayvon Martin, Gender Talk and Invisible Black Women” argues that Black women are expected to put their race before their gender and ignore the issues that black women have within our communities,” but this is not an issue for the black community, this is an issue for the Black feminist community who demands that the deaths of the Black women and girls they have handpicked garner the same attention recently afforded to Trayvon Martin.  Haydia Pendleton was killed in January, and her death, the death of a 15 year old Black girl sparked, national attention, so much so that the First Lady Michelle Obama attended her funeral, but this did not create the attention to Black women’s death by Black feminists that Trayvon Martin’s death did. Salter argues that “Black women are expected to put their race before their gender, to choose between their dual identities (“black” or “woman”) at the expense of their full humanity,” but this is untrue since many Black women from Ida B. Wells-Barnett to mothers like Sybrina Fulton have resolved this issue. This is a Black feminist issue that pretends being Black and being a woman should not be criticized, despite the fact that the identity politics lurking behind their idea of womanhood is about their political alliances with, and the benefits they receive from their relationships with white women. Our focus should not be on whether the Black person was/is a woman or a man it should be on protecting our communities from violence. It just so happens that in this case, the case of white vigilantism, Black men and boys deserve much of our attention.

A Conclusion
Of the 300+ Black people killed in 2012 by extra-legal violence, how many names do we know?  Every year,hundreds of Blacks are killed by police, most of them men, we don’t know who all of them are, and they don’t all get marches; some names are never uttered. Black children, little boys and girls, are killed and no one cries, mourns, or marches for them. A white vigilante kills an unarmed teen and suddenly the fear and sorrow felt by the death of a young Black boy is transformed into “the only death Black people care about.” Whereas Black feminism has no problem turning the pain and torture of a community—its families—into a metric measuring Black death and rationing this dehumanizing spectacle into the “meaningful” deaths of  Black women, and then everyone else; the Black community, the dead Black men, “we,” as their voices should.  Ideology (political, moral, or otherwise) is not the barometer of truth.

The indifference to the death of Black men and women from the near silence of this Black feminist academic cadre on issues like state violence, anti-Black death, and murder for their preferred discourses of recognition, be it phrased as: intersectionality, love, or education, is self-inflicted. Stop talking to white women and white people for academic recognition and write about the (Black) deaths of the people you claim should be at the center of consciousness. These posts that continue to react to the importance the Black community has attached to Trayvon Martin’s death, instead of suggesting any analysis of the conditions that gave rise to it, demonstrates the negating drive of Black feminist identity politics against Black men/boys, rather than concrete analysis of Black people’s vulnerability to sexual violence and murder—and how that acknowledgement helps the Black community. These posts show that vitiating Black masculinity is academically profitable, not that the death of a Black boy is tragic.

~ This post was written by guest blogger Dr. Tommy J. Curry, Associate Professor of Philosophy,Affiliated Professor of Africana Studies, Texas A&M University and his wife, Mrs. Gwynetta Curry.

9-14-13 Curry4

Aaron Alexis was someone’s son: Our brothers are crying out and nobody’s listening

Aaron Alexis was someone’s son: Our brothers are crying out and nobody’s listening

Opinion

by Terrie Williams and Dawn M. Porter | September 19, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Bishops Gerald Seabrooks, right, and Willie Billips stand in front of the home of Cathleen Alexis, mother of Washington Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis, who made a statement at her home in New York's Brooklyn borough on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. The bishops are part of a Brooklyn Clergy-NYPD Task Force. Cathleen Alexis said that she does not know why her son did what he did and she will never be able to ask him. Aaron Alexis opened fire Monday, killing 12 people, before he was killed in a shootout with police. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Bishops Gerald Seabrooks, right, and Willie Billips stand in front of the home of Cathleen Alexis, mother of Washington Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis, who made a statement at her home in New York’s Brooklyn borough on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. The bishops are part of a Brooklyn Clergy-NYPD Task Force. Cathleen Alexis said that she does not know why her son did what he did and she will never be able to ask him. Aaron Alexis opened fire Monday, killing 12 people, before he was killed in a shootout with police. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Renowned educator and author Geoffrey Canada put it this way:

There was a time when we were little that we could tell our mother about the pain, but then our mother, like lots of women raising boys, began to worry that we would be soft, that we wouldn’t grow up to be men, that we had to toughen up.  It was rough out there and she couldn’t protect us.  She knew one of the first things used to taunt boys is to say, ‘oh, you’re a mama’s boy.’ ‘go tell your mother.’ So after a while, we began to say “oh I can’t tell mommy anything,” and we stopped telling.  Once we stopped telling her, it was easier not to tell anybody anything.

With this, the beginning of the pain and suffering, the mask, and the slow death, began.

In an environment where we teach our black son’s to be strong and self-sufficient, we often forget to teach them how to ask for help.  And in an era where stigma continues to shackle African-Americans with mental health issues, we see the tragic aftermath in our homes, our neighborhoods, in our communities and in our world.

In the African-American community, the perception of weakness is an overwhelming fear that has plagued our existence since slavery.  We had to be strong to survive and that message has been passed down from generation to generation.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not necessarily a black thing it’s an “every living animal thing…”  Darwin’s theory of natural selection tells us this.  But in the black community it takes on greater meaning, because we know as African-Americans, we have to be twice as strong, twice as fast and twice as smart to even get noticed, so showing any sign of perceived weakness can result in our demise.  This was the world that Aaron Alexis was likely raised in.  In the beginning of the pain and suffering, the mask and the slow death begins.

Regardless of the issue, there is an unwillingness to ask for or seek help, and there is an unwillingness  for others to get involved.  As with many recent tragic stories, Lee Thompson YoungDon Cornelius, and others, we see the effects of a society that has been paralyzed by mental health issues and the unwillingness to ask for help or get involved.

Aaron Alexis is just another example of how our society [the system] is failing our black men.  We don’t know much about the “Navy Yard Suspect.”  We really don’t know who he was…only what the media wants us to know.  But Aaron Alexis was someone’s son…we know this because his mother has spoken out about her sorrow for this tragedy.  But did he have any friends who may have noticed a change in his behavior?  Was there not a system in place to see the kinks in his armor as his mask began to falter.  “Our brothers are crying out…nobody’s listening…” as Ken Braswell, founder of Fathers, Inc. has passionately declared.

We do know that he had two incidents that involved the police.  In 2004, he was reportedly arrested for “malicious mischief” and in again in 2010 for “discharging a firearm into the ceiling of his apartment.”  Although the first incident is truly unclear, the second seemingly should have raised some serious red flags.  Are we too busy with our own lives to see those around us falling apart or are we too scared to get involved?  Or is it simply, we just don’t know what to do or how to help so we stand by feeling helpless and do nothing.

Aaron Alexis was a man who served his country in the Navy Reserves from 2007 to 2011 and was honorably discharged.   As a service member, we do not know what he endured or what challenges he may have faced or feared.  All we do know is that he reportedly “held it together at work,” but seemed to fall apart in the evenings—as many of us do.

According to news reports, just weeks before the shooting, he called the police.  He expressed paranoid thoughts of people following him and complained of hearing “voices speaking to him through the wall, flooring and ceiling.”  Although there could be a number of reasons for someone experiencing paranoia and auditory hallucinations, there is a definite indication for assessment and intervention.

Unfortunately, with limited resources, on all fronts, police departments, emergency psychiatric facilities and veterans administration systems, people often fall through the cracks.

One agency may make a call and assume the other will get the message and do what is necessary. In a perfect world, Mr. Alexis would have been sent for an evaluation, likely hospitalized and engaged in medication management to address the overt symptoms while trying to sort out the underlying cause for the behavior.  Again, we are dealing with a flawed system and we are continually seeing the fallout from this.

The tragedy is not only in the lives lost on September 16th, but in the reality that with all of the rhetoric and power plays in our government, we still can’t find a solution to this problem.  It makes you wonder if this complacency is due to a lack of understanding or just plain old apathy.

When will we address the way we are raising our young black men?  When will we take time to talk to our friends and neighbors?  When will we stop being scared and get involved?  When will we become the village it takes to raise a child?  Can we stop saying when and start saying now.

Can we stop spending hours on Facebook and Twitter and start talking to with our children, our neighbors and strangers who are “friends” we just haven’t met yet? Can we stop burying ourselves in our work and start talking with our spouses and our coworkers ? Can we start getting to know the people around us?

We challenge you to get involved. Get to know someone…really know someone. Many times we are complacent with the people we know…we may politely ask if they are OK, but we really don’t want to know the answer, and subconsciously give off the vibe that we really don’t want to hear it.  If you really want to do something, stand up and be present.  Don’t let this life pass you by — be present in your life and in the life of someone else who you care about. Show them you care by asking — really asking.  Get involved.  You may need just take a break and disconnect from this new technologically advanced social media thing that is leaving people emotionally disconnected from others and get involved. If you really care, you will take the time and effort to truly to get know someone. People know if you really care or if you are just being polite.

Who knows? If someone would have really taken the time to get to know Aaron Alexis or countless others, who knows what lives might have been spared.

Today is the day that we must make a difference.  We must raise our collective voices—if you see something, say something–do something.  Edmund Burke tells us, “All that is required for the triumph of evil [or pain] is that good men remain silent and do nothing.”  Every single day, most of walk past one another without a nod, a word, or a smile that says “you matter.”  There are way too many who don’t even know how to smile or genuinely return one—because society has made them feel, in every way, they do not matter.

If you don’t know where to start, be inspired by one promising moment a few months ago.  Antoinette Tuff, an Atlanta school staff member, with love, humanity and God in her spirit, calmed and talked to a young man whom she described as a “hurting soul” who was planning to “shoot up” the school.  She took the time and made the difference, and in this instance, countless lives were saved.

“We must do the very thing we think we cannot do.”

Dare to make a difference!

 

Terrie Williams, an OUR COMMON GROUND Voice, is author of Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We are Not Hurting and Dawn M. Porter is a MD Board Certified Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist

Terrie Williams

Terrie Williams

American Racist Magic – Son of Baldwin

The literary, sociopolitical, sexual, pop-cultural blog. Live from Bedford-Stuyvesant

American Racist Magic

Dear America,

Why was it that, in most of the reporting for the story regarding Chris Lane’s horrific murder, you first showed photos that all three murderers were black?


Then, you showed photos of just two of the three murderers, both of whom were black?


And then, after days of reporting, you finally showed a picture of all three murderers, one of whom was white:


But most of your reporting is STILL focusing on the two black boys instead of the white boy who, through American Racist Magic, was the only one not charged with murder even though he drove the getaway car (while one of the black boys was a passenger in the car and didn’t pull the trigger)?

Also, why haven’t you yet apologized to the black boy you misidentified in the first photo?

 

Read Son of Baldwin and subscribe

Daily Kos: DNA Report does NOT support Zimmerman’s claim that Trayvon Martin caused his injuries

 

(George Zimmerman's hands about 45 minutes after he killed Trayvon Martin look pristine)

Daily Kos: DNA Report does NOT support Zimmerman’s claim that

DNA results and Autopsy results would have to “prove” that Trayvon Martin actually “caused” Zimmerman’s injuries in order for for anyone, including a jury, to conclude Zimmerman acted in self defense when he killed an unarmed Trayvon Martin.  However, the DNA results and the Autopsy results do not support Zimmerman’s claim that Trayvon Martin “caused” injuries to his face or head.  Meaning, DNA results and the Autopsy suggest Trayvon Martin is not the “cause” of Zimmerman’s injuries. So Zimmerman’s alleged self defense claim might not fly with the jury since none of the forensic results suggest Trayvon Martin touched Zimmerman in any way, shape or form.

The Jury will see the DNA report shows that none of Zimmerman’s DNA was under Martin’s fingernails.  
George Zimmerman was damn near bald on the night he followed, search for, then found and killed Trayvon Martin.  In order for Trayvon Martin to grab Zimmerman’s bald head tight enough to slam his head into the sidewalk over a dozen times, some of Zimmerman’s DNA would have gotten underneath Trayvon Martin’s fingernails.

 

Trayvon Martin caused his injuries.

“The Quality of Justice for Trayvon” Tuesday June 11, 2013 and Thursday, June 13 – 10 pm ET

OUR COMMON GROUND SPECIAL

“The Quality of Justice for Trayvon”

Week 1 – Recap and Deconstruction

Jury Selection

With Dr. Raymond Winbush, Co-Hosting

Zimmerman Trial

Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Thursday, June 13, 2013
10 pm ET
LIVE and CALL-IN
Join the LIVE Broadcast
http://bit.ly/13TWLKM

Providing a space for discussion and deconstruction of the Zimmerman trial Week 1 LIVE AND CALL IN
Key issue: To what extent is the jury likely to be unbiased and without opinion ?

Call -in and de-compress as we all hold our breath.

 

Zimmerman Trial4

“Racially biased use of peremptory strikes and illegal racial discrimination in jury selection remains widespread, particularly in serious criminal cases and capital cases. Hundreds of people of color called for jury service have been illegally excluded from juries after prosecutors asserted pretextual reasons to justify their removal.”
-Equal Justice Initiative

Will there be Justice for Trayvon ?

 

OUR COMMON GROUND with Janice 

“Speaking Truth to Power and Ourselves”

BROADCASTING BRAVE BOLD BLACK

Community Forum: http://www.ourcommonground-talk.ning.com/
Twitter: @JaniceOCG #TalkthatMatters
Web: http://www.wordpress.ourcommongroundtalk.com/