Mar 31, 2012

There seems to be no group more uncomfortable talking about race then White people. So in light of this, MSNBC host Dr. Melissa Harris Perry decided to come up with a set of rules to help White people navigate the racial road when it comes to the Tragedy involving Trayvon Martin.

Here's Melissa's Top Six Rules:

1. It's OK to Say Black

2. Black is always an adjective never a noun

3. Don't mention that you have Black friends, or relatives

4. Take your time and think before you speak

5. Remember that you are White

6. Silence is golden

Watch the her explanation of the rules in the video below:

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Bruce Springsteen is currently on tour for his new album, Wrecking Ball. During a tour stop in Tampa, he broke out a song he originally wrote for Amadou Diallo, a West African immigrant that was shot at 41 times by the NYPD because they thought he had a gun but it turned out it was just a wallet, called American Skin.

It was during a stop in Philadelphia that he dedicated the song to Trayvon.

Watch the tribute below:

(Mediaite) -- Earlier today, MSNBC contributor Touré and CNN’s Piers Morgan duked it out on Twitter over the Piers Morgan Tonight host’s interview with Robert Zimmerman, Jr., brother of Trayvon Martin killer George Zimmerman (who claims self-defense in the shooting). The result of all that smack-talk was an impromptu booking that culminated in a crackling Touré appearance on Friday night’s PMT.

The weird thing here is that Morgan’s show tapes in the afternoon, and airs at 9pm, so after the taping, the two continued to talk trash on Twitter, each declaring victory:

Touré: Resorts to name calling cuz I killed him on his show. RT@lolaogunnaike: Why is @piersmorgan calling @toure a fatuous loudmouth? It’s beef?

Piers Morgan:Poor old @Toure just got exposed for what he is – an unprofessional, fatuous, loudmouth. Tune in at 9pmET to see for yourself #CNN

Touré: Will be interesting to see if tough guy @piersmorgan edits our interview to save his ass or shows it like it really happened.

Touré began by reiterating his criticism of Morgan’s interview, then crowing that “in the hallways (at NBC) we were laughing at you. We wouldn’t take him. Standards and Practices at NBC wouldn’t let (Robert Zimmerman) get through door.”

Morgan pointed out that “MSNBC, as has NBC, has all been running clips of my interview, without challenging it. Nor are they quibbling with the news value of the brother of George Zimmerman going on the record and giving his version of events.”

He also argued that he “challenged him repeatedly about many of the things that he was saying.”

That’s when Touré played the England card. “What you understand as challenging, perhaps maybe that goes in England. That’s not what we do in terms of challenging in America. I saw a person who was saying things that didn’t ring true to me.”

It was a theme that the two would revisit in the next segment, in the most emotional part of the interview, when Morgan challenged Touré about a joke that he had tweeted. All of the meta-wrangling about who’s a more professional journalist melted away, and the raw power of this story became evident.

“You tweeted this on the 19th of March,” Piers said. “‘New slang. You’re Zimmermaning me equals you’re killing me.’ That’s a pretty serious responsible piece of journalism, isn’t it, Touré?”

“In the first days, in the first weeks of the situation,” Touré responded, ”what I was trying to do is to pile on and to say ‘Hey, look, this guy is not doing the right thing. This guy has harmed somebody in our community.’ Some people misconstrued that. But this is an incredibly serious situation.”

“So serious that you felt the need to throw out jokes,” Morgan shot back.

“You’re showing you don’t understand America,” Touré said.

“I understand America very well,” Piers said.

Touré compared his joke to “the blues,” adding ”You might call it black humor. Not African-American humor, but black humor. Dark humor. These are things that are common in America, that laugh to keep from crying. Once again another black person who is unarmed and innocent and not doing anything wrong has been killed. And this is incredibly painful and goes back before before you were born, and before your father was born, and before my grandfather was born. So these are things that hurt as an American very deeply. And you are too new to this situation to fully understand what’s really going on here, and what’s really at stake for America.”

Morgan paused. “What a load of fatuous nonsense. You think you have the only right to speak about what’s serious in America. You think I don’t have the right, as somebody from Britain who spent the last six or seven years here, to address the story?”

He then asked Touré if he believes George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin, to which he replied “Yes.”

Morgan pounced. “So you’ve already tried him? You’ve convicted him?”

“You asked me what I think,” Touré responded.

“You called me an irresponsible journalist. That is professional?”

Point: Morgan, but then Touré launched into a powerful summation of the Trayvon Martin case that could easily serve as any eventual prosecutor’s summation.

Morgan finished with a further defense of his own journalism. “What I haven’t done is convict George Zimmerman because I haven’t seen the facts yet. You berate me for lack of journalism. You said you believe he murdered him. You have a biased one-sided opinion based on the limited amount of facts that we have at our disposal. That’s your prerogative. You also think it’s okay to do stupid dumb jokes, mocking, what do you call it, Zimmermaning me? I like to think that I’m a professional journalist. I think you are something else.”

When you strip away all of the pique and ego, what you have is a few minutes of very powerful TV, and a great illustration of the conflict between utter neutrality and the power of a point of view.

Mar 30, 2012

This racism stuff is so pathetic that it's actually become quite comical. Rick Santorum damned near beat off his tongue when he caught himself about to refer to the President of the United States as a 'Nigger'.

Santorum was speaking to voters in Wisconsin when he decided to get a little too comforted and reveal what he really thought of the President.

Here's what he said:

“We know the candidate Barack Obama what he was like, the anti-war government n…”

It's amazing how the subconscious will tell on you when you get in an environment where you're a little too comfortable.

Of course the Santorum people are denying that he was about to drop the N-bomb on the President.

Here's what a campaign spokesperson had to say about the incident:

“Oh, come on!” Santorum spokesman Hogan Gidley told Raw Story when asked for comment. “Give me a break. That’s unbelievable. What does it say about those that are running with this story that that’s where their mind goes. You know, I’m not going to dignify that with [a response].”

“That is absolutely ridiculous.” source

Of course you are not going to dignify it with a response because we all know, in the words of Bill Maher, that the new racism is denying racism and saying that anyone who points out racism is in fact the racist.

Child please!

As a little Black girl growing up in the South, I knew race relations in America were not perfect but I certainly thought they were far better than they used to be.  As a Black woman who chooses to live in the South, I wish I could turn back the hands of time and be that young naive girl again.  I have traveled to small towns in Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and South Carolina hoping to somehow affect change.  I don't imagine that being poor and Black and living in a large city is much fun but I have seen first hand that being poor and Black and living in a small town leaves you completely voiceless.

After, I returned from a trip trying to help some poor Black folks right a wrong, one of my colleagues asked me how much I got paid to go and help in these situations.  You should have seen the look of disbelief on his face when I told him that I go for free and most of the time even pay my own expenses.  I didn't tell him but I will tell you, like most everyone else my actions are motivated by my past experiences.

One of my favorite cousins growing up was named Keith.  He was at least twelve years older than me and so we never "played" together and probably had only our blood line in common.  I was the girliest of girls and he was an All-America boy playing football and basketball.

But for whatever reason, he took a liking to me and whenever I was shipped to Mississippi for my annual summer visits, he'd be at my grandmother's house awaiting my arrival and holding 2 stalks of sugar cane for me.  And, yes, just in case you're wondering, buying me presents is the quickest way to get on my favorites list.  Anyway my last memory of Keith is him driving me to the "city" (yes, they actually called it the city)  to see the movie Ghostbusters.  It was the best day. A few months later, I was back at home and my mom got a telephone call that Keith had been shot and killed while playing basketball.  Now this was the 1980s and the town my cousin lived in didn't even have a McDonald's so good boys just didn't get shot while playing basketball.

Long story short, the police concluded that Keith had been shot "accidentally" by a woman whose house was near the recreation center where he was playing basketball.  The problem with this explanation, at least for my family, was a) she claimed to have been shooting at a stray dog when she fired the rifle but my cousin was six feet tall and was shot in the head ...what dog can jump that high?...b) although this killing happened over twenty years after the civil rights marches, the small town they lived in was still largely segregated and the recreational center was deemed white only... my cousin was in defiance of the unwritten code of the South when he went to play basketball there ....c) the woman also happened to be the mother of a seventeen year old white girl who went to high school with Keith and was rumored to have been seen hanging out with him outside of school.  In fact, my great uncle threw himself on the casket at the funeral and loudly sobbed about he had warned Keith that times hadn't changed that much and he should remember where he lived.

He was nineteen and had just finished basic training with the army, he was awaiting his assigned duty station when he was shot while playing basketball.  The Trayvon Martin case just brought all of those memories to me...The notion that he didn't belong in this neighborhood simply because he was Black... the fact that no one wants to hold anyone accountable for the death of a young man who had his entire future ahead of him...When I saw Trayvon's mother crying on television, I thought about my great aunt who never smiled the same after Keith's death.  I don't know if a parent ever knows true happiness again after they bury one of their own children.

It's been over twenty years since Keith's death and we blamed the fact that he received no justice on "small town racial politics"...oddly enough, the woman's father was a judge in cousin's case also.... Although I guess the one thing my family should be grateful for is that there was no widespread internet at the time of my cousin's death.  We only had to bury him once... Trayvon's parents seem to have to keep burying their son over and over.

Maybe I am jaded by growing up in the South...I don't believe we'll ever eliminate racism.. I believe that there will always be people who harbor ill feelings towards minorities and there isn't anything we can do about it... What I do expect of America is that at some point we embrace the humanity, freedom, and equality our forefathers wrote so eloquently about (even if they didn't actually abide by their own rules)... yes we'll always have racist but we ought to be able to cultivate a culture that makes them accountable when they act on their racist thoughts... Instead, we have cultivated a society that defends and applauds them.

I cannot believe the levels that certain media and right wing conservative organizations are going through to smear this young man....Maybe the naive little Black girl in me sneaks out at strange times because I really thought that all of us could agree that ANY child walking home in his own neighborhood shouldn't be gunned down in the street like a rabid dog. Apparently, the naive little Black girl was wrong.
The smear tactics used against this CHILD have been out of pocket and I refuse to be silent about it anymore:

Michelle Malkin, a political pundit and Fox news regular (big surprise there) owns and operates a website called Twitchy... Earlier this week the website ran a post with a picture of George Zimmerman wearing a suit next to a picture of shirtless Black boy with sagging pants that it proclaimed to be Trayvon Martin...It was a LIE...the picture is not of Trayvon but how sad for the readers of this demented website if they feel that bad fashion choices justify murder.....

The Blaze, a website started by the always race neutral Glen Beck, published a list of offense that might lead to a 10 day suspension claiming that Trayvon might have committed kidnapping, arson, and a number of other violent crimes...none of which has any basis in fact since a) if the marijuana residue bag is the truth then  his school infraction was not violence and b) I'm annoyed that no one is pointing out that Trayvon's principal was interviewed and emphatically stated that Trayvon did not have disciplinary problems...his suspension was based on tardiness... I missed the law where you're allowed to kill kids for being truant

A Texas college newspaper printed the above cartoon and then had the nerve to say..oops our bad, we didn't realize it was racist (really did we need to draw you a picture???).... the cartoonist, Stephanie Eisner, actually defended her cartoon though she did resign from the student paper.  I love her reasoning, she was trying to depict how the media sensationalizes stories.... really now?? And this was the best example you could come up with?? Then you need a lot more college classes ma'am.

A website reportedly run by the Klan (yes, I mean the Ku Klux variety) was touting the superb intellect of one of their members by bragging that he had hacked into Trayvon Martin's email, FaceBook, and Twitter accounts.  However, they ended up with egg all over their face, however, when they discovered that Trayvon Martin was like any seventeen year old kid, his emails concerned his SAT registration and college and scholarship applications... Way to waste four days LOSER!!! and I would also like to say that I wouldn't be bragging about superior intellect when it takes you 4 days to hack into an email account...I'm just saying

 Before I close this out, I want to address some of you so called Black posters, posting on this site and others around the internet...I really don't care whether you are Black or not, although I highly suspect most of you aren't, it is pure ignorance to bring up the issue of Black on Black crime when we talk about this boy's death... First of all it's like comparing apples to oranges...Trayvon Martin wasn't killed by a Black man so if I am talking about Trayvon Martin's death, then why would I need to bring up Black on Black crime... Secondly, this is a kid who was walking home... He wasn't in the middle of a drug transaction, he wasn't running with the local gang, heck he wasn't even hanging on the "wrong" side of town.  We tell our children that if they do the right things that everything will be okay and this kid did and the man responsible for his death is sitting at home having a coke and a smile.

Think on this for a minute:  A few years ago, I was in court when a sixteen year old Black male plead guilty to shooting a fifteen year old Black male.  When the judge asked him why he had took another person's life and basically thrown his own away, the kid responded," He knew he wasn't supposed to be in my neighborhood.  He knows we run the west side.  He must have had a death wish coming to our neighborhood."

I don't see much difference between his reasoning and the reasoning George Zimmerman used to kill Trayvon Martin.  Now people will point out that the gang members don't own the "territory" or neighborhoods they claim to run... But uh George Zimmerman didn't own the whole neighborhood either and turns out Trayvon has as much right to be there as he did.  I should also point out that the fifteen year old that was killed had two guns in his waist band but no one entertained any thoughts of self defense for the sixteen year old.  He was sentenced to fifteen years, remind me again how much time George Zimmerman got??? I abhor Black on Black crime...I find it disheartening that our children will kill each other over things like sneakers, drugs and which project they grew up in...but none of that changes the fact that Trayvon Martin was gunned down in his own backyard like a rabid dog and the man who did it is escaping responsibility.  So please miss me with the why all the outrage crap??hmmkay

Yeah, you read the title correctly. Allen West, who coincidentially is also a representative from the state in which Trayvon Martin was murdered, went on The Laura Ingraham Show and talked about how Rep. Bobby Rush represented a security threat when he wore a hoodie on the House floor.

Here's what he said:

WEST: They’re watching us real close now. … Right now, the security folks there on the House floor are laughing about it, but initially, they did not know who it was. And they were concerned that someone had just walked off the street, or you know, wondered off a tour group. But look, this is the type of immature gimmickry we see coming from the other side that you know, does not have any place, especially on the House floor and really in the United States.
h/t Think Progress

Bless his heart!

(Washington Post) -- The Crips leader approached the 16-year-old on the Metro, federal prosecutors allege, told her she was pretty and broached an offer he and his associates would make to high school girls across the area: She could make a lot of money by having sex with men.

Flattered by the compliment, she was one of at least 10 teenage girls who became prostitutes for the Underground Gangster Crips, a violent street gang in Fairfax County, court papers say. The girls were recruited on Facebook, at bus stops and even in school, according to authorities, then forced to stay through threats and violence, including rape.

Justin Strom, 26, of Lorton is accused of leading the gang. He and four other alleged members have been charged with sex trafficking, according to documents unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. If convicted, each could serve life in prison.

Federal prosecutors said the operation was unusual because it preyed on girls living at home, not runaways, and used social media to lure teens from Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia. At least one teenager was recruited at school by a classmate who was working as a prostitute, authorities say.

“There’s no high school that’s immune to this possibility,” said Ken Cuccinelli II (R), Virginia’s attorney general, at a news conference. “This is a problem — thanks to the Internet — that can reach across borders more easily.”

Strom’s attorney, Alan H. Yamamoto, said Thursday afternoon that because he had just learned about the case and had not met with his client, he would not comment on the charges.

In recent years, street gangs have turned to prostitution as a moneymaker, authorities said. Members of the violent gang Mara Salvatrucha, known as MS-13, have been accused in federal court in Virginia of prostitution-related charges involving juveniles.

Neil H. MacBride, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said Strom and his associates are accused of posing as a woman named “Rain Smith” on Facebook and sending more than 800 messages to girls they found attractive to lure them into the ring. Strom instructed a 17-year-old runaway, who was the gang’s most senior prostitute, to help find others, court records say.

In November, that girl, identified in court papers as M.W., approached a classmate at an unnamed school and told her she was a “confident pretty woman.” M.W. also chatted her up on Facebook:

“M.W.: Lol u tryna make sum money . . . ?

Girl: Howww

M.W.: Trickin . . . Like u get 50% n u get all da drugs . . . uwwant basically.”

The classmate became part of the ring, earning $100 per client, according to court records. Other girls were often required to submit to sex with gang members as a “try out,” before they could join the operation, court records say.

The teens were advertised on Web sites such as Craigslist and, according to court records, and the prostitution allegedly occurred in Strom’s Lorton home. At other times, the victims were taken to “out calls,” sometimes driven in one gang member’s white, four-door Cadillac. The girls also worked door to door at apartment complexes in Northern Virginia, court documents say.

On one such trip, M.W. and another girl had sex with 10 to 15 men, charging them each $30 for 10 minutes, according to court records. Afterward, the girls met up with Strom, bought PCP, ecstasy and other drugs, and partied, court records say.

If the girls refused to work, it sometimes turned violent. Strom made an 17-year-old girl he was recruiting use cocaine, cut her arm with a knife and forced her to have sex with him, according to court records. The girl was then taken to an apartment, where she was forced to have sex with 14 men, court documents say. Strom allegedly collected $1000 that night.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — An elderly couple has reached a settlement with Spike Lee after the pair said they had to leave their Florida home after the director help spread a Twitter posting listing their address as that of the man who shot an unarmed teen.

The couple's attorney, Matt Morgan, announced the settlement Thursday. Morgan says Lee called them to apologize for retweeting their address. Settlement details weren't disclosed.

Elaine and David McClain are in their 70s and say they have a son named William George Zimmerman, who lived in their Sanford area home in the mid-1990s. They say he is no relation to 28-year-old George Zimmerman, who killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26.

The killing touched off widespread protests because Zimmerman was not arrested. He says he acted in self-defense.

Mar 29, 2012

WASHINGTON -- Michelle Obama will speak at three college graduation ceremonies this spring, including two in key general election battleground states.

Mrs. Obama's first commencement address will be at Virginia Tech. The White House says the first lady has been inspired by the school's resiliency following the deadly 2007 campus shootings. Mrs. Obama will also speak at North Carolina A&T, a historically black university.

Virginia and North Carolina are both politically important states that will be crucial to President Barack Obama's reelection prospects.

Mrs. Obama will also deliver the commencement address at Oregon State University, which has been recognized for its efforts to promote healthy communities, a key priority of the first lady. Mrs. Obama's brother, Craig Robinson, is the coach of the school's men's basketball team.

Comedian Bill Maher paid a visit to HLN's Dr. Drew Show. During the show, the subject of Trayvon Martin as well as racism came up. It was during this segment that Maher made the comment about the new racism in the country.

Here is what he said:

“I can’t believe we’re even asking that question,” Maher noted, and responded to Pinsky’s question that if both of the people involved were black, “we wouldn’t have heard about it.” “That, to me, cuts deeper in some ways,” Pinsky replied, and Maher agreed to some extent, adding that more than overt racism, “the new racism is denying racism”– a reason, Maher later added, he believed affirmative action was still appropriate in some ways. Racism today, he argued, was as if “a race started and 3/4ths of the way around the track, black people got to start running… you don’t look up and go ‘hey, we’re all running now.’” source

(AJC) -- A cousin fired the shot that killed a Jackson State University freshman from DeKalb County, police said Wednesday.

Jarrod Emerson, 25, was charged with murder Wednesday in the death of 19-year-old Nolan Ryan Henderson, the Jackson Police Department said. Henderson, of Stone Mountain, died early Sunday following a party off campus at the Palisades Apartments, according to police.

According to investigators, Henderson was involved in a fight at the complex's swimming pool with several players from the JSU football team and was assaulted. Henderson then left the fight and called Emerson, his cousin, who was nearby, police said.

Then, both Emerson, who had a gun, and Henderson returned to the complex, not far from the university campus, to confront those responsible for the alleged assault, police said.

At the complex, Emerson pulled out his gun and fired several shots, sending people scattering in different directions, police said.

Henderson, however, dropped after being struck by a bullet. He reportedly was shot in the face and found on the ground in front of an apartment building near 1400 Valley St.

"Ballistics tests have been conducted by the Mississippi State Crime Lab on the projectile recovered from the victim as well as the weapon that Emerson fired," Jackson police said in a news release Wednesday. "Those tests revealed that the projectile recovered from the victim matched the weapon that Emerson was firing."

Hundreds of people attended a candlelight vigil was held in Henderson's honor Tuesday night, The Clarion-Ledger reported.

"Ryan meant the world to me. He was my best friend. Everything I do was for him," said Henderson's younger brother, Damien Henderson, 17, at the vigil. "I just don't understand, he was such a good person. Nobody knew me more than Ryan did."

The slain Henderson was a health care administration major at JSU, and his family said he was a Dean's List scholar and an all-around athlete in school, the newspaper reported.

The university released a statement following the arrest.

"This is a sad ending to a tragic situation," Jackson State University President Carolyn W. Meyers said. "The Jackson State University family continues to mourn for Nolan and will offer all of the support we can to the Henderson family. We will also continue to provide our complete support to the Jackson Police Department until its case is brought to full closure."

It's that experience that is shared by most African Americans, but it's one that we rarely speak about outside of our community. Several prominent, black NBC correspondents sat down to discuss their own experiences with racism in light of the Trayvon Martin tragedy.

Some of the notables that were interviewed were Tony Dungy, Lester Holt, Tamron Hall, and Toure'.

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So first we're not supposed to believe our EARS when we listen to the 9-1-1 tapes on the fateful night when Trayvon Martin was murdered. This is the thing that the people that are defending George Zimmerman would have you believe. Even though my ears tell me one thing they quickly dismiss it and try to tell me it's something else.

Here's a little snippet of how the conversation plays out:

Them: No, that was not Trayvon crying out for help. It was George Zimmerman.

Me: Are you sure? His mother said that was her baby's voice and if anyone would know the voice of their child it's his mother.

Them: No, George never referred to Trayvon as a 'F#cking Coon', he said 'Goon'.

Me: Are you f#cking kidding me...

It's not bad enough that they insult my hearing, but now they're insulting my eyesight too.

Recently, a surveillance video was released of George Zimmerman hours after he murdered Trayvon. In the video, there is no evidence of Zimmerman having a broken nose as his attorney has asserted nor does he appear to have a busted head.

His attorney has quickly pointed out that the video is 'grainy' and that we should be mindful of the fact that Zimmerman received first aid before he was taken to the police station.

Well, since I have lying eyes and ears maybe you'll allow me to believe the man who prepared Trayvon's body for his funeral.

Richard Kurtz, the funeral director who prepared Martin's body, was asked if there were any signs on his hands that he had punched someone.

"The only thing that I was able to see was the gunshot wound," Kurtz told The Last Word. "I could not see evidence like he had been punching somebody as the news media say he was punching ... It just did not add up to me."

I guess the next thing their going to tell me is that Trayvon's bruises healed while he was in the morgue. Child Boo!

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Mar 28, 2012

Dick Gregory profession may be that of comedian, but I consider him a prophet and prolific teacher. The man is one of our treasures and truly a freedom fighter whose been fighting for his people for a very long time.

Mr. Gregory has been at the forefront of the tragedy surrounding Trayvon Martin. He even shared some profound remarks that serves to make one think about what is really going on.

Watch his comments below and tell me what you think.

When Geraldo Rivera made his comments about black and brown boys wearing hoodies he didn't realize what type of hornets nest he was kicking.

To show support for Trayvon Martin and challenge the absurdity of Geraldo's remarks, Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois donned a hoodie on the House floor.

This is how Mediaite reports the event:

Illinois’ Rep. Bobby Rush (D) was removed from the House floor Wednesday morning after donning the hood of his sweater — and thus, according to Rep. Gregg Harper (R) — violating a rule against wearing hats.

Rush had donned the hood to commemorate Trayvon Martin, whose hoodie has been the topic of recent public discourse, particularly in light of Geraldo Rivera‘s assertion that the teen’s clothing had been a major contributing factor in his death. “Just because someone wears a hoodie,” said Rush, “does not make them a hoodlum.”

Rush was swiftly informed that he was “out of order” as he was quoting scripture after having pulling up his hood and donning a pair of sunglasses.

I love reading the comments from all my readers. Some comments are funny, some are weird, and then there are some that are profound. The comment I'm about to share is one that definitely goes in the profound category for me because I never thought about the raising of a male, black child from a white mother's prospective and this reader's comment gave me that insight.

The reader left this comment on the "Trayvon Martin: A Black Boy's Burden" post. Her comment revealed that she shares the same anxiety of black mothers when it comes to her biracial sons.

I'm a white woman with three grown bi-racial sons. The Martin family is living my worst nightmare and biggest fear. I can't even imagine having to deal with the injustice and insult in addition to their grief.

A few years ago, late at night on New Years Eve my cellphone rang and caller ID showed it was my oldest son calling. When I answered no one was there but I could hear movement, voices and shouting in the background. I started screaming my sons name into the phone, terrified that he'd found himself in a situation with either a street thug or a cop. (Cause I don't think there's much difference in the potential outcome.) After a few seconds of terror I heard the very distinctive laugh of my middle sons wife. My two older sons and their wives were together playing WII boxing and his phone had "butt dialed" me. My relief was so great, and my fear just a moment before had been so large that I just started crying in relief and gratitude.

A few days later I was recounting this story to a white co-worker, herself a mother with a son, and not a racist in any way. But, she was a little confused by my reaction to the call and thought I might have "over-reacted". We talked about how middle of the night calls make her fear - "car accident"- pop into her head, as opposed to my fear - shot.

It happened to be the same New Years Eve that Oscar Grant, Robert Tolan and Adolph Grimes were all shot by police in different American cities. When I talked to my friend again and pointed out these shootings I saw that she finally "got it".

And God forgive me for saying it out loud and in public but I'm so terribly grateful to have granddaughters now rather than grandsons. The idea of watching another generation of my loved ones go out into the world with my heart in my throat...

Mar 27, 2012

Something in the milk ain't right!

So the police have decided to release George Zimmerman's account of events that led to the death of Trayvon Martin. Maybe I'm biased, but the stuff he said is very suspect to me and at the least deserving of further questioning by the police officers i.e. an arrest.

Via Orlando Sentinel:

With a single punch, Trayvon Martin decked the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who eventually shot and killed the unarmed 17-year-old, then Trayvon climbed on top of George Zimmerman and slammed his head into the sidewalk, leaving him bloody and battered, law-enforcement authorities told the Orlando Sentinel.

That is the account Zimmerman gave police, and much of it has been corroborated by witnesses, authorities say. There have been no reports that a witness saw the initial punch Zimmerman told police about.

Zimmerman has not spoken publicly about what happened Feb. 26. But that night, and in later meetings, he described and re-enacted for police what he says took place.

In his version of events, Zimmerman had turned around and was walking back to his SUV when Trayvon approached him from behind, the two exchanged words and then Trayvon punched him in the nose, sending him to the ground, and began beating him.

Zimmerman told police he shot the teenager in self-defense.

Civil-rights leaders and more than a million other people have demanded Zimmerman's arrest, calling Trayvon a victim of racial profiling and suggesting Zimmerman is a vigilante.

Trayvon was an unarmed black teenager who had committed no crime, they say, who was gunned down while walking back from a 7-Eleven with nothing more sinister than a package of Skittles and can of Arizona iced tea.

Zimmerman's account

This is what the Sentinel has learned about Zimmerman's account to investigators:

He said he was on his way to the grocery store when he spotted Trayvon walking through his gated community.

On Feb. 26, when Zimmerman first spotted Trayvon, he called police and reported a suspicious person, describing Trayvon as black, acting strangely and perhaps on drugs.

Zimmerman got out of his SUV to follow Trayvon on foot. When a dispatch employee asked Zimmerman if he was following the 17-year-old, Zimmerman said yes. The dispatcher told Zimmerman he did not need to do that.

There is about a one-minute gap during which police say they're not sure what happened.

Zimmerman told them he lost sight of Trayvon and was walking back to his SUV when Trayvon approached him from the left rear, and they exchanged words.

Trayvon asked Zimmerman if he had a problem. Zimmerman said no and reached for his cell phone, he told police. Trayvon then said, "Well, you do now" or something similar and punched Zimmerman in the nose, according to the account he gave police.

Zimmerman fell to the ground and Trayvon got on top of him and began slamming his head into the sidewalk, he told police.

Zimmerman began yelling for help.

Several witnesses heard those cries, and there has been a dispute about whether they came from Zimmerman or Trayvon.

Lawyers for Trayvon's family say it was Trayvon, but police say their evidence indicates it was Zimmerman.

One witness, who has since talked to local television news reporters, told police he saw Zimmerman on the ground with Trayvon on top, pounding him — and was unequivocal that it was Zimmerman who was crying for help.

Zimmerman then shot Trayvon once in the chest at very close range, according to authorities.

When police arrived less than two minutes later, Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose, had a swollen lip and had bloody lacerations to the back of his head.

Paramedics gave him first aid but he said he did not need to go to the hospital. He got medical care the next day.

This has to be my 'Question of the day'. Can someone please tell me where do the media manage to find these negroes that are always willing to excuse racism? Please I really need to know is there some sort of secret location or something where these people hide and only the media knows how to bring them out when a debate on racism is raging. I mean it never fails. There is always some 'Happy Negro' willing to to come out the woodworks and and promptly excuse racist behavior.

When a racist says he/she is not a racist because one of his/her best friends are black he/she is referring to someone like Joe Oliver.

I always wanted to be able to put a face to this one best friend that these people talk about and now I have a poster child in the form of Joe Oliver.

Joe Oliver is George Zimmerman's black spokesperson whose been all over the media trying to squash reports of Zimmerman being a racist. You know, because there is nothing that says your not a racist better than having a black spokesperson.

Joe Oliver is really taking his job serious too. He went on the MSNBC's Chris Matthews Show to dispute that 'coon' was actually a term of endearment and not a racial slur. Don't give me the side eye, I'm not making this stuff up.

Here's what he said:

That’s a term I listened to over and over on there and to me, it’s a matter of interpretation of whether he’s saying ‘coon’ or ‘goon.’ There are a lot of parts of this country where people proudly call themselves ‘coon asses,’ in Louisiana in particular. source

And there you have it folks, George Zimmerman couldn't possibly be a racist because people in Louisiana refer to themselves as 'coon asses'. Nevermind that 'coon asses' is considered a slur against White cajuns, but I digress. Joe Oliver has definitely earned his 'thirty pieces of silver'.

The website Think Progress is all over the smear campaign aimed at murder victim Trayvon Martin. The smears have gotten so out of control that even Trayvon's mother, Sybrina Fulton, has had to speak out by saying, “They killed my son, now they’re trying to kill his reputation.”

Think Progress has identified the smear tactics by placing them in two categories: false and irrelevant.

Here is how Think Progress is reporting about the smear campaign:

Much of this leaked information seems intended to play into stereotypes about young African-American males. Here’s what everyone should know:

1. Prominent conservative websites published fake photos of Martin. Twitchy, a new website run by prominent conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, promoted a photo — purportedly from Martin’s Facebook page — that shows Martin in saggy pants and flipping the bird. The photo, which spread quickly on conservative websites and Twitter, is intended to paint Martin as a thug. As Twitchy later acknowledged, it is not a photo of Trayvon Martin. [Examiner]

2. The Sanford Police selectively leaked irrelevant, negative information about Martin. The authorities told the Orlando Sentinel this morning that Trayvon was suspended from school for ten days “after being found with an empty marijuana baggie.” There is no evidence that Martin was under the influence of drugs at the time of his death, nor would prior possession of marijuana be a reason for killing him. It’s unclear what the relevance of the leak was, other than to smear Martin. [Orlando Sentinel]

3. On Fox News, Geraldo said that Martin was dressed “like a wannabe gangster.” Bill O’Reilly agreed with him. The sole evidence is that Martin was wearing a hoodie. Geraldo added that “everyone that ever stuck up a convenience store” was wearing a hoodie. [ThinkProgress; The Blaze]

4. Without any evidence, prominent right-wing bloggers suggested that Martin was a drug dealer. Right-wing blogger Dan Riehl advances the theory, also advanced in a widely linked peice on a site called Wagist. There does not appear to be any evidence to support this claim whatsoever. [Riehl World View]

5. Without any evidence, a right-wing columnist alleged that Martin assaulted a bus driver. Unlike Zimmerman, Trayvon has no documented history of violence. This allegation continues to be advanced by a blogger on the Examiner even after the real reason was leaked to the police and confirmed by the family. [Miami Herald; Examiner]

6. Zimmerman’s friend says Martin was to blame because he was disrespectful to Zimmerman. Zimmerman’s friend Joe Oliver said that Martin would not have been shot to death if Trayvon had just said “I’m staying with my parents.” Of course, Zimmerman was not a police officer, and Trayvon had no duty to tell him who he was or where he was going. [NBC News]

The final part of the effort to smear Trayvon Martin is to link him and his supporters to irresponsible fringe groups like the New Black Panthers and marignal provocateurs like Louis Farrakhan. Threats by these groups are serious and should be investigated, but they have nothing to do with Martin or his supporters. The leader of the effort to associate Martin with these groups is Matt Drudge. You can see how he is framing the story today here.

Ultimately, whether Martin was a perfect person is irrelevant to whether Zimmerman’s conduct that night was justified. Clearly, there are two different versions of the events that transpired on February 26, the night Trayvon was killed. There are conflicting statements by witnesses and conflicting evidence as to who was the aggressor. Zimmerman has the right to tell his side of the story. But his opportunity to do this will come in a court of law after he is charged and arrested. In the meantime, Zimmerman’s supporters should stop trying to smear the reputation of a dead, 17-year-old boy.


Mar 26, 2012

(LA Times) -- The parents of slain black teenager Trayvon Martin on Monday angrily lashed out at reports that their son was suspended from school because of marijuana, accusing authorities of continuing to demonize the memory of the victim in order to support George Zimmerman, the man who shot him.

Speaking at a televised news conference, Martin’s father, Tracy, and mother, Sybrina Fulton, said their son was again being made a victim. Martin was killed during a confrontation with George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer on Feb. 26.

Zimmerman, 28, told police that he shot in self-defense, but the family has dismissed Zimmerman’s version of events and has repeatedly called for his arrest.

“The only comment that I have right now is that they’ve killed my son and now they’re trying to kill his reputation,” Fulton said.

“I‘d just like to say that even in death – and Trayvon is gone, he will not be returning to us – that even in death, they are still disrespecting my son. And I feel that’s a shame,” Martin said.

Led by local and national civil rights activists, hundreds of people have gathered in Sanford, Fla., to mark Monday's one-month anniversary of the shooting. The case has sparked protests from coast to coast, even becoming an issue in the presidential campaign: After President Obama called the shooting a tragedy, some GOP opponents accused the only African American to be elected president of the United States of trying to politicize events.

Into this racial tinderbox came the latest reports that Martin was in Sanford, his father’s city, because he had been suspended for 10 days from his Miami school after the remains of marijuana were found in a plastic bag in the teenager’s book bag. The family had previously said that the teenager had been suspended but hadn’t given the details.

“Whatever Trayvon was suspended for had absolutely no bearing on the night of Feb. 26,” the family’s lawyer Ben Crump told reporters. “Once again law enforcement is attempting to demonize the victim.... It is irrelevant, completely irrelevant. The most important thing in this whole tragedy is that George Zimmerman disobeyed the police dispatcher and initiated a fatal encounter.”

A month after the incident, passions remain high in Sanford. Monday's day of protests was expected to culminate in a rally and confrontation at a city commission meeting Monday evening. The family was expected to speak at the meeting and, anticipating a large crowd, officials moved the session from City Hall to the Sanford Civic Center.

Martin, who was unarmed, was shot at close range by Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, on Feb. 26. Martin’s family and supporters have criticized police handling of the case, and a special state prosecutor has been appointed to investigate the shooting. The U.S. Department of Justice also is assessing the incident to determine whether a hate crime was committed.

Just before the shooting, Zimmerman had called police to report a suspicious person, Martin, and was told to stand down, according to tapes of the telephone call released by police. Zimmerman continued to follow Martin, however, and told police after the shooting that he had been attacked by Martin. Police have said that Martin was bleeding from the head when they arrived.

Police have defended their decision not to charge Zimmerman, but police chief Bill Lee Jr. ultimately was forced to step aside after the city commissioners gave him a vote of no confidence.

At an earlier news conference, city officials named a 23-year veteran of the Sanford police department, Capt. Darren Scott, an African American, as acting chief.

“I know each one of you — and everyone watching — would like to have a quick, positive resolution to this recent event,” Scott told reporters. “However, I must say we have a system in place, a legal system. It may not be perfect but it's the only one we have. I urge everyone to let the system take its course.”

In addition to questions about what happened the night of Feb. 26, there are questions about Florida’s stand-your-ground law and whether that gives a potential shooter more grounds to argue self-defense.

At a community forum earlier on Monday, Rep. Dwayne L. Taylor, of Daytona Beach, said he will push to repeal the law, passed in 2005. The law allows a person to respond with deadly force, under certain circumstances, is he or she feels threatened.


Now you had to know it was only a matter of time before it was made known as to the reason why Trayvon Martin was suspended from school. I'm just wondering how long it's going to take for people to link his suspension to the reason why he's dead.

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — A family spokesman says slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was suspended from school last month for having a baggie that contained marijuana residue in his book bag.

Spokesman Ryan Julison says Martin's parents believe the suspension has nothing to do with his killing Feb. 26 by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Zimmerman has not been charged and claims self-defense.

The 17-year-old Martin was visiting the central Florida town of Sanford while he was suspended by Miami-Dade schools. He was unarmed.

His killing has ignited racial tensions. Martin was black; Zimmerman's father is white and his mother Hispanic.

Also Monday, state Department of Juvenile Justice confirmed that Martin does not have a juvenile offender record. The information came after a public records request by The Associated Press.

I'm not sure why the family would come out with this information. Maybe they were trying to preemptive. Who knows. It's not for me to question the family.

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (AP) -- Talk show host and media mogul Oprah Winfrey has conducted a jailhouse interview with a South Carolina mother who pleaded guilty to killing her two sons.

Winfrey went to the jail in Orangeburg last week where 30-year-old Shaquan Duley is awaiting sentencing.

Winfrey interviewed Duley's family in September 2010, a month after Duley suffocated her 2-year-old and 18-month-old sons, then tried to stage their deaths by driving her car into a river. Prosecutors say she killed the children after being badgered by her mother about being a poor parent.

Duley faces 30 years to life in prison when she's sentenced Friday.

The interview will air at 9 p.m. on April 1 as part of "Oprah's Next Chapter" on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Oprah has also expressed interest in interviewing Trayvon Martin's parents as will as George Zimmerman. She made it know through her Twitter account.

Here is what she wrote:

@BasseyworldLive anyone who's lost a loved one knows their pain. I'd interview them too, but want the eyewitnesses & Zimmerman .

Today marks the one month anniversary of the murder of 17 year old Trayvon Martin. It also marks the one month of freedom that his assailant George Zimmerman has been allowed to walk around as a free man.

We shall never forget Trayvon and we shall continue pushing on until justice is served in this case.

We Remember Trayvon!

If you missed the Savvy Sista Blog Talk Radio Show yesterday, then you missed out on a poignant discussion about the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. Clearly, people feel that there is a lot of blame to go around in this case, and while I am disgusted by the actions of George Zimmerman on that Sunday night, I feel that we will always have George Zimmerman's in this country. I'm no psychologist but in my layperson opinion, Zimmerman's past behavior towards alleged criminal action and even his 911 conversation before he shot an unarmed Trayvon Martin lead me to conclude that it was just a matter of time before he killed someone. He repeatedly engaged in vigilante behavior and on more than one occasion acted as if he was a police officer despite the fact that he lacked the requisite training and the badge and authority.

For me, the flaw in this case is that no one would be investigating the murder of Trayvon if his parents hadn't gone to the media. I have seen nothing that leads me to believe that anyone could have prevented Zimmerman from shooting this teenager who went to buy Skittles and an Arizona Tea. Instead, I am angered by the fact that the Sanford police department treated Zimmerman as a hero as opposed to a suspect in the murder of a child. By labeling his murder as a case of self defense, the police, without thorough investigation, labeled Trayvon as the aggressor and essentially told his family and the general public that he deserved to die. When someone kills you in self defense, they are saying you posed such a great threat to them that they had the right to take your life to protect their own.

Yesterday, the question was asked, what do we do to get justice for Trayvon Martin. As one caller pointed out, we've signed petitions, we called our Congressmen, we've written articles but George Zimmerman is still a free man. And the only reply the Florida government has given us, is that we have to wait and investigate and see how everything unfolds. We've all seen the American justice system play out, we know that it takes years for cases to go to trial but why has Zimmerman never been arrested? The witnesses who placed the 911 calls have spoken out and they say Trayvon was calling for help that night which disputes George Zimmerman's claim that he was being attacked by Trayvon. Trayvon's girlfriend, the closest thing we have to an eye witness, says she was on the phone with Trayvon when he complained to her about a man following him in an SUV. She then heard the man confront Trayvon and heard was she assumed was Trayvon being pushed before his headset fell and the call was disconnected. Again, I ask, why has George Zimmerman never been arrested? I don't buy that the reason is because the investigation is still pending. That's not how our justice system works. You wait in jail or you post bail while the police investigate and the District Attorney decides whether to charge you with a crime, so why is George Zimmerman being treated differently?? Why does the State of Florida appear to be okay with the senseless murder of an unarmed young Black man??? One of the factors considered by a judge when granting bail is whether or not the defendant poses a danger to society. Based on his actions on February 26, I'd say that George Zimmerman poses a danger to all unarmed Black males in the State of Florida... dark skinned Hispanic males should be worried too... and I fear for the safety on any Asian male in Florida who looks as if he doesn't belong in Zimmerman's neighborhood.

So what do we do?? One caller, STYNES, suggested that we assert the power we have to demand that the Florida officials treat the death of Trayvon Martin fairly. The power we have, is the power of the dollar. Black people, by and large, are considered consumers. Black women spent four billion dollars last year on cosmetics including hair care products and personal care items. Four billion dollars and are you asking any of those companies to exert their influence over the Florida Legislature to seek justice for Trayvon???

Florida does not have state income taxes or corporations taxes and the reason for that is they make billions of dollars every year off tourists. If you have ever taken you children to Disney World or the Florida coast or partied in Miami then you have helped pay the salary of the Florida governor and the Sanford police who refuse to arrest the man who put a bullet in the chest of Trayvon Martin all because he wanted to eat skittles and drink tea while he watched the All Star game.

So here's what I propose. We send a message to the State of Florida that we will not bring our children there, that we will not support their economy as long as people can shoot our unarmed children while they walk on the sidewalks of Florida and not face any consequences. If you were planning to take your children to Disney World this summer, take them somewhere else and explain to them that you want to see them live past the ripe old age of seventeen. If you shop online, do not buy from companies that are headquarted in Florida. And I am practicing what I preach here because my supplier for my DRB ingredients is in Florida. I have already started looking for a replacement and I am sending her an email that I cannot support any Florida businesses because I believe that children should have the right to buy skittle and Arizona tea and walk on the sidewalk. If you currently live in Florida, you can also support the boycott, don't eat out. Florida restaurants depend on tourists and locals for their income. Buy your groceries and make your meals at home until little boys can walk in the rain in a hoodie and not end up with a bullet in their chest.

Tom Joyner, one of the most popular Black DJs in this country has a big event in Florida every September, I am asking you to join my email campaign and tell Tom Joyner to move the family reunion. He brings that state millions of dollars in revenue every year but if he were to put on his HBCU hoodie and stand in the wrong part of Orlando, he might not make it out alive.

If you are going a on a cruise this year, tell them when you book that you do not want to leave from a Florida port, you want to lave from South Carolina or New Orleans.

None of us has the power to bring Trayvon back and we cannot prevent his family's grief but we can help them get justice and all we have to do is keep our money out of Florida until they remember that the Constitutional rights of unarmed Black boys are just as important as everyone else's.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) conducted a very comprehensive investigation into the testing patterns for schools across the country. The AJC analyzed standardize test scores from all 50 states and what they found were a high degree of suspicious results, which could point to instances of cheating.

Here is a list of cities where some of the most extreme swings in test scores have taken place based on the AJC investigative results:

Enrollment: 50,009

Eligible for free or reduced-price meals: 75 percent

AJC analysis: From 2005 through 2009, questionable scores appeared in 233 classes, compared to the 65 that would be expected, based on other Georgia scores. Odds: less than 1 in 1 trillion.

History: State investigators in 2011 confirmed cheating at nearly two-thirds of elementary and middle schools. About 180 educators were implicated in the scandal.

High stakes: Teacher bonuses were based on meeting district-set targets, primarily test scores. Principals were allowed “no excuses” not to boost scores.

Enrollment: 84,212

Eligible for free or reduced-price meals: 83 percent

AJC analysis: From 2006 through 2009, suspicious changes in 228 classes; 116 would be expected. After district began aggressively investigating cheating, fewer classes flagged, and those were mostly for decreases. Odds: 1 in 100 billion.

History: From 2008 to 2010, investigators found evidence that educators at three elementary schools changed students’ answers on state achievement tests. Sixteen schools have been implicated.

High stakes: Student progress heavily influences teacher evaluations.


Enrollment: 157,575

Eligible for free or reduced-price meals: 76 percent

AJC analysis: In 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2011, 242 classes exhibited suspicious scores; 130 would be expected. Odds: 1 in 100 billion.

History: In 2011, an investigation found that students at one elementary school were being taught only reading and math – the only subjects taught on the state tests. The students’ social studies and science grades were fabricated.

High stakes: Since 2007, some teacher bonuses have been based on student performance.

Enrollment: 75,263

Eligible for free or reduced-price meals: 85 percent

AJC analysis: Suspicious scores in 181 classes in 2008 and 2009, compared to an expected 57. Odds: less than 1 in 1 trillion.

History: The state identified questionable erasures on some Detroit tests in 2009.

High stakes: N/A

Enrollment: 7,275

Eligible for free or reduced-price meals: 100 percent

AJC analysis: In 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011, suspicious scores surfaced in 46 classes, compared to an expected 12. Odds: 1 in 100 billion.

History: In 2003, news reports said the district excluded special-needs students from testing and violated test-security policies.

High stakes: N/A


Enrollment: 10,221

Eligible for free or reduced-price meals: 94 percent

AJC analysis: In 2006 and 2007, 40 classes had questionable scores, while eight would have been expected. Odds: 1 in 1 trillion.

History: No public reports of cheating.

High stakes: N/A

Enrollment: 204,245

Eligible for free or reduced-price meals: 79 percent

AJC analysis: Since 2006, 307 classes exhibited improbable changes, compared to an expected 177. Odds: less than 1 in 1 trillion.

History: After the Dallas Morning News identified possible cheating in 2004 and 2007, the district fired numerous principals and teachers.

High stakes: In 2011, 75 percent of the district’s teachers received bonuses through a pay-for-performance system.

Enrollment: 664,233

Eligible for free or reduced-price meals: 79 percent

AJC analysis: In 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2011, 740 classes showed unusual changes, compared to an expected 572. Odds: 1 in 1 trillion.

History: In 2010, Los Angeles shut down six charter schools accused of cheating on state tests. Last year, the district accused teachers of giving questions to students in advance of testing, improperly coaching students and changing answers.

High stakes: N/A


Enrollment: 63,000

Eligible for free or reduced-price meals: 68 percent

AJC analysis: From 2008 to 2010, suspicious scores occurred in 91 classes; 42 would be expected. Odds: 1 in 10 billion.

History: No public reports of cheating.

High stakes: The district began offering performance-based bonuses to teachers in low-performing schools in 2004.

For the many who have complained about 'No Child Left Behind' and teaching the test methods, the results of this investigation comes as no surprise. Any time you have a pay for performance scenario there is a good chance some cheating may result.

(Clarion Ledger) -- A fight at an off-campus pool party may have led to the shooting death of a Jackson State University freshman early Sunday morning.

Nolan Ryan Henderson, 19, of Atlanta was killed at the Palisades apartments at 1400 Valley St., which is within walking distance of the JSU campus.

"It's weird; it's horrible," said 26-year-old Jackson State student Chris Davis of Michigan. "He was 19. You haven't even experienced any of your life at that age."

Henderson was found on the ground in front of one of the apartment buildings. He was pronounced dead around 2:15 a.m. from a gunshot wound to the face, Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham-Stewart said.

Henderson's grandmother, Alma Henderson of Greenwood, said her son, Nolan Ross Henderson Jr., was told his son, called Ryan, had bumped into someone at the party, apologized but a fight occurred and then he was shot.

"My son is in shock," she said.

Her son, who lives in Stone Mountain, Ga., told her in a 2:50 a.m. phone call that his other son - Ryan's younger brother- found out from Twitter that Ryan had been killed and awakened him. Her son called Ryan's roommate and girlfriend, "and they confirmed it was true," Alma Henderson said."The roommate even told him he saw them covering him up."

Jackson police released little about the shooting. Department spokeswoman Colendula Green said detectives were interviewing several witnesses.

Mar 25, 2012

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — I thought my son would be much older before I had to tell him about the Black Male Code. He's only 12, still sleeping with stuffed animals, still afraid of the dark. But after the Trayvon Martin tragedy, I needed to explain to my child that soon people might be afraid of him.

We were in the car on the way to school when a story about Martin came on the radio. "The guy who killed him should get arrested. The dead guy was unarmed!" my son said after hearing that neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman had claimed self-defense in the shooting in Sanford, Fla.

We listened to the rest of the story, describing how Zimmerman had spotted Martin, who was 17, walking home from the store on a rainy night, the hood of his sweatshirt pulled over his head. When it was over, I turned off the radio and told my son about the rules he needs to follow to avoid becoming another Trayvon Martin — a black male who Zimmerman assumed was "suspicious" and "up to no good."

As I explained it, the Code goes like this:

Always pay close attention to your surroundings, son, especially if you are in an affluent neighborhood where black folks are few. Understand that even though you are not a criminal, some people might assume you are, especially if you are wearing certain clothes.

Never argue with police, but protect your dignity and take pride in humility. When confronted by someone with a badge or a gun, do not flee, fight, or put your hands anywhere other than up.

Please don't assume, son, that all white people view you as a threat. America is better than that. Suspicion and bitterness can imprison you. But as a black male, you must go above and beyond to show strangers what type of person you really are.

I was far from alone in laying out these instructions. Across the country this week, parents were talking to their children, especially their black sons, about the Code. It's a talk the black community has passed down for generations, an evolving oral tradition from the days when an errant remark could easily cost black people their job, their freedom, or sometimes their life.

After Trayvon Martin was killed, Al Dotson Jr., a lawyer in Miami and chairman of the 100 Black Men of America organization, told his 14-year-old son that he should always be aware of his surroundings, and of the fact that people might view him differently "because he's blessed to be an African-American."

"It requires a sixth sense that not everyone needs to have," Dotson said.

Dotson, 51, remembers receiving his own instructions as a youth, and hearing those instructions evolve over time.

His grandparents told Dotson that when dealing with authority figures, make it clear you are no threat at all — an attitude verging on submissive. Later, Dotson's parents told him to respond with respect and not be combative.

Today, Dotson tells his children that they should always be respectful, but should not tolerate being disrespected — which would have been recklessly bold in his grandparents' era.

Yet Dotson still has fears about the safety of his children, "about them understanding who they are and where they are, and how to respond to the environment they are in."

Bill Stephney, a media executive who lives in a New Jersey suburb that is mostly white and Asian, has two sons, ages 18 and 13. The Martin killing was an opportunity for him to repeat a longtime lesson: Black men can get singled out, "so please conduct yourself accordingly."

Like Dotson, Stephney mentioned an ultra-awareness — "a racial Spidey sense, a tingling" — that his sons should heed when stereotyping might place them in danger.

One night in the early 1980s, while a student at Adelphi University on Long Island, Stephney and about a dozen other hip-hop aficionados went to White Castle after their late-night DJ gig. They were gathered in the parking lot, eating and talking, when a squadron of police cars swooped in and a helicopter rumbled overhead.

"We got a report that a riot was going on," police told them.

Stephney and his crew used to talk late into the night about how black men in New York were besieged by violence — graffiti artist Michael Stewart's death after a rough arrest in 1983; Bernhard Goetz shooting four young black men who allegedly tried to mug him on the subway in 1984; Michael Griffith killed by a car while being chased by a white mob in 1986; the crack epidemic that rained black-on-black violence on the city. They felt under attack, as if society considered them the enemy.

This is how the legendary rap group Public Enemy was born. Their logo: A young black man in the crosshairs of a gun sight.

"Fast forward 25 years later," Stephney said. "We've come a long way to get nowhere."

But what about that long road traveled, which took a black man all the way to the White House? I can hear some of my white friends now: What evidence is there that Trayvon Martin caught George Zimmerman's attention — and his bullet — because of his race? Lynching is a relic of the past, so why are you teaching your son to be so paranoid?

There is a difference between paranoia and protection. Much evidence shows that black males face unique risks: Psychological studies indicate they are often perceived as threatening; here in Philadelphia, police stop-and-frisk tactics overwhelmingly target African-Americans, according to a lawsuit settled by the city; research suggests that people are more likely to believe a poorly seen object is a gun if it's held by a black person.

Yes, it was way back in 1955 when 14-year-old Emmitt Till was murdered in Mississippi for flirting with a white woman. But it was last Wednesday when a white Mississippi teenager pleaded guilty to murder for seeking out a black victim, coming across a man named James Craig Anderson, and running him over with his pickup truck.

Faced with this information, I'm doing what any responsible parent would do: Teaching my son how to protect himself.

Still, it requires a delicate balance. Steve Bumbaugh, a foundation director in Los Angeles, encourages his 8- and 5-year-old sons to talk to police officers, "and to otherwise develop a good relationship with the people and institutions that have the potential to give them trouble. I think this is the best defense."

"I don't want them to actually think that they are viewed suspiciously or treated differently," Bumbaugh said. "I think that realization breeds resentment and anger. And that can contribute to dangerous situations."

His sons are large for their age, however.

"I'm probably naive to think that they won't realize they're viewed differently when they're 6-4 and 200 pounds," Bumbaugh said, "but I'm going to try anyway."

I am 6-4 and more than 200 pounds, son. You probably will be too. Depending on how we dress, act and speak, people might make negative assumptions about us. That doesn't mean they must be racist; it means they must be human.

Let me tell you a story, son, about a time when I forgot about the Black Male Code.

One morning I left our car at the shop for repairs. I was walking home through our quiet suburban neighborhood, in a cold drizzle, wearing an all-black sweatsuit with the hood pulled over my head.

From two blocks away, I saw your mother pull out of our driveway and roll towards me. When she stopped next to me and rolled down the window, her brown face was full of laughter.

"When I saw you from up the street," your mother told me, "I said to myself, what is that guy doing in our neighborhood?"

Singer/activist Sinead O'Connor has decided to take on the tragic events surrounding the murder of Trayvon Martin. She definitely has something to say that is worth sharing. Read it and tell me what you think.

I would like to extend my very deepest sympathies to the family and other loved ones of murdered teenager, Treyvon Martin. I am very sad today (and am certain the whole of Ireland is) to learn of poor Treyvon's terrifying ordeal and horrified by the fact his known and named and admitted killer has not been arrested, despite the crime having taken place a month ago. This is a disgrace to the entire human race.

For those out there who believe black people to be less than pure royalty, let me inform you of a little known, but scientifically proven, many times over, FACT. Which after reading, you will hopefully feel both very stupid and very sorry. For you dishonor your own mothers and grandmothers.

EVERY human being on earth, no matter what their culture, creed, skin colour, or nationality, shares one gene traceable back to one African woman. Scientists have named it 'The Eve Gene'. This means ALL of us, even ridiculously stupid, ignorant, perverted, blaspheming racists are the descendants of one African woman.

One African woman is the mother of all of us. Africa was the first world. You come from there! Your skin may be 'white'.. because you didn't need it to be black any more where you lived. But as Curtis Mayfield said.. "You're just the surface of our dark, deep well". So you're being morons. And God is having the last laugh at your ignorant expense.

If you hate black people, its yourself you hate. And the mother who bore you. If you kill or wish ill on black people, its yourself you kill and wish ill on. As well as the mother who bore you.

When you dishonor the the utter glory and majesty of black people, you lie. Your heart lies to you and you let it. Despite seeing every day, all your life, how you and your country would be less than wonderfully functioning and inspiring to the world, without the manifold and glorious contributions made by the descendants of African slaves, who did not by the way actually ask to go to America and leave their future families there to be disrespected for eternity.

What are you doing hating yourself by hating your brothers and sisters who daily show you nothing but inspiration and love, despite having NOTHING, in their own country? Despite having barely a chance of anything, because of racism. Despite being granted no 'permission' for proper self-esteem.

These beautiful people continue to believe in and even manifest Jesus Christ better than you do. That alone could stand as the greatest reason your racism is blasphemy, were it not for all the other reasons.

These people you hate and fear ARE the body of Christ, just as we all are. Every child, woman or man. And they know it. Maybe thats why you cant bear to look at them. Because you see Jesus Christ and you cant stand the light.

Stop this ridiculous and uneducated attitude. You would be dead without black people. Think of all the greatest music ever composed. The greatest songs. The greatest inspirational heroes.. Muhammad Ali, Mandela, Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, Soujourner Truth, Bob Marley, Nina Simone, Curtis Mayfield. So many absolute angels, sent from God.

Without the inspiration of these people many millions of so-called 'white' people, including myself would not have had the strength to pay the price of life.

And black youth in America. I'm talking to you here too. I love you. So I don't mean to sound cross, I'm just being a mother.. Why are you killing each other? Why are you hating yourselves? You are the most important people God ever sent to this earth, every man, woman and child among you! Don't let uneducated people win and take your self-esteem or your esteem for each other, and make you kill each other. over guns, drugs, bling, or any other nonsense.

You are now entering YOUR version of a sort of civil rights movement and you're gonna see history being made in what has certainly the profoundest potential to become THE most wonderful country on earth. Because soon ALL 'isms' and 'sits'' will end. including racism, as the people of the earth begin to understand, we are all one.

We came from one mother. We are all brothers and sisters. And we CAN get beyond this ILLUSION of separateness. With prayer and love. It CAN change. It WILL change. And YOU guys (young people of all kinds) are the ones who are gonna GENTLY change it. And you know where it starts? With MUSIC.

Don't be guided by rap. Gangsta or otherwise. Sure.. enjoy it.. adore I do.. but realize this.. rap ain't about your civil or spiritual rights, baby boys and girls. It.. along with most music nowadays.. is about falsenesses and vanities. Bling, drugs, sex, guns and people- dissing. Its giving you the message you ain't 'good enough' if you don't have bling and ting.. and money. Or if you're not what it deems 'sexy'.

(This is true of all popular music not rap alone. I know. Its tragically true of all popular youth culture the world over).

Poor Curtis Mayfield must be crying all day and night ALL day and night in heaven, every day and night.. To see what has been so successfully achieved by those who sent guns, drugs, and bling to squash the civil rights movement. Now you all don't have to be murdered by racists any more.. you're murdering each other FOR them! And your parents and grandparents are left crying.

Go back to strong black musical guides who left you information in the 60s and 70s. when they were living through the civil rights struggle. Curtis Mayfield. The Impressions. Nina Simone, Mahalia Jackson. Sing back the Holy Spirit ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, as those artists did.

Forget bling. Forget "Get Rich Or Die Trying". That is an evil message. Evil my dears is only life backwards. Turn it the right way up. With music. The messages American black youth are being given through music are not about the spiritual and therefore strong and conquering but PEACEFUL making of YOUR country into the wonderful place it secretly is and can be.. BECAUSE OF YOU, and BY YOU!!

You know not how you are adored, appreciated, valued, loved, cried for,smiled for, prayed for, all over the world. You know not how much inspiration and uplift-ment of heart you give to millions just by your presence on earth.

These musical guides will give you self-esteem. When you have self-esteem you can achieve anything. You can stand in the street as many did yesterday and change your country peacefully and with song. Chant down Babylon as the Rastas say. Rastafari will also give you self esteem. Investigate it.

You will notice, my beautiful sons and daughters, when you study, as you must, footage of all civil rights gatherings, how singing and music and sound and voice and the Holy Spirit were all employed and were so much part of the energy which moved things along.. just as running was in the South African gatherings I saw on tv in my own childhood, which inspired me to survive my own horrors.

What you listen to musically and whether or not you employ the Holy Spirit's highest will for your life is whats gonna make you transcend all you're having to suffer (the worst of which is low self-esteem.. or esteem based upon material 'success' or 'sexiness')) as a result of being the descendants of people who didn't ask to be stolen and leave you where you are. Delete bling. Get conscious with your music. Demand conscious music from your artists. Go back to the artists who left you proper guidance.

This is some serious stuff and we (all manner of musical artists) are too silent on matters of enormous spiritual importance. Lemme ask you.. Jayzee and Eminem et al. Why was it always the black people only worked in the post rooms of record companies, which was always in the basement? Why was it that as each floor went up the skins got paler till it was fuckin ghosts at the top? And all us artists.. even me.. said nothing? Those buildings (record companies) always struck me as being a microcosm or painting of America, racially speaking. Christ almighty.. if its like that in the music business how is anything ever going to change?

We, musical artists are too silent on important stuff. And it is our job to be the gate-keepers of truth. ALL the people of this earth must come together eventually and see that we are one. ALL artists must stand up. Black, white, yellow, green, pink, fucking polka dot.. and be a light in these times.

The world is going to shift massively this year.. spiritually speaking. Musical artists are to be a massive part of that shift. Get up, lets all of us. And light Jah fire.. and BE lights.

Where's the fire gone from music? Where is the love? the oneness? The knowing that music CAN and WILL move things in the right spiritual direction without hatred or violence? We must box clever. Sing the devil to sleep at your feet. Thats what Curtis teaches. He is the master of ALL musical masters. forget, forget, forget and forget again bling and guns and drugs and the worship of fame and money. Its time to wake up. We KNOW the power of music. Why aren't we using it to change anything important?

Musicians all over the world should now gently demand this child's killer be arrested immediately and the family of Treyvon Martin be immediately apologized to upon bended knee. Frankly. I myself would like an apology! America is a country I love and adore. what this man has done is un-American in the most horrific extreme.

Him not being arrested is extremely embarrassing and does absolutely NOT paint the true picture of of a country and a people who for the 90% majority are the kindest, most loving, intelligent, and wonderful people you could know.

Please.. ALL Americans should deplore this crime. As should ALL people of ALL nations. And deplore the fact this man has not been arrested. All Irish people should do the same. And I ask that we here in Ireland should express through our American embassy that we would like to see this man arrested this very minute. Because racism is not acceptable. Nor is vigilantism. And this was very clearly in no way at all a case of self-defense.

I leave you with some lyrics of Curtis Mayfield's which I feel are appropriate for this situation. I am certain Curtis would have wanted to contribute to discussion on the issue of Treyvon's murder and the condition of young black people in America today.. so here goes.. the song is called This Is My Country.. from the album of the same name.

Some people think we don't have the right
to say its my country
before they give in
they'd rather fuss and fight
than say its my country
I've paid three hundred years or more
of slave-driving sweat and welts on my back
This is my country

Too many have died in protecting my pride
for me to go second class
We've survived a hard blow and I want you to know
that you must face us at last
And I know you will give consideration
shall we perish unjust or live equal as a nation?
This is my country.