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Cynique

Boyz in the Hood

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I'm telling you Cynique we are reverting as a nation, in a rapid decline. No one seems to care very much. I guess with professional sports and reality TV we can all play the fiddle why the country goes down the crapper.

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There are more and more protests cropping up around the country in response to Trayvon's murder. In the Chicago area I know they're having something downtown tomorrow from noon to 3pm. It's a start. This one in particular (Trayvon's murder) has me especially saddened because he really could have blended right in with my 3 sons. Heartbreaking.

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This whole situation is out of hand with all kind of rampant rumors about who attacked whom. This case has become a racial powder keg because the fuse was lit by a gun happy wanna-be on a mission to protect his turf from the most dangerous threat in the world of white fear: a black teen-ager in a hoodie.

Bottom line, the armed neighborhood vigilante should've followed 911's instruction to not stalk this kid and none of this would've happened.

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Cynique, people especially our people are just angry. It is a powder keg on both sides. Ignorant white folks don't know who the real enemy is -- once they figure it out then and maybe then things will change for the better.

Black folks already know, but few are willing to admit, that even a Black presdient can not make things better. This will be demonstrated by our lack luster turnout at the polls in November.

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And of course now there are people saying that it's not fair to put so much emphasis on Trayvon's murder when there are murders happening all over the place and nobody is doing anything about them. I wish people would understand that this isn't JUST about Trayvon. Really it is about ALL of the other senseless killings that go unchecked and are allowed to become commonplace.

Yes, there are still babies gunned down in the streets in drive-by shootings & the killers are allowed to waltz off into the sunset (whether the killers are black, yellow, blue or purple...it doesn't really matter...point is, this nation sees minorities as expendable; with black minorities at the bottom of the barrel - no surprise there). It happens & it shows up on the news one time & then we move on with life. No protests. Nothing. Do we want our senses dulled even MORE by adding this Trayvon Martin shooting (and failure to arrest) to the list?

If people don't take a stand now, then this type of stuff --- this, this...citizen police crap - will become as usual & customary as all the rest of the violence that we are used to hearing about.This is such a mess. Just when I throw my hands up and say "I'm done trying to figure out a way..." something like this happens (Trayvon) and I simply cannot ignore it. I'm so bothered by this. Really & truly.

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writergirl I hear you hence my donning of the symbolic "hoodie". Again I assert that Zimmerman too is a victim of an environment which gives raise to actions like this.

Sure I Zimermman needs to be put under the jail; but unless the enviroment in this country changes Zimmerman is just a portent of the future.

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Repacking the Invisible Knapsack: White Privilege and the Killing of Trayvon Martin

by Lori Latrice Martin | special to NewBlackMan

Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, a now classic work by Dr. Peggy McIntosh, addresses white privilege. Specifically, McIntosh outlines the unearned benefits that whites receive by virtue of their birth. Many whites, says McIntosh, have a difficult time seeing the daily profits associated with being white in America. She adds that while whites may acknowledge that racial and ethnic groups face disadvantages, most have been taught not to see white advantages. She describes the benefits associated with white privilege as “an invisible package of unearned assets,” filled with “special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks.”

McIntosh even provides us with a list some of the daily privileges she enjoys as a white woman that her colleagues, friends, and acquaintances of color, rarely experience. She says,

1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

2. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area, which I can afford and in which I would want to live.

3. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.

4. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

5. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.

In light of the tragic shooting death of 17-year-old, Trayvon Martin it’s time to revisit the list. The killing of Trayvon, an African-American male, at the hands of 28-year-old George Zimmerman, is an unfortunate reminder of the continuing significance of race. It is a reminder that the election of the nation’s first black president, while historic and powerful, is no match for the enduring racialized social system that has been at the core of American society since the birth of this great nation.

Many of us have been telling anyone who will listen, that race still matters. Such calls were often dismissed by blaming the victim. Unarmed black men who have been met with fatal violent force, (and the list continues to grow), are often vilified. They were, “in the wrong place at the wrong time” or they were “up to no good”.

Trayvon Martin was doing what many other kids were doing on February 26, 2012. He was getting a snack and talking on his cell phone, but for Zimmerman, and others, these very acts, when draped in blackness and clothed in a hooded sweatshirt, arouses suspicion. Now, a mother and father must bury their child.

The killing of Trayvon Martin is heartbreaking. The failure to arrest George Zimmerman is an insult to fair-minded Americans, simply put, it’s an injustice. The circumstances surrounding the killing of young Trayvon Martin, adds more baggage to the invisible knapsack. McIntosh’s list must now also include the following:

1. I can be confident that if I give my son permission to go to the store that he will return unharmed.

2. I can be sure that if my son is harmed, less than 100 feet from my home, that efforts will be made to not only identify my child, but to also notify me.

3. I can be sure that the clothes my son leaves the house in will not be lead others to look upon him with suspicion.

4. I can be confident that, should my son be the victim of a fatal violent crime, that law enforcement will neither assume that he was the aggressor, nor take the word of his killer, without a thorough investigation.

5. I can know that if my son is killed that the killer will be the one tested for the presence of drugs and/or alcohol in his system.

6. I can be sure that, should my son be the victim of a fatal shooting, that individuals and organizations that support me in my effort to seek justice will not be called agitators and racial ambulance chasers.

7. If my son is the victim of a fatal act of violence and there are concerns about how the case is being handled, I can be reasonably sure that mainstream media will provide immediate coverage.

8. If my son is killed, I can be sure that, if 911 tapes exist, they will be released without me having to collect hundreds of thousands of signatures through the use of social media.

9. If my son dies at the hands of another, I can have time to grieve his death and not have to do the investigative work that is commonly done by law enforcement officials.

10. If my son is killed and the identity of his killer is known, I can be sure that the killer will, at the very least, be arrested.

It’s time to unpack the knapsack and get rid of all this racial baggage. Justice for Trayvon Martin!

***

Lori Latrice Martin is Assistant Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice where her research areas include race and ethnicity, wealth inequality and asset poverty. Professor Martin is currently working on a book project about black asset poverty in New York City. Dr. Martin specializes in Demography, Race and Ethnicity, Race and Wealth and Community Development.

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